March 25th, 2014
On April 3rd, Vancouver’s startup accelerators and incubators GrowLab, Invoke Labs, Launch Academy, Spring Activator and Wavefront band together to host Cascadia Startup Day. A full day of activities starting with a workshop series featuring topics like how to effectively pitch to investors, the important role community managers play in growing businesses, and why startups should consider working with an accelerator. In the afternoon 25 pre-selected startups meet with interested investors from Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. The evening kicks off with community voted pitches from five startups, and naturally, local craft beer, snacks, and a lot of conversations. With such a range of voices on the steering committee, I asked the organizers to tell us what’s driving them forward together.
What would you like Vancouverites to know about the tech community?
Vivian Chan (Wavefront Wireless Accelerator, Coordinator): “The tech community in Vancouver is super active but we don’t seem to get the same amount of attention that more traditional industries get. We have a huge amount of entrepreneurial energy and talent in this city.”
Have you learned anything about the collaborating partners’ business that you didn’t know before embarking on Startup Day?
Ray Walia (Launch Academy, Executive Director and Co-Founder): “Yes, accelerators and incubators in Vancouver are complementary to each other, unlike our counterparts elsewhere. Take GrowLab and Invoke Labs for instance. A startup could be taking advantage of both programs to accelerate growth, like alumnus Foodee and My Best Helper for example.”
Why is it important for Vancouver’s accelerators to work together on this event?
David Tedman (Invoke Labs, Co-Founder and CEO): “Accelerators come in many flavours, and we’re good at different things. I think if we work together, a startup can get a wider range of support and access to a larger network of advisors in investors.”
Ray Walia: “Vancouver, like most startup hubs outside of Silicon Valley and New York, is viewed as a secondary market. The Cascadia startup event is a good way to garner media/investor attention to Vancouver-based startups and tech ecosystem.”
What are you looking forward to most about Cascadia Startup Day?
Keith Ippel (Spring Activator, Founder): “To meet and engage the people. Start ups are all about the people — quality entrepreneurs, teams, purpose, and support. Showing off our amazing companies and finding great people to work with is what I’m most excited about.”
Vivian Chan: “I’m also looking forward to the connections being made between accelerators, startups and investors. I really hope the investors see that companies coming out of our accelerators have been through great programs and mentorship and they are ones to watch out for and ones to invest in!”
It’s the first time Vancouver’s tech accelerators have come together to produce an event that shows how their support enables Vancouver’s startup ecosystem. Generally heads down, these accelerators and incubators are leaning in on some of the most exciting new businesses in the city. Cascadia Startup Day is a time to pull back the curtain and give Vancouver a glimpse of the what’s going on at the heart of the tech ecosystem. Get your tickets here.
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