The Mesh 08 wrap-up

Mesh ’08 , Canada’s largest web conference, wrapped up in Toronto yesterday.

Highlight of the final day was the keynote by Garrett Camp (a founder of StumbleUpon ) and couple of presentations on angel/VC funding in Canada (covered here previously ). We covered the opening day’s events previously over here .

Garrett and 3 of his friends founded StumbleUpon in Calgary, when he was still a university student. StumbleUpon lets users discover interesting new websites and typically works with a firefox extension. Their first year wasn’t up to the mark. They received initial angel funding from one of their users, but things starting picking up once they moved to Silicon Valley and setup their ad network. They explored getting VC funding but eventually ended up getting acquired by eBay for $75 million instead, which was a 15x ROI for their investors. They get 10-15 million stumbles a day and earn revenue through advertising. Garrett was glad that he moved to the Valley from Calgary and thought his biggest mistake was not being aggressive enough in the first year, when they took it as more of a ‘project’.

Various other founders shared some tidbits from their experiences as well, and it included Paul Kedrosky (blogger and VC), Leah Culver (Pownce), Ryan Carson (Carson Systems, DropSend) and Julia Johnston (mEgo), among others.

The following startups got their ’15 minutes of fame’ at Mesh on Day 2:

  • Well.ca : Canada’s largest online drugstore.
  • Overlay.tv : Enables users to edit online videos and add various informative overlays on them.
  • Enomaly : Delivers cloud computing for businesses.

Mesh was buzzing with a lot of excitement and activity. Some whiteboards were setup where employers advertised their startup-related job opportunities. MaRS Centre in downtown Toronto was a great venue (though The Carlu, which hosted ICE and CIX earlier this year seems to be better suited for such events). Wifi was a disappointment though and most folks struggled to get online, which was surprising for Canada’s ‘largest web event’. Regardless, it was still a very useful event and thanks to the organizers, volunteers, sponsors and the attendees for making it all happen. Just one more year to go for the next Mesh!