Speakers and Sessions
The is the agenda and list of speakers of the event. We're getting ready to offer you 3 unforgettable days (July 13-15) at the Maritime Pier in Old Montreal, perched above the Cirque du Soleil tents, just underneath the Firework festival, and minutes away from the Just For Laughs Festival. Here are the speakers and topics they'll be covering.
Agenda at a glance:
- Wednesday, July 13 (PM) - Launch party and fireworks off the pier.
- Thursday, July 14th (all day) - Conferences (see below)
- Thursday, July 14th (PM) - BIG Party!
- Friday, July 15th (AM) - Conference (see below)
- Friday, July 15th (Afternoon) - Break out events around the city
Before and after the Festival - Lots of exciting off-events are being planned.
Wednesday, July 13th
Thursday, July 14th
Keynote: Why *NOT* do a Startup
You're a wantrepreneur. You're fat and happy. You're clueless. You have no business doing a new business. And yet, you're here in Montreal, all light-hearted and warm and fuzzy with your unicorns and rainbows. Well wake the fuck up you idiot. This ain't no walk in the park. If you want to be a real entrepreneur, you're gonna have to learn how to fall on your face a few times. HARD. If you're still ready to deal with that harsh reality, then Welcome. And Be Afraid.
Keynote: Super Angels, Super Stars, and the Super-Sized Startup Myth
Silicon Valley entrepreneurship is fueled by hype cycles as much as by technical innovation or the quest for the "next big thing". Today we're approaching the peak of possibly the biggest - and most limiting - hype bubble in the past decade. The bubble is hyper inflated by common maxims that – while true at their core – are widely misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misused to misguide young businesses. Chris explores the five 'True Lies' Shaping Startups in the US Today and how you can take advantage of the situation to grow a better business.
Your First Startup
Starting your first company can be a daunting prospect. Processes like finding a co-founder, allocating equity and raising capital can be difficult for a first-time entrepreneur to navigate. While there are offline and online resources to aid founders along the way, other entrepreneurs can be the best source of startup knowledge. As we kick off the conference learn about the essential steps, frameworks and resources that can help a first-time entrepreneur flourish, from a serial entrepreneur who knows the dos and don'ts of startup life.
Be ready to be bought! Your company is your product.
If you're trying to sell your company, then you have two products: what you sell, and the company itself. Knowing who your likely acquirers are means you can tailor the organization to potential buyers, just as you'd design a product for specific customers. In this session, we'll look at how to adjust your tone, staff, geographic location, pricing, and every other aspect of your business to make yourself an easy target for buyers.
Understanding the lean model
The Lean Startup approach has been described as the best way to build companies that have a high chance of success. But few people really understand what Lean is about. In this session, you'll get a crash course in customer development, building a minimum viable product, pivoting your product and market fit, and living a life of continuous improvement.
My first twenty employees
A vital part of any new venture is its human capital. Picking the right people for your start up company will not only determine its long term sustainibilty, but also its ability to attract funding and strategic clients\partners. The ability to spot talent and character traits appropriate to your business is a skill that translates into the difference between being a business owner, and a visionary. In this session, Mr. Patel will share some of his experience in how to select and attract the right talent to take your company from start up to mid size, and beyond.
10 Steps to Product/Market Fit
Once you launch your MVP, the feedback starts rolling in. While listening to your customers is key, you have to know how. In this session, Ash Maurya will explain why simply listening to customer feedback or relying on metrics is NOT enough. He’ll outline a 10 step process for iterating your product to market fit.
Scaling is Killing Your Startup
Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of growth; the common mistake is trying to force growth prematurely. This is frustrating, expensive and unsustainable – killing many startups with otherwise strong potential. Hiten’s presentation will take you through the key steps needed to create a foundation that supports growth. With the right product, monetization model and efficient conversion process, it is much easier to achieve sustainable, scalable customer growth.
Panel: Wide angle or zoom lens: the incubator dilemma
It's no secret that incubators are hot: the blend of capital, contacts, and mentorship gives startups an unquestionable edge. But there are plenty of approaches to incubation, from the shotgun-like "many companies, loosely joined" model to a near-surgical precision that turns investors into co-founders. Which one works best? And which one's right for you?
Panel: Right from the Start: Building your Business on a Solid Foundation
While “fast” and “cheap” are the bywords of the lean startup movement, founders need to slow down just enough to get the business basics right from the start. Shortcuts made at the beginning of the business can be costly – and even deadly – later on. This panel looks at which building blocks you must put carefully in place, and where you can cut corners, without putting your future business at risk.
Keynote: It’s all about shareholder value
Some startup technology companies are hitting their stride and leaving former market makers in the dust. Why is this? Stephan will explore basic business fundamentals: Choosing target markets wisely. Cash flow management. Caring about revenues sooner rather than later. Protecting margins, reaching and maintaining profitability. These and others key factors will lead to shareholder value. The only true measure of success.
Keynote: Investing In Your Influencers
Generating business momentum by building and generating value from a world-class roster of advisors.
Everyone in the venture and startup world will tell entrepreneurs that the team is the most important determinant of success in a new enterprise. There is a reason for that – it is entirely true. What is often left out is that the team is only made up partially by employees of the company. By focusing not only on that team, but a complex and diverse web of advice givers, you can be the best version of yourself as an Entrepreneur CEO. As your business gains critical mass – few people in your daily life will give it to you straight. Setting up and investing in advice guarantees you will have an easier time finding your version of the truth as an entrepreneur.
In this session, hear Paul Palmieri, co-founder and CEO of Millennial Media discuss the details of creating and executing on an influence and advice plan. He will walk through how Millennial Media has supercharged their results by formalizing influence and extensively using an advisor network.
10 Giant Startup Challenges That Will Kill You By Next Year.
Every growing business faces ten critical challenges it must overcome. From establishing an ecosystem, to dealing with channel conflict, to assigning equity incentives, each of these challenges can be a huge time-sink and, if not handled properly, can undermine the startup. In this session, we'll flag the ten challenges, and offer practical advice on how to mitigate their impact so you don't break your stride.
Money, Meaning and Minimalism: Lessons from two sold companies, living the virtual life and the paradoxical luxury of less.
Barcelona, Bangkok and Buenos Aires. Kitesurfing, Beach Volleyball and Paddleboarding. Endless summers, no alarms and amazing experiences. There's no doubt that Graham Hill has a life that many would envy. How did he get here and how can you design your own version? His talk will encourage you to take a look at your life and career for how they might be optimized for more happiness, meaning and fun. He discusses the happiness vs money graph, how more can be less and less can be more, how to capitalize on working virtually and most importantly; what is enough?
Zero Barriers to Entry. Learn How To Compete!
Open source, APIs, cloud computing, real time, outsourcing and Mechanical Turk have commoditized all of the essential barriers that once existed to building a start up and leading. Ideas are a dime a dozen and with entrepreneurship on the rise and methodologies like Agile and Lean, execution is less and less a competitive mechanism for rising above your competition. Learn some of the new rules and trends for building a start up that gets recognized. Understand what potential employees, investors and partners look for to determine if your start up is going to be the winner.
Growing users from 100 to 1M+ : Tactics you can use
Getting your first few hundred active users is hard enough, but once you get there you need to be focused on growth. There are plenty of tactics and strategies startups can employ on the path from 100 to 1,000,000 users. Ryan will present some of the most successful methods he’s used over the years. You will walk away with a good set of tips and tricks for growing your business, all wrapped in with stories of success.
Keeping it simple: minimal product, maximum vision
The founder of a new business needs to be of two minds. One mind has to be focused on the bare minimum, the essential core of the idea that can be tested and adapted. The other mind has to be dreaming big dreams, selling a vision of a world that can be. This session looks at ways to balance minimum product with maximum vision.
Boot Strapping to the Top
Come hear the story of how Jason boot strapped Super Rewards, the virtual currency platform that powered nearly all Facebook and mySpace social games, from zero to a 100 million dollar run rate to exit in 18 months. The major VCs were all lined up at the door and Jason made the controversial choice to just sell it all for less. Nostradamus? Or lacking in long term vision?
Succeeding with Freemium
In recent years freemium has become a leading startup business model. Startups use the pricing model to disrupt existing categories or to prevent a future competitor from disrupting them. But freemium is a difficult model to execute and requires a unique growth strategy. In this session, Sean will share lessons learned from helping to launch and/or grow 15 freemium businesses that are now collectively worth billions of dollars.
Sequencing the Startup DNA
Where do founders come from, and what are the common threads linking their careers? Monica Rogati, who created LinkedIn's job-to-candidate recommender system, is behind many of LinkedIn’s data stories: the most overused buzzwords, trending job titles, and first names that tend to succeed. For Startupfestival, she explores data drawn from over 100 million LinkedIn profiles and thousands of startups to ask questions about entrepreneurs and early employees: What is their background? Who are they connected to? Are they unusually mobile in their careers?
Panel: Does IP matter to startups?
Are patents worth the time it takes to file them? How important is protecting intellectual property to an early-stage company? On the one hand, documenting your inventions can be a time-consuming distraction, particularly when you still don't know whether the company will survive. On the other hand, patents can increase your valuation, discourage competitive lawsuits, force cross-licensing of technologies, and act as a differentiator. In this session, Mark White and Nolan Goldberg take us to the heart of the IP argument, looking at recent trends in intellectual property for startups.
Panel: What VCs are after
To get the edge on a market, investors need to anticipate the next big technology wave. They also need to find the right team, the right angle, and the terms that will deliver returns to their own backers. In this session, we'll look at what venture capitalists are after today, how they're separating the truly disruptive from the merely novel, and what trends like super-angels and convertible debt are doing to the VC landscape.
Keynote: Startup by the numbers
There is no recipe or magic bullets you can follow to build a successful, sustainable company. However along that journey, a number of key metrics, ratios, numbers and statistics will play a key role. Jeff Clavier, an active startup investor based in Silicon Valley who has funded over 100 companies, will walk us through these in this exclusive "Startups by Numbers" keynote.
Keynote: Living the vida loco
On July 14, Andy Nulman will be drowning in the midst of the Just For Laughs festival, the world-renowned event he presides over. His schedule that day includes over a dozen shows, seven meetings, and who knows how many emergencies that even his wildest dreams cannot conjure up at the time of this writing. Despite that, he will be with us as a closing keynote, living the entrepreneur's headspace and stress level in real-time. Join us for the usual unpredictability and inappropriateness.
Friday, July 15th
Keynote: From incubator to exit: A brief history of Reddit, the first YCombinator success
Jeremy Edberg - SendMail, eBay, Reddit.com
Reddit.com is one of the biggest sites on the web, sharing links and content from every corner of the Internet. From early days in the first cohort of YCombinator to acquisition by Reddit, Jeremy has been a part of the growth of Reddit, and in this session he'll share some of the lessons learned from building large-scale traffic on a shoestring, and engaging a diverse, vocal community.
Why IPOs Don't Matter, the Art of Giving Yourself an Exit
If it's all about the exit, then you need to find one fast. But the IPO, once the Holy Grail of startup success, is an increasingly rare and unreliable way to find liquidity. Early exits through acquisition, lifestyle businesses, mergers of equals, and secondary markets are all alternatives every entrepreneur should understand. Don't wait for the market to make you rich: Plan your parachute from the start, and understand how to give yourself the exit you need.
The Art of the Hustle - Street Smarts for Startups
How the hell does a kid from Calgary turn his Masters Thesis into a TED Talk and venture backed startup that eventually gets bought by Google? Anand breaks down some of the street fighting tactics that he learned along the way, like how to get crazy amounts of press, what led to the acquisition and how he raised lots of free money. Don't knock the hustle.
How to spend money to successfully grow your web app business
Once you've made the world's great product, what next? It's time to tell the world! But wait, getting the word out is expensive. In this talk we’ll explore how to spend a dollar to make two, and answer the all-important question: “how much should I spend to get a customer?"
Your investors backed you because you knew how to run a company. But now that you have backers, you spend all your time managing them—and none of it managing the business. How should you manage your board and your VCs? When should you give in to their well-intentioned suggestions, and when should you shut them down? How much oversight is appropriate, and how much is meddling? In this session, entrepreneurs who've been there share their tips for managing your investors.
Lean Startup Case Studies
The lean startup methodology is great in theory, but how about in practice? In this session, you will learn about lean startup case studies. These are real-world examples of the lean startup methodology in action. Lessons learned, including what worked (and didn't work) will be shown. From each case study, reusable best practices will be shown that you can use in the day-to-day operations of your company. This session is useful for any entrepreneur considering using the lean startup methodology in their startup.
Lies, Damned Lies and Startups
Startup life and culture is super sexy! We can spot startup founders appearing in their jeans, tees and boyish/girlish grins on the covers of magazines across North America. Millions of dollars are being thrown left, right and center, at anyone with a dream and the gumption to pursue it and there has been no better time to quit your day job and pursue this. I mean, it costs next to nothing to build stuff on the web, right? Only it isn't *exactly* like that and we're only hearing a small portion of the stories.
In this presentation, Tara Hunt lays down what being a startup founder is REALLY like - gory details and funny stories included. She has loads of anecdotes from her personal experience of making a whole bunch of mistakes...the stuff that nobody talks about, but really should. By the end of her talk, you'll either hand in your notice and go for it or shelve those dreams forever.
Panel: It's the attention, stupid: marketing in a flat world
We live in an information-rich society. As economist Herbert Simon observed, "...in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients."
While viral marketing and word-of-mouth promotions might seem free, the reality is that startups are competing for attention. Understanding how to compete effectively is the key to successful marketing in a flat, direct world where anyone can broadcast to everyone whenever they want.
In this panel discussion, prominent bloggers, conference organizers, and editors reveal what they look for when they choose to cover a company, giving it the exposure that can mean the difference between a wildfire of coverage and a fizzle of neglect.
From tungle.me to rim.com
The Tungle story is full of highs and lows: mistakes made, lucky breaks, and ultimately, acquisition by Research In Motion. In his first public presentation since Tungle's acquisition, Founder Marc Gingras will offer a candid look at the startup roller coaster, from inception to exit, for his collaborative calendaring platform. It won't include top-ten lists, fundraising tips, or social media buzzwords -- just a clear retrospective of his founder journey.