Startups

The Man Making Online Discussion Boards Cool Again

In our social media-enabled, always-on world, we think we can solve most problems with our networks, but there are still millions of users across the globe actively using one of the oldest forms of online conversation: Message Boards. Andrew Sider, founder of Bunch recently chatted with me why he (and several investors) think that cutting edge message boards are a hot new opportunity for online communities.
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Canadian Innovation: We Can't Play it Safe Any Longer

In Canada, we like to play it safe and for the most part, it's paid off. Tight regulations and the centralization of banking powers helped us weather the economic storm of 2008. But we're a different Canada now. Canada's potential is remarkable, we need to believe in that potential and invest in its development before looking elsewhere for inspiration. It's all right here.
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The Case For Failing In Your Twenties

While a recent New York Times article scrapes the surface of young people who have succeeded at launching exemplary businesses and careers, it also brings up a glaring point: Many more fail. All of the Red Bull-guzzling, YOLO-chanting enthusiasm in the world cannot change that fact.
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The Next Big Thing in Funding Innovation

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.
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Startup Accelerator Institute B Breaks Business Rules

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.
Kairos Exposure

Vancouver's Startup Community Accelerating Out Of Diapers

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.
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The Canadian Program Giving Creative Startups a Boost

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.
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Three Simple Steps to Financial Success

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.
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Your Start-Up Business: The Art and Science of Cold Calling

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.
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Your Start-Up Business: Taking Advice vs. Listening to Your Gut

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.

Marketing is a Lot Like Spaghetti

"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.