Ten months ago, Vancouver welcomed Silicon Valley style accelerator program GrowLab to the startup community. And it conveniently filled the void left by Bootup Labs, when Bootup unceremoniously closed its doors in late 2010.
Founded by Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures, Debbie Landa of Dealmaker Media, Jason Bailey of Eastside Games, and Leonard Brody of Clarity Digital, GrowLab hit the ground running with an influx of company applications and money from investors including BDC, iNovia Capital, and the BlackBerry Partners Fund, along with Rho Canada, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Growthworks, Yaletown Venture Partners, Chris Albinson, and Mike Edwards.
GrowLab Executive Director Michael Tippett was hired in time to announce the inaugural five startups in August 2011. And after completing the four-month accelerator program the class graduated at November's Demo Day event. Word on the street is that two of the five startups have received follow-on financing that is close to being finalized.
While applications for the 2012 Spring Program closed last week, GrowLab continues to blossom.
Techvibes reported last month that Tippet is no longer the Executive Director. And now we know who his replacement will be.
Vancouver's newest superangel—and an original GrowLab investor—Mike Edwards will be taking the helm. Edwards' Initio Group starting investing in startups in the fall of 2010 and in his first 12 months wrote cheques to 35 companies.
Prior to co-founding Initio Group, Edwards co-founded AreaConnect, a localized search directory, which sold to Marchex in 2006 for 17x forward revenue. He also co-founded InternetStudios.com in 1999 and raised a total of $22 million for it before the business died very quickly with Internet explosion of March 2001.
If Edwards' appointment is any indication of what's in store for GrowLab—and Vancouver's startup community—I suggest we buckle our seat belts. Edwards rise to prominence as an angel came from taking "massive action." Combine that with the fuel needed for an accelerator and we may have a potent concoction.
Techvibes will be sitting down with Edwards in the coming weeks to learn more about his plans for GrowLab. Stay tuned.
Disclosure: Boris Wertz and W Media Ventures is an investor in Techvibes Media Inc.