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FF Takes Québec City!

June 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm

As you may have already heard, we’re hitting the road to meet with Fall 2015 applicants! 

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Alexandre Shee, Analyst at Real Ventures and mentor at FounderFuel, is travelling to Québec City to chat with YOU! You can find him at Le Camp on Tuesday June 16th from 930AM to 12PM to ask him any questions that you may have about applications or the program. Here’s a little but more about Alex before you meet him in person. 

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We invite you to sign up for office hours on the 16th. 

He can’t wait to meet you! 

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Ready to apply? Head on over here. | Postulez maintenant

FF Takes Waterloo!

June 11, 2015 at 2:06 pm

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As you may have already heard, we’re hitting the road to meet with Fall 2015 applicants! 

Janet Bannister, Partner at Real Ventures and mentor at FounderFuel, is coming to Waterloo! She will be at Communitech on June 23rd. We invite you to sign up here for her office hours and to pick her brain about all things FounderFuel and applying to the program. 

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We hope to see you there!
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If you’re ready to apply, you can click here;)  

FF Takes Ottawa!

June 10, 2015 at 2:02 pm

As you may have already heard, we’re hitting the road to meet with Fall 2015 applicants! 

Next up is Ottawa! You can find us at the Invest Ottawa offices from 9AM to 1PM on June 26th. This is the time to ask us any questions that you might have about the program or the application process. Be sure to reserve your preferred time slot on the 26th before they’re all gone. You can do so here

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We’re equally excited to be attending a Fresh Founders meet-up on the evening of June 25th to mingle with our friends over at L-SPARK as well as the rest of the cream of the crop on the Ottawa tech scene. If you’re there, we’d love to say hi! 

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We hope to see you in Ottawa! 

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If you’re ready to apply, click here;)  

FF Takes Toronto!

June 9, 2015 at 3:38 pm

As you may have already heard, we’re hitting the road to meet with Fall 2015 applicants! 

First up is Toronto. We’ll be hosting office hours at the awesome Project: RHINO from 9AM to 1PM on June 20th. This is the time to ask us any questions that you might have about the program or the application process. Be sure to reserve your preferred time slot on June 19th before they’re all gone. You can do so here

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Luckily, our trip coincides with an exciting event – OneEleven’s Tech Summer Social. If you’re there, come say hi! 

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We hope to see you at Project: RHINO or OneEleven (or both!). Can’t wait to meet you. 

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Ready to apply? Do so here. ;)  

FounderFuel Is on the Road!

June 8, 2015 at 11:36 am

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Throw out your pitch decks and come chat – we’re visiting Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Québec City and Waterloo! 

We’ll be hosting office hours in each city, and we invite you to come with any questions that you may have about the program. 

Here are the dates and locations scheduled so far:  
Montreal – June 12/15/16/22/23/30 - Notman House 
Toronto – June 19 – Project: RHINO
Waterloo – June 23 - Communitec
Ottawa – June 26 – Invest Ottawa
Québec City – Date TBA (stay tuned!) 

notmanProject Rhino invest-ottawa1      

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Book a time slot for MTL, TO, OTT or WAT before they fill up. Click here, find your desired date, and choose the time that’s best for you. 

We’ll keep you updated on a date and location for our Québec City Stop. Make sure to check back or follow us on Twitter and Instragam to stay in the loop. 

We can’t wait to meet you! 

Ready to apply? Click here. :)  

What’s Expected of an Accelerated Startup?

June 1, 2015 at 2:20 pm

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Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, describes the basic premise of the first modern accelerator, Y-Combinator, in his book entitled Without Their Permission

“The premise was simple: a little bit of money, guidance, and three intensive months of writing code and talking to users could one day result in a billion-dollar company. Granted, at the end of three months, the goal was just to have gotten far enough to raise another round of funding – an angel investment, typically a few hundred thousand dollars.”

This got me thinking: is it really, truly clear to founders applying to our program what exactly is expected of them? By investors whom they approach after the program? By the accelerator itself? What about teams accepted into the program – what expectations should they set for themselves during the three month program?

Has the thinking surrounding accelerators changed from the way that Alexis Ohanian describes them – as simply pushing companies far enough to raise another round – or has it become something more?

Here are three different perspectives on what you and your co-founders should work towards while going through an accelerator: 

1) Investors:
For this one I turned to a partner at Real Ventures, to pick their brain about what they would expect from a company approaching them after having graduated from an accelerator. The partner explains that they look for a very clear go to market strategy, a solid understanding of what’s needed to show progress and traction, a strong team (perhaps following from all of the sleepless nights in pitch prep together…) as well as co-founders with a gung-ho attitude.

2) Accelerators:
This I can speak to. FounderFuel looks for startups at the go to market stage: a great team of co-founders, v1 of a product released (or a solid beta), as well as a pretty good idea of a long-term value proposition. We then work with these teams to set aggressive goals together. Once those are set, we hold teams accountable for completing them – we expect results. Most importantly, we provide the resources necessary for teams to successfully accomplish their goals.

3) Teams themselves:
This one’s a bit trickier. We’ve seen teams come through FounderFuel with very varied expectations, some resulting in more success than others. Vaguely speaking, those who have found the most success have expected to work incredibly hard. Some have expected to raise a seed round of $1, 000, 000 by demo day. Others have vowed to release their v2, v3, even v4 to the general public. Sometimes, expectations are in misalignment with reality. That’s okay. Other times, expectations are far exceeded. That’s even better. 

We’re currently on the lookout for co-founders ready to step it up. If you want your startup to be the best in the world, we want to work with you. We are recruiting for Fall 2015. Apply here

Ella 

Why Are Accelerators Beneficial?

May 28, 2015 at 4:33 pm

We’ve scoured the internet, spoken to alumni, and mulled over the question with our team: why are accelerators beneficial?

We know we love FounderFuel, but we’re biased – we’ve seen startups enter the program and transform in a matter of months. For any readers unsure of whether an accelerator program is the right fit for their company, we’ve boiled down responses into three reasons that you should apply

1. Rarity: 
This is important but difficult to understand without first experiencing an accelerator. Here goes nothing. 

Accelerators are a fairly new construct, having originated due to a particular type of demand. In 2012, the number of global entrepreneurs reached 400 million. That’s approximately 20 million non-employer businesses. Naturally, the more entrepreneurs there are, the more difficult it is for startups to survive. We’ve all heard the 9 out of 10 success rate of startups. When an entrepreneur needs to devote a serious amount of time (during which they could be making $$$) in order to make their dream a reality, the deck is already stacked against them. Accelerators offer some financial leeway when first starting out, and a fast paced environment whose purpose is precisely to lower those odds against them. Simply put, demand for resources is greater than supply. Accelerators offer those resources quickly and efficiently. 

The thing is though, is that accelerators do this in a special way. Besides all of the obvious and over-discussed perks (a few of which will be explained below, because, well, they’re important,) accelerators are special because they allow for a break in daily life. They are a rare experience because they allow a person to, in a way, forget their personhood. They require replacing ‘the self’ with ‘the company’ for a limited period of time. In devoting three months to rapidly scaling your dream, you are able to put everything else aside to make that dream a reality. You get to disappear from the world for awhile, having an excuse not to answer your loved ones calls (“mom, it’s only three months, I’ll call back later…”). 

While this exercise in priority replacement precedes success, there can also be drawbacks. We anticipate this and combat it. We place an emphasis on taking care of yourself wherever possible, by organizing healthy activities such as weekly yoga classes in the building (photo below), introducing teams to Montreal by bike, and feeding everyone only the best of the best along the way. 

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2. Rapidity:
Things move quickly. You can either succeed faster, pivot sooner, or swiftly realize that entrepreneurship isn’t for you. 

We’ve seen folks from many different walks of life come through FounderFuel. From hungry students, to Apple employees who’ve quit their day jobs, to parents looking for a better way to support their families. By creating an environment that fosters tangible growth as quickly as possible, the three months of input put in by entrepreneurs has the potential to allow for much more significant output than otherwise possible. 

3. Network:
[Unfortunately there's no great synonym for network that begins with an 'R'.]

This has been written about time and time again but for good reason. I would venture to say that this is the biggest value of FounderFuel. Not simply introductions due to well-connected partners behind the scenes, our network is comprised of alumni companies who refuse to forget their roots. We have three things working for us in the realm of community. The first is that all alums spent three months in Canada, bonding over how awesome it is to build a company here versus in the states. The second is that they were in Quebec, which (all things separation aside…) is a French niche of its own. The third, and most important, is that we work hard to make sure that this place feels like home and that the people within it feel like family. We host dinners once a week, drinks after work bi-weekly, and hang out in our (limited) free time. Accelerators are a place within which people change. Change, in our opinion, fosters the creation of strong bonds. 

We know our value but that means nothing if you don’t too. We hope that this was helpful, but if you have any further questions feel free to reach out to us at info@founderfuel.com. And if you know you want in, apply today

- Ella 

Behind the Scenes at FounderFuel: Alexandre Shee

May 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm

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Alexandre Shee, Analyst at Real Ventures

At the age of twelve, Alexandre Shee sat down at his breakfast table with ten strangers. He continued to do so, every morning, until the age of eighteen.

Alex grew up in a Bed & Breakfast – an unintentional breeding ground for an outgoing and gregarious lawyer turned VC. It was around this table that Alex became a people person quickly, flawlessly and really early in the morning.

Hailing from LA, Alex moved to Quebec City, became fluent in French, and went on to become one of twenty chosen to begin at McGill Law at the ripe age of eighteen. Skipping an undergraduate degree, Alex dove in headfirst; he became president of the law school students association, a member on the board of directors of SSMU and a winner of McGill’s Scarlet Key leadership award. He spent his summers abroad (one of which at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, no less). Alex entered McGill Law as the youngest in his class and graduated the same way. He went on to become a lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright. 

Growing up, Alex was in awe of an older family friend. During a visit to the friends home, Alex was impressed with what he saw and felt: an energy that motivated him to ask his friend what he did for a living. The response? “I help companies change the world.” He went on to explain Venture Capital. From that moment on, Alex was hooked.

At Real Ventures and FounderFuel, Alex combines his law background with a keen interest in all things business: he sees problems in terms of solutions and uses his learned analytical framework to bring companies to the next level. As a part of RV’s investment team, Alex finds companies whose aim is to disrupt the industry of which they are a part. He then works to decide if they’re a team that RV could add value to. At the same time, Alex is a dedicated and very much present mentor at FF, helping teams navigate legal issues, providing practical growth advice and assisting with investor relations.

He would love to see, as a part of FounderFuel, enterprise SaaS related products, startups working on the internet of things, or any company related to food (because he “loves to eat, obviously”). Additionally, due to his background, he’s naturally attracted to legal technology, which he considers to be a field ripe for innovation.

Alex’s personal philosophy is that a person is not defined by what they do. While some call it impossible, he believes that we should all dive into and deeply learn as many different skill sets as possible.  In his opinion, stagnation comes when we avoid trying something new simply because we believe that we are not the right person for the job. “While the worst case scenario involves failure,” he explains, “the best case scenario is that we change the world.”   

Do you want to bring your startup to the next level with Alex’s help? Apply to FounderFuel today.

- Ella

[This is the third part in a series of introductions. We want to show you the faces behind FounderFuel and Real Ventures so that you're able to see how and why we can accelerate your company. Here is part one and two.]

Recruitment Here We Come!

May 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

After a crazy and successful seventh cohort, we’re ready to jump back into the recruitment game.

FounderFuel has just graduated a group of entrepreneurs who recognize and have leveraged the fact that the world is malleable. From aquafarming, to 3D Printing, to creative transportation, the last few months have been quite a ride (no pun intended). 

This past cohort was a busy one:
- We were visited by Stephane Marceau (CEO at Omsignal),  Alistair Croll (author, speaker, entrepreneur), Ty Danco (Director of Techstars Boston), Ethan Song (CEO & Creative Director at Frank & Oak) as well as friends at Passwordbox, Google and many more.
- We profiled Canadian startups - KickbackVanhawksGymtrack and Spoil - that are making waves in the States. 
- We wrote about the state of accelerators todayadvisor equityacquiring users and much, much more.
- We’ve even introduced a few of our Real Ventures teammates, AlexGabriel and Sam. This series, I should mention, is ongoing (check back!).  
- And of course, we’ve eaten some good food along the way…

We’re now ready and excited to recruit for Fall 2015. We’re on the lookout for the next round of movers and shakers, and we want to come to you. As we’re in the process of planning events and office hours in major Canadian cities, we would love to hear of anywhere you’d like us to be. Ping us at info@founderfuel.com to get in touch.  

Think your team should be next? Tell us why here

See you soon! 

- Ella

Check out the Spring 2015 Demo Day Pitches (VIDEO)

May 13, 2015 at 2:02 pm


Sharethebus is the premier online marketplace for charter bus rental, bringing people the tools to join, create and share trips to festivals, conferences and other high-demand events.

Spot has turned the simple video player into a content creation platform that allows anyone to add interactive apps inside their video in order to increase audience engagement and conversion.

Studyo is helping Students, Teachers and Parents plan and communicate what, where and when to study.

Mosaic has developed The Palette, an accessory that enables multi-colour objects to be made on today’s desktop 3D printers.

CoRecruiters converts hiring managers’ surplus talent into meaningful referral opportunities for their professional network.

Xpertsea has developed the XpertCount, an all in-one hardware and software solution to accurately count, measure and report data for the aquaculture industry.

Think your team has what it takes?

Apply