The Startup Canada Podcast Show is a production of Startup Canada, a grassroots, entrepreneur-led movement to bring together, celebrate, and give a voice to Canada’s entrepreneurship community. On the podcast, award-winning entrepreneur host Rivers Corbett speaks with the movers and shakers of Canada’s entrepreneurship community to give a glimpse into the future of business, and share insights on everything from social innovation to the future of work, investing, and why we need to think bigger to take our businesses global. Join Rivers Corbett for new episodes every Tuesday airing at 10 AM ET for lessons, trends, and opportunities in entrepreneurship from Vancouver to Fredericton; and Israel to Peru.
“You can have an amazing life and have an amazing career under somebody’s umbrella or you can be the one holding the umbrella and shaping the world for other people.” Ray Walia chose the latter. As the CEO of Launch Academy, Co-Executive Producer of Traction Conference and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Victory Square Ventures, Walia is paving the way for a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Canada’s West Coast. In this episode of Startup Canada Postcast, he gives us the lowdown on key figures in the Vancouver startup scene and insight on how startup hubs like Launch Academy are connecting local entrepreneurs to the resources they need for their businesses to thrive.
Erin Bury, a leading marketing expert in Canada, has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter. How did the startup enthusiast build her social media empire? “One handshake at a time,” she says. The marketing guru has created a powerful brand for herself – both on and offline – by amalgamating digital and real-life relationships. It’s an important tactic for those looking to boost their brand identities, says Bury. Named one of Marketing Magazine’s 30 Under 30, Bury is currently the managing director at 88 Creative, a Toronto-based communications agency. In this episode of the Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews Bury about branding, viral campaigns, strategic marketing, and how to get celebrity retweets.
“If you hire phenomenal people, that’s it. You’re winning.” – Janice McDonald, co-founder of CD Warehouse and This Space Works. McDonald has built two successful national companies on the foundations of good customer service, with employees who have a full understanding of the brand’s strategies to maintain shopper loyalty. In this episode of Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews McDonald about the importance of strong team members, leadership roles in startups, and how to build a dependable base of customers.
“I see too many youth trying to fit the mold and they lose sight of what their true aspirations are.” A $50,000 deal with Next Gen Den Dragons has 17-year-old Alex Gillis thinking about more than grades, friends, and getting through the awkward teenage years. As the co-founder and CEO of Bitness, a location analytics tool revolutionizing how retail stores learn about their customers, and as the co-founder of Hoist Halifax, a monthly meetup for teens interested in entrepreneurship, design and programming, Gillis is empowering his peers to shed conformity for creativity. In this episode of Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett chats with Gillis, winner of the 2015 Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, on balancing business and school, empowering classmates, and plans for the future.
“Humour disarms. It educates, and it enlightens when handled properly.” For entrepreneur Andy Nulman, humour is as important as water or oxygen for survival. Nulman is the co-founder of Just for Laughs, a comedy festival that attracts two million visitors to Canada every year, including the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Tina Fey and Adam Sandler. Even though he’s moved on from Just for Laughs to co-found prediction gaming company Play the Future, to teach marketing at McGill University, and to author three books, wit is a key part of Nulman’s brand. In this episode of Startup Canada Podcast, Nulman uses comedic relief to give insights on global marketing, brand building, and growing a business in Quebec and in Canada.
Thank you for listening to Season 1 of the Startup Canada Podcast Show. We will be returning March 1st, 2016 for Season 2.
“My job as a CEO is to think of what needs to be done 3 to 5 to 10 years from now.” – John Baker, CEO and founder of D2L. D2L is an edtech company based in Kitchener that has grown to 850 employees since launching in 1999 and has been used by over 15 million learners. Baker doesn’t focus his time on the online education company’s current activities. He trusts his leadership team to execute effectively. To him, it’s important to focus on where the company needs to go next. In fact, he carves out at least an hour of every day to reflect on D2L’s strategy. Although the company started in 1999, innovation remains as important as ever and metrics have become central to the decision-making process. “We’ve defined what we called our ‘mission metrics’…We really purposefully try to measure and even predict the impact of changes that we’re making to the system.” In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews Baker about building a company that has impact, innovating in edtech and how his role as CEO has grown alongside D2L.
Why should building a relationship be the first step to scoring VC investment? “I’ll back the jockey before the horse,” says David Nault, a Venture Capitalist and Principal at iNovia. Nault says he looks to invest in entrepreneurs he thinks can change the landscape with or without his help. Over the years, his instincts have paid off. Nault’s portfolio includes investments in game-changing companies like VarageSale, Chronogolf, and Busbud. In this edition casino of the Startup Canada Podcast with host Rivers Corbett, Nault shares his insights on the types of companies and entrepreneurs VCs are looking for. He believes it’s never been a better time to start a company in Canada, however, to get the attention of a VC, entrepreneurs need to think global.
“10 years ago, if you were an entrepreneur, people would refer to you as ‘unemployed’.” – Tadashi Takaoka, Director of Entrepreneurship at Corfo Chile, on the shift in perception on entrepreneurship in Chile. Entrepreneurship in Chile has boomed in the past decade, thanks to Carfo, Start-Up Chile and a publicly funded incubator that invites startups from all over the world. Chile also represents an opportunity for Canadian entrepreneurs. Latin America represents 10 per cent of the global internet-connected population. Chile represents four per cent of that global population. In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews Takaoka, who brings his wit and humour to explain why Chile and Latin America can be a great location to grow.
“How can we build a billion dollar company and have it be safe and de-risked?” This is a key question for Stephen Partridge when building a new business. Partridge is a serial entrepreneur, board member of Startup Canada, and Head of Strategic Assets at Events.com. To Partridge, the Silicon Valley approach isn’t perfect. While innovation and disruption are needed to build a scalable ‘unicorn’, there is value in de-risking a venture. This is where Partridge turns to Ottawa’s revenue-generating model. A venture that brings in revenue is de-risked and provides room to maneuver when funding is scarce. He believes Canada has everything entrepreneurs need to find the balance between de-risk and disruption in order to build a billion dollar global company. In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews Partridge about building a global venture, the support needed to be successful, and why Canada is the perfect place to start up.