Archives

False Assumption: The Reason Why It’s Not Always Cheaper To Launch a Startup in Atlantic Canada

By: 18th November 2015 Strategy No Comments

  One of our unquestioned assumptions when we closed the Build Ventures’ fund in 2013 was that launching a startup in Atlantic Canada was cheaper than doing it in other parts of Canada or the United States. Our location, at least in this respect, was thought to be a competitive advantage. There are certainly challenges to building a company here given the early stage of our ecosystem, but we thought we had the core ingredients: lots of smart entrepreneurial people and an environment which allowed those people to get more done with less.  The key cost driver at the early…

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The State of #StartupEast: A Wave is Forming

By: 21st October 2015 Strategy No Comments

The September event calendar for our Atlantic Canadian Tech community was jammed packed as usual. A few weeks ago the new team at Propel ICT held their Demo Day in Moncton featuring 12 companies on stage from the 33 companies that went through the Launch and Build programs. A few days later Volta held their second Startup Empire conference in Halifax. Both events were electric. Demo Day showed that Gerry Pond’s vision of a truly Atlantic Canada-wide startup community is becoming a reality, with strong representation from throughout the region. Propel ICT delivers its program through Planet Hatch in Fredericton,…

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Raising What You Need

By: 15th September 2015 Strategy No Comments

Most startups on the East Coast and around the world view raising capital as a top priority. And with good reason, you can only boot-strap your startup so far. Cash is almost always the fuel for growth. But it is important to be strategic in your efforts to raise capital. Too little capital, or even too much, can create serious problems that will reduce your odds of success. The startup community here on the East Coast is still in its early days. The same can be said for our approach to raising capital. (Disclaimer – this post is meant for startups…

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Understanding Traction In The Quest for Funding

By: 25th August 2015 Strategy 1 Comment

“We like what you’re doing, come back and see us when you have traction.” Every startup founder in search of seed, late seed or Series A funding has been on the receiving end of this statement from a venture investor. In fact, most have likely heard it more than once. It’s easy feedback for the potential investor to give because (they hope) it preserves the option to invest in future rounds. Yet it’s frustrating for founders who are left wondering what traction really means. The answers are typically vague. Sometimes an investor will suggest a few common benchmarks:  $100K MRR…

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Get On A Plane

By: 15th July 2015 Strategy No Comments

Atlantic Canada is wonderful place to launch a startup. It has a supportive and collaborative startup community, great accelerators and strong universities. But it doesn’t have a lot of customers, partners, or investors when compared to other more mature ecosystems. You can start a successful business here, but you will never reach scale within the region. That’s just a simple fact. The reality is that you must get on a plane and travel to larger places if you want to build your business. Our little region has a population of less than 2.5 million people. Individually each province is about…

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The Six Things We Look For When Investing

By: 2nd July 2015 Strategy 1 Comment

Finding capital is one of the biggest challenges facing startups, in Atlantic Canada or around the world. Most traditional lenders are leery of investing in unproven startups, and friends and family support will only take you so far. At Build Ventures, our focus is on identifying and investing in Atlantic Canadian startups with clear potential. Still, not every startup is right for every venture capital firm. Here are the six big things we look for when considering an investment: People First and foremost, we are looking for outstanding founders. We want to see people with unique technology or a novel…

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Welcoming InteraXon to the Portfolio

By: 26th June 2015 Portfolio, Strategy No Comments

We are happy to welcome InteraXon to the Build Ventures’ portfolio. We recently invested in the company’s $10 million Series B round, which was led by OMERS Ventures with participation from existing investors Felicis Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Flextronics Lab IX. As we dug into the company, we got excited about the product and its potential, the traction to date and the depth of the management team. InteraXon has developed Muse, a brain fitness tool that measures a user’s brain waves using seven finely calibrated electroencephalography (EEG) sensors – two on the forehead, two behind the ears working together with…

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Launching the Build Ventures Blog

By: 5th May 2015 Portfolio, Strategy No Comments

It’s hard for Rob and I to believe but Build Ventures just had its two year anniversary. There was a surprising amount of ‘administrivia’ involved in setting up a first fund and a lot of fundraising meetings which took the fund from $48.5M when we launched to $65M today. Most importantly, of course, was getting out across the region to meet companies and begin building our portfolio. To date we’ve made six investments: Introhive, Affinio, Smart Skin, Resson  and Celtx. For those counting, the sixth just closed and will be announced soon. One thing which clearly got neglected was our blog. There…

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