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Nov 8, 2010

Boxing For a Cause: Bernier vs. Sirois

Jacques Bernier, a managing partner at Teralys Capital, put down his boxing gloves 30 years ago when he opted out of a professional boxing career.

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But the veteran investor headed back into the ring this past summer after he and entrepreneur Francois-Charles Sirois agreed to take each other on in a friendly boxing match for charity.

With intense months of training under their belts, a date for what the folks at NextMontreal have fittingly dubbed the Knockout Entrepreneurs event is set for Thursday, Nov. 18, at the Montreal Athletic Association on Peel Street. The event is invitation-only due to limited space.

An avid cyclist and race car driver, Bernier trained to be a professional boxer while at university. “I was very serious for many years, working out in professional gyms,” he says.

But Bernier decided to stop boxing at graduation – around the time that Sirois was born.

Despite the age difference between the two, Bernier says he is heading back into the ring for a good reason. Continue reading »

Nov 5, 2010

Five Questions with Startup Calgary Founder Arpad Barabas

While known for oil and gas production and the sweeping beauty of the Rockies, Calgary is no hotbed for tech startup networking.

Arpad Barabas believes Startup Calgary, a new networking group for Calgary-based entrepreneurs, will help change that. Barabas is the group’s founder, who also launched SaaS startup Mobizou this week. “A lot of people invest quietly (in tech) here,” says Barabas, who spent time living in the U.S. and Europe, but always found his way home to Calgary. “Now we’ll have a more formal structure.” Through the new group, Barabas will focus on the entrepreneur and building deep relationships in the startup community, rather than parading startups in front of investors.

So far, Barabas has signed on 16 startups for a showcase at the Startup Calgary launch party Nov. 23 at Hotel Arts. He says he’s shooting to find a total of 20 companies that focus on a variety of markets from iPhone apps to games to online project management tools. Barabas (whose unique name comes from his German mother and Hungarian father) spoke to us yesterday about what’s behind Startup Calgary — and his new company. What inspired you to found Startup Calgary? Continue reading »

Nov 3, 2010

C100′s AccelerateTO Panel to Address Accelerating Canadian Startups

A great upcoming networking event, C100′s AccelerateTO, mixes cocktails and a panel: “Accelerating Canadian Startups: What Does it Take?” The event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 9, in Toronto from 5-7 p.m.

C100 invites you to “mingle, network with, and hear from entrepreneurs who’ve done it, the companies and individuals who’ve funded them, and those who’ve supported them.”

Where: KPMG at the Bay Adelaide Centre
333 Bay Street
46th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2T4

Tickets are $20, with all proceeds donated to The United Way. Please RSVP by Sunday, Nov. 7.

Continue reading »

Nov 3, 2010

LaBarge-Weinstein/CIX/ Hockey Challenge Dec. 6

We’re looking foward to the LaBarge-Weinstein/CIX/ Hockey Challenge, which will be held Nov. 6, the day before the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX), featuring the key players in the innovation communities from Waterloo, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Here are few more details about the hockey event, provided by LW’s James Smith.

Tournament Location: The Mastercard Centre (Maple Leafs’ and Marlies’ Practice Facility) 400 Kipling Avenue Etobicoke, ON M8V 3L1 (416) 251-5219

Here’s the match schedule:
2:00 to 3:00 – Rink 2 – Team Waterloo v. Team Montreal
2:00 to 3:00 – Rink 2 – Team Toronto v. Team Ottawa
3:45 to 4:45 – Rink 4 – Consolation Final
4:45 to 5:45 – Rink 4 – Final

An after-party and awards banquet is scheduled after the final from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Location: BierMarkt
600 King Street West Toronto, Ontario M5V 1M3 (416) 862-1175

Continue reading »

Nov 1, 2010

Rypple, Bridgescale featured on

Daniel Debow, co-CEO of Rypple
Daniel Debow, co-CEO of Rypple

“Can social apps kill enterprise software?” is the important question reporter Shelley DuBois posed today in an article that ran on The article, which mentions Bridgescale-funded Rypple, argues that “big, expensive, custom software from blue-chip software and consulting companies has been a rule of thumb for giant corporations for decades now. Is it possible a new breed of cloud-oriented startups can change all that?”

Here’s a quote from Bridgescale co-founder Matthew Cowan on how comfortable most workers are today with social sharing, and how several start-ups are trying to capitalize on that.: “To deny enterprise workers the benefit of social networking is equivalent to, ten years ago, forcing them to communicate with colleagues by telegraph,” says Cowan, co-founder of Bridgescale Partners, a tech investment firm that which works with several social media for business startups. He predicts that in two years, social media for business will be the norm.

Here’s on Rypple’s role in this new landscape: “Rypple is a social software tool that facilitates employee feedback. The idea is that instead of writing performance reviews, employees will give constructive criticism or reward a job well done on a fast, webby platform, set up to host what co-CEO Daniel Debow calls “micro reviews.” Continue reading »

Nov 1, 2010

Bridgescale Welcomes Derek Smyth

Have a look at NextMontreal’s recent article, which features an interview with Bridgescale Partner’s new managing director Derek Smyth. (Note: Bridgescale is a sponsor of NextMontreal.)

Smyth was a former partner at EdgeStone Capital Partners and he will continue to manage the existing EdgeStone Venture Fund portfolio in partnership with the Bridgescale team.

In this interview, Smyth says Bridgescale is currently pursuing three Montreal-based deals. (Smyth, who is Canadian and based in Toronto, says he visits Montreal frequently.) He also discusses how he decided to become a VC, what Bridgescale looks for in an investment, his opinion of early exits and what sorts of deals he is focused on now. The WSJ online also covered Smyth’s hiring, noting he sourced and managed investments of the fund’s portfolio companies that included Decision Dynamics, Maximum Throughput and Rapidmind, all have which have been acquired. Continue reading »

Oct 28, 2010
Howard gwin

Getting it Done in Six Slides

I know what you are thinking about my headline: Six slides are all you need to tell the full story of a great company? No chance!

You are probably right if you believe that no company presenting to investors, advisors and partners can tell a full story in six slides. I don’t believe that either. Regardless of the number of slides used, I do believe in the 80-20-80 rule I developed after listening to countless pitches over the past 29 years: spend 80 percent of the discussion on 20 percent of the points that drive 80 percent of the value.

(CEOs at Mentor Monday should feel free to present any slide-ware they are comfortable with.)

My two cents follows.

Ask yourselves the following six questions: Continue reading »

Oct 27, 2010
Howard gwin

Six Characteristics of a Technology Juggernaut

It’s a fact that there is less money available for tech investment today than there was a decade ago in Canada. There’s nowhere near enough to plug the gap, but there are several active venture firms in and outside Canada with money to spend.

How do we help great companies in Canada get funded? Two things that immediately come to mind are networking and strong mentoring.

Trouble is, we Canucks aren’t great at the networking part. And in order to compete for money, our good companies have to be better at networking, presenting, managing, everything – or money will not flow to the degree that we need it. Mentor Monday was created to help.

We create visibility and a mentoring opportunity for CEOs.  Our strategy appears to be working but I think we can do more. Continue reading »

Oct 26, 2010
Robert Chaplinsky

Calling All Silicon Valley Canadian Tech Execs!

There’s been a string of good news emerging from the Canadian tech sector in recent months.

First, IBM paid several hundred million dollars last week for Toronto-based private software company Clarity Systems.  Within the past year, Google has bought two Canadian companies: Waterloo-based social gaming firm SocialDeck and Toronto-based wireless app maker Bump Technologies.  Last month, Microsoft said it is partnering with Canadian-based startup Polar Mobile for mobile application development.

We’ll be highlighting these successes and more when we host our second annual Canadian Silicon Valley Technology Forum on January 11, 2010, in Menlo Park, California. Continue reading »

Oct 25, 2010

Mentor Monday: Helping Great Companies Overcome Canada’s Funding Gap

Consider the following list of venture capital firms: Blackboard, Brightspark, BMO Technology Investment Program, CastleHill Ventures Inc., CDP Capital Technology Ventures, CMDF, Crocus Investment Fund , Edgestone, eLab, First Ontario, Garage Canada, Greenstone, GTI Capital, Hydro-Québec CapiTech Inc., Jefferson Partners, Lattitude, Launchworks, Mosaic Venture Partners, MWI Partners, New Generation Biotech Fund, NRG Group, Primaxis, Propulsion, RBC Advanced Technology Fund , RBC Technology Ventures, RBC Capital Partners, RBC Life Sciences Fund, RBC Telecommunications Fund, Rising Tide Canada, RoyNat, Skypoint, Springbank, TechnoCap, Tera Capital, VC Advantage Fund, Ventures West, VentureCoaches, Working Opportunity Fund, XDL, and Vengrowth.

Thanks for staying with me. Now try to guess what all of these firms have in common. Stumped?

Well, the sad truth, which Wellington’s Mark McQueen noted in a recent blog post, is that none of them are investing in new deals in Canada going forward. None.
Continue reading »


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