Find Your Product/Market Fit

October 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Are you considering applying for FounderFuel’s Spring 2015 cohort? Concerned about your product/market fit? On Tuesday October 14th, we will be hosting a Product/Market Fit Panel at Notman House where you’ll have the chance to hear a panel of founders talk about their unique paths to customer success.


The 4 panelists from various stage startups will include:

- Francis Davidson – Flatbook – Fall 2014 Cohort

- Mikael Cho – Crew – Spring 2012 Cohort

- Danial Jameel – OOHLALA – Fall 2011 Cohort

- Sam Haffar – Chegg 

Doors will open at 5pm for a networking session, and at 6pm Sylvain Carle will host a fireside chat with FounderFuel alumni Laurent Maisonnave, co-founder of Seevibes, about his experience in the program, and living/working in the Montreal startup community. At 6:30pm the panel will begin and we’ll discuss different challenges with achieving product/market fit, successes and roadblocks, and various perspectives from companies at varying stages of growth.


With the Spring 2015 applications just having opened, FounderFuel is actively seeking early stage companies who have developed a MVP, and can spend the program achieving product-market fit. Be sure to attend the event, and apply for the Spring 2015 Cohort if you think this applies to you!

Recruitment events coming your way!

October 1, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Wish you could attend a FounderFuel talk like those we’re always blogging about? Well, your lucky day might be right around the corner! While recruitment for our Spring 2015 cohort gets underway, FounderFuel is going to be hosting a series of panels, workshops, office hours, and networking events throughout Canada for the entire startup community. We’ll be bringing together potential FounderFuel applicants and early stage companies in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo, Quebec City, and Vancouver. The first of these will be a Product-Market Fit panel on Tuesday, October 14th – come back tomorrow for another blog post with more details on this!

Tuesday’s office hours with Sylvain in Quebec City filled up in a few hours, so stay tuned for updates and don’t miss out on the chance to attend other office hours across Canada. Whether you are interested in applying to the FounderFuel Spring 2015 cohort, or just looking to network within your startup community, be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to mingle with the #FFMob and listen to what our alumni and mentors have to say!


Jour 20: Demain nous sommes à Québec!

September 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Avez-vous un startup à Québec? Interessé par FounderFuel? Venez discuter avec Sylvain Carle demain après-midi à Québec, entre 14h et 16h.

MAJ: Endroit, au 520 av. Charest Est. Suite 390.

Classé parmi les meilleurs accélérateurs au monde, FounderFuel est en processus de recrutement pour la session du Printemps 2015. 

Nous aimerions vraiment avoir plus de startups de Québec, alors nous allons vous visiter plus souvent! 

Aimeriez-vous rencontrer Sylvain et savoir plus sur FounderFuel? Inscrivez-vous ici.

Il reste deux mois pour appliquer, c’est le temps de valider si FounderFuel est pour vous!


Day 19: Pitch your way to Finland

September 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm


Have we grabbed your attention yet?! Well listen to this. The Finnish startup competition Slush is expanding globally this year and is hosting the very first Canadian Slush event right here at Notman House on October 29th!

There will be a pitching session and the best team is invited to Slush 2014, receiving:

- Flights by Finnair 

- Accommodation

- Exclusive access, including the opportunity to take part in the Slush pitching competition

The finals will be held on November 18-19th in Helsinki, expecting over 10.000 participants, 100.000 online viewers;  500 international journalists; $200B represented VC funding; 7000+ prearranged private meetings between startups and investors.

This is an incredible opportunity for all Montreal startups so sign up today and you could find yourself on your way to Finland!

Day 17: Eat, Sleep, Brand, Repeat.

September 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

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Today we had our very own rockstar Ian Jeffrey come in to Notman to talk to the Fall 2014 cohort about branding and marketing! Ian’s talk this morning provided a quick look at branding and marketing, giving tips based on his own personal experiences working at Radar, Shutterfly, and PasswordBox.

Ian started the talk off by asking the #FFMob “What’s the best marketing you could have..? It’s actually your product, focus on building an amazing product.” This is a crucial first step, and unless you develop a “sticky” product, all the marketing and branding in the world will not push your startup towards success. Once you’ve created this product, it’s important to begin thinking of your name as a key part of your brand. “This is the time in your company’s life cycle, to be questioning whether the name is a strong fit.” Following deciding upon a name, focus on brand positioning and look at competitors, compare pricing, and evaluate what their products offer different than yours. “The only way you’re able to position your brand, is if you know exactly how you’re different from everyone else.”

Positioning your brand leads to developing brand personality, which is important for connecting with consumers and creating perceived value. “What you’re trying to do is bond with your consumers. You need to find the people that love your product, and get them to share your message. Within your target audience exists a group of core users, who you should target. These users will then take your core message and share it to everyone else within the target market.”

So…. how can you encourage users to spread your message? “Products only go viral if they drive real value.” They need to give real value to their original users, then give additional value to these users if they share it with friends, and finally give value to those friends who join. In order to do this, you need to find very creative ways to grow your users. Identify something in the market (someone else’s growth success), exploit it, and ride that wave.

Did Ian’s remarks sound interesting to you? Think you would benefit from more talks filled with advice like this? Consider applying to the Spring 2015 Cohort to take full advantage of all that the FounderFuel program has to offer! Applications are now open here.

Day 15: Analytics workshop with Alistair Croll

September 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

As week 4 of the Fall 2014 cohort began, FounderFuel kicked off Monday morning with an analytics workshop taught by Alistair Croll. The co-author of Lean Analytics, and Partner at Bitcurrent, Alistair was perfectly positioned to give our cohort tips on measuring meaningful analytics.

Alistair introduced the topic by explaining that most startups don’t know what they’ll be when they grow up, and metrics are what help you get to know yourself. He emphasized a quote saying that “The most important figures that one needs for management are unknown or unknowable, but successful management must nevertheless take account of them.”

Many of his tips came from within his book, and by the end, those who had not read it were all very interested in doing so! A key point he emphasized in his talk that derived from Lean Analytics were the 5 suggested phases that companies go through:

- Empathy

- Stickiness

- Virality

- Revenue

- Scale

Interested in hearing more of what Alistair has to say? Check out his Google Ventures workshop on lean analytics below!

Day 14: Scaling Your Startup

September 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm

This morning, the #FFMob was lucky enough to have the wonderful leadership team of BusBud join them in Notman House. Having recently expanded several times themselves, Busbud was the perfect team to give our cohort a talk of tips for scaling their startup teams. While sharing war stories from the early days, the panel gave tips for founders and early employees on expansion and defining company culture. Here are some of the best tips shared with the #FFMob today:

  • Write your company culture down in stone and post it all around your employees.

  • Keep your values in check, adjust when they no longer match up.

  • Maintain a current culture – things that were true a few months ago when you were five, or ten, or twenty, might no longer be the right fit.

  • Take 30 mins a week with each person on the team to build a relationship with everybody.

  • Understand the demeanor and habits of your employees, and realize when something is off. Make an effort to solve this, or it will continue to grow down the line.

  • If somebody is always going against the grain, then that’s not beneficial for the company or the culture.

  • Referrals are the best way to hire new people that align with your culture.

  • Always be collecting potential candidates.

One of the main sentiments that was reiterated by the entire panel was that whatever you’re doing now, will influence your culture one, or two, or three years down the line. So, take these tips into consideration and try to create a culture that will withstand expansion and time!


Day 12: Age is but a number in startupland

September 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Do today’s tech founders have you feeling like 20 is the new 30? Read any tech journal, and you might be convinced that the only time you can make it in Silicon Valley is when you’re starting up out of a dorm room. The notion persists, and even grows, that if you haven’t “made it” by 30 in the Valley, then your career is done. And what a silly notion that is!

Heads began to turn last February when Brian Acton (age 42) sold WhatsApp for $19B, and many were confused how this could be achieved at such a late age. While Brian was thought of as an anomaly, research actually shows that the average peak of innovation is 40.

Still not convinced? Earlier this summer TechCrunch produced 40 People Who Are Living Proof You Can Make It In Silicon Valley After 40. Check it out and you’ll see the Mark Zuckerbergs of the Valley are the true exceptions.

Feeling inspired by these stellar 40? Consider applying to the FounderFuel Spring 2015 cohort! Applications are open now, so why wait another minute?


Day 10: It’s that time of year again!

September 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

It seems like applications just closed for our Fall 2014 Cohort but the program is already in full swing and it’s time to open up our Spring 2015 applications! We’re searching far and wide for the strongest startups across the globe to join us here in Montreal.

FounderFuel is not for the faint of heart. Think you’ve got what it takes? Are you ready to be challenged to the max, questioned, inspired, pushed, and challenged again? Can you handle working harder and longer hours than ever before? Is your team ready to refine your business, get traction, learn how to raise your seed round and fuel your growth? Most importantly, are you ready to hustle?

 If you answered yes to these questions, then FounderFuel might just be the place for you. Praised by many, and a game changer for all those involved, FounderFuel will help you grow in incredible ways. Do we have your interest yet? Want to know more? Check out this video from the last cohort and see what they had to say about their experience here at FounderFuel! 

Ready for some numbers? Here are more details about what the application process and program entails:


- be a team of two or more: no single founders 
- have at least one technical co-founder 
- work full-time on the business 
- be in Montreal for the full 12 weeks of the program


- Sept 15th – Applications open
- November 29th – Applications close
- February 9th – Program starts
- May 7th – Demo Day

Here’s what you’ve got to lose by not applying:

- $50K – $100K for 6%-9% equity on Day 1 of the program
- $150K in convertible debt for “Venture Ready” companies at Demo Day  
- $150K of exclusive discounts on services you probably already use
- 3 months of free office space in the Valley for select companies
- 120 startup veteran Mentors: Serial Entrepreneurs, Investors and Senior Execs
- 800 people at Demo Day, the largest event of its kind in North America
- Read more of what our Alumni have to say here.

 Ready to take the plunge? Show us what you’ve got and apply today!

Day 9: Mentor Day

September 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Yesterday was Mentor Day. Our full-day event where we bring in Mentors from across North America to give our teams feedback on their companies and progress. It’s a crucial day that exposes our teams to our vast Mentor network and helps them form relationships with people who will play a key role in the growth of their company. 

It was a very successful day and our companies took away several key learnings that they can apply as they grow.

Check out some of the pictures from the 5 à 7 at the end of the day. 

Think your team has what it takes?