STIRR Canada ran its first Founders’ Table event last night in Calgary and it was great to be able to attend and join in. The goal of the Founders’ Table events is to bring founders of newer tech startups together in an intimate social setting with people who have gone through the startup process before, and are potentially looking to advise and invest. The hope is that newer founders, and pre-startup innovators, will be able to connect with and learn from the more seasoned entrepreneurs and investors.
The event was kept fairly small and was invite–only. This was done so that quality “up and coming” founders would be able to get the most benefit. The seating at the tables was pre-arranged so that people would interact with others that they might not have met before. Most of the attendees came from Calgary, however there were about five or six people from Edmonton who were invited down.
The first part of the evening featured Garrett Camp, the co-founder of one of Calgary’s most successful startups, StumbleUpon. The first few minutes of Garrett’s talk was about how StumbleUpon came about and grew. One of the most interesting things that came out of that talk was that his first angel connection actually contacted him because he was a frequent user and loved the idea.
After Garrett’s brief talk, he opened the floor to questions from the attendees. Perhaps the question that most people wanted to have answered was: “Would he have been able to take StumbleUpon to where it was had he not moved to the Valley?” Garrett figured he would have been able to but “it would have been much harder, and required more travel back and forth from the Valley.” Ultimately he felt as though the connections and mentoring that he was able to get from Silicon Valley were vital to the success that StumbleUpon has had. This is one of the biggest reasons that Pat Lor, Claudia Moore and the STIRR Team have worked so hard to bring STIRR to Canada. They hope that the connections, mentoring and startup experiences that exist in Canada will be able to be shared with the next flock of startups.
After the talk, dinner was served and it gave a chance for everyone to interact. It was great to be able to hear some of the people who had run successful startups talk about what had taken them there. Also for those who would potentially become investors they were able to learn more about both the founder and their idea, and it gave the newer founders a chance to find out what investors were really looking for. Each table had a STIRR organizer facilitating the conversation so that everyone was able to discuss some of the topics that they were interested in.
Overall the event was great. STIRR has done a fantastic job in the Valley and it is great to see it here in Canada. Hopefully the event will continue to grow and the format will be expanded to other cities. It was really awesome to see the conversations that were being had, and the relationships that were being developed. STIRR Canada will be running more Founders’ Table events, as well as larger Tech Mixers. If you think that you should be invited, contact them and let them know why; likely you will find yourself at a future STIRR event.