Sunday, March 25, 2012

C100 Guest Blog

Here is a link to a recent blog post from me that originally appeared on the C100 website titled

C100 – The Not-So-Secret Canadian Entrepreneur Organization

I am deeply honoured to be stepping in as co-chair of the C100. It is an amazing organization that Chris Albinson, Anthony Lee and other Canadians have worked tirelessly in their free time to build. I wanted to write this blog post to give you a little of the reasons why I'm excited…I will start with a quote from our founding co-chair, Chris Albinson as I think this should be our new C100 motto…

“This is beyond owning some podium. It’s about claiming the podium as ours, painting it red and white, crushing it, and sprinkling the dust into the eyes of our competitors. And not apologizing ever.” [see the video here]

Me and Chris Albinson at the 3rd Annual CEO Tech Forum.

The C100 is going to help make the next billion dollar Canadian tech company. We are going to show people that Canada has the smartest engineers on the planet and founders who run circles around their brethren. I believe this strongly enough that I’ve already invested in two, Brian Wong from Kiip and Joshua McKenty from Piston Cloud. I’m encouraging teams I work with to build out engineering organizations in Canada the way other tech giants like Facebook, Zynga and others are doing. We will do it by being bold, by breaking some rules and by working together. Lets make it so the next great canadian tech acquisition is about a canadian company buying up US companies…I was just at the Digital Puck Growth Stage event for Canadian tech companies and there are some clear candidates for this role including Freshbooks, A Thinking Ape, Vineyard Networks, Intelliresponse, and many more. We are on a roll.

I want the next Canadian who visits the valley like I did 15 years ago to have a team of Canadians rooting for their success and helping them along the way. When I moved here, I might as well have been from somewhere in the Midwest…there was probably a better organized group of founders and tech folks from Minnesota or some far flung eastern European country than from our great homeland. That’s changing, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

I am joined in this pursuit by a fantastic organizing committee and sponsors who share the vision of building something great. We couldn’t do this without the people at KPMG, BDC, SVB, PageMill Partners, Sheppard Mullin, EDC, SDTC and many others. The Canadian Consulate, especially Thierry has had a huge hand in pulling the group together. The C100 is off to a rocking start thanks to the leadership of Chris, Anthony and Atlee. To be clear for everyone, Chris isn’t going anywhere and is as dedicated to C100’s success as he ever was. We are fortunate to have him remain on the Organizing Committee and heading up a few of our important initatives. Here are some amazing stats over the last two years: 

30 Events Organized
100+ Charter Members
 2500 People in the C100 Network
 3000+ Entrepreneurs attended C100 Events
 $417M venture investment into C100 companies
 $3B in exit market cap including Radian6, Kobo, Rypple and many others.

 I believe it's working. The organization is an all-volunteer army of Canadians who care about Canada. We are still a toddler as far as an organization and have lots more growing to do.

 I want to work with people who when they use all the famous start up quotes like ‘hockey stick revenue projections’, ‘skating to where the puck will be’, etc actually give (to use the tragically hip line) a f$*k about hockey. Or at least name a hockey player beyond Gretzky.

 So, I’m sneaking into the arena to put a loonie under the ice, and I’m asking you to skate hard with me. Lets have some fun and build something great together. Go Canada.