American VC: 'The Worst Thing Toronto Could Do is Try to be Like Silicon Valley'

Brad Feld knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship. He's been at it since 1987.

So when he came to Toronto in October to promote his latest book, Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, people listened to what he had to say.

The cofounder of TechStars and the Foundry Group emphasized that every startup community has its own unique characteristics. And that's a good thing. Cities should not force themselves to be like another. Case in point: basically every startup hub in Canada trying to become "Silicon Valley North."

“The worst thing Toronto could do is to try to be like Silicon Valley,” Brad declared during his conversation with StartupNorth. Keep in mind he was speaking in Toronto at the time, but his advice applies to every city in Canada.

Even though he's probably right, it likely won't stop regions from trying. Which maybe isn't all bad, as long as entrepreneurs keep things in perspective. It's healthy to strive for a level of success equal to Silicon Valley. It's not healthy to try to create an ecosystem that functions exactly like Silicon Valley.

Boulder, Colorado, United States

TechStars is really different. It’s a mentorship-driven seed stage investment fund located in Boulder, Colorado which is quickly becoming one of the country’s top startup hubs. more

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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