The GROW Conference returns to Vancouver today and hundreds of startups will be attending the two-day event, as well as prominent investors, founders, press and pioneers.
According to GoInstant founder Jevon MacDonald (acquired last year by Salesforce), what really sets GROW apart is "its ability to bring smaller companies together with some of the biggest technology players in the industry. GROW gives them the opportunity to be heard and create the connections that can potentially help make their dreams reality."
But with well over 1,000 attendees, where do you start making those connections? Maybe I can help.
Here are five interesting people that you should look out for in the hallways of the Vancouver Convention Centre. While they might not be the contact you need to move your business forward, chances are they know someone that can help you out.
Dominique Belanger, Director, Strategic Investments and Initiatives, BDC Venture Capital
According to his Linkedin profile update yesterday, Belanger is the new Acting Vice President, Strategic Investments and Initiatives taking over for Senia Rapisarda. Belanger will be taking over where Rapisarda left off and oversee BDC Venture Capital's relationships with Canadian accelerators through their convertible note program. To date 49 different startups have been awarded $150,000 convertible notes since 2011 through Canadian accelerators FounderFuel, GrowLab, Extreme Startups, Execution Labs and HyperDrive.
Tobias Lütke, CEO, Shopify
Late last year Lütke's Shopify was crowned Canada's Smartest Company by Profit Magazine and it shouldn't come as a surprise. The Ottawa-based ecommerce platform powers 60,000 online stores that have processed 35 million orders generating $2 billion in online sales. And earlier this week Shopify became the first and only ecommerce platform to offer a payment solution that is fully integrated with an online store. Line up to introduce yourself to Tobi.
Rebecca Reeve, Founder, Rsquared Communication
Rebecca and her team have carved a niche as go-to PR firm in Silicon Valley for Canadian startups. Her roster of clients leans north of the border and includes Clio, FreshBooks, Mobify, Rypple, and Version One Ventures. If you want coverage from one of the big five US-based tech news sites, Rebecca can help you hack the PR machine.
John Stokes, Partner, Real Ventures
Last year Techvibes' Joey Czikk called Stokes the resident Gordon Ramsay of Montreal's FounderFuel program. Real Ventures Partner Stokes is a FounderFuel mentor and some have called him the best thing that’s ever come across their business. He’s forward, honest and full of experience. If you haven't had a chance to pitch him, GROW may your opportunity. As long as you're ready for the truth.
Brian Wong, CEO, Kiip
Hometown hero Wong famously raised a venture capital round worth several hundred thousand dollars for Kiip in 2010 at the ripe young age of 19, making headlines for being the world's youngest entrepreneur to raise substantial funds from real outside investors. He's raised tens of millions for Kiip since and matured in the process. Wong's visit to GROW likely has a lot to do with his recent announcement that Kiip is opening an engineering office in Vancouver.