48 years of enlightenment: Reflecting back on 48 Hours in the Valley

Canada is an incredible country. As entrepreneurs, we are extremely fortunate to have many sources of support when it comes to growing a business. I can’t think of a better support network than the C100, a group of Canadians who’ve become successful in the tech/new media space and are now volunteering their time to give back to those who show promise.

For the past three years now my team and I have been in the trenches building Seekers Media – an organization that includes a host of media brands including www.snowseekers.ca and www.festivalseekers.com.

Thanks to the C100 and the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco, I was invited to participate in an event that’s hosted every six months called “48 Hours in the Valley.” With a brilliant schedule and many opportunities on the bill it was more like 48 days in the valley, allowing 20 companies within the new media space access to some of the top media professionals in and around the Silicon Valley. 

The event was broken up into a mix of formal sit down mentoring sessions with experts where we had the opportunity to work through any challenges that each young company might be facing.

 At Seekers, with our proven business model, we are ready to scale but weren’t sure if it should be locally – shoring up our base market – or expand into California. We had been wrestling with this for over two months and it was solved in a morning after meeting with my two mentors, Michael Burr, former CEO of StumbleUpon and now TravelPort, and Dan Martell, founder of Flowtown.

“Why move into a market so far away when you can simply expand locally by bringing in Washington and Montana State. Those audiences and businesses cross pollinate,” says Martell.

The participating companies were also asked to pitch some of San Fran’s top venture capitalists. I must admit for my first time pitching to such a crowd the nerves were high, but to learn from them that it was a job well done and “that you have something here” was incredibly validating.

Networking events provided the opportunity for participants to make contacts within Apple, Google, Facebook and several other high profile companies, all ex-pat Canadians who took interest in our offerings and who could help open doors as we all move forward.

A visit to Facebook to meet with its developer and business development teams definitely helped me solidify social media strategies moving forward, and I know many of the other participants felt the same.

I left San Francisco feeling different, much more empowered and proud of the job my team and I have done to create our business. The knowledge and expertise these people shared with us was invaluable, and thanks to their generosity, I came back with a crystal clear vision for our future.

It might have be 48 hours, but this outstanding C100 event left all of us with what could amount to 48 years of enlightenment.