We’re still 21 days away from publicly announcing the companies from the Spring 2014 cohort but we did offer a sneak peek of the teams to a select group of Investors yesterday evening. We invited about 40 Investors to come mingle with the CEOs and get to know the awesome companies that are about to pitch at Demo Day.
Over a few hours, a few drinks and some great canapés the CEOs mingled with the Investors, pitched their visions and got some really constructive feedback on how to take their companies to the next level.
We hope to see you at Demo Day on May 13th and finally get to show-off these amazing companies to the world!
When it comes to distributing equity among employees there are A LOT of different points of view. It’s difficult to know who to trust. Recently Sam Altman of Y Combinator wrote an interesting blog post about this issue and offered up some solutions to the problems.
According to him there are 4 major problems when it comes to employee equity (keep in mind that details pertaining to taxes may differ in other countries):
1. Employees usually don’t get enough stock
2. If an employee leaves the company, he or she often can’t afford to exercise and pay taxes on their options
3. Employee options sometimes get unfavourable tax treatment
4. Employees usually don’t have enough information about the stock or options
He followed up with some solutions to these problems.
1. Give employees more equity
2. Grant options that are exercisable for 10 years from the grant date3
3. Do a better job at helping your employees understand the exact value of their options
4. Consider other ways of vesting instead of the typical 4 years with a 1-year cliff
For all the details check out the full posting.
It’s always hard to jump back in after an extended weekend so we won’t overload you today. While you’re on your commute tomorrow morning listen to this recent podcast with Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon and Benedict Evans on tech valuations.
One of the most stressful things we can say to the companies is “there are X number of days until Demo Day”. Today that number was 26. To highlight just how quickly Demo Day is approaching, we hosted Show & Tell III today. We invited a handful of Mentors to come in and watch the companies give their updates and most recent investor pitches.
The results were mixed. Some companies still have a LONG way to go before Demo Day and some are roaring along and really impressing everyone.
As usual there were some great one liners. Here are some of the best:
“At the first Show & Tell all I wanted to know was how can I give you all my money. Today, I’m beyond relieved that I didn’t invest in you.”
“I’m really proud of you, this pitch is 1000% better than it was 1 month ago.”
“I think you thought you would be in a much different position today. As far as I can tell, you just keep getting worse and less impressive.”
“Why do you have a slide that depicts you staring lovingly at a 12 year old? That’s just weird.”
“I don’t think you succeeded in explaining where your company is going. In any way, shape or form. Do you even realize where you’re going??”
“I don’t think what you’re building is useful for 90% of the population. It’s cool, but it’s not useful.”
You can tell the program is coming to a close very soon because Show & Tell III is right around the corner. It’s tomorrow!
This is the last time for the companies to give their updates and present their almost finished Demo Day deck. One of the most challenging tasks for a CEO is to to take their whole business and condense it into a straightforward presentation in plain English. To help them achieve this, we set up a week of training sessions in anticipation of Show & Tell III.
In preparation for tomorrow the teams had a 5 hour pitch prep session with our lovely Mentor, Austin Hill. Austin gave the teams an in-depth look at various different kinds of pitches and went over the bad, the good and the great. He then listened as each CEO did their pitch and gave them some really honest but constructive feedback.
To follow-up on yesterday’s session the companies each sat down for one-on-ones with our GM, Ian Jeffrey. In these sessions the final details of their decks were reviewed so that they’re fully prepared to pitch to a room of their peers and FounderFuel Mentors tomorrow afternoon.
It’s been a hectic week but it should be fun tomorrow to see just how far the teams have come!
Want to check the teams out for youself? Check them out at Demo Day on May 13th. Get your tickets here.
Next Wednesday, Notman House will be hosting an Entrepreneurs Cocktail with the theme “Good to Great, the startup’s guide to creating valuable products & high-impact companies”.
The Jeune Chambre de Commerce de Montréal is proud to present, in collaboration with FounderFuel, the SDEVM and Notman House, their Entrepreneurs Cocktail. You’re invited to come meet visionary entrepreneurs who have dared to dream big and challenge the status quo in their industries:
- Magaly Charbonneau, Password Box
- Martin-Luc Archambault, Wajam
- Julien Smith, Breather
- Caithrin Rintoul, Provender, animateur du panel
Through an evening that will combine inspiration, networking and experience, hear them talk about their inspiring journey, vision for the future and how they established strategic alliances with some of Silicon’s Valley major players to take their business ventures to the next level.
WHY PARTICIPATE ?
- Inspiration: Be inspired by the stories and lesson learned shared by our panelists.
- Networking: Enjoy a friendly environment to better share and exchange with entrepreneurs present.
- Building to launch internationally
- Making strategic alliance to take your startup to the next level
- Surrounding yourself with the right team, partners
- Challenges and lessons learned
Check out the event here.
There was an article published recently by First Round entitled The Do’s & Don’ts of Rapid Scaling for Startups. In it, they list out everything that a startup should and shouldn’t do when considering how to grow quickly. Because, after all, don’t most startups want a hockey stick curve in their growth?
Here are some of the key take-aways but check out the full article for all the deets!
1. Have the right mindset for the right time. When you enter a growth phase make sure that everyone is on the same page.
2. Make employees feel accountable for the growth of the company.
3. Always keep moving forward.
4. Remove the bad so the good can thrive. This is crucial, the bad will far outweigh the good and can hinder rapid growth.
Do you have any tips for our teams on how to scale rapidly?
To cap off a long week, we thought why not take the teams up to the Busbud office to tour their amazing space, have a few beers and hang with their team.
Check out some of pics from the evening:
A BIG thank you to one of our Mentors LP Maurice for facilitating everything!
Today was the big day!
The Montreal and San Francisco tech communities were brought together for AccelerateMTL at the historic Rialto Theatre on Parc Ave. This year’s focus was Scaling Innovation. The morning featured round table discussions and the afternoon was filled with speakers who gave a behind-the-scenes look at what scaling innovation really means.
Check out some of our pictures from there day:
Silicon Valley debuted on HBO Sunday night, did you watch?
If not, you can check out the entire first episode on YouTube for FREE!