Startup Life

To Raise, Or Not To Raise

Written By September 6th, 2011 | Category: Money, Startup Life | 56 Comments

$5700

There must be something in the air because over the past 3 weeks I’ve gotten 30+ emails from startups that are actively looking to raise $500K+ and want “advice”. Well, here’s my advice.

Go out there and make some money!

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Editors note: Since his days as a student, Calvin has been immersed in entrepreneurship and start ups including being an executive in Students in Free Enterprise Ryerson, winning first place in the ACE National Entrepreneurship Challenge and winning Most Profitable Business Venture for his start up from the John Dobson Foundation. Calvin was a founding member of the Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute which launched the Ryerson Angel Network, the first university led angel network in Canada. Since graduation, Calvin has worked for two years at a boutique mobile marketing agency called Broadplay Inc. and helped to launch Spenz as the Director of Marketing.

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I’ll preface this with saying we’re a bunch of twenty somethings from Toronto who had never done this before, we don’t claim to be good at it or know what we’re doing but hopefully our experiences can help you.

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Why We Must Celebrate Failures

Written By July 26th, 2011 | Category: Fail, Startup Life | 38 Comments

ReThink: Hawaii - Geeks on a Plane

Most startups will fail. It’s just how the numbers work. The issue I have is with the definition of failure. Is it a failure when you get to work on something you’re passionate about? Is your day a failure when you learn something new? No. This post comes after the announcement that Sprouter will be closing their doors on August 2nd.

To say that I’m a fan of Sprouter would be an understatement. I’m a loyal supporter, contributor and consider Sarah one of my best friends. How the startup community and next generation of entrepreneurs interpret this event is very important. It’s critical that we understand what’s happening and put things into perspective. Below are my thoughts on why we must celebrate failures, especially amongst technology startups.

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Euwyn is the founder of Opzi, an enterprise collaboration software startup that has raised $1M in funding and was part of the Summer 2010 Y Combinator class. Euwyn grew up in Canada (Vancouver) but headed east to earn his CS degree at Cornell, graduating at 18. He then stayed at Cornell to obtain a JD and practiced for 2 years prior to heading out west to join Y Combinator.

There have been a number of Y Combinator (YC) teams from Canada, in particular, from the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. These include Pager Duty, E La Carte and Backtype. Teams from Canada have generally fared very well on both the product and fundraising, perhaps driven by the knowledge their ability to remain in the US generally hinged upon the success of their companies.

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The following story is about Flowtown – a startup I co-founded with Ethan 2 years ago. In it, I’ll go over; how we got started, raised a venture round, scaled to over 25,000 businesses, hit a wall and built it all back up again. Entrepreneurship is about crazy highs and intense lows and the ability to get through those tough moments.

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