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Day 18: Canadians in the Valley, Eh?

May 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Today George Favvas spoke to the teams on being a Canadian in the Valley. Originally from Montreal, George moved to the Bay Area in 2011 as co-founder and CEO of Rewardli, which lets self-employed and small business owners leverage the buying power in their social networks so they can get better deals on the products and services they need. Since moving to the Bay Area, George has learned the ins and outs of being a Canadian living south of the border–and has apparently seen his hair go from dark to grey (but we think it suits him just fine!). Here’s his top ten tips on being a maple leaf in the golden state:

1. Flying in on Monday and leaving on Friday will not give you the time to raise a round. No matter how much you hustle. 

2. Talk to investors in parallel. Monogamy in fundraising is not going to get you anywhere.

3. Beware of big VCs that will talk you in circles but won’t invest at the seed stage. Don’t waste your time on them!

4. There are tons of resources (like the C100) that can be useful to startups in the Bay Area, so come visit! It’s only a 6-9 hour journey.

5. Get legal advice on your company structure and visa options. There are ways for you to move to the Golden State, for sure! (but it’s not through Startup Visas and it’s not easier just because you’re Canadian)

6. Think about Angels (small $ amounts, faster investments, belief in the team, sensitive to valuations, OK with 3x return) vs. VCs (big $ amounts, less valuation sensitive) and what kind of money you want.

7. Be polite and prepared at the border. They ultimately decide the fate of your trip!

8. The rule of thumb for raising and exiting: you need to exit for at least 10x the capital you raised.

9. As a physical place, with its critical mass of ideas & people, San Francisco is hard to replicate. However, replicating the state of mind that rules San Francisco is easy: take risks, accept failure, iterate quickly, become scalable, be a do-er not a talker, and shed your lazy behaviour!

10. Don’t forget your roots! George himself says that he occasionally visits his hometown of Montreal for a fix of the best bagels and smoked meat in the world :)

Check back for the slides from George’s chat: