I’ve recently become very intrigued by the Venture Capital world and the entire tech-movement happening across the Nation. I’ve been an entrepreneur since my High School days when I was busy selling Doo-Rags from my locker and that itch has never left.
After graduation back in 2009, I went on to start a digital marketing consulting company followed by a handful of start-ups that failed fast enough to allow me to move forward with valuable experience to keep on trucking. While I still aspire to create something great, I also aspire to some day retire and get into the Venture Capital or Angel game.
The inspiration for this post came from both Mike K of Skillshare and a dash of inspiration from the daily funding announcements I see daily in my inbox or newsfeed. If I had an investment fund, now would be the time for me to jump into the game. If I had enough capital to invest into businesses beyond those on Kickstarter – I’d invest right here in my own country. Here is handful of startups that I’d be more than willing to support:
The reason behind the selection of startups below (not ranked in any specific order) is based on the team, the product, the market potential and the level of awesomeness found within their company name. This list is in no way meant to recommend financial investments for real VC’s – This is Rossy’s world.
Shopify is an easy to use and very cost-efficient way for anyone to start a digital storefront. Founded by Tobias Lütke, this Canadian startup is one of the more intuitive services in this space and has all the bells and whistles to run an awesome store. Unlike many websites that offers this service, Shopify is one that gives business owners a very appealing e-commerce website with little or no programming experience.
More and more businesses are starting to understand the power and effectiveness of establishing an e-commerce platform. Shopify has been providing the tools for these individuals for the last few years and are definitely a pioneer in the space. They have developed an awesome product and are being used by some of my favourite brands around the world – Everyone from Holstee to Epic Meal Time. This is without question one of the many Canadian start-ups you can look at and be proud to sing O’ Canada.
In a hyper social world, it isn’t hard to get bogged down with the all the different social networking sites. Ranging from Linkedin to Twitter and Facebook to Flickr – It can all quickly become overwhelming and lead to what I call a social media burnout. A Vancouver based startup has a way to prevent this – It’s called Hootsuite. The most intuitive and my favourite tool for managing all of these different social media channels at once.
Hootsuite has competed with the powerhouses such as Tweetdeck yet has continued to keep a solid and profitable client base. Yet, they are still able to jump back on their feet and move forward no matter what wall is thrown in front of them. The founder, Ryan Holmes appears to be always up for sharing insights about entrepreneurship whether it’s through talks, interviews or one-on-one. If you’re not using Hootsuite I definitely recommend checking out this product as it has saved me both time and money. Without question, my personal favourite and #1 recommendation for anyone looking to be more effective and efficient with their social media activity.
When I came across Clarity for the first time it was through a tweet from the Founder, Dan Martell. I went on to investigate the business model and what Clarity was all about and was immediately intrigued. With an office in San Fransisco and in Moncton, Clarity offers people an un-awkward way to seek advice from those who’ve been successful in the tech industry.
ShopLocket is a startup I stumbled upon after doing some late night reading over at StartUpNorth.ca. The company hails from one of my favourite cities, Toronto and is the lovechild of Katherine Hauge and Andrew Louis. ShopLocket is described as a simple solution for anyone wanting a quick and attractive way to start selling online without the overhead of running a storefront. Upon visiting the site you quickly realize that they value design and the user experience.
I’m extremely excited to keep an eye on these guys and the magic they work over the next few months.
I’ve been using Wave Accounting for the last couple of months and it’s definitely a time and money saver. For anyone who’s not exactly a number cruncher and doesn’t wake up thinking about budgets and balance sheets – this is a life saver. Wave Accounting is described as an intuitive, 100% free, easy to use accounting application that’s built for small business owners, not accountants.
The founder, Kirk Simpson recently took his startup on the road and raised $12M in a series B round of funding. In a recent interview in YFS online, he says that he hopes to one day feel a sense of accomplishment in building a great company. I’ve got a feeling that he’s going to be able to accomplish that very, very soon.
I’ve been keeping my eye on CommunityLend because the industry of consumer lending is one that interests me on a nerdy level. The entire concept of consumer lending has the potential to really disrupt the financial system and bring radical change to the way financial transactions are done.
This is a start up to watch for at least five more years. I think this industry is still only heating up and with the economy finally starting to turn around – We may see some exciting times coming out of the P2P financial industry very soon.
Last but not least is a startup from my hometown, Halifax: TitanFile. It’s done quite well bringing in a variety of awards and accolades as it continues to be an industry leader in secure document transfers. The founders, Milan and Tony have a deep understanding of their clients and are making great strides in turning TitanFile into the next great Canadian startup.
Now, I’m keeping my eye on these guys mainly because of third party recommendations and because I’ve spent the last year following their CEO’s blog. I haven’t used TitanFile personally but know a handful of people who have and each of them rave about the product. For me, I’m just one of those guys who might find himself in trouble for trusting the cloud just a little bit too much down the road. One way or another, TitanFile is doing everything right in this market and are prime for having an awesome year.
We all know that mobile devices are the future of browsing and possibly online transactions as a whole. These are two reasons why Mobify stands out to me as one of the top Canadian startups to keep your eye on over the next few months. Not to mention they’ve been letting people know they have Starbucks as a client (WTF Timmys?!?).
Mobify is an open mobile platform for marketers and developers to launch amazing web experiences for any device or screen. The founders, Igor Faletski, Peter McLachlan and John Boxall believe that websites should adapt painlessly to provide an outstanding experience to everyone visiting them, no matter how they visit. And I agree. I hate that most websites don’t “just work” – Sure there’s responsive design but we all know that it’s going to be a few years before every business in North America realizes the importance of being screen-friendly.
So there you have it.
Some of my favourite startups on this side of the border. I know, I may have missed a few awesome startups like SimplyCast, Tether or Equals6 but my wrists are getting tired and so are my eyelids. I’ve been working on a startup of my own; dreamr.ca and this is the Canadian startup where my initial investment will be made. I’ve got big hopes for dreamr but also for each of these promising businesses and founders. I’m excited for my country and think now is the time for us Canucks to start taking our smarts and putting a dent into society. People around the world are buzzing in the belief that Canada is a very sexy place to invest right now and I believe that these businesses are contributing to that assumption.
Good luck to all you founders and and current investors.
Keep Hustling and let’s get Canada on the Map.