Homegrown Start-ups That Prove You Don’t Have To “Move Out” To Be Successful
Tokii loves Canada. We’re not ashamed to admit it.
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving across Canada. I believe it is part of our Canadian identity. Just look at the long list of successful Canadian inventors and entrepreneurs.
Through the efforts of groups like Map le Leaf Digital Lounge and Sprouter, Canadian entrepreneurs are getting better at working together and getting more support than ever before. This week, I want to introduce you to some of the Canadian entrepreneurs behind the invigorating start-up spirit in Canada.
In Guelph, ON Ali Asaria, a former Research In Motion software engineer who created the famously addictive BlackBerry game BrickBreaker, embarked upon his own start-up Well.ca in 2007. Canada’s largest online health and beauty store was actually created in a closet in the back of Ali’s dad’s pharmacy. The next year Well.ca received the National Angel Organization award for being the best angel-funded start-up in Canada.
With support from Managing Director of Facebook Canada, and co-founder of Thunder Road Capital Jordan Banks, Well.ca has become on of the fastest growing companies in Canada.
In Montreal, Martin-Luc Archambault, CEO and Co-founder at Wajam.com may have an edge up on many Canadian start-ups because he doubles as an angel investor at Anges Quebec. Wajam is an ingenious service that merges your social networks like Facebook and Twitter to your searches in Google or Bing. So if you search for say “location-based apps” and a friend or contact Tweeted a link to a great location app earlier, it will appear above Google’s search hits. Brilliant!
Martin-Luc says that Canadian start-ups often struggle to find investors with the capital to make those large but often risky investments and sees a stronger Canadian start-up community as way to establish those connections. “U.S. companies are great at cross-promoting,” Martin explains. “They create momentum by using, and talking about each other’s products.” By adopting a similar culture of cross-promotional support, Canadian VC’s will be more willing to take risks on someone who is supported by a strong community of successful entrepreneurs.
So what about those VC’s? What do they have to say about Canadian start-ups and our entrepreneurial spirit? Stay tuned for the second half of my interviews with Canadian CEO’s and VC’s as I have them weigh on our investment climate in Venture Capital 2.0: Canadian VC’s ON Tech Start-ups And The Changing Face of Canada VC Funding.