Tag Archives: foundersandfunders

Feb 16, 2012

After a 2 year hiatus, we’re going to try and bring together Founders & Funders in Toronto again.

The Founders and Funders dinners are a series of invitation-only dinners that are held across Canada several times a year. They are a sort of summit on the state of each community and we do our best to make sure that the best startups possible have a chance to meet the most respected and active investors who are doing deals in those cities. There is always a mix of locals and people who come in for the event as a way to get connected.

We believe that if you cannot sit down and have dinner with someone, then you probably shouldn’t invest in or take investment from them. This is a great chance to apply a social filter to the dealflow in any one place.

What is it?: An invitation-only 3 course dinner. Cocktails before, cocktails after….

Who is coming?: The top investment-ready startups and active investors in Canada.

Where is it?: Downtown Toronto

When?: February 16th, 2012 at 6:30pm

How much is it?: Tickets range from $125 (startups) to $500 (service providers)

We are now accepting requests for invitations and the first round of invitations will go out this week.

Apply to attend F&F »

We have also decided to include a brief fireside chat with Daniel Debow at this dinner. We rarely do this sort of thing at a Founders and Funders but 2011 was such a great year we thought it would be fun to look back on the ups and downs of Rypple through the years and how they got to their eventual exit, some of which was written about in Forbes this week.

Daniel and Rypple have also been a big part of the Canadian startup community and he has also been an active angel investor recently.

We are excited to hear what he has to say about how we can help build more great Canadian companies and how to build awareness in Silicon Valley when your HQ is back here in Canada.

We hope you will join us as we kick off another great year for the Toronto and Canadian startup community.

We will be announcing Founders and Funders dinners in other cities soon as well.

Family Day – Rescheduling

We’ve had some feedback about hosting Founders & Funders on Feb 15, 2010 (Family Day). And the feedback has been, I love the event, but can you do it on a different day. We like to think this is all about entrepreneur enablement. So if no entrepreneurs show up, it’s pretty hard to do the enablement part.

We are finalizing a new date with the venue. I’m leaning towards Monday, March 1, 2010. I’d like to connect with everyone before SxSWi & Mix.

Once the new date at the venue is finalized, I will begin sending out personal invitations. How do you get an invitation? Step 1 is to let us know that you are interested. We have begun reviewing applications (and in case you’re curious, we make everyone tell us why they should participate: Founders, Funders, a limited number of Service Providers – Jevon made Jonas and me justify our participation ;-) I am hoping to finalize the venue and date this week, with the first round of invitations sent out by Friday.

David, Jevon & Jonas

Ottawa – Dec 3, 2009

theottawanetworkAllan Isfan and Rick O’Connor are hosting another Founders & Funders – Ottawa on December 3, 2009. This is a great event for the Ottawa community. The goal continues to be connecting the people who start companies with the people that fund them. It’s a very simple piece of the social fabric in the emerging technology ecosystem. And it’s fantastic to see the Ottawa crew being significantly more active.

The event is “invitation only” and  is limited in terms of availability. That is there are a limited number of available spaces, and Allan and Rick are currating the guest list like any good dinner party. If you are a startup in Ottawa, or you are a funder drop them a note.

Just a sidebar on “funder”, this means active funders, not necessarily just high net worth individuals. The event is best for individuals that are active, i.e., have deployed capital in the past 18 months. And if you haven’t deployed capital, you have a very good reason (waiting for previous investments to mature; trying to hit an earn out, etc.).

If you’re in Ottawa on December 3 (and not at DemoCamp Toronto #24), here’s how you get involved.

The event is “by invitation only’ and is limited in terms of availability. If you would like to attend, please send Allan Isfanallan.isfan@favequest.com or Rick O’Connor rickoco@theottawanetwork.com a note and let them know who you are and why you should participate.

Founders & Funders Toronto – June 4, 2008

Jevon MacDonald and I are please to announce the second Toronto Founders & Funders dinner on June 4, 2008.


What: Founders & Funders Toronto
Founders & Funders is a private, invite only social event. Founders and Funders is dedicated: to helping Canadian entrepreneurs to meet each other; meet potential funders: angel, VC or other money sources; to have fun; and see how we can help each other create the NEXT BIG successful company.
When: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM

The inaugural Toronto event sold out. And we’re expecting this event to reach capacity very quickly.

We are limited to 100 seats. The fee for the dinner is $100 which will include drinks and dinner.  This is a private networking event and we are selecting the audience to ensure a quality group of attendees. And to provide the best chance to network together.

How do I get an Invite?

If you would like to attend the dinner, please fill out the following form and let us know who you are.

We will be contacting those invited with details on the registration and attendance details for the dinner in the coming weeks.

Special Guest – Dan’l Lewin

We’re incredibly lucky to have Dan’l Lewin scheduled to be in attendance (Dan’l is the Corporate Vice-President, Strategic and Emerging Business Development for Microsoft). Check out GigaOM’s interview with Dan’l where he talks candidly about his role in Microsoft and how Microsoft works with other emerging technology companies.

Dan’l Lewin is corporate vice president of Strategic and Emerging Business Development, responsible for managing worldwide strategic business relationships with venture capitalists and emerging venture-capital-backed businesses, as well as managing the business relationship with leading global industry partners such as SUN, Adobe, Intuit and BEA to ensure their applications interoperate with and run well on the Microsoft platform – for the benefit of the companies’ common customers. Lewin is based at Microsoft’s Mountain View, Calif. campus.

A 25-year Silicon Valley veteran, Lewin was most recently CEO of Aurigin Systems Inc., an enterprise software company focused on intellectual property asset management. He also spent 18 years as an executive, leading sales and marketing divisions for companies including Apple Computer Corp., NeXT Inc. and GO Corporation. In addition, Lewin has served as a consultant for emerging companies, venture capital firms and corporate joint ventures.

Lewin holds an A.B. in politics from Princeton University.


We’re working with a number of great organizations to sponsor the event.

If you would like to sponsor this event or other Founders & Funders events across Canada please feel free to contact David Crow or Jevon MacDonald.

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.

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
    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
    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
    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


Apparently, this might be why my last couple of ventures failed. The price for tickets for Founders & Funder$ is $75/person. Unfortunately, the costs per person are greater tahn $75, just the meal at Monsoon is $83/person plus taxes and gratuities. This means that on the surface, I’m really, really bad at simple math. It also means that we need sponsors to help cover the costs with hosting the Founders & Funders event.

Microsoft LogoMicrosoft Canada has agreed to help sponsor the event on one condition – that I take remedial mathematics help.We’re really excited to have Microsoft participating.

The Microsoft Canada team is working hard to bring the Microsoft Startup Accelerator Program to Canada. The program is focused on startups in the US, UK, France and India. However we’re lucky to have Lynda Ting, from the Emerging Business Team in Silicon Valley (and a former early-stage Toronto VC) flying up to join us for the evening. Microsoft is committed to working with industry leaders, academic institutions, local policy makers, the venture capital community and others to build strong local commercial software industries. There are Partner Programs like the Empower, where you are building a product, you get free (or very close to free) access to almost every Microsoft tool and product.

MIX08 - Visit MixMicrosoft continues to host MIX, an intimate conference for cutting-edge technical, creative and business strategists to engage Microsoft in a conversation about the future of the web. MIX is a 72 hours conversation exploring the latest wave of opportunities and help redefine the boundaries between: content and commerce, PC and TV, Windows and the Web.

I was lucky enough to get invited to MIX07 and I’ll be at MIX08 where I know there will be a lot of very interesting technologies.

Founders and Funders – Toronto

Founders and Funders Jevon MacDonald and David Crow are pleased to be hosting the first Founders & Funders dinner in Toronto. We heard about the success in Montreal with the first dinner hosted by Austin Hill and Patrick Lauzon, and figured that this needs to happen in Toronto.

Founders & Funders – Toronto
A evening of socializing and dinner for entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists
January 21, 2008
$75/person – Limited to 75 attendees
Private 3 course dinner at Monsoon Restaurant

There has been a lot of discussion about the needs of entrepreneurs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Canada. It has been summarized very well, as,

“you only need two kinds of people to create a technology hub: rich people and nerds” – Paul Graham

This is our community-driven attempt to bring together the people who start tech companies and the people who fund tech companies in Toronto in a engaging, social environment.

There has been a buzz of activity in the web 2.0 community in Toronto. DemoCamp. StartupCamp. CaseCamp. TransitCamp. We often hear about a successful entrepreneur or an interesting startup, but it is incredibly difficult to find time to attend all the events and meet all the interesting people. The inaugural Founders & Funders Dinner Toronto is an effort to bring together the nerds and people with money in Toronto.

Interested in attending?

We’re looking for founders, entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists and others.

Contact us for an invitation – space pending, of course.