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Is it me, or does it feel like there are 2 distinct seasons of activity in the startup community?
- Post Christmas Pre-Summer (aka golf season) Holiday
- Post First of School and Pre American Thanksgiving
Whether it is reality or bad cliche, it feels like there are 3-4 months of the year where nothing gets done. But no more!
Thanks to events like Startup Festival and Grow Conf, the summer season for Canadian startups is getting stronger and more important. There are localized opportunities to connect with investors, strategic partners, and potential customers at events like the aforementioned Startup Festival and Grow Conf plus Jolt Demo Fest, Atlantic Venture Forum, Metabridge and others. (You could go to CVCA in Banff, and golf with the Canadian VC landscape, that might up your chances of raising funding).
Things for Startups To Do
- Apply to pitch at StartupFest. Startups get access to press, investors, and a chance at a $50k investment prize from the organizing committee.
Deadline: Friday, May 10, 2013 5pm EDT.
- Apply to be one of the 45 Canadian startups at the Metabridge retreat. You’ll get access to investors, advisors and a great cultural event.
Deadline: Friday, May 10, 2013 5pm PDT.
- Apply to throwdown at the Smackdown at GrowConf. Winners will get access to press and investors. Plus more Debbie Landa.
Deadline: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
There are a lot of opportunities for Canadian startups to get access to both local and foreign capital, corporate development folks and press by participating in these events. Take a bit of time, and figure out which ones you benefit from attending. Plus it’s a great excuse to get out of the office and hustle.
Oh wait, it is!
NASA and the European Space Agency are hosting a hackathon in 75 cities around the world. It includes Canadian events in Toronto and Winnipeg.
“The International Space Apps Challenge is a technology development event during which citizens from around the world work together to solve challenges relevant to improving life on Earth and life in space.”
The Toronto event is focusing on 24 of the challenges provided by NASA (the full list of challenges is 50 large). The challenges provide a diverse set of skills and participation. Skills include software, hardware, strategy, and design. There are a number of challenges that include the interpretation of economic data and others that involve air traffic control.
With the amazing photos that Commander Hadfield is publishing on Twitter. Hopefully there is a renewed interest in the Canadian space industry. (We did build the Canadarm…) And the commericalization of space exploration with the X PRIZE and SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. It’s an amazing chance to participate in a grassroots exploration of space technologies and data.
List of Challenges in Toronto Space Apps Challenge
- ESA 3D Printing Contest
- Create an open source 3D model of space hardware that can be generated by a 3D printer.
- My Space Cal
- Combine the past and future time schedules of satellites into a common calendar that the world can easily access.
- Wish You Were Here
- Develop a compelling representation of weather on Mars.
- Tour of the Moon
- Enable humans worldwide to take an interactive tour of the Moon.
- The Blue Marble
- Rethink space-based Earth imagery and make it more accessible to a broad audience of space enthusiasts.
- Solar Flare
- Visualize invisible (to the human eye) phenomena that can affect so many vital terrestrial activities.
- Seeing Water From Space
- Create a visualization of Chile water resources, showing how they have changed over time relative to changes in climate.
- SCISTARTER Citizen Science
- Help humans understand and analyze microbial communities and compare with microbes on the International Space Station.
- Renewable Energy Explorer
- Create an app that integrates wind, solar, and geothermal energy data to show where combining them would have the greatest potential.
- Incentives Tied to Utility Rates
- Help consumers find relevant incentives, tax rebates, and savings for their energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts.
- Earth Day Challenge
- Explore the history of Earth Day using environmental data since 1970.
- Aligning the Stars
- Match and align the stars in Aurora imagery taken by Astronauts on the International Space Station.
- “Catch a Meteor” Tracker
- Create an app that would allow observers of a meteor shower to trace the location, color and size of the shooting star.
- Database of Near Earth Objects
- Create a platform to enables citizen astronomers to register, submit findings, and help rank the findings of other citizen astronomers.
- CubeSats for Asteroid Exploration
- Create a CubeSat design for a mission to astroids near Earth.
- Deployable Greenhouse
- Develop a deployable greenhouse that could be used on a space mission to the Moon or Mars.
- Hitch a Ride to Mars
- Design a CubeSat for an upcoming Mars mission.
- My Virtual Mentor
- Expand the online presence for the NASA GIRLS program to mobile and/or tablet platforms.
- “No Delays” Air Traffic Management
- Create a visualization that increases understanding of the problems of our current air traffic control system.
- Space Station Benefits to Humanity
- Develop a tool to improve the understanding of the incredible benefits that International Space Station is delivering back to Earth.
- Spot the Station
- Extend the functionality of the Spot the Station site that allows you to share your sightings of the International Space Station with others.
- Syncing NASA’s Open Source Projects
- Create an application that mirrors changes to NASA’s github presence.
- NASA’s Impact on the Economy
- Share the story of NASA’s economic impact in a new and compelling way.
- Adopt-a-Spacecraft: Voyager 1
- Humanize the Voyager mission through the creation of a data visualization, app, or even a physical object.
It’s an amazing time to be interested in space exploration. Plan on exploring at the ROM on April 19-21, 2013.
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Q: “How do you know when an entrepreneur is dead?”
A: They stop pitching.
Ba, dum, dum. It might be cliche, a tad kitschy. But it will be an amazing event. And it will help connect entrepreneurs with others.
Charlie Crystle (LinkedIn, ) is an entrepreneur based in Lancaster, PA. He is also behind Startup Lancaster. Startup Lancaster is a bit smaller than StartupNorth, (the group has 46 members) but they come together monthly to:
“swap war stories and advice and to gain inspiration for the next stage of their efforts”
It is events like the one hosted by Philippe Telio (LinkedIn, ) and the Startup Festival team, that continue to help connect local entrepreneurs. On the surface it might seem a bit cliche, startups doing elevator pitches in the elevator at the CN Tower. It’s a little glib. But it is an amazing opportunity to spend an evening with other entrepreneurs and those that contribute to high growth, emerging technology companies. It is a chance to experience the CN Tower and connect socially with other entrepreneurs in Toronto. And “having some good companions can ease the journey” is exactly why these events happen.
If you are an entrepreneur, consider pitching. You might do it for practice, you might do it for the chance to win “free passes and paid travel to attend the International Startup Festival in Montréal”, you might just do it for a free trip up the CN Tower (it will save you approximately $30). Use this as a way to find others and connect socially. It doesn’t matter why you do it. But in the words of a sporting brand, just do it!