Yesterday afternoon we had a visit from 4 core members of the PasswordBox team. They came to chat with the current Cohort about team culture, how you instill it and how you can maintain it through growth and acquisition by Intel Security. On the panel were Marc-Antoine Ross (Co-Founder & Director of Data Engineering), Greg Whiteside (Employee #1 & Director Engineering), Olivier Beaulieu (Employe #8 & Technical Team Lead) and Ian Jeffrey (Employee #32 & VP Product Marketing).
Some of the key topics covered were:
- Always hang-out with a potential employee before hiring them. Would you want to have a beer with them on a Friday night after a long week of work?
- Always hire people who are smarter than you. If you feel dumb in the interview, that’s a good sign!
- PasswordBox has instilled a culture of attracting great people to the company and spending time with them before hiring them.
- Everyone should have options.
- PasswordBox has a culture of transparency. This is key in building a strong culture. Every employee is always aware of everything going on, from potential investors to potential acquirers and deals on the table.
- Set a weekly time to meet with the entire company, Monday works great because everyone is pumped up for the week. At PasswordBox they do all hands lunches every Monday where Dan gives the updates on the company and every team goes over what they’re working on.
- If after one week you aren’t convinced about someone, you should let them go. After 1 week it gets harder and harder to fire someone.
- The biggest mistake is trying to keep someone who you know isn’t a good fit
Here are some of the tidbits shared with the Cohort:
“Invest in the culture of people, not in the space you work in”
“Dan comes in every morning and fist bumps every single employee, he did it when we were 3, 8 and now we’re 50+ and he still does it.”
“Culture creates retention.”
“When does culture start? It starts day 1, when you meet someone and want to work together and build something. From there, it grows organically.”
“Every morning when I show up to work, my colleagues are genuinely happy to see me and greet me with high-fives, it’s like one huge family.”
“We’re 50+ employees and I honestly can’t imagine PasswordBox without any of them. They’re all part of who we are. That’s when you know you have a strong culture.”
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!
“Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.”
- William Peterson
FounderFuel is gearing up to welcome its Spring 2015 cohort on Monday, February 9th. 7 companies will comprise our 7th batch of startups. This time around, we’re trying something new.
After a deep-dive re-evaluating the past 6 cohorts, we’ve altered the structure of the program in order to capitalize on our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses. We want to more accurately reflect our purpose: to offer an in-depth and mentor-driven acceleration of your startup.
This is why this cohort will see a refocusing of the program, oriented even more towards the specific needs of the entrepreneur, and towards providing them with what will satisfy those needs. We want to have a higher impact upon the outcome and success of each startup embarking on this journey with us.
Stay tuned for more changes to come.
To remain up-to-date on the progress of FounderFuel and the 7 companies within its 7th cohort, follow us here:
The finalists for the 2014 Canadian Startup Awards have just been announced and our very own Vanhawks (Spring 2014) has been nominated as Accelerator Graduate of the Year!
Vanhawks’s mission is to make connected bikes for the urban commuter to encourage bike rides for greener and less congested cities with the best experience possible. The Vanhawks Valour, is the first Bluetooth connected bike built from carbon fibre, giving riders safety,comfort and insight for every ride.
Vanhawks came into the FounderFuel program with a big idea and were in the early stages of manufacturing their prototype. They then went one to raise the most amount of money in crowdfunding in Canada through Kickstarter which was 820k, have attracted major media attention, made key hires and have a lot more exciting news on the way! 2015 is going to be a big year for Vanhawks! Let’s start it off right by helping them win Accelerator Graduate of the Year!
And help us spread the word!
Next January 21st, one hundred of the most promising startups will be pitching a panel of investors and experts, hoping to secure fame and funding. But this isn’t your ordinary startup contest, because each entrepreneur has only the time it takes to ride the elevator at the Eiffel Tower to convince judges they’re the best.
The Elevator World Tour™ Paris, will have the best startups delivering their elevator pitches — in the actual elevator of the Eiffel Tower — as they compete for several prizes including, a guaranteed spot in the FounderFuel Spring 2015 Cohort!
“We’re thrilled that the first European stop on the Elevator World Tour is in one of the most exciting cities in the world, in the most iconic building in the world,” said Philippe Telio, the event’s founder. Jerome Masurel, co-founder and CEO of 50 Partners adds, “Holding the event at the Eiffel Tower is a reminder that some of the most ambitious projects were built by engineers and entrepreneurs, and that the world’s greatest companies start with a great vision and unstoppable founders.”
The contest is part of a worldwide startup contest known as the Elevator World Tour that runs literal elevator pitches in some of the world’s most iconic buildings. Other stops on the tour have included Toronto’s CN tower and the Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv, with upcoming events being planned in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Berlin, and Santiago.
The Elevator World Tour Paris is being organized by the International Startup Festival and the French accelerator, 50 Partners and is being hosted by the Société d’Explotation de la Tour Eiffel.
See you in Paris!
Well, that’s a wrap folks! After the production of Demo Day on Tuesday, FounderFuel’s 6th cohort has come to a close. That mean’s it’s time for the latest additions to the #FFMob to head out into the real world and we’re so excited to see what they’ll do! It’s been 3 months of grueling work and endless pitch prep but it certainly paid off at Demo Day. Rave reviews were heard all around the packed Rialto Theatre and the latest cohort is all set to take that success and run with it. The real world will be very different from the nurturing walls of Notman House, but armed with the mentors and network they gained during the cohort, we’re convinced that the most mature FounderFuel class will achieve nothing short of victory!
Want a closer look at the teams? Here’s a full list of the Fall 2014 cohort:
Were you unable to make it to Demo Day and are wondering what kind of magic happened in the Rialto Theatre? You can catch the entire show again here, or stay tuned to our blog where we’ll be sharing the individual pitches of the cohort.
We’re in full-blown pitch prep all day, every day and boy, is it a roller coaster!
With just a few days to go until Demo Day the CEOs have given up sleep so that they can focus 100% of their time on their pitch. We’ve got John Stokes and Austin Hill working tirelessly with them every day so that when they walk onto stage at the Rialto Theatre next Tuesday afternoon they’ll blow you away!
Here’s some of the quotes we’ve overheard throughout the week:
“I read your most updated pitch and I’m just so frustrated.”
“That’s it! That was awesome-sauce! What an improvement!”
“You’re not vitamins, you’re a pain killer. You’re killing their pain.”
“You come to this meeting looking for help, you should come to this meeting looking to impress.”
“All you have to do is listen, and learn”
“Wow. Compared to yesterday, I’m blown away. I think we’re finally getting somewhere.”
Will you be there next Tuesday to witness the Fall 2014 pitches??
Can you believe it’s almost November 29th already?! Crazy to think but there are just 3 days left to apply for your spot in the Spring 2015 Cohort of FounderFuel!
Think you’re ready to be thrown into a high-octane environment where you’re surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurial teams, investors, execs, and entrepreneurs? Apply to FounderFuel before midnight this Saturday for the chance to have access to our incredible network and receive invaluable advice through workshops, feature presentations, and one-on-one meetings with mentors and investors.
Still not convinced? In addition, if selected, you’ll get immediate access to over $150K worth of perks and services from companies like Amazon AWS, Rackspace, and Azure, not to mention as much RedBull as you can handle. Gotta have something to keep you going late at night, right?
At the end of the program, you’ll have the chance to pitch before an audience of investors, members of the press and the startup community in efforts to secure financing for your startup on Demo Day. This provides you with a great opportunity to get exposure to investors from the US, Europe, and Canada, as well as with the media and startup community.
If you’re serious about taking your startup to the next level, we have the network and ecosystem to accelerate it. All you need to is apply today and bring your A-Game – we’ll take care of the rest.