Thoughts on whether a public university can think and act like an entrepreneur

Photos of the University Campus in the summer. June 2010.

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary, participated in a webinar on Friday, March 23 on the topic of whether a public university can think and act like an entrepreneur. Dr. Cannon presented her thoughts on how a university can act in an entrepreneurial manner, and how prestigious institutions like the University of Waterloo … Continue reading Thoughts on whether a public university can think and act like an entrepreneur

3 Perspectives for Startup Valuation

The ultimate goal for just about every startup is to be acquired. A successful exit justifies the eighty hour work weeks, tense product launches, and financial sacrifices made by the startup team. Of course, acquisitions involve a number of steps that end with a signed deal. However these only represent the final sequence of events. … Continue reading 3 Perspectives for Startup Valuation

Alberta Growth Marketing Symposium

Oli Gardner of Unbounce

Yesterday, I attended the Alberta Growth Marketing Symposium. Organized by Alberta Innovates, the event was a gathering of startups, government innovation agencies, and other members of the startup community to discuss and learn about strategies for sales and marketing that increase revenue. Keynote speakers included Sujan Patel of MailShake, Oli Gardner of Unbounce, Dani Hart … Continue reading Alberta Growth Marketing Symposium

How Reid Hoffman Started LinkedIn

Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn

The other day, my colleague told me of a meeting he had with a first-time entrepreneur/inventor. This person built some new, cool widget that he was completely convinced everyone would buy. All he needed was investor or government dollars to get started. My colleague began suggesting some next steps; talking to customers and learning their … Continue reading How Reid Hoffman Started LinkedIn

Crossing the Chasm by Starting with Why

Covers of Starting with Why by Simon Sinek and Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

In the last 30 years, technological advances gave birth to a variety of consumer products that boasted they would change the world. The Segway was going to revolutionize pedestrian transportation. Blackberries and Palm Pilots were the ultimate portable communication tool, allowing people to stay  connected via telephone, text message, and email no matter where they … Continue reading Crossing the Chasm by Starting with Why

Paying Startup Employees: Hourly vs Salary

Wad of US $100 bills with text 'Paying Startup Employees: Hourly vs Salary'

Sooner or later, a startup must to begin hiring employees. First-time founders, or those without previous management or small business experience, may find this challenging. After all, where does one learn hiring strategies or how to build a employment package? Before hiring, founders must develop employment policies, such as vacation and benefits, and of course, cash compensation. Founders have two choices with respect to paying their employees; either an annual fixed salary or an hourly rate. Each option has advantages and disadvantages that founders must analyze before making a decision.

Why and How to Calculate a Realistic Market Size

Multicoloured segmented pyramid on black background

Calculating the size of a startup’s market is not a simple exercise. Its a delicate mixture of art and science with a little bit of pure guess work. It is even more difficult to be accurate when the product may pivot many times in a short period of time to serve a different segment of the market than originally conceived. However, a value for potential market size that is calculated based on validated assumptions and accurate references is something all startups should know.

Welcome to RainforestAB

Last week, I attended a talk from Jim Gibson about RainforestAB. Jim is a serial-entrepreneur, boasting a track record of “6 companies, 4 successful, 2 unsuccessful”. 66{619282be51f5e06c917124ae41f415ac9390bcfff58b1e631114068f34aec381} rate – not bad. Jim is currently serving as the the de facto leader/voice of RainforestAB, a movement working to improve the culture of innovation in Alberta. During his presentation, Jim shared the history of RainforestAB, and how interested people can get involved.

The importance of hustle in your startup

This morning, I had a really great chat with Adrian Camara of Paper. He shared some great insights about the importance of hustle, momentum, and velocity in business. In my time working as an Entrepreneur Advisor with Innovate Calgary and interacting with startups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, I have learned that the one key ingredient to a successful startup is hustle. A great startup is constantly engaging customers and validating ideas as fast as possible.

3 Tips to Survive Startup Due Diligence Process

Successfully closing an investment round is the goal of nearly every entrepreneur. Having access to both capital and expert business mentors gives a startup the fuel it needs to scale rapidly. When seeking investment, most entrepreneurs focus on building a solid pitch that inspires confidence from investors and promises hockey-stick growth. While the pitch is crucial to earning interest from investors, most entrepreneurs lack understanding of the due diligence process that follows a successful pitch. Many deals fall apart because due diligence fails even though the founders delivered a great pitch. Read below for three tips to ensure your startup will pass due diligence, and close the investment deal.