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Entries Tagged 'Make the world a better place' ↓

Dealing with mistakes

We all make mistakes. Lots of them. Rarely a day goes by without me making at least one, whether it be forgetting to run an errand, coming home late without warning my wife, being late to a meeting, making a bad trade, or losing patience with one of my kids. It’s OK to make mistakes because it’s part of makes us human. I would argue that our demanding lifestyle makes us prone to make much more than our parents.

I believe there are two types of mistakes: the ones that negatively impact us, and those that affect others. It’s unpleasant to be on the receiving end of a mistake, whether it was yours or someone else’s.

People have different ways to deal with mistakes they make that affect others. Some will try (and often succeed) to convince themselves that even though it wasn’t planned, the outcome of their action is better for everyone, including the people affected by it. Others will try to hide it, acting as if nothing happened, hoping no one will notice or that time will heal all wounds. Others will plainly lie, scheming, hoping they’ll never get caught. Others will look for excuses, blaming others, the weather, the market, the cell phone battery, traffic, etc.
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Real Ventures is here

After a long journey which started in 2007 with the creation of Montreal Startup, Real Ventures, a $45M seed fund, is finally here.

For those of you who don’t know, Montreal Startup is a $5M seed fund that was founded by John Stokes, Daniel Drouet, Alan MacIntosh, Austin Hill, and yours truly. Mark MacLeod has since joined the team for Real Ventures. We invested in 15 web, mobile and software companies between February 2008 and March 2010, including Beyond The Rack,, Whatsnexx, Vanilla Forums, Recoset, mConcierge, Oneeko and SocialGrapes. For the majority of our investments, we were the first money in, acting as the lead investor. We hold board seats in most companies. Montreal Startup was created for two reasons. First, we all shared a passion for entrepreneurship. I for one love entrepreneurs. I believe they are the driving force of change, innovation and evolution, our modern day conquerors that are making our future. They are are future leaders. Participating in the shaping of these men and women and supporting them in the building of their respective empires is a fulfilling and gratifying experience. We also started Montreal Startup to take advantage of what we believed was a disruption in how technology companies were being built and financed. In fact, we set up the fund to test the following assumptions which are now some of the pillars of Real Ventures’ investment strategy:

1- The cost of getting a company from idea to the validation of the business model is now 10X less than what it was 5-10 years ago and is no more than a few hundred thousands $ for consumer Internet companies and less than $1M for companies targeting the enterprise:
a) The evolution of opensource platforms and development frameworks means that software or web services that used to take a team of 6 people over a year to build now takes 2 people less than 3 months. In addition, software infrastructure costs are zero (operating systems, databases, etc.)
b) Because of the cloud, hardware costs (servers, storage, bandwidth) are now directly proportional to utilization, meaning that startups can get started for less than $100 per month;
c) There are now many platforms with more than 100 million active users that are seamlessly accessible to third party apps, software and web services providers including Facebook (500M +), Twitter (200M+), Iphone and ipod touch (more 250M+), Android (250K new activations per day), Google search and adwords, Google Apps, Gmail, Salesforce AppExchange, Amazon, etc. These platforms allow companies to transact with their customers with one click in many cases. Combined with a blog and media industry dedicated to technology, it now costs very little for a startup with a good product to get access to customers. Continue reading →

Buying local and how to support our community

Buying local is hot. It is being mentioned by scholars and influencers as a way to reduce our toll on the environment. It also means buying goods and food produced and grown by local companies. When you buy local, you support your community. Your money goes towards quality and freshness as opposed to packaging, refrigeration, freight, fuel, etc. It’s healthy, good for the environment and the local economy.

There must be a way to apply these same principles to our local startup community

I had an interesting call last week with Martin-Luc Archambault, co-founder of incubator Bolidea. Martin-Luc was telling me about how he had heard that Techstars, the very successful and expanding accelerator co-founded out of Boulder, Colorado by Brad Feld of the Foundry Group and David Cohen was inciting its applicants and graduates to use products and services offered by other Techstars companies whenever possible. He pointed to Sendgrid, an email delivery platform and Techstars graduate as an example of that. Martin-Luc’s point was that we have a growing startup community in Montreal with great startups building world class products, and we need to do a better job at supporting them. He has since switched to Cakemail for email delivery, a local company, which he claims has the best product out there. Continue reading →