in Big Ideas, Canada

We want you! – Looking for contributors

Finish Line, CopperDog 150, Calumet, Michigan by Lina Blair (linainyoop) on
Finish Line, CopperDog 150, Calumet, Michigan by Lina Blair

I was talking to April Dunford . It’s was a private message, so I am hoping April will forgive me for sharing, but it indicated how Jonas , Jevon and I have felt about our role and the role of StartupNorth.

“We’re all making this shit up on our own when we should be sharing best practices.” April Dunford

We can talk about how Toronto is broken, as long as “this is not a complaints department, but a solutions playground” (great quote from Mark Kuznicki at the first TransitCamp in 2007). When we started StartupNorth in 2007 because there were not a lot of people talking about high potential growth, emerging technology companies and emerging business models (if it is easier, you can think venture backable technology startups). There was a lot of great technology companies being built in Canada. We wanted an easier way to bring together people who were interested in the new companies and the ecosystem to support them.

“We launched TechStars NYC with the goal of enriching the New York City entrepreneurial ecosystem; tapping into the rich resources and energy of NYC and galvanizing the community through mentorship.” David Tisch

We launched StartupNorth in 2007 after 2 years of a completely unorganized effort (that supposes that this effort approximates organized vs the anarchy that it is) of hosting events like BarCampToronto, DemoCamp, a public Skype chat, and a Google Group. We didn’t have a fund. This wasn’t our full time jobs. We’ve never thought of StartupNorth as a high potential growth technology business. We thought of it as a way to help other entrepreneurs like ourselves. We tried to build what we thought was missing.

  • Funding in Canada
  • Getting access to foreign markets
  • The amazing talent in Toronto and across Canada
  • Events that bring together others interested in the same space to enable collisions (finding cofounders, hiring employees, business relationships, potential mentors, etc.)
  • Events like StartupEmpire, DemoCamp and StartupCamp

We are contributors to both the solutions and the problems that exist. But that doesn’t mean we can’t contribute.

We are Canadian entrepreneurs.

Back in 2008, Jevon told us about “how startups will save venture capital in Canada“. You can look at the recent acquisitions (including Jevon’s GoInstant) are providing liquidity and bigger better investment opportunity. (OMERS Ventures has participated in rounds totalling >$112MM in the past 2 weeks alone: $80MM Desire2Learn, $20MM Vision Critical, $12MM Hopper Travel). Canadian entrepreneurs

We want you!

We are looking for new contributors to StartupNorth. We don’t want puff pieces. We don’t want press releases. We want to highlight Canadian startups, founders and technology. We want interesting stories. Let me help all y’all, launching is not an interesting story. I’d like to see posts on:

  • Cost effective solutions to common back office problems, tell us about how your financials, payroll, A/R works.
  • Look at the Upverter Under-the-Hood article and tell me about your infrastructure, personally I’d love to hear about Hopper’s Hadoop or Wave Accounting, etc.
  • Marketing automation and optimizing customer engagements. What tools are you using?
  • We’ve heard about Facebook’s Growth Team and their decision making, what about Freshbooks? Or Dayforce?
  • The impact that CRTC and Competition Bureau rules have on Canadian startups? I’d love to get Michael Garrity to tell the Community Lend/FinanceIT story. But there are more.
  • Examples of effective use of Facebook, mobile or other early customer marketing

This list is no way comprehensive. There are lots of interesting stories. Got an insight, tip, cobbling together of tools that can help startups save money, grow faster, go further. We want to share. As April said, “We’re all making this shit up on our own when we should be sharing best practices.” and we want to help share.

Just send me an email (davidcrow at gmail ) with a draft of your post. I will read, provide initial feedback, socialize with Jonas and Jevon and then we will set up an posting schedule.


  1. Oh great – what if my mom reads that and catches me saying the “s” word….. :)

    I love the idea of doing a series of posts that are focused on lessons learned. 
    For startup marketers in particular I am interested in getting a group together to talk about what’s working and what isn’t right now particularly around SEO, Content, paid advertising, inside sales, email marketing. I am also curious about tooling for tracking customer acquisition – it seems like everyone I talk to had a tracking tool that I should be checking out. Sometimes I think folks are worried about sharing specifics about marketing in particular because they consider it a bit of the secret sauce. I would love to gather some information across companies and then share that here in startupnorth – even that would be useful I think. 

    If you are doing marketing at a startup in or around Toronto right now either respond to this or shoot me a note at aprildunford at gmail. I’d like to organize something but I need help.


  2. Um…I sense an opportunity here….and will email you on this too….have some ideas on a story or two in our channel….and will contact you too April…always willing to share with peers!


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