A lookback at 2016. Here is our year in review.

Dear community,

Thank you for another amazing year! We're excited to share with you everything we've accomplished with your support. 

Our focus this year has been pushing the envelop and creating an infrastructure to prepare ourselves for the future. Here are some of the highlights:

  • On the academy side, we've graduated over 225 aspiring entrepreneurs from our in-person program and enrolled more than 1100 into our online programs.
  • This year alone, we've produced more than 50 events and brought together over 3000 attendees. This includes our flagship conference, Traction, which featured 32 world class speakers.
  •  We're excited to announce that we've incubated over 500 early-stage companies and they have raised over $100M and created more than 1000 jobs.
  • Our team remains small and lean. There are only 6 of us!
  • All of this is made possible with the support our sponsors, partners, mentors and volunteers. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Remember to check out the infographic below!

Launch Academy Exclusive: Fireside Chat with Travis Kalanick [RECAP]

Uber Co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick joined Launch Academy CEO and Victory Square Managing Partner, Ray Walia and She Talks co-founder, Barinder Rasode in a fireside chat last week at Launch Academy.

Here are some of the highlights provided by Launch Academy on the Fireside Chat with Travis Kalanick: 

The room buzzed with local entrepreneurs and supporters of the multi-national ridesharing service, all of whom shared the overarching question of Kalanick’s vision and goals for bringing Uber back to Vancouver.

The fireside chat kicked off with Kalanick describing his early days as a budding entrepreneur — his first startup, an SAT prep tutoring business which he launched in his neighbourhood at the ripe age of 18. Kalanick described his passion for technology (sprouted from his early coding days from sixth grade), helped mark his path to building various ventures in peer-to-peer sharing such as Scour and Red Swoosh, which eventually led him to build the ridesharing empire known today, as Uber.

“I’ve seen what might be considered as failure far more than I’ve seen success — as an entrepreneur you have to be open to hard times. And what most people think of as a risk, generally, an entrepreneur does not see as risk...when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship, there’s the fundamental misunderstanding by most people about what risk actually is. If you have a dream, and you believe in it, you have to reorient what risk is.”

Despite soft-launching the ridesharing service in 2012, Uber has undergone a series of resistance by the City of Vancouver and the B.C. Taxi Association. Kalanick believes there is a multitude of ways a city can benefit by allowing Uber to operate, including environmental, economic and social improvements within the city.

“If you want to create jobs, if you don’t like traffic, if you don’t like drunk driving, if you don’t like pollution, then I think Uber is a good solution for Vancouver.”

When questioned about whether Uber considers the regional needs for each city that Uber plans to operate in, Kalanick describes that for people to get from point A to point B efficiently is a basic human need, no matter where you are.

“I like to say if we find Martians on Mars, that they too will want to push a button and get a ride.”

Kalanick explained that when it comes to introducing Uber in a new region, Uber evaluates the key pain points in the region’s transportation situation including the quality of cars that the economy will support, pre-existing alternatives to transportation, the state of the economy, and evaluating a price point for that economy. However, Kalanick notes how the success of introducing Uber in 60 regions was due to the support of the citizens and leadership of those regions that has allowed Uber to exist.

Despite recent efforts by prominent B.C. tech leaders in an open letter to have the province allow ridesharing services to operate in Vancouver, requests for the government to revise regulations have been rejected. The team at Launch Academy and Victory Square hope to see that change soon and to have our government embrace innovation and services that offer positive change.

Happy Holidays from Launch Academy

"Do your best Ray impression!"

"Do your best Ray impression!"

From launching Traction Conf to representing Canada at the G20 YEA Summit in Istanbul, 2015 has been a whirlwind year for us at Launch Academy. As the year starts to wind down, we'd like to share some of the year's highlights from our team.

 

Recap of 2015 at Launch Academy


#LaunchCrew Milestones

We would be remiss not to mention the amazing achievements that our Launch Academy companies and alumni have accomplished in the last year. While we can't cover them all here, we'd like to celebrate some of these milestones with you:


Upcoming in 2016

Lean Entrepreneur Program Starts January 19th!

We've started accepting applications for the first 2016 cohort of the Lean Entrepreneur Program, starting on January 19th - February 11th. Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, this program is designed to take you from startup idea to acquiring your first customer. For this cohort, we're partnering with BTL Group to offer two full scholarships to entrepreneurs interested in blockchain technologies. Learn more.

BC Tech Summit — Launch Academy After Party

Will you be at the BC Tech Summit on Jan 18th-19th? Launch Academy is hosting the official After Party for guests of the two-day event. To get tickets, visit our Launch Academy Pavilion. There are only 250 tickets, and it's first come, first served...so don't forget to check in with us early on!


Lastly, we'd like to thank our community supporters (that's you!) for celebrating with us along the way. We have big plans for 2016 that we can't wait to share with you. 

In the meantime, on behalf of the entire Launch Academy family, we wish you and your families a happy holiday. See you in 2016!

 

Launch Academy Joins World-Wide Startup Exchanges Program

Launch Academy has recently announced that it will be joining the worldwide Startup Exchanges network. 

For #LaunchCrew companies looking for opportunities to advance abroad, they can choose from any of the fifteen top incubators from around the globe, from the likes of Plug and Play in San Francisco to Startup Bootcamp in Berlin. Members receive one month of free office space and are connected to key players in the local ecosystem. 

Likewise, startups from any of the participating incubators are invited to join us at Launch Academy, and will be plugged into our vast mentorship and peer network. Located in Gastown, the heart of Vancouver's tech scene, international startups will have the opportunity to work in one of the leading entrepreneurship facilities in Canada. 

For more information on the Startup Exchanges program, check out their website.

Launch Academy companies raise over $57M in funding over last three years

Over the past three years, Launch Academy has achieved some incredible milestones, from securing our first twelve startups on day one to hosting Canada's largest gathering of growth-hackers at Traction Conf. 

To celebrate our many achievements, we're releasing a new infographic (below) to illustrate the impact we've had on the community over the last three years. Some highlights from our milestones:

  • Over 350+ startups in fifteen trending industries have passed through our doors
  • Launch Academy companies have collectively raised over $57M in funding, and created more than 635 jobs in the BC economy
  • For every $1 spent, Launch Academy has returned $61 in GDP for the economy, making it one of the most cost-efficient technology hubs in the country

As a lean team of six, we're very proud that we've been able to achieve these results in such a short period of time. We'd like to take the opportunity to thank our loyal community of entrepreneurs, mentors, community builders and supporters for helping us build out our vision. We couldn't have done it without you. 

Launch Academy is currently nominated for 'Best Impact' for the Small Business BC Awards. If you'd like to support us in our mission, we encourage you to vote for us here.

The Art of the Pitch

FOUR KEY PITCHES EVERY ENTREPRENEUR MUST HAVE

Note: This post was originally posted on Medium by our CEO, Ray Walia, on November 10th, 2015

Crafting a pitch is an art — it takes time, practice and multiple revisions to craft your perfect business pitch. But by investing time and effort into crafting your pitch, you will find that many doors will open for you throughout your journey as an entrepreneur.

Every early-stage entrepreneur must have four key pitches in their back pocket, with three versions of each: A one-minute (elevator pitch)a two-minute, and a five-minute pitch. Each one is designed to spark interest from the recipient and get you more time in order to expand to the two minute or five minute pitch — then ultimately, for a proper sit-down meeting.

When it comes to the perspective of an investor, we listen to hundreds of pitches each week. Your pitch must be clear, and concise in order to grab our attention so that you can stand out from the crowd. Attention spans are only getting shorter and shorter every single day (not just for investors, but everybody) due to the digital distractions in our everyday lives.

The following four types of one minute pitches you must have in your back pocket all have fundamentally, the same elements. The only exception is the value proposition, which differs for specific audiences:

1. The Investor Pitch
(This pitch is where your audience is an investor or representatives affiliated with funding opportunities)

The first three elements (which should be consistent across all four pitches) are:

· What is the problem you are trying to solve?
· What is solution that you’re solving it with (your product or service)
· Who are you, and why are you the one that can solve this problem

The value proposition for the investor needs to revolve around how are they going to benefit by investing in your company? (i.e. how are they going to make money, or how will an investment into your company add to their portfolio and/or benefit the other companies in their portfolio).

2. The Strategic Partners Pitch
(For when you’re looking for partner organizations, stakeholders, etc.)

The value proposition for this audience is, simply put, how are you going to make them money or how will you make their company more successful? For them, it’s all about increasing their bottom line.

3. The Team-Recruit Pitch
(To be used when seeking a co-founder, employees, or specific people you want to work with to help build your company)

For this audience, list out the problem, solution, why you (your skill sets) and finally, why them? Why should they join you, and how will joining your company be a great career move for them? How, in the next ten years will this company be amazing? Tailor your value proposition to their needs and wants of being part of an organization and the movement you wish to create.

4. The Grandmother Pitch
(You guessed it — this is the pitch you would use to explain what your company does to your grandmother)

If you can’t keep the problem and the ‘how’ simple enough for even your grandmother to understand, it doesn’t matter how much time and energy you spent on the previous three pitches and their respective value propositions because you would have lost the person’s attention before you even got to the value proposition.

I’d also add that the value proposition that you would include for this kind of pitch is why are you doing this? What’s the outcome that will make you happy? Because, A) your grandmother wants to see you happy, but B) it also clarifies and affirms for yourself on why you are on this path in life, and what are the outcomes you want to see from this endeavor.

FOR ALL OF THESE PITCHES, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

Sometimes, the audience might fit in a grey area — but that’s up to you to make the gut call on what sort of pitch they want to hear. If you do it properly, you’re going to get that two-minute or five-minute time frame with them, and at that time you elaborate further on the how and dive into the who and discuss elements of the business model. Ultimately, you are looking to lock in a next meeting where you are able to deliver a formal presentation tailored to that specific audience.

If you’re at a conference, and you know which investors will be in the room, understand their investment vertical, recent investments, or what excites them. When pitching to investors at a conference, make sure your pitch is clear, concise and that the value propositions reflect the aspects that will resonate with that investor.

For strategic partners, you should know who they are, what will trigger their bottom line, and what opportunities are going to excite them. The more you show the alignment between your company and theirs, the easier the sell.

With these four pitches, evaluate the context of the situation. Use the one-minute pitch for casual encounters — like at a convention, conference or Meetup group. It’s the classic elevator pitch, but the ask will be for more time. Design your pitches so that you can break through the noise and get your message across in a quick, efficient manner.

Lastly, get out there and pitch as often as you can — but most importantly, practice, practice, practice. Test your various pitches and tailor them to your specific audience. Even if the person you are pitching to knows you (or you’ve met them at previous events), chances are if they like you and your company, they are going to talk about or even pitch your company to someone else on your behalf.

By providing a clear, concise and consistent pitch, you can ensure that they can in turn pitch your business appropriately in your absence. Don’t half-ass it, don’t cut corners. Take the time to construct your pitches as you want your message to resonate with each audience, and allow them to carry it forward the way you want it to be done. By taking the time to craft your perfect pitch, it will create a ripple effect of extending your company’s message — which may open more opportunities for you in the future when you least expect it.

Dream2B Companies at Launch Academy [Photo Recap]

Last week, we welcomed five Brazilian startups into our LaunchPad for 'Brazilian Silicon Valley North' (BSVN), as part of our partnership with Dream2B: L2 Technology, Solides, Scicrop, Eratech, and Fitness4US. The purpose of our program was to give them the resources these companies would need to gain visibility on the North American market.

The journey for these 5 companies started back in June when Launch Academy delivered an online workshop to a large number of Brazilian tech startups on the topic of pitching to North American investors and strategic partners. Dream2B worked with these companies over the course of the summer and ultimately selected 5 to participate in the trade mission. 

During their three day visit, the startups participated in three days of intensive workshops with Launch Academy mentors, industry leaders and investors. Following multiple office hours and last minute iterations, each of the companies were then invited to an exclusive pitch event with a private group of investors. 

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We would like to take the opportunity to thank the team at Dream2B for organizing this amazing program, and to the Brazilian Consulate in Vancouver, Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, Brazilian Association of Startups (ABStartups), and Centre of Digital Media for their support.

Launch Academy Partners with Brazil's Dream2B

Launch Academy is excited to partner up with Dream2B, an organization that helps entrepreneurs go from ideation to business creation.  

This year, Dream2B is helping Brazilian technology companies connect with the Vancouver startup ecosystem through a program called Brazilian Silicon Valley North. 

Strong cross-border relations have already been formed. The program is supported by the Brazilian Consulate in Vancouver, Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, Brazilian Association of Startups (ABStartups) Centre of Digital Media, and of course us, at Launch Academy.

An exclusive agenda was designed for this congress with lectures covering different aspects such as: status of workforce in the tech industry, startup visa program, government incentives, financing options, among others.

Five awesome Brazilian technology companies will be making their first stop at Launch Academy.

  • L2 Technology (Shopping malls ERP)
  • Solides (Human Resources profiling)
  • Scicrop (Agritech App, BigData and IoT)
  • Eratech (Data security)
  • Fitness4US (Fitness and health)

Vancouver's leading startup accelerator - Launch Academy - will be hosting the major part of the first trade mission, starting on October 19 through October 21, 2015.

After the mission, BSVN project will provide support and networking opportunities to these companies with market validation activities.

“There is a lot of excitement around creating this bridge between Vancouver and Brazil,” said Ray Walia, CEO of Launch Academy. “By facilitating interaction between the two ecosystems, we could help open up new worlds of opportunities for Brazilian and Canadian entrepreneurs alike.”

We will update you on how the trade mission goes next week!

Some People Say Vancouver’s Not the Place to Be for Startups? I Disagree.

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4 reasons why victory square ventures in anchored in vancouver.

Note: This post was originally posted on Medium by our CEO, Ray Walia, on September 28th, 2015.

As I write this I am currently in the air transiting back from Aruba where I spoke at the ATECH conference and now on my way to Turkey for the G20 Youth Entrepreneur Summit. In the next four months I will be in and out of Vancouver travelling to San Francisco, Toronto, Mexico, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and potentially a trip out to Colombia and Brazil. Through it all Vancouver is and will always be my central hub.

Locally back in Vancouver, sparks flew when Compass revealed that Vancouver dropped from #9 to #18 on the 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking report in July. Despite conducting over 200 interviews with entrepreneurs and local experts from 25 countries, and collecting 11,000 surveys from startups, investors and other stakeholders in the last five months, Vancouver techies couldn’t help but scratch their heads and wonder, “how the hell we ended up so close to the bottom of the food chain?”

Luckily, our very own Alex Chuang — Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Launch Academy dissected the report in his recent post on TechCrunch to answer that very question. While the report shows that Vancouver’s growth index (1.2) puts us behind up-and-coming startup ecosystems such as Bangalore (4.9), Sao Paulo (3.5) and Amsterdam (3.0), it’s important to note that the report failed to include the growth indexes of China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea (twice, in 2012 and again this year for 2015).

While many of these findings may suggest startups have a greater chance of survival outside of Vancouver, here are some reasons why Victory Square Ventures decided to make Vancouver our home base:

1. Vancouver is home

I think I can speak for all three of us (Manny, Shafin and myself) — we’ve all had opportunities to live and work in different parts of the world, but we’ve all come back to Vancouver in certain respects to build businesses here because for us, this is home. All three of us are in love with this city, our community, and our ecosystem here in Vancouver. Vancouver is such a diverse ecosystem in terms of ethnicity, geography, and demographics — it really makes a compelling place to build businesses that could have international appeal. With our focus being international, being in a place like Vancouver gives us the foundational outreach into different communities and geographical locations.

2. Close proximity to Seattle and San Francisco

While Silicon Valley ranked #1 and Seattle at #8 on the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking, the benefit of operating in Vancouver is same time zone and its close proximity to these key ecosystems which helps drive channel partners to Vancouver. We saw this with the success of the Cascadia Startup Summit in 2014, and with Traction Conf in Vancouver this past June. Through these relationships we’ve developed with key influencers from SF and Seattle, we’re now bringing the Traction Conf to San Francisco in October based on popular demand.

3. Access to the Asia-Pacific Gateway

With the development of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor underway, being in Vancouver will allow us to leverage our potential expansion out into Asia. We’re also looking into expanding in Latin America and Europe, but all these communities have an affinity for Vancouver, so for us to sell them on coming here or working with partners in Vancouver isn’t that difficult. These overseas partners are also cognizant of the relationships and inroads we have into Seattle and Silicon Valley. For them coming into Canada as opposed to directly into the US is a bonus as Vancouver can act as a safe landing pad for them to utilize as an entry point into the North American market. Similar to how Singapore acts as a safe landing pad as an entry point into the Asian market.

4. Affordability (and loyalty) of tech talent & startup-friendly tax credits

Based on our experiences on building businesses in Canada (specifically in British Columbia and Ontario), we’ve leveraged the benefits of the tax credits, access to government grants, and getting affordable (and loyal) tech talent. To compare, the average salary of devs in Silicon Valley is $118K for a software engineer versus the $51.6K in Vancouver.

With regards to government funding options and other non-dilutive financing programs, manage your time wisely. Ensure your company has reached product market fit and customer validation prior to exploring programs such as SR&ED and IRAP. Government grants and tax credit programs require quite a rigorous documentation and reporting process — which you must be on top of from day one of starting your company. Maximize your highly valuable time by focusing on what is most important at the early stages: talking to customers.

While Vancouver has many other benefits on starting a business, keep in mind that once you are ready to scale and grow that business, you will need to look for opportunities and channel partners outside of Vancouver (especially if your customer base is outside of Vancouver).

 

Knowing your customer base and the industry you wish to tackle will give you a good idea on which city will benefit you and the potential growth of your company.

For Victory Square, our vast network gives us the visibility and connections our portfolio companies need when expansion is on the horizon. Having a presence for business development and marketing purposes in San Francisco and other international cities is critical to the development of our companies. But as far as headquarters goes, Vancouver is our home.

 

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Launching Your Startup in 2015

How to get early users instantly with limited time and money

Note: This post was originally posted on Medium by our Chief Strategy Officer, Alex Chuang, on September 8th, 2015.

At Launch Academy, we’ve helped accelerate the growth of more than 350 startups. One of the biggest questions I get is “how do I get early users FAST?”. There are plenty of blogs out there that talk about paid advertising, social media, offline distribution, content marketing, SEO, SEM, e-mail marketing and so on. But I will be focusing on actionable items you can do to get your first 1,000 users in a weekend’s time and with less than $500 of investment. Getting a solid first group of users will help steer your product towards a problem/solution fit.

Before executing the following tactics, you need to have:

  • A compelling product that solves a problem
  • An existing network of friends and colleagues who will help you (~50 people)
  • A hustler’s attitude and an open mind for feedback

 

Tactic 1: Leverage distribution firehoses

Distribution firehoses are platforms where you can submit your product and it will be exposed to thousands of early adopters who are eager to try new products. The most famous one is Product Hunt, which boosted many product launches. Layers, for example, got 43,000 unique visits by being number one on Product Hunt.

 

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Here’s how to launch your startup on Product Hunt:

  1. Engage a product hunter to post your product. Product hunters are entrepreneurs, investors, journalists and bloggers. Use HunterList to identify a product hunter who shares your interest and vision. Build the relationship by asking for feedback or offering exclusive deals. Chances are, if your product can solve their problem, they will be happy to post it on your behalf.
  2. Ask them to post your product at 5:00 AM PST on TuesdaysWhy? See Kartik’s analysis here.
  3. Offer an exclusive deal to PH community. Fill out this form and request for a gold star.
  4. Don’t ask for upvotes. The voting ring detection algorithm is unforgiving. However, you can post your product hunt url in forums/groups and ask for feedback. If people like your product, they will upvote it. The process has to be authentic and genuine.
  5. Do an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Once your product post is live, answer all the questions the community may have as timely as possible.
  6. Continue the conversation on MakerHunt. It’s a Slack channel for all the makers on PH. Do an AMA here to engage the PH maker community.

Other popular distribution firehoses:

Get a full list here: http://promotehour.com/

*Note that you should use Betalist when your product is in beta. Once you have some market validation and problem/solution fit, you should consider launching your product on Product Hunt.

Oh, and you should also answer relevant questions on Quora and pdf your blog post about your startup and post it on Slideshare.

 

Tactic 2: : Launch on Hacker News/Reddit

Y-combinator’s Hacker News gets more than 2 million pageviews and 200k unique visitors a day. By getting on to the front page, it is possible to get more than 10,000 unique visitors to your site like Famous Outfit did.

Here’s how to launch your startup on Hacker News:

  1. Use “Show HN” in front of your post title. Make sure your product is already made and people can actually play with it. For example, “Show HN: Explore the Star Wars galaxy in a fully interactive 3D experience.”
  2. Have a catchy title. Click here to see some good examples of “Show HN” titles.
  3. Submit your post at 8:00 AM EST on Wednesdays. Wednesday is peak traffic for HN.
  4. Get your friends to upvote your post. Upvote is limited to one upvote per IP address and direct URL will not work. Your friends need to search your post in the new section (http://news.ycombinator.com/newestand upvote it. If you get on the front page, get them to search on the front page (http://news.ycombinator.com/).

Reddit/R/Startups works similarly to Hacker News. The same rules apply.

 

Tactic 3: Hack your own PR

Use Mechanical Turk + Google News API to hack your own PR

The brilliant people at Customer Development Labs have created a press hack where you can easily get the e-mails of all the journalists who are most likely to cover your startup. See complete guide here.

  1. Go to http://press.customerdevlabs.com/
  2. Search a term that’s related to your startup category (e.g. SaaS, social media, hologram, kickstarter etc) and download the CSV.
  3. Upload the CSV to Mechanical Turk.
  4. Give instructions to your workers on how to find anybody’s e-mail address.
  5. Build a press kit. Download my example here.
  6. E-mail the reporters individually and pitch your startup. See sample pitch e-mails here.

Other PR hacks curated by Giovanni: http://www.producthunt.com/@casinellig/collections/pr-hacks

 

Tactic 4: Build a pre-launch e-mail list

Landing page

Having a landing page to collect e-mail addresses is pretty basic. You can use InstapageLaunchRockSquareSpace or Unbounce to build your landing page. Then you can install a HelloBar to collect the e-mail addresses.

Twitter

  1. Use FollowerWonk.com to download up to 50,000 followers who follow your competitors or related product.
  2. Upload the file to MakesMail.com and it will automatically give you all the potential e-mails for those followers.
  3. Launch your e-mail campaign and describe why your product is superior to your competitor’s.

LinkedIn

  1. Search for the type of professionals you want to target (e.g. Community Managers).
  2. Hire someone from Odesk or Mechanical Turk to manually send out a personalized invitation to connect to your target customers and invite them to try your product. Chances are they are going to accept your invitation.
  3. Export your connections’ e-mail addresses.

 

Tactic 5: Launch with a thunderclap

Thunderclap is the easiest way to share your launch announcement with the help of everyone in your network. Your message will be published and shared through Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr at the specific time you want, resulting in one massive reach. Before launching your startup, get commitment from everyone in your network to share your message. Luc from Somewhere was able to reach more than 160k people with the help of a little over 100 people.

   

 

 

Tactic 6: Build relationship with influencers and bloggers

 

  1. Make a list of influencers/bloggers who are most likely going to feature your product with BuzzSumo or Traackr.
  2. Engage the influencers/bloggers on social media by RT/favourite/reply to their content. Offer value first (think about the reciprocity principle).
  3. Timing and relevancy is everything. If they have written about something that is related to your product or industry, reach out and start the dialogue.
  4. Give them exclusive invite or offer to try out your product (e.g. lifetime pro membership, free first year subscription etc).
  5. If they like it, ask them to write about it. Make their lives easier by providing 5 to 10 bullet points as to why people use it.
  6. Minimize friction further by offering to write the blog post for them.
  7. Continue to build the relationship and engagement.

See the recommended guide to influencer marketing here.

 

Last Words of Wisdom

A great product is one that users love. Just like a good work of art, it’s never finished. By executing these early distribution hacks, you will be able to get your first set of users. Then you will be able to observe their behaviours and listen for their feedback so you can iterate and refine your product. I see doing startups as conducting a series of mini experiments. You must get initial market signal and validation before you move on to the next stage. Once you have the resources and insight you need, you will have the confidence to execute the more scalable channels.

Thanks to @symana, @jeromezng, @susieycsu, @raywalia, @lloyedlobo, @jamesclift, @maggable, and @anothersamchan for reading the draft of this.

P.S. I will be going to Traction Conference in San Francisco on Oct 7–8 to meet some of the best growth hackers in the industry. Hope to see you there!

Grouplend CEO Kevin Sandhu's Advice for Entrepreneurs

Photo Credit: grouplend.ca

Photo Credit: grouplend.ca

This week, we have a special #LaunchCrew alumni, Kevin Sandhu, returning to Launch Academy to host a Lunch ‘n’ Learn.

Grouplend is a Vancouver-based tech company that provides everyday Canadians with loans at personalized credit rates. Since the company was first introduced last October, it has been very well received by consumers and the financial sector in Canada. Grouplend recently closed a funding round of $10.2M.

We had the opportunity to ask Kevin a few questions about Grouplend and their entrepreneurial journey over the past year:


Why did you create Grouplend?

KS: I created Grouplend because I wanted Canadians to have an opportunity to benefit from modern technology within banking. We’re able to help our customers save thousands of dollars on their unsecured debt, while offering a faster, and more convenient borrowing process.

What kind of early market validation did you have that gave you the confidence to keep going?

KS: Customers were our early validation. We’re big believers in remaining as lean as possible through every stage of growth and ensure that we never raise more capital than we require to achieve key milestones. We launched our product as soon as it was commercially viable and intently watched the market’s reaction. Customers have always been our best source of feedback and continue to validate (or disprove) our theses at every step. Since launching last year, we’ve been encouraged to see additional validation from the emergence of new competitors, reactions from old competitors and by striking exciting strategic partnerships.

Why build your company in Vancouver?

KS: Vancouver is one of the best places to run a technology company in North America. The beauty of our city is a natural attraction for talent, and we have an incredibly strong support network from the tech leaders. Our access to Toronto & Silicon Valley allows for sufficient support from a financial and innovation perspective. Although we do not have as strong a base of financial executives or software developers with experience in finance as a city like Toronto, we have incredibly bright people here who pride themselves on innovation. In many ways, the fresh perspective on financial services afforded to us by being separated from traditional financial hubs like New York or London allow us to truly focus on best in class systems and meaningful innovation.

How did Launch Academy help Grouplend during its early days?

KS: Launch Academy provided us with a support system of likeminded individuals who were similarly taking on one of the greatest challenges for an entrepreneur, nurturing and growing an idea into an early stage company. We benefited from the seminars and mentors made available to us in order to grow our concept and further develop as entrepreneurs.  

If you have one piece of advice to give to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would it be?

KS: Listen to "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey multiple times a day. And remember that time is your most precious commodity. Use it wisely because once spent, you can’t get it back. Spend it on things that truly affect your business and try to avoid people and processes that get in the way.


Want to hear more from Kevin? He’ll be sharing insights about their latest round of funding and the future of online lending at our Lunch ‘n’ Learn tomorrow,  Sept 17th at 12pm. We’re almost sold out, so RSVP here to attend the event!



Announcing Launch Academy's New Logo

Today, we're introducing a new logo that reflects the changes that we've gone through in the last three years. In the past three years, Launch Academy has grown from a small co-working environment to Western Canada's leading tech incubator. We've incubated over 350 companies who have collectively raised over $45 million dollars and created more than 500 jobs for the local economy. We are very proud of these success metrics, and we want to congratulate all our alumni and current members for achieving these great milestones. 

Our new branding takes us back to our fundamental color: orange. Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow to produce passion, creativity and determination. We have seen our entrepreneurs displaying these qualities over and over again. Orange is also engrained in our history, and reflects our commitment to launching companies into the stratosphere.

To celebrate our recent milestones, we present to you this new look. Hopefully when you see our logo, it will remind you of the energy and passion that our entrepreneurs have shown to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.


“Ask for money, get advice. Ask for advice, get money twice”.

How to Hack Your Way into Getting an Investment Deal with an Investor

Note: This post was originally posted on Medium by our CEO, Ray Walia, on August 24th, 2015.


With every entrepreneur comes a unique story of success, failure, confusion, late night discoveries, and more. We started Launch Academy with the goal to create a supportive network for startup entrepreneurs to build and develop their startup idea — and eventually, for them to become investment-ready. With this mindset, we’ve incubated over 350 early-stage technology companies who have gone on to raise over $38M in funds and collectively, created over 500 jobs. While this was a huge milestone for us, we’ve also told our startups to be very strategic and selective when seeking investment.

With the launch of Victory Square Ventures this past June at the Traction Conference, it was our opportunity to open the doors for early-stage companies — specifically in entertainment, health and sports. I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs walk through the doors of Launch Academy — some becoming wildly successful or others, hitting a brick wall — but through all the ups and downs, all have managed to pick themselves up, and carry on. One of the biggest oversights I’ve seen from first-time entrepreneurs, however, is that they don’t understand the process of getting an investment.

People automatically think, “I’m ready to raise money and start knocking on doors to get an investment” — but that’s the worst time to look for money. Angel investors and early stage VC’s don’t just hand over money to people they don’t know (while this seems obvious, entrepreneurs often question why investors take so long to give in). You need to build a relationship with the investors you want to work with because investments are ultimately a partnership between the founders and the investor.

In the words of Pitbull, “Ask for money, get advice. Ask for advice, get money twice”.

If you land a meeting with a reputable investor, they’re likely taking the time to meet with you because they’ve been referred to you from someone in their network or, they are interested in your industry and want to hear what you have to say and provide some insight and feedback. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard entrepreneurs talking about how dejected they are after a first time meeting with an investor expecting interest in investment, but only to come out with some advice and feedback on their company and team.

Now, on the flip side, if you reach out to investors asking for feedback, they will give you advice and feedback — then the ball is in your court, it’s your turn to determine if you agree with the feedback and advice and if so act on the feedback you’ve received. This is also the time to prove to yourself and the investor, whether you’re serious about your company and the steps you are willing to take towards progress.

The next logical step is to take the results from the adjustments you’ve made and go meet with the investor the second time. If you land a meeting the second time, it’s a good sign they are truly interested in you and your company. For the second meeting, go in with results — good or bad — that way, you’ll get immediate feedback on the next steps for your business.

For good outcomes, they’ll give you more advice, and for bad outcomes, the opportunity to discuss strategies will arise, or clarification on any miscommunication.

Most investors and advisors are Type A personalities, so they’re going to roll up their sleeves and analyze what went wrong. Maybe you executed wrong, or I, as the investor gave you the wrong direction — but they’ll want to dig into the problems that resulted from the feedback they provided and find solutions.

If that scenario happens for you, green lights should be going off. The investor has shown that they’re vested in your outcomes, and because they want to see positive outcomes, they will analyze the negatives and help build a solution. That’s a tell-tale sign that this person has an interest in you and your business.

You also have to realize that this just doesn’t happen over a week — it takes months at a time — meeting with them in person, discussing outcomes and strategies, but keep in mind that their lives don’t revolve around you and your business. They may have other entities or projects that they’ve invested in, or they may have families to prioritize — but when you start getting into the cycle of taking in advice and presenting actions and outcomes, you’ve now established an advisor-mentor scenario with this investor.

When you’ve reached a reasonable time to solicit investment, this person now knows how you perform, how your team executes, and the outcomes you can produce — and will be waiting for you with a cheque book in hand.

There are also scenarios when they maybe giving you their time and energy for advice, but can’t write you a cheque at that moment in time. A few reasons may be that you’re not in their preferred industry, but they would likely recommend you to a friend — and what better referral can you get from someone who not only knows you but can find someone else to help your business grow. Other scenarios could be bad timing. They may be dealing with other investments, but if that investor has invested their time on advising you, chances are they will find a way to help you.

That’s the key to what we are building with Victory Square Ventures — at the core, not only are we investors but entrepreneurs as well. We work directly with the startups we invest in and help advise them on the process of growing their companies and position them to compete globally.

There’s no growth hacking strategy to get an investment from an investor — but rather, see it through the eyes of the investor on building trust.

Always think, if you had the same amount of money you were asking for, would you blindly write a cheque for someone you don’t know? Trust in the process of building a relationship with the investors you want to work with — because, in the long run, building on these relationships can pay dividends in the years to come for future opportunities.

Where Vancouver's Tech Ecosystem Goes From Here

Note: This post was originally published on TechCrunch by our Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Alex Chuang, on August 16th, 2015.


Compass recently published its second report on the global startup ecosystem. The report is the result of more than 200 interviews with entrepreneurs from 25 different countries, 11,000 startup surveys and insight from data partners like CrunchBase, Deloitte and Dealroom, as well as more than 60 local partners.

As a local partner of this report, we have encouraged our community of 600 entrepreneurs to contribute. Our CEO, Ray Walia, was also quoted; he summarized Vancouver’s strengths in a couple of sentences.

Despite positive outlook on Vancouver’s startup ecosystem, everyone is wondering, “How the hell did we drop from 9th place to 18th place?”

There are several reasons:

  • More data was used. The 2015 report benefited from a far larger set of data, which in turn produced a richer and more accurate assessment of each ecosystem.
  • The removal of the mindset index. In the 2012 report, Vancouver ranked No. 2 in mindset, just after Silicon Valley.
  • The addition of Ecosystem Value (the sum of startup valuations at exit and funding events). Though we’re slowly picking this up with the recent acquisitions of PlentyOfFish and Recon, our average seed and Series A funding amounts are 34 percent lower than those in North America.
  • The removal of the metric “number of startups per capita” (a measure of density) from the Performance Index. Mayor Gregor Robertson once said that Vancouver has more entrepreneurs per capita than any city in North America. According to Compass, density is irrelevant to ecosystem performance.
  • Vancouver simply didn’t grow fast enough. Our growth index is 1.2, which puts us behind emerging tech hubs like Bangalore (4.9), Sao Paulo (3.5) and Amsterdam (3.0). It’s also worth noting that this report did not include tech hubs in China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

The Consolidation of Accelerators: In August 2014, Extreme Startups (Toronto) and GrowLab (Vancouver) announced their merger to form HIGHLINE, the first pan-Canadian accelerator platform. Both accelerators had successes with its portfolio companies, but understood the need to join forces to compete with the top-tier accelerators.

Accelerators are in fact a dying business — 90 percent of the 1,700 accelerators around the world did not have an exit. Even a top-tier accelerator, TechStars, realized the need to acquire UpGlobal, Springboard and Excelerate Labs to stay competitive in sourcing deals on a global scale.

The Rise of Coding Bootcamps: It was only 18 months ago when Lighthouse Labs taught their first cohort of five students at the back of Launch Academy’s office. Now, more than 380 students have gone through their 8-week intensive coding bootcamp. Following their lead, CodeCore, Red Academy and Brainstation have also made the commitment to address a serious talent gap in the city.

It is estimated that Vancouver will have more than 15,500 tech jobs to fill between now and 2019. This is largely because of the increasing presence of major tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Sony Imageworks and Double Negative in the city.

The Dawn of A Globalized Ecosystem: It’s no longer possible to ignore how internationalized our city has become. Tech leaders in Vancouver are pushing the envelope and targeting markets outside of North America. Hootsuite, for example, has more than 10 million users across 175 countries.

Impressively, we rank No. 2 in Global Market Reach by having an average of 60 percent foreign customers (62 percent above North American average). With new venture firm Victory Square Ventures bringing a new pool of capital to early stage tech companies and opening doors to international distribution, there is no doubt that Vancouver will remain a popular launch pad for entrepreneurs with a global mindset.

Where Is Vancouver Heading?

It’s an exciting time to be in Vancouver. As the democratization of entrepreneurship continues to take the world by storm, startup entrepreneurs have never been in a better position to build their businesses in Vancouver.

We have fantastic and relatively cheaper talent, excellent support infrastructure like Launch Academy, great government programs like IRAP and SR&ED to help startups minimize cost, proximity to the Valley and educational conferences like Traction to ignite a culture of growth.

More importantly, we have imminent capital flow from the potential IPOs of Hootsuite and Vision Critical, as well as the recent exits of PlentyOfFish, Recon Instruments and Clearly Contacts. Vancouver is heading toward a positive future, but there is much work to do.

The 2015 report depicts a far more accurate picture of how Vancouver fares on the global stage. This serves as an excellent benchmark for us to compare from time to time. We as a community need to digest the data, admit our lack of growth and reflect on what we can do better.

We need angels/VCs to back more homegrown companies. We need universities to stay current with their curriculum and prepare students for the job market today. We need government to fund grassroots initiatives and events that bring entrepreneurs together. We need corporations to offer startup-friendly services. We need key individuals and thought leaders to make a commitment to build our ecosystem together.

Vancouver is on its way to becoming a top startup ecosystem in the world. All it takes is a little more effort from the entire community. A better ecosystem means more jobs, more competitive salaries and higher quality of life.


Why you should apply for a $500 WitKit scholarship for LEP

Shows and movies like Dragon’s Den and The Social Network have made it a lot ‘cooler’ to be an entrepreneur these days, but the truth of the matter is that building your own business is so much more than coming across an amazing algorithm while chugging beer one late night. 

At Launch Academy, you might overhear terms like “product market fit”, “customer validation”, and “CAC” (customer acquisition cost) being thrown around on a daily basis and it’s not a coincidence - our members are hard at work trying to understand if the problems they are trying to solve are just something interesting, or an actual business. 

That’s one of the main reasons we started our Lean Entrepreneurship Program, to help those who are curious to understand if their idea can be a real business. In the 5 week course, we take your ideas through the gauntlet, and force you to get out of your basement and start finding out who your potential customers might be, and whether you actually have a market to create a business around your idea. 

We’re happy to announce that one of Vancouver’s very own startups, Witkit has offered two $500 scholarships to our LEP program for this upcoming cohort starting March 24th, 2015. To apply for one of these , simply tell us in your what your idea is and why you deserve to win.

More details on LEP, including a full syllabus, visit our program page.

Launch Academy and Boast Capital Announce Traction Conference

Last week, we announced that we're partnering with our friends at Boast Capital to host Canada's largest gathering of growth experts, Traction Conference, on Thursday June 18th. Since then, we've heard a great response from the community—and sold out all our Super Early Bird tickets in less than 24 hours!

We've invited more than 30 speakers, including top influencers from some of the fastest growing companies of the last decade. Speakers include: 

This one-day conference, held at the Harbour Event Centre in Vancouver, aims to educate startups and entrepreneurs on distribution strategies and tactics for acquiring accelerated growth. Participants will learn everything from content marketing to analytics, testing, conversion optimization, retention, virality, monetization, sales, partnerships and more.

Register now for tickets and connect with over 500 growth hackers, data scientists, marketers, startup entrepreneurs, developers, project managers, UX designers and media. Following the conference, attendees and community members will take part in Canada’s largest Product Hunt meetup to date.

While Super Early Bird tickets are sold out, we still have Early Bird pricing until April 17th! Register now to save $100 of regular price tickets: www.tractionconf.io

Cascadia Summit Closes Startup Week with a Bang

MIYA7522 Vancouver, BC, Nov 24, 2014 -  On Friday, November 21st Launch Academy, Plug and Play Canada and Boast Capital drew a crowd of over 500 investors, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, government representatives, media, and more to Cascadia Summit, the official closing event of Startup Week Vancouver.

After receiving more than 100 applications from startups around Canada and the USA, 16 finalists presented to an esteemed panel of judges, including Dafina Toncheva from US Venture Partners, Sumeet Jain from Intel Capital, Bill Bryant from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Alireza Masrour from Plug and Play Ventures, Mahendra Ramsinghani from Mod N Labs, and Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch.

The top three selected startups will receive a term sheet for $25,000 investment from Plug and Play Canada; an opportunity to spend time in Silicon Valley at the Plug and Play Tech Center to gain exposure, build their business and network with influential players in the technology industry. The three selected finalists were:

  • Optigo Networks is a connectivity solutions for intelligent buildings. It allows building owners/operators to securely and reliably connect thousands of smart devices in the building Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Control is a complete transaction reporting, analytics and management application for web and mobile. It enables merchants to view data from various payment platforms and act on specific & time sensitive transactions. Control supports payment platforms such as Stripe in North America and Paymill in Europe.
  • Magicflix is a safe, curated video service for kids. MagicFlix is a video subscription service/app that is available across leading mobile and tablet platforms. Videos are classified and curated for ages 3-6, 6-8 and 9-12 and enables parents to set time limits, content preferences as well as view reports of usage.

Both Optigo Networks and Control are Vancouver-based companies and Magicflix is based in Seattle.

Special guests included the Minister of Technology Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson and Ian McKay, CEO of Vancouver Economic Commission, with Minister Wilkinson delivering the opening keynote address.

"Congratulations to all the companies who were shortlisted to be part of the Cascadia pitch competition, including 12 from B.C.," said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services Andrew Wilkinson. "The Cascadia Summit draws hundreds of people from across Western Canada and the U.S. and showcases our province as a great place for tech companies to grow and for industry leaders to invest."

This Summit was the fifth Cascadia event for Launch Academy. Previous Cascadia winners have included Farm at Hand, Nanu Interactive, and BitLit, whom have all continued on to raise millions of dollars in funding.

 

“I am extremely proud of the Launch Academy and Boast Capital teams for delivering such a high-caliber event here in Vancouver.” says Launch Academy Executive Director, Ray Walia.

“Not only is Cascadia an opportunity to really showcase the kinds of high-quality startups and talent coming out of Vancouver and our partner cities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Washington, but it’s also a demonstration of Launch Academy’s ability to connect the Cascadia region to Silicon Valley.”

 

In just two and a half years, Launch Academy has incubated over 200 companies who have created over 400 jobs in the economy and collectively raised over $27,000,000 in seed funding.

Cascadia Summit concluded Vancouver Startup Week, a weeklong series of events around the city to celebrate the tech community and startup ecosystem. The recap video is available here: http://vimeo.com/112605971

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About Launch Academy

Launch Academy is a pre-accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs execute on their startups through education, mentorship, lean metrics and networking opportunities. Launch Academy has established an environment where ideas are vetted, business models are tested and successes are celebrated. For more information visit: http://launchacademy.ca.

About Boast Capital

Boast Capital is a team of engineers and finance professionals with over 20 years experience

helping companies in Canada and the U.S. successfully claim and maximize R&D tax credits. For more information visit: http://boastcapital.com.

About Plug and Play

Plug and Play is a global startup incubator and seed-stage investor with a network that includes over 300 tech startups, 180 investors, and a community of leading Universities and Corporate partners. Since its inception in January 2006, Plug and Play has helped the startup community raise over $1 billion in venture funding, and has invested in 100+ companies including PayPal, Dropbox, Lending Club and Zoosk. For more information visit: http://plugandplaytechcenter.com.

The Lean Entrepreneur Program: A Student's Perspective

One of our latest LEP graduates Jessica Baratta shares her experience in the program, if you're thinking about joining us for November, you'll want to check this out: This fall, I had the pleasure of participating in the Launch Academy Lean Entrepreneur program, partnered with Emily Carr University and conducted through the Scotiabank PLATFORM Program for Young Entrepreneurs. The intensive four-week program, taught by the brilliant John Gray, had a focus on Lean Methodology and its importance in building a start-up company. With a range of talents and skills in the cohort, every class was a pleasurable experience and inspired new perspectives that fostered innovation. From the initial class, the cohort was separated into smaller groups to work in over the four-week period. Each group had to create a product that would ultimately be pitched in a mock presentation to ‘The Angels,’ as John often referred to investors.

It was within my first class, that I met Michael Majeski (Emily Carr student, Industrial Designer) and Matthew Yeung. The two were completely different; both with wonderful passions and range in experience. With excitement, I listened to Michael describe his love for bicycles and Matthew his current business within the realm of computer science. I eagerly described my passion for communication in all forms and the love I had for design. Utilizing all of these skills sets, together we formed the Find My Bike team.

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Find My Bike, an idea originally envisioned by Michael, proposed a GPS tracking device that would fit inside the stem of any bicycle. The device would be able to locate the bike if stolen and keep it safely within the owner’s reach. During the first two weeks of the program, we eagerly used the Lean methodology as a framework to build the components of our start-up. Within each class, there were many team-building activities and presentations from guest lecturers. The third week was spent collecting research from our potential demographic and the Vancouver Police Department. Ultimately, these statistics led to a final presentation within our last class of the term. This pitch allowed the passion and work of each group to echo through their presentation.

vancouver-skyline-stanley The Launch Academy Lean Entrepreneur Program experience was invaluable in many ways. Firstly, the style and framework of the program speaks to the volume of innovation that can derive from it. The collaboration of many different industries was exciting within the classroom and sparked many new challenges in work styles. These challenges surfaced into opportunities, which benefited the entire cohort. Secondly, the speakers brought a range of experience and stories that referenced personal triumphs and struggles. This allowed each student to find similarities and contrasts within their own lives and practice. Furthermore, John brought obvious passion and excitement to each class, which motivated each individual to put forth their best efforts.

I am forever thankful for this wonderful opportunity and would highly recommend the Launch Academy program experience to anyone interested in pursuing a start-up venture. The program structure, amazing people, and facility created the perfect foundation, with only hopes of further innovation to come.

Thank you Jessica for the love! If you're ready to join our November LEP cohort, get your tickets here today

No Whimper Here. LEP Cohort #2 Ends with a Bang

Our own John Gray's latest recap of our Lean Entrepreneur Program, check it below! This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper. - (The Hollow Men) T.S Eliot

With a mix of insatiable curiosity, imagination, and determination the entrepreneurial endeavour promises never to be boring. It also doesn’t guarantee success. In fact many startups end with barely a whimper. This wasn’t the story with the recent cohort of our Lean Entrepreneur Program. Cohort #2 of the LEP ended with a definitive bang.

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The final week started with DataHero founder Chris Neumann dropping in. Neumann’s a strong Launch Academy supporter, and squeezed time out of a family visit to share some of his entrepreneurial experiences. With the last class focusing on metrics, having a data-focused guy answer the many questions floating around the room was valuable. One never knows who will make a guest appearance on any given LEP evening.  It’s an added bonus that we bake into the program.

Teamwork is a key component of the program. Most startups are small teams. Five teams of three total strangers working through this experience together is a big part of turning a classroom into real life. Our final night of LEP had the spotlight focused brightly on the five teams. In fifteen minutes they each shared what was learned, where they are, and the future vision.

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In barely four weeks seeing how far they’d pushed ideas from a flicker, onto paper, and right out of the building is wondrous. There’s something powerful about customer discovery. It’s discovering that this is a process of real learning, not an exercise in pitch validation.

With Kate, Haig, and Rebecca from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, some of our past LEP participants, and a few interested extra guests joining us, “pitch night” was extra vibrant.

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While the night was about the teams, it’s important remembering that the purpose of this program isn’t about attempting to incubate five ideas into startups. The LEP is about helping to develop 15 better potential entrepreneurs.

Team #1 - TidyDojo (Alan, Ashley, and Jean) - was looking into the viability of a new productivity or communication application for the world of martial art dojos.

Team # 2 - Find My Bike (Mike, Jessica, and Matthew) are working to combine hardware with software and creating a device that messages your phone when your bike is being stolen.

Team #3  - An Interactive Story (Eileen, Bob, and Eubene) want young children to create digital interactive stories and then enjoy the sense of a physical connection coming in the form of a 3D-printed superhero.

Team #4 - One Place to Work Together (Dina, Raffi, and Anthony) wanted to see if there’s a market for a BaseCamp-like tool for small business.

Team #5 - Cotuto (Lee, Laba, and Jon) is creating a new marketplace to connect independent art and music teachers with students looking for more instructional options.

There was a small boatload of Ferrero Roche up for grabs. As sweet as that is, the team with the most votes from their peers, and the “judges”, (Ray, Alex, Rebecca, Haig, and myself) are earning the opportunity to join Launch Academy as full members for three months.

The vote was close, with Cotuto claiming 3rd, Find My Bike as runner-up, and team TidyDojo claiming the top spot. We’re looking forward to seeing more of Alan, Ashley and Jean working with us in the months to come.

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We were also fortunate having Gordon Goldsmith (Business Advisor Youth Mean Business & Self Employment - YMCA of Greater Vancouver) join us for the four weeks, observing, contributing, and getting a flavour of what we’re working to accomplish specifically with LEP, and Launch Academy in general. He generously shares -

"Launch Academy is an amazing place for startups. They have created an environment where people can learn from Launch Academy's experienced and talented team, as well as connect to fellow startups which is essential to growth. The Lean Entrepreneur Program is a must-attend for any tech business serious about success."  

Our next cohort starts soon. Don’t miss out! There are only a few tickets left. Get yours today - right here.

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A special note of thanks to Emily Carr for arranging the evening photography, and sharing all of these great shots!

We're Approved! Join us and you could receive $100k and more from Google Cloud Platform For Startups!

Something big just happened... We're SUPER excited to announce that we'll be joining our accelerator friends Y Combinator, 500Startups, TechStars, Communitech, and more as a trusted partner of Google Cloud Platform For Startups!

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Cool, tell me more! 

Now, select Launch Academy startups will be able to join fellow Cloud users like Snapchat, Khan Academy, and Udacity and take advantage of $100,000 in Google Cloud Platform credits, special office hours, and 24/7 Google support to help them build and scale their businesses!

What does this mean?

Our members will have the resources and to scale to millions of users and easily develop their products using Google tools available for storage, development, big data management, and beyond.

...Basically, now they can focus on building their products and not have to worry about managing complex infrastructure!

How can I be approved?

We'll be offering this super awesome perk to the top startups in our portfolio. To be eligible:

  • You must be a Launch Academy company (apply here!)
  • Your startup must:
    • Be less than 5 years old
    • Have less than $5M US in funding
    • Have less than $500K US in annual revenue
    • Have never received Google Cloud promotional credits before
Sound like a pretty sweet deal? Apply to Launch Academy today!