Largest turnout to-date for Silicon Halton’s Meetup #18 at Emma's Back Porch in Burlington - where Philip Neukom carefully walked us through how to approach a VC. Event report submitted by Dawn Boshcoff:
What this Meetup was About
I had the pleasure of attending my first Meet-Up on April 12th at Emma’s Back Porch in Burlington and met organizers, Chris Herbert and Rick Stomphorst, as they welcomed members and non-members to the event, entitled VC Pitching 101. Unlike many of those who attended, I wasn’t yet a Silicon Halton member, nor was I, employed by a Halton technology firm. I was, however, a like-minded attendee towards grass roots networking and had learned from being self-employed for over 20 years, that connecting and creating strong relationships and business partnerships, along with aligning myself with other entrepreneurs, is a sure formula for success.
That evening, hi-tech leaders and solo-e’s in Halton were invited to focus on accessing venture capital (VC). “Show me the money!” I overheard an eager young developer chanting this tune, while raising a pint, before the session began.
Stomphorst, one of the original founders of the organization, began the evening by reinforcing the philosophy of the local business alliance. “In order to become successful, it will take the combined efforts of many in the community,” he said.
The Meet-up track was focused on business growth, specifically accessing venture capital, and the evening featured a top-notch panel of experts, including Philip Neukom (right), Managing Director of Profit Analytics, Shirley Speakman (centre), Director at Investment Accelerator Fund and Roger Wilson (left), Director at BDC Venture Capital. These three VC investors provided practical tips on how to prepare your pitch and find investors and advised the audience on how to approach angel investors and access funds from both Canadian and US based groups.
Many individuals took advantage during the open Q&A to share their own experiences and ask questions. This followed with active networking where individuals were able to make introductions, connect with ideas and create opportunities for follow-up. Although the event was not designed as a pitching forum, we heard from one entrepreneur who successfully pitched the popular TV show, The Dragon’s Den. “Pitching for a television show is quite different from pitching real life dragons.” he said. “What they want there is to make good TV.”
The first panelist, Neukom said, “You need to know who to talk to and must go in with your entire pitch ready to roll off your tongue.” He further added, that you have about 30 seconds to make your best first impression and that your goal at the initial pitch should just be to get that second meeting.
Speakman, who manages a $27.5M venture capital fund, established by the Ontario government explained that investor groups really want to see companies succeed and are particularly interested in start-ups, providing not only capital funds, but support to companies in all areas, including legal, accounting, administration, research, development and manufacturing. She had been involved in numerous transactions and financing that allowed her to share perspectives from both company and investor sides.
A former entrepreneur, Wilson, said that he loves to learn about new technologies and business models and is passionate about helping early stage ventures succeed. “BDC is focused on technology-based businesses that have high growth potential and are positioned to become dominant players in their markets.”
The knowledge and learning at this event was invaluable to hi-tech companies and players in Halton and if you want to connect with hi-tech peers and take advantage of this thriving business community, Silicon Halton meet-up events are the place. I immediately felt a part of this community, amidst an enthusiastic and friendly group of professionals. For me, connecting with others who could help support my clients with technology was clearly matched by my eagerness to share my expertise in digital content development and new media communications. The networking that followed confirmed that I had made the right choice.
Member Intro - Toronto Region Research Alliance
Leyden M. Fonte, Project Manager at the Toronto Region Research Alliance (TRRA), provided a 3min overview of TRRA's "Research & Innovation Jobs" project - What's in it for Silicon Halton? Leyden's slides can be found in the main deck below. Leading economic regions worldwide are competing in the knowledge economy. The global demand for research and innovation jobs will create significant competition for talent. Regions will vie for leadership in both established and emerging industrial sectors. This poses critical questions for the Toronto Region economy:
- What types of new economy jobs are likely to be created here?
- Will the current educational system meet requirements for these jobs?
- Is the region prepared to compete globally to attract new economy jobs?
The Research & Innovation Jobs Project will address these questions:
- Why is it important for Halton? Promote Toronto Region’s potential in the global economy (attract foreign investment); Influence training programs; Learn of practices taking place in top economic regions.
- What Do We Want? We want to listen to professionals responsible for R&I activities at local companies. Let us know your hiring needs (fulfilled or not), your collaboration models in terms of R&I, etc.
- What Should You Do? Participate in our focus groups or employers’ survey.
- How? Register at trra.ca/RIjobs
Pix from the event here.
About The Member Blogger:
Dawn Boshcoff, Principal, BOSHnewmedia Communications Dawn is a New Media PR Specialist, Writer and Trainer who serves an international portfolio of clients through her company BOSHnewmedia.com. For over a decade she has helped individuals, entrepreneurs and companies to position their brand by creating content and digital dialogue to get found, get noticed and get business.