GROW Conference | BCBusiness
The GROW Conference, in its third year, helps young tech entrepreneurs fast-track their startup projects.
The third annual gathering connected young tech upstarts with potential financiers from Canada and the Silicon Valley.
Here is an interesting dilemma: You meet a seasoned entrepreneur with a completed prototype ready to take on a very big consumer-focused market. It is spellbindingly beautiful and simple, leveraging all the latest mobile and web technologies.
Here’s the rub: The prototype is something anyone else can build. So, if you believe in the opportunity, it has to go big and fast. A lead in this market space can be the biggest, and maybe only, advantage.
I have seen this many times before. If you’ve thought of this here in Vancouver, then 10 people in the Silicon Valley are already building it. Why am I so skeptical? Because we have been burned before in Canada by the fast-moving, get-big-fast mentality of the Valley. I needed to enlist some help for this guy to validate his idea and to check the market for any whiff of a launched competitor.
Luckily for this entrepreneur, he came to me the week before the GROW Conference, the largest gathering of Internet media and mobile types in Canada with their counterparts from big companies and big start-up funders (seed, angel and venture capitalists) in the Silicon Valley.
The third installment of this conference, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, had as many significant entrepreneurs and managers of fast-growing California-based companies as the years prior. And the access the conference gives to the speakers is unparalleled. This is where you truly mingle with those on the leading edge of the Internet business.
I was able to connect this entrepreneur and his very large idea with both Canadian and U.S. people with money and/or capabilities to help him launch and get users fast. They were all there to meet one another and see what was happening in the burgeoning Canadian tech scene. The idea was met with great enthusiasm, so much so that the entrepreneur hired a lawyer at the conference to incorporate and flew down to the Silicon Valley two days later to meet angel investors. The company will likely be built here in Vancouver, but it will get off the ground with connected angels both here and there. I would strenuously argue to keep the company here nine times out of 10. Either way, I guarantee it has a better chance of growing quickly given the exposure from the GROW Conference and its stellar list of attendees.
If you missed GROW, be sure and be there next year. If you were there, you know the level of networking and learning was high and the energy was palpable. It’s easily the best event of its kind in Canada. It might also have seeded a great new business right here in Vancouver.