Tuesday, February 21, 2006

FounderCamp

So I've been to a bunch of founder/CEO type events.

One thing I've always felt that was lacking is something that was specific to the software startup industry... esp. in Toronto. Back in the day, when I was in the valley, there were always interesting events where I could bounce things off of software entreprenures. Heck, it seemed like all I had to do was show up at any random Starbucks in San Francisco, pick any random three people, and I could have an ad hoc advisory board meeting/focus group. ;)

But what occured to me today at DemoCamp 3.0 was that we could really use something like a cross between a CEO roundtable event that I'm a part of via ACETech (an organization of tech CEOs across Canada that was started out in BC - a little TOO big company/late-stage than I'd like), and the CEO Fusion Center (run by Cindy Gordon, a respected author and consultant in Toronto that runs a consulting pratice called Helix commerce -- CEO Fusion Center is not focused enough on software than I'd like).

Really, all I'd want to do is have a small meeting of like-minded early stage AND software focused founders/entreprenrues /executive-janitors that I could chat. In some cases, I could even see how I could lend some useful advice. More often than not, I think it would be a great way to vent and learn from others. Like I did today at my own little table the the after party at DemoCamp.

Heck, I'll kick it off and hosted it at my offices. I'll pick a date at a later time. There doesn't even need to be an agenda or anything. I've come to chat and get to know with some of one of the Nuvvo guys that are in a simlar stage to quite a few companies that I know, I've know Liela from Idee Inc. for a bit now, and Sutha from AmbientVector for quite sometime. There's some earlier stage guys as well, that have one to two people operations doing things for the first time that I'm sure would benefit somewhat from what we have to discuss and perhaps learn from some of our growing pains. But the idea is to keep the gathering light weight, free/low-cost, and open -- but still be exclusive enough so you don't have service providers showing up to try to pitch founders.

The focus of these "events" would be more about the BUSINESS of software, i.e. things like sales, strategy, financing, HR, etc.

Anyways, if anyone is interesting in helping out... or getting together at our offices for a pizza or something to chat and do an informal "FounderCamp" thing let me know.

As an side note, this is not meant as an altnerative to the idea of MoneyCamp, which is a pitching platform (and sorta a variation of HyperCamp) to get entreprenures and companies out in front of VCs (which I guess in itself is more of an alternative to something like the TAG -- Toronto Angel Group). But rather, its by software company founders, for software company founders.

I'll host something in March, I'll be up front, I'm not willing to do much work other than to provide a meeting spot and offer some drinks and/or food. This is meant to be superlight weight.

Just add a comment below if you are interested. If we get too many folks (I don't know what that number will be), we might have to cut it off or filter (and since its my party/experiment, and I'm footing the rent/drinks/snacks bill, I get to bias towards companies that are more like ours -- early stage, post-seed funding, product oriented, creative/innovative, etc.) ... I dunno, but feedback would be good.

6 comments:

  1. it was a good atmosphere last night. glad i got the chance to join your table for a bit last night myself. Count me in for your event if you'll take me. I could learn a lot from you guys and hopefully contribute some as well.

    If you need any organizational help, a webpage/wiki, cocktails, whatever - I'm pleased to offer. i have some time on my hands.

    cheers
    tom

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  2. Good idea Albert... Malgosia & I would be interested in participating.

    Keep us posted!

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  3. Hi Albert,
    I would like to participate as well, mainly to listen in on the discussions. I'm student, trying to start things for the first time.

    And what a wonderful thought! :)
    Tim.

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  4. Michael and I are in... let us know how we can help...

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  5. Just found this entry, and would be interested in attending.

    Please keep me posted: jeremy at orchestral dot com

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  6. Thanks for all the interest.

    I'm currently traveling in the valley... but hope to be back soon to reconnect with all.

    Funny enough, within 4 days of me being here, I've managed to help get a small group of valley and international web2.0 type underground group of founders to chat amongst each otehr "to team up" against, well, you know, the VCs. ;)

    Leila i think is restarting something as well... so lets just see where things go. I'm happy to spend a dinner every other week to chat with a regular group downtown if nothing else.

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