We’re coming up on the 1 year anniversary of Vanhawks launching their Valour Kickstarter campaign, the most successful one in Canada, during their 3 month stint at FounderFuel. To celebrate this we couldn’t be more excited for the 2 major announcements Vanhawks made yesterday.
They announced through TechCrunch that:
- They have raised $1.6 million from Real Ventures, Olympic triathlon gold medallist Simon Whitfield and Brenda Irwin of Relentless Pursuit Partners.
- They joined the Winter 2015 Y Combinator class in San Francisco and have been making major strides there.
The future is limitless for Vanhawks. Co-Founder & COO Ali Zahid confirmed this in their TechCrunch article. “The vision is a lot bigger than just making bikes,” Zahid explains. “Think of us as the software layer for the bike industry of the future. Everyone says that software is eating the world, and we see that in the bike industry, too, which has been sitting in the past.”
We can’t wait to see what comes next for Vanhawks!
Founder Talks - a brand new FounderFuel initiative – connects seasoned entrepreneurs to the current batch of startups in a casual and private environment.
For our second Talk we welcomed Ethan Song, CEO & Creative Director of Frank & Oak. Frank & Oak is a Montreal based e-retailer with the mission of helping a generation of men dress and live well.
Ethan, with a passion for walking the line between art and technology, chatted to the teams about getting started, entrepreneurship, and pivoting. He stressed their being no direct path from getting to where you are to where you want to be.
Beginning in corporate strategy consulting, Ethan had no experience in the e-retailer space. In his own words, “if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s all good.” While he had little experience, he wasn’t worried – he describes the Frank & Oak team as entrepreneurs first and tech/fashion entrepreneurs second. While this is often perceived negatively, Ethan thinks its an asset.
Frank & Oak (and Ethan by proxy) is all about understanding human behaviour, openness and taking risks.
Thanks to Ethan for chatting with us. Stay tuned for a FounderFuel talk with Dax Dasilva from Lightspeed next week!
To shop Frank & Oak or to learn more, click here.
This year Mentor Day was held at home, in Notman House, for the first time ever. It was a successful event with over 80 mentors present. Following the teams pitches, Mentors broke up into tables based on expertise: technology, marketing, business development, customer acquisition, fundraising, operations/strategy and product management. Teams then rotated through the room, having a focused discussion of their business at each table.
For some teams, today was their first shot at a public pitch. Thank you to our amazing mentors for their presence and guidance. If you’d like to get involved in the FounderFuel Mentor Program please contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, after a long and exciting day, it’s time for drinks! Stay tuned for pictures from the 5 à 7 in the next few days!
The room is silent as our Alumni Meet-up panel kicks off.
Ty Danco (Director at Techstars Boston), Thiago Da Costa (CEO at Lagoa) and Lee Silverstone (CEO at GymTrack) make up our panel on fundraising and acquisitions. The conversation quickly evolves into a candid discussion about all things startups.
Ty, Thiago and Lee touch on choosing investors wisely, the importance of delegation, what they would have done differently, the surprises involved in growing a business and even tips on maintaining personal relationships through the stresses of scaling a business.
While tonight is an amazing opportunity for our newest cohort to soak up open and honest advice, it’s also about much more. Tonight is a manifestation of one of the most important aspects of the FounderFuel program. We pride ourselves on the networks that we make available to each team that walks through our doors. This event is meant to introduce the newest additions of the FounderFuel family to an amazing network: our Alumni!
Stay tuned for news on Show & Tell tomorrow!
Being accepted to an accelerator can be a challenging feat. With hundreds of applicants vying for a spot in each cohort, the competition is steep and it can be hard to get noticed. With just 16 days left to apply to FounderFuel, it’s time to start thinking of how to set your startup apart from the others. However, when making your application memorable, make sure you stay away from these 7 common mistakes that startups make when applying to accelerators.
1. Building for Yourself Instead of a Market
2. Lack of Any Market Validation
3. One-Sided Competitive “Analysis”
4. No Route to Customers
5. Claiming False Competitive Advantages
6. Winging the 60-Second Pitch
7. Ignoring Your Faults
In the end, we’re looking for honest, solid applications from those that have developed a MVP and are ready to hustle during the program to find their product-market fit. Avoid these above mistakes, and your application will be sure to soar. Think you’re ready to put your startup to the test? APPLY TODAY and see if you have what it takes to be a part of FounderFuel!
Still curious as to how your startup will grow and develop during the program? Come check out Demo Day and see for yourself what the #FFMob is capable of.
It is hard to believe the time has flown by so quickly, but we are already halfway through the Fall 2014 program and the pressure to deliver is building up! With Demo Day just 49 days away, now is officially crunch time for the teams. The teams are in full stress mode and the pressure is on as they have just a short amount of time to push out their MVP, achieve high levels of traction, and attempt to get some valuable press coverage before the big day. With a lot to accomplish in a short time, now is the time they’ll be applying everything that they’ve gained from the FounderFuel program in a big push towards Demo Day.
We’re all feeling the pressure and getting really excited about Demo Day. Have you got your ticket yet? If not, do so here. You don’t want to miss your chance to watch the pitches from our strongest cohort yet and to mingle with the entire Montreal startup community!
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.
FounderFuel team & David Nault & Daniel Arsenault
Malik Yacoubi, Alan MacIntosh & Marc Alloul
FounderFuel team & Matt Roberts
Emma Williams & FounderFuel teams
Zaid Al Hamami, Alan MacIntosh, Brandon Waselnuk & Rob Rose
Daniel Haran & Zaid Al Hamami
Matt Roberts, Gabriel Sundaram, John Stokes &
Alex Lynn, JS Cournoyet & Stephanie Saheb
Sylvain Carle & Emma Williams
Steven Abrams, John Stokes & Roger Chabra
David Nault, Marc Alloul & Steven Abrams
Francis Moran, Steven Milstein & Stephen Osmond
JS Cournoyer, Philippe Bouzaglou, Colin Suprenant & Sylvain Carle
FounderFuel team & Farrel Miller
Zaid Al Hamami & Brandon Waselnuk
Here’s an old post but a useful one! All startups need free tools to help them scale.
As a startup, it’s often difficult to pay for services that help you prosper and grow as a company. With limited funds, a company can’t afford to hire a full-time employee to run their back-office or to act as their project manager. Because of this, there has been a growth in companies that offer special deals or completely free services to startups.
Fast Company put together a pretty solid list entitled the “(Nearly) Complete Online Toolkit for Startups“.
They break the toolkit down into multiple categories including: General, Project Management, Marketing and Social Media Tools and list out a total of 18 tools that are almost all free to use.
Any great (free) tool that they forgot to include in their list? We’ll create our very own #FFMob list!
Today, on Day 3 of the program, the teams sat through 2 sessions on how craft and deliver the perfect pitch. This is the beginning of a 3 month journey that will put the teams through rigorous exercises that will result in them delivering the quality of pitch that FounderFuel is known for.
The sessions the teams took part in today were put on by John Stokes from Real Ventures and Ian Jeffrey from Passwordbox. These talks are very similar to those given during FounderFuel’s cross-country PITCH IT tour.
Here are some of the key take-aways from John’s talk:
“It’s not about winning, it’s about showing that you have a chance of winning”
“Create a sense of faith in you…or in your progress”
Here are some of the key take-aways from Ian’s talk:
“Pitch. Listen. Learn. Repeat”
“Write a script. Don’t freestyle”
“Show. Don’t Tell. Use pictures, graphs, visuals & video”
Next stop on their pitching journey…Austin Hill’s Pitch Workshop next week.
Today marks the beginning of our Fall 2014 cohort, and we could not be more thrilled to have a full house again! Out of 350 applicants, only the top 8 are joining us in Notman House this fall. In typical FounderFuel fashion, all of the new companies will be pitching at our Show and Tell event to their fellow cohort participants, as well as the Real Ventures partners.
As the new companies get settled in on their first action-packed day, the pressure is on for this cohort to live up to the FounderFuel legacy! Follow all the action here on our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.
Fall 2014 Induction is under way!