Monthly Archives: January 2008

It’s a wrap

Rick & Jacqui

The inaugural Founders & Funders went off without a hitch. It was a fantastic evening. It wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsors, thank you very much Microsoft and JLA Ventures, the event wouldn’t have happened without their support.

Jess and Chris from Istoica snapped a fantastic pictures of the event and the attendees. The gallery from Founders & Funders event is available. Maybe we should do a set of hockey cards of Founders & Funders. On the back of each card it could have stats like amount raised, fund size, number of deals, etc. Until then, check out the pictures from Istoica.

TechCapital and AideRSS Anand Agarawala, Bumptop Bogdan Chimleski Francis Fast

Craig Fitzpatrick StartupNorth - Jevon & Jonas Tom Purves Leila Boujnane

Selim Teja and Mark Skapinker Stephen Benson

The goal of Founders & Funders is to create a social environment where the people who fund companies and the people who start companies can begin conversations outside of the pitch. As an attendee, I’ll extend an invitation to connect you with any other attendee you might have missed.

Thank you for making the inaugural Toronto Founders & Funders a success. We look forward to hosting another event later in 2008.

Cheers,
David & Jevon
Jevon and David

Founders and Funders Toronto Kickoff Questions

The Founders and Funders dinner takes place tonight in Toronto. We really wish we could have invited everyone who asked for a ticket, but we have been sold out for a while now.

I really don’t want to miss out on hearing from all of you, even if you can’t make it to Toronto for the dinner tonight, so I thought I would post the questions we will post tonight at the dinner. Please comment below with your thoughts on the state of funding in Canada. Answering these questions isn’t a requirement at the dinner, but we wanted to set the tone of the discussion to focus as much as possible about what we can do to change things in Canada.

  • Do Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists get enough recognition for the deals they do in Canada?
  • Do Canadian universities inspire and support entrepreneurship? Could a “Startup Co-Op” program help?
  • What is the minimum amount of funding a startup should be able to deliver a product with?
  • Is the Dragon’s Den the most visible face of Canadian Entrepreneurship right now? What is wrong with that?

Some of these questions may change by tonight depending on the answers we get.

Head over to StartupNorth to respond or to suggest another question.

JLA Ventures is a sponsor

We’re excited to announce that Rick Segal and JLA Ventures are sponsoring Founders & Funders. We’ve need to raise sponsorship money to help cover the costs of holding the event, basically the ticket price does not fully cover the costs of attendence (read: this is why I’m not in charge of finance). And gracious sponsors like Rick understand the impact an event like Founders & Funders can have on enabling this community.

Rick has led the charge calling for disruption in the venture capital community. Rick has provided detailed documentation on the venture funding process and continues to have “No Harm, No Foul” meetings with entrepreneurs to provide feedback on the idea, the revenue model and the customers. The “30 minute no harm, no foul” meetings are a great way to learn about how a VC thinks about your company, the problem space you’ve chosen and your solution.

JLA Ventures

JLA Ventures invests in Internet, digital media, e-commerce, communications security, mobile computing, and enterprise software companies. Portfolio candidates typically possess superior technology, a sustainable competitive advantage, and exceptional growth prospects.

Our investments range in size from $500,000 to $10 million, with an initial investment normally being between $2 million and $5 million. As active, multi-stage investors, we provide long-term capital for growth purposes.

JLA Ventures portfolio includes

Dinner Menu

Monsoon InteriorWe finalized the menu for Monday night at Monsoon.

Appetizer, choice of:

  • seasonal daily soup
  • baby greens in pappadum cup with yuzu vinaigrette and seedlings

Main course, choice of:

  • organic “firecracker” chicken supreme with azuki forbidden rice and tiger lilly buds
  • beef tenderloin on garlic chive mash and tosa-zu king oyster mushrooms
  • arctic char with wild mushrooms and e-fu longevity noodles
  • vegetarian optionbutternut squash gnocchi

Dessert

  • monsoon dessert platter – chefs’ daily creation

Third round of founders

  • Chris Sukornyk, Kaboose, Inc.
    In between startups
    Evaluating ideas. Currently VP Product Development at Kaboose Inc. Formerly founder of BubbleShare (sold in 2007) & founder of Fivelimes (sold in 2007).
  • Leila Boujnane & Paul Bloore, Idée, Inc.
    Expansion
    Idée is the first company to introduce an image monitoring service allowing image providers to track where their images appear in print and online.
  • Steve Hulford & Chris Becker, Filemobile
    12 employees, 21 clients and almost a million in revenue
    Filemobile is a media management platform, providing tools to enable social media to big brands, media companies and advertising agencies.
  • David Gratton, Project Opus Technologies
    Heritage Canada and Friends & Family funded. Product launch spring 2008.
    Project Opus builds non-DRM technologies that enhance the value of recorded music, giving consumers a desire to purchase digital music.
  • Stuart MacDonald, TripHarbour
    Will be in to beta in Q1 2008.
    Tripharbour.com connects you to your ideal cruise holiday with the web’s first combined cruise community and cruise planning/booking site.
  • Robert Dunlop, Flavour Technology
    We are embarking upon many exciting projects – all require funding.
    We have transitioned our business over the past year to become a BUSINESS INCUBATOR for several start-up organizations.
  • Jay Goldman, Radiant Core
    Angel Seeking
    World’s best web shop with great clients, starting to build our own brilliant products.
  • Scott Murrary, Organization Metrics
    We are a classic restart
    Our software enables organizations to ensure they have the right talent in the right place at the right time
  • Albert Lai, StillinStealthMode
  • Robin Gambhir, OpenBlue Networks
  • Jeremy Wright, b5media
  • Mark Ruddock, Viigo
  • Derek Szeto, Redflagdeals.com
  • Bogdan Chmielewski, SweetCaesar
  • Brad Stewart, PayMail
  • Tom Purves, WirelessNorth

Funders attending in Toronto

There are still a few invitations out to funders in Toronto, i.e., everyone has responding and we’re just waiting for a couple of folks to purchase their tickets. There are 23 24 Funders, thanks for correcting me Rob, who have purchased tickets.

  • Rick Segal, JLA Ventures
    JLA Ventures invests in Internet, digital media, e-commerce, communications security, mobile computing, and enterprise software companies. Portfolio candidates typically possess superior technology, a sustainable competitive advantage, and exceptional growth prospects.
  • John Marshall, Ministry of Research and Innovation
    MRI has launched $165 Million Ontario Venture Capital Fund. MRI announced Fund in November 2007. Fund will be up and running in 2008.
  • Albert Behr & David Berg, Behr & Associates
    Behr & Associates is a boutique investment bank that provide strategic working capital and accelerates revenue generation opportunities.
  • Jacqui Murphy & Peter Frisella, Tech Capital Partners
    Tech Capital typically invests $500,000 to $2 million in the seed round, and then continue to support the company through follow-on investments.
  • Robin Axon & Duncan Hill, Ventures West
    Ventures West Capital Ltd., a private venture capital investment group, is one of Canada’s leading investors in early stage technology companies.
  • Mark Skapinker, Brightspark
    We are funders and founders of startup Internet and software businesses.
  • Amar Varma, Extreme Venture Partners
  • Roger Chabra, GrowthWorks Capital
    GrowthWorks is a recognized leader in the Canadian venture capital industry, specializing in the management and growth of regionally based venture capital funds.
  • Colin Webster, Hero Ventures
    “I do early stage investing”
  • Craig Hayashi, MapleLeafAngels
    Maple Leaf Angels is a group of private investors with initial investment size ranges from $250,000 to $500,000.
  • Richard Reiner, Angel Investor
    Dr. Richard Reiner is the founder and CTO of Assurent Secure Technologies, a TELUS company.
  • John MacRitchie, OCE
    Invests in the commercialization of research from Ontario universities and colleges through start-ups and industry – researcher collaborative projects.
  • Frances Fast, Q1 Capital Partners
    Q1 Capital is a leading boutique Investment Bank with a primary mandate to serve the unique financing and M&A needs of private Canadian technology companies.
  • Mark Organ, Angel Investor
    Mark Organ is the founder of Eloqua.
  • Robert Antoniades & David Unsworth, RBC Venture Partners
    Finance Company financing setup of software and technology companies
  • Marc Faucher & Brian Kobus, Summerhill Venture Partners
    A Venture Capital Firm focused in the areas of ommunications, digital media and information technology.
  • Paul Sorbara, The Sorbara Group
    Angel investments.
  • Suzie Dingwall Williams, Venture Law Associates LLP
    I work with a number of US angels looking for Canadian opportunities. We will defer/reduce legal fees for our early stage clients in exchange for equity, although we don’t consider this to be investing.
  • Rob Hyndman, Hyndman Law
    From Start to Exit, Business Law for Technology Companies.

Second round of Founders

    Next round of 10 founders. Some chose to meet the requirements of the form, but missed the spirit of including the details about their company. These details are being used to help both other founders and funders figure out who to connect with.

    • Ian Bell, Something Simpler
      Series A Complete: Building Series B
      Something Simpler builds rich consumer applications leveraging its unique content matching platform.
    • Mike McDerment, FreshBooks
      gathering steam
      FreshBooks is online invoicing and time tracking for service-oriented professionals.
    • Noah Godfrey & Pema Hegan, GigPark
      Growth
      GigPark is a place to find services with the help of your friends.
    • Ryan Coleman, Clay Tablet
      Launched w/V2 product. Post-revenue.
      Clay Tablet is an integration platform for connecting content systems to translation providers. We streamline the language translation process.
    • Tom George, DesignAxiom
      In my dreams
      Commodity mobile device (mic,ear,t-screen,wifi); open source Flash OS; net-based Asterisk phone platform: cheap open wifi-based mobile comm
    • Dmitry Buterin, WildApricot
      Great product, revenue growing, now scaling up and fine-tuning
      Integrated website software for groups: clubs, associations, communities. Membership & event management, forum, blog, payments.
    • Boris Mann, Bootup Labs
      Website is up :P
      Bootup Labs helps you quit your day job: we help startups get started.
    • Ron McKenzie, Octopz
      Growth
      Octopz is an advanced online Collaboration Solution designed specifically to meet the needs of Creative Professionals.
    • John Green, Savvica
      Series-A funded, pre-revenue
      Savvica is an educational technology company aiming to improve education on a global scale by lowering the barriers of entry to e-learning.
    • Ali de Bold & Alex de Bold, ChickAdvisor
      Emerging from Beta
      ChickAdvisor is a social networking website where women can rate and review products and services.

      Badges, we need stinkin’ badges

      Founders Badge - Founders & FundersFunders Badge - Founders & FundersThe Founders & Funders event is a social event . Our goal is to help connect the people who fund web and emerging technology companies with those that start them. The first part of these efforts is to host an event. Well the first Founders & Funders – Toronto event is happening January 21, 2008. The next part is to help the attendees connect to each other at the event.

      Here is the first attempt to design a name tag to improve the connections between attendees at the event. These badges are based on the badge design concepts by Mike Davidson. The goals of the initial design are:

      1. Name – As Dan Saffer says “First Name. BIG! I don’t want to have to stare at people’s badges any longer than I need to. A rapid glance should boldly display the wearer’s first name, often to just refresh my memory or as a cue if I’m looking for someone I haven’t met but want to.”
      2. Company – I want to know who you work for, but this is secondary to who you are.
      3. Founder or Funder - As designated by both the icon and the color. The color (for those of us that aren’t colour blind) should allow you to identify the basic composition from a distance. The icon is a secondary method for identifying the role.

      We want to make it easier for attendees to connect with each other. Other things I’m thinking about for the badges:

      • Including a list of attendees, email addresses, company description, URL and stage. This would be a foldout in the back of the badge.
      • Holder for business cards. This is not the most important thing, but at conferences I always put my cards and cards I receive in the badge holder, if they fit.

      One thing I host that all Founders provide us is a 2 page summary sheet. The team at StumbleUpon provides a Fact Sheet which summarizes the business. We could then distribute this information to each of the Funders attending so they’d have a great way to follow up with the attendees they meet and more relevant details than provided by a business card.

      1. Problem solved – “help people discover interesting or informative web content that they wouldn’t have thought to search for.”
      2. Company history – “Originally launched in Calgary in 2002″
      3. Why it works - “Stumbling is so easy that through word-of-mouth alone, nearly one million people have installed the StumbleUpon toolbar extension, stumbling an average of 20 times per day”
      4. Revenue model – “Free membership is supported by a unique, targeted advertising model which guarantees relevant audiences and elicits community feedback. Members who opt to pay an annual fee never have to see an ad.”
      5. Founders - “StumbleUpon was founded by three Canadians: Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, and Justin LaFrance. The three recently relocated to San Francisco.”
      6. Funding - “Until March 2006, StumbleUpon was completely self-funded and fully bootstrapped. Growth was achieved solely via word of mouth. To accelerate growth, the Company has attracted private investment from leading technology investors and entrepreneurs”
      7. Board of Advisors
      8. Contact Information

      If you can’t summarize your business using a format like this, you’d better be Microsoft or General Electric.

      First round of Founders

      Founders & Funders is about helping to connect the founders of early-stage, venture fundable web and technology companies with the funding community in Canada. We’ve asked all founders to describe their company and the stage they are current at using a short format.

      Name, Company
      Please describe your Company if explained in a single twitter post (140 characters max)
      If asked to describe what “stage” your startup is at in 10 words or less

      You can follow the Tweets at http://twitter.com/foundersfunders

      We’re assembling a great group of founders.

      • Michael Garrity, CommunityLend
        Funded and prepping for Beta Launch
        Peer to Peer Lending Service for Canada
      • George Favvas, SmartHippo
        Public beta; very early revenue
        SmartHippo is the first ever site that uses the power of the community to help people find the best rates and save money. Based in Montreal.
      • Craig Fitzpatrick, DevShop
        Commercialization
        A project management application that gets to know the team members’ behavior to predict & insulate projects from risk.
      • Ali Asaria, Well.ca
        Early-stage Startup
        Well.ca is a Canadian online health & beauty store and a leader in the online Canadian retail health market. We’re also super friendly.
      • Scott Brooks & Bernie Aho, ConceptShare
        Growth Phase poised for expansion.
        ConceptShare has developed a web application that allows users to easily share, discuss and mark-up designs for review over the web.
      • Kevin Thomason & Ilya Grigorik, AideRSS
        An early stage ready to dominate the RSS filtering market
        AideRSS helps you breakthrough RSS information overload and read what matters.
      • Stephen Benson, Innovation Exchange
        revenue generating
        IX is a platform corporations use to accelerate their ability to innovate by connecting them with a Global Community of innovative thinkers.
      • Sandy Ward, HomeZilla
        Alpha!
        HomeZilla is a one-stop shop for home buyers and agents to find neighbourhood information about a home.
      • Chris Ragobeer, Nametaggs
        Beta and Unfunded
        Nametaggs is a social media service that allows people with a domain name registered with their name on it to promote their content.
      • Christopher Golda, IPartee
        Early-stage
        IPartee provides the tools to plan, publish and promote events. Find events and venues you and your friends want to attend.
      • Ross Bennet, SlashID
        Beta launch, boot strapped, looking for Angel investment
        SlashID will increase the number of registrations your website receives, to improve your business.Solves the identity problem for your users