Over the next couple weeks Techvibes will be highlighting a handful of the CONNECT speakers. Up first is Steve Wandler.
Steve will be participating in the Marketing Strategies Case Study and will share how he positioned his startup for acquisition by US-based Support.com. Joining Steve for this session is Richard Mandeberg, the former Executive Vice President of Business Development at Support.com, who will share the other side of the story.
Techvibes conducted an email interview with Steve and here are his responses.
1) Who are you and what does your company do?
YourTechOnline.com became the #1 ranked Online Tech Support Company in North America beating out Best Buy's Geek Squad, which lead to the acquisition of the company by Support.com.
After living in the Bay Area, I returned to Canada and have become extremely active in the Canadian technology startup community by starting Metabridge, an initiative designed to provide small Canadian technology startups direct connection and access to key technology players in the Bay Area companies seeking investment, joint partnerships, mentorship and advisory opportunities.
In early 2010 I co-founded a new startup called karackter.com with two Bay Area partners. The product is designed to create an interactive experience to your social network and security tools through your desktop.
2) Why are you participating as a speaker in CONNECT?
As a Province/Country we need to build a stronger connection to the Bay Area. We need to get the word out that one of the key pillars to tech start ups is creating strong relationships to Silicon Valley.
3) What was the biggest challenge you faced as an entrepreneur?
Getting access to and spending time with the RIGHT people to build my business. Once I figured that out things moved at lightning speed... too bad it took me 4 years before I figured that out. When I pulled together my advisory team (mostly all from the Bay Area) the company took on a whole new life, which lead to an acquisition.
4) What’s the best piece of advice you can offer to a startup in today’s economic climate?
Spend time in the right areas of your business every day and don't try to make it perfect. Build a product that is good enough to get the product to commercialization and get customers and partners using it, then build and improve from there.
5) How do you feel about BC's startup ecosystem? What needs work/improvement?
Its improving slowly and I like the direction it is going but we need to move faster. We are too small of a community to have as many splinter groups as we do. Someone needs to take the leadership role in getting the community organized so we continue to get the attention of the Bay Area as a destination.
If you're interested in hearing more of Steve's story, be sure to select the Marketing Strategies session when registering for CONNECT online. Early-bird tickets are available now and a steal at $40.