While it took a few years after the financial crisis for financial services start-ups to get their business models refined to the point where they can come to market they are here now, and these alternative financial services technology companies are becoming viable and increasingly common sources of financing for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Three former game studio executives with 40+ years of experience could easily be basking in the console glory days of the past. Instead of opting for white sandy beaches and umbrella drinks, these former EA (Electronic Arts) colleagues have co-founded a company that adds rewards to mobile games as you play.
Recognizing the power of personal connections, Change Heroes has designed their platform around the concept of "friend-funding." The goal of each change hero is to bring together 33 of their friends, family, and co-workers together to donate $3.33 a day for three months which equates to $10,000 which will fund the building of a school or two libraries.
Positioning themselves as "the purveyors of unreasonable business" Vancouver's Institute B is about as far from the typical accelerator as one can imagine. Far from espousing the traditional business school playbook, everything about this team is unreasonable. With a mandate of proving to the world that by incorporating societal benefits as an equal priority to generating profits, more abundance will be created for shareholders and stakeholders alike -- they're a team assured of flunking out of any MBA school.
A stimulating evening in Vancouver recently provided an excellent snapshot of a startup community that's starting to grow up. It comes as the city improved on its ranking of the world's top startup ecosystems. This week, the Startup Genome Project updated its list, placing Vancouver ninth in the world, compared to its 16th showing on the previous list.
Last week, the Canadian Film Centre's CFC Media Lab launched a fantastic new program called ideaBOOST, designed to assist artists and companies exploring the frontier in digital entertainment. IdeaBOOST brings industry into the equation, and I think that's what makes it such an impressive concept. Here are several that sounded particularly exciting.
I am a self-made man. I started my first company with a few thousand dollars and later sold it for more than $100 million -- then I did it again with a new startup in a different field. After my second company sold, I decided at the age of 50 to write a book about the three simple steps that helped me succeed. Here's a short summary of my three simple steps.
When you're with a start-up and you run into a problem you can't solve, what do you do? The obvious answer is you turn to someone who has built a business before. What if you don't have someone like this in your sphere of influence? Well, that's where cold calling (or emailing) comes in. But people have an irrational fear of cold calling. Here's how to get the most out of a cold call.
In the earliest stages of our start-up, we decided to pull in the opinions and advice of experts. We were eager to hear different perspectives from our own. It became clear early on, however, that we would need to navigate through the advice using our best judgement. Remember: One of the things only you and your team can bring to this business is your unique perspective.
When you meet these bright young students, the first impression is "wow, they're pretty normal teenagers." That impression doesn't last long. The minute they begin to describe their research, my mind reels as I try to keep up with each project's premise and findings. These are exception children, and they are our future.
"It's like throwing cooked spaghetti at the wall," explains my friend. "It doesn't always stick, but slowly winds its way to the floor." When you first start out in business there is that tendency to throw a lot of money into marketing, with the underlying feeling that at least you are doing something. Trouble is, often it is not money well-spent.