Last week, I spent two days in Sunnyvale, California, representing my company, Mob4Hire.com, in the Silicon Valley California Market Access program, which culminated in a 3 minute pitch at the annual PACT event at Plug and Play Tech Center.
This was the final stage of several months of work, starting at one-day bootcamps presented by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). These bootcamps happened in five cities across Western Canada (Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria) in early September. Calgary's occurred on September 11 (thanks, Emily McLaughlin, Chris Gill, Rick Rasmussen, Terry Weissenburger).
From this great one-day introduction and pitch, the selected participants continued the program in two different streams: San Diego and Silicon Valley. Mob4Hire was lucky enough to be selected into the second stage of both programs.
San Diego's 3 day program (called LEAP!) took place entwined with the events at the Banff Venture Forum ... an excellent combination. Through it, the 15 participants were treated to excellent informal and formal presentations, discussions and a San Diego V.C. pitch at the end of the week. In addition to one of the best 3 days I've spent learning as a CEO, I also noticed that it was due to the co-operation of many people, from the Federal Gov't (thanks Mario Diez!), local angels (thanks Randy Thompson, Henry Kutarna, Ken Gordon et al...), several financial and business leaders from San Diego, and supported by the local infrastructure such as CTI. Participants included Shopster, Kutano, Kryos Velocity, TeamPages, Solido Design, Mob4Hire, Soma Creates, Locarna, Dark Matter, IDUS Controls, Oprius Software, ResQ GPS, Atlantis Canada, eThor Media, and iKingdom.
Last week's Silicon Valley took place with the co-operation of the Silicon Valley offices of the Canadian Trade Commissioner, C100, and others. For example, the first day put us in the offices of Uptake and Picaboo (two Canadian Valley-based start-ups) in the heart of Silicon Valley, downtown Palo Alto. We met with Microsoft, and then spent the afternoon at CISCO headquarters getting tuned up for our PACT presentation.
The 3rd annual PACT day at Sunnyvale's www.plugandplaytechcenter.com introduced companies from 10 different countries to a group of 250 including Silicon Valley V.C.'s, Angels, and our peers from the Valley. The GREAT day was hosted by the Plug and Play Tech Center; I must say that the Canadian companies showed up very well ... congrats everyone! The 22 participants were ActiveConversion, Arcalife, ASAT Solutions, Atlantis Research, Awesense Wireless Inc., Barrodale Computing, Dark Matter Labs, EnviroSpeak Media, InspekTech Online, ITSportsNet, Jostle Corporation, Kryos, Locarna Systems, Mob4Hire, MoboVivo, MSR Innovations, Omni Technology, Oprius Software, ResQ Mobile Services, Solido Design Automation, TeamPages and Titan Clean Energy Projects.
An important aspect of the Silicon Valley trip is the introduction of the C100; a group of successful Canadian business leaders who are passionate about helping other Canadian companies get introduced and network in the Valley. We had some good conversations with mentors we were introduced to (thanks, Ron!) ... important messages I carried away were "Think Bigger. Way Bigger" and "Keep it Simple ... Simple is easier to execute."
We made great enduring relationships, not only with the Gov't connections and mentors/advisors in the U.S., but also with the other participants who are Western Canada's "top of the cream" and represent the next generation of technological success in our fine cities. I must say that I am honored to be included in this group ... there are some very smart people and tremendous stories in bioscience, cleantech and IT in the West!
As for Mob4Hire, I accomplished all our goals: get a deeply connected business advisor from the Valley, get some publicity (3 minutes of fame to be exact) and get to know the Canadian Consulate guys who can help in the area (Duncan Wright, for example, and Consul General Beck). I also managed to get a free steak dinner from Duncan for including the word "sherbert" in my pitch. :) Thanks, Duncan (for the steak AND all your hard work making the Silicon Valley program so successful ... much appreciated!)
This sets up all the participant companies to take advantage of the "Canadian Technology Accelerators" in both San Diego and the Valley on an ongoing basis.
I'd also like to note that in the past year of being CEO of Mob4hire, organizations such as Calgary Technologies Inc., Alberta Deal Generator, and Venture Alberta have done a great job of providing resources to make sure my CEO thinking cap is on and to help me get my story to the next level. This is an invaluable "secret" ingredient that helped me step into the California Market Access Program.
All of this will have a great enduring impact on our success, so, on behalf of all the participants (who I know share my enthusiasm), thanks to everyone who contributed their time, money and passion ... your efforts have made a real impact! Great meeting you all and we'll see you soon.