As many of you know, I am a generally optimistic fellow. Even still, I was pleasantly surprised at the success and exposure of AccelerateAB in Calgary yesterday. Organizer's capped the attendance at about 350, and told me that 100 more were turned away.
Everyone felt the energy ... a great event; combined effort of the C100, A100, TEC Edmonton, Innovate Calgary, Alberta Enterprise, Startup Edmonton and Startup Calgary.
Kudos to Cynthia Titchkosky and Carey Houston for organizing a great event. Carey tells me the event resonated as a big step forward in community building:
- Industry partners are willing to step in and support the ecosystem in a meaningful way
- Edmonton and Calgary can work together to create a bigger and better Alberta tech community
- We have a ton of great start-ups that are interesting to some big wheels in the valley
The morning included mentoring sessions for 25 companies (listed in yesterday's post), and like Grow, was an intimate gathering with a great exchange of unfiltered brainstorming. As the emcee for the morning, Kevin Swan from iNovia tweeted: "I can't express how excited I am to see a group like this in Alberta. I've been waiting for this type of event here for four years."
Howard Lindzon, CEO and Founder of Stocktwits, gave an insightful and humourous keynote. Two noted statements: "Punch a banker, hug a developer." and "Don't start in Europe if you play Risk" (relating to the # of borders you'll need to defend ... better to start in Western Australia; startups, of course, need to take heed in terms of their focus).
For me, the three panels felt just like I was at a Valley gig; but the difference was that this was in Calgary. Panelists were a great mix of people from both Canada and the U.S.; Robert Simon (Ariva Partners, C100), Derek Ball (Tynt), Dups Wijayawardhana (Empire Avenue), Arthur Wong (Iron Key, C100), Anthony Lee (Altos Ventures, C100), Mark MacLeod (Real Ventures), Shawn Abbott (iNovia Capital), Boris Wertz (W Media Ventures, Growlad, C100), Brad Zumwalt (Zinc Ventures, Veer, A100), Danny Robinson, Stephen Kenny (A100, MRU), David Quail (YouSendIt, A100, C100), Brian Wong (Kiip, C100) and Patrick Lor (Fotolia, A100).
Shout-out to the sponsors:
- PREMIER: Alberta Enterprise, BDC, FMC Law, Innovate Calgary, iNovia Capital, KPMG, PWC, and TEC Edmonton
- SILVER: AVAC, Bennett Jones, Miller Thomson
- OFFICE HOURS: Techbent, Tecterra, Yaletown
- MEDIA: Techvibes
Twitter was trending, see all the comments here.
The event even managed to pick up some attention from Calgary Herald ... I was interviewed for the article, and even reporter Kim Guttormson mentioned that the tech community feels more coordinated and coming on strong. For me, as always in a city focused on Oil & Gas, and especially during a Stampede week, it's great validation that we're all on the right track.
A good day for all.