Category: Uncategorized


Flow Is Growing – Now Hiring: SR&ED Technical Specialist & Grant Writer

Apply Via LinkedIN At:

Flow Ventures is a boutique consulting firm with unparalleled experience advising companies throughout the business lifecycle. Our team is composed of experienced, successful entrepreneurs and technical specialists. Combined, Flow aids our clients in growing their companies by helping them claim their SRED and other tax credits, raising financing, and planning strategic growth or exit.

Flow works with some of Canada’s most exciting companies and has a long history of being the go-to resource for funding.

We are seeking an experienced SR&ED Technical Specialist to join our expanding consulting group in Toronto. We offer a fast-paced, dynamic and entrepreneurial work environment with opportunities for training, career growth and advancement.

The successful candidate will be expected to provide support throughout the entire SRED process with our clients, including:

  • Identifying eligible R&D activities for our clients.
  • Collecting, organizing and writing detailed technical documents from information provided by clients (onsite and remotely)
  • Developing and crafting technical, narrative and financial components of SR&ED claims & other grants
  • Provide support in the case of claim reviews and audits

Desired Skills

  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • Ability to understand software code and concepts
  • Details oriented, meticulous and organized
  • Ability to work on many clients and projects simultaneously


Required Training & Experience

  • Prior experience with SRED, IRAP or other technical grants
  • Prior training/experience as a technical writer, software developer, engineer or QA analyst
  • Previous experience working with small to medium size technology businesses

Additional Assets (not required)

  • Supervisory and management experience
  • Bilingual (French/English)

Build your lean startup with Year One Labs

Announcing Year One Labs:

There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. Building a product is cheap and fast thanks to Open Source frameworks and the Cloud. Getting to market is easier than ever with app stores and affiliate programs. Super Angels and VCs are stepping on each other’s toes getting into early stage deals! Early exits are on the rise offering lower risk (but life changing) ‘outs’ for entrepreneurs.

But what I’m most excited about is that we’re beginning to have a set of best practices, thanks to the Lean Startup. Yes you need to have passion and vision (equally true whether you’re an Evil Genius or an entrepreneur). What’s been missing is a way for entrepreneurs to know what questions to ask and how to interpret the answers, especially when they don’t conform to the original vision. This is a lot tougher than it sounds.

That’s why we created Year One Labs with Ben Yoskovitz, Alistair Croll and Ian Rae. We want to help you realize your (huge) vision of the future by focusing on achieving the important things in your first year. Things like finding out who your customers are and building a product that solves a problem they care about. You’re not building a business (yet). You’re searching for a repeatable and scalable business model. We’ll do whatever it takes to get you there including getting you in front of the right customers, helping you build your product, and being brutally honest when your metrics don’t agree with your vision.

So what are we looking for?

  1. Passion – You love solving big huge problems (not just creating big huge companies, or Evil Empires)
  2. Ability – You have incredible knowledge and skills, and you can just get sh*t done
  3. Focus – Nothing distracts you from your goal, certainly not failure

The best way to ‘pitch’ Y1L  is to sit down with us face to face and talk about the problem you’re going to solve. Ideally without Powerpoint. Oh, and you should read Four Steps to the Epiphany and everything in Eric Ries’ blog.


Meet Our New Intern: Jeff Talajic!

When we announced our call for interns, I was astounded at the response. The quality of the candidates who applied were really strong but out of this pack, we chose one Jeff Talajic to be the newest member of our team. Jeff is going to be interning with Flow Ventures for the summer, so why don’t I let him introduce himself and what he’ll be doing for us, in his own words:

Jumping on this internship opportunity at Flow Ventures was a no brainer for me. I’m an MBA student with startup aspirations, so I’ve decided to take a break from the classroom for the summer and get my hands dirty in the startup world. I’ve requested to help out with all of the unsexy, seldom-blogged about things that are required to run a company — the payroll, bookkeeping, tax remittances, government documentation, SR&ED credits, and even the filing! If I’m going to found my own startup after graduation, I need to know how to manage the nuts and bolts that I don’t learn about in school and I certainly don’t read about in the blogosphere.

This internship also requires me to get out into the community and meet as many interesting startup people as I can, so feel free to introduce yourself if you see me out. My first stop will be at Mondev, the open-source conference taking place in Montreal, May 24-28. The full schedule is here, and if you see me at any of the events be sure to say hi.

Finally, I look forward to bring some fresh ideas, operational muscle, and strategic thought to Flow and help out any way I can. It’s going to be an awesome summer!

So, as you can see, Jeff’s really as keen as can be. He’s already been invaluable putting his weight behind Startup Drinks CA and saving my hide by diagnosing my PC with a network card problem! As they say, the best job security is making yourself indispensable.


Robin’s Ultimate SXSW Survival Guide

South By South West Interactive was, in a word, epic, especially as a n00b and a non-road warrior. This is what I learned in (almost) chronological order:

  • Choose your seatmate well for the flight into Austin – This way, you’re at SXSW even before you land. Mine was Scott Heiferman, CEO of who is an all-round nice guy. Bonus: see if you can get your plane turned around 30 minutes into the flight due to cabin pressure issues to ensure maximum face time and fear of dying.
  • Get some rest – have the airline lose your luggage. You can fritter away your first day pottering around your hotel room in your travel clothes and not unpack your things.
  • Party “plans” – treat them with the same disrespect as you do your business plans. Roll with the posse you find.
  • Shatter your iphone – it makes for a great icebreaker, pun intended (“what the hell happened?”, “how does that thing still work?”, “HOLY CRAP! I HEARD ABOUT THAT PHONE”) Photo credit: Evan Blaustein
  • Run into Sean Power randomly and frequently – highly recommended.
  • Use a car service – Just because you call a cab doesn’t mean it has neccessarily been dispatched (512-573-2486)
  • Have DJs rock your world – namely Flosstradamus (Chicago), Wants Versus Needs (Minneapolis) and Table Manners Crew (Austin represent!)
  • Drink early, Drink often It takes effort to avoid drinking at SXSW so why fight it? Stumbleupon party and Cheezburger party were both excellent. Driskill has great beef jerky (thanks Aidan!) and lots of legit people to meet – just follow the smell of riff raff.
  • Gatorade – the true breakfast of champions
  • Talk about something other than tech – entertain people with videos of your dog Boomer! (thanks John!)
  • Panels – ignore the title, research the speakers (thanks Stevey!) and/or go to things you know NOTHING about and expand your mind (thanks David!). If you’re on a panel, encourage people to participate by offering them free beer (thanks Grace!)
  • Warm up your vocal chords if you’re going to a panel with Tara Hunt. She will probably make you sing and dance. You’ll appreciate the energy boost it gives you.
  • Bring a Sharpie – you never know when you might need one.
  • Extend your stay – have your homeward bound flight canceled due to technical issues and stay in Austin an extra day. Don’t forget to cancel your next day’s meetings! Bonus: try to be stranded with David Dufresne (what a mensch!) and hit the music festival. Super Bonus: make sure it coincides with St. Patrick’s Day and watch the chaos reign!
  • Duct tape – bring it or buy it at 7/11. Your choice.

But enough about me though. How was your week?


Startup Drinks Around Canada – Wed, Jan 27, 2010

Hi Everyone!

We’re back on track with Startup Drinks with a whole slew of events happening across Canada.  Startup Drinks Waterloo were the first ones out the gate this year kicking us off on January 5.  You can see the recap here.

Next week there are drinks happening in cities all over the country, check it out:


When: 5pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Downstairs, Alibi Room (157 Alexander Street @ Main) (map)

Your hosts: Brian LeRoux (Nitobi), Boris Mann (Bootup Entrepreneurial Society)


When: 5pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: TBA

Your hosts: Cam Linke, Startup Edmonton


When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Bottlescrew Bill’s Old English Pub in the back private room (140 – 10 Avenue S.W.) (map),

Your hosts: Kory Arsenault, eSchedule

Sign Up Here!


When: 7:30pm, 27 January, 2010 (*special post-DemoCamp time*!)

Where: Imperial Pub in the Library Room (54 Dundas St. E)  (map)

Your hosts: Brian Watson and Robin Gittens (CEO Fusion), David Crow (Microsoft), Mark Evans (ME Consulting)

Sign Up Here!


When: 6:00pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Patty Boland’s (101 Clarence St) (map)

Your host: Cory Darby, Kelly Rusk (Startup Ottawa), Steve O’Halloran (Assetlabs)

Sign Up Here!


When: 5:30pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Brutopia (1219 Rue Crescent) (map)

Your host: Robin Ahn (Flow Ventures)

Sign Up Here!


When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Big Tide Brewing Company (30 Princess St) (map)

Your host: Jeff Roach (Propel Accelerator)

Sign Up Here!


When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Garrison District Ale House (426 Queen Street) (map)

Your host: Jeff Roach (Propel Accelerator)

Sign Up Here!


When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Big Tide Brewing Company (30 Princess St) (map)

Your host: Jeff Roach (Propel Accelerator)


When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Vie Tapas & Lounge (196 Robinson St, at the back of Robinson Court) (map)

Your host: Jeff Roach (Propel Accelerator)

Sign Up Here!


When: Time TBA, 27 January, 2010

Where: TBA

Your host: Jeff White (Kula Partners)

*** updated with 3 cities in New Brunswick! ***


Haiti Tweetup Wrap-Up: $10,000 for Haiti!

(tons more photos here, all photos courtesy of Julian Haber)

A huge thank you to everyone who was involved with Haiti Tweetup

! Here’s what we accomplished in one week:

  • 120 people attended the event
  • 35 businesses donated prizes
  • 20 lucky/skilled people won prize lots
  • media coverage on CBC, CJAD, the Montreal Mirror and elsewhere online
  • $5093 raised in total ($2800 from the auction, $1668 at the door, $625 online)

Since the Canadian government is matching donations, this translates into $10,186 which is going directly to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Canada.

Whether you attended the event or lent your support in other ways, we should all be proud of what we were able to achieve. I didn’t doubt for a second that the Montreal community would rise to the occasion.

A special thank-you goes to Robin Ahn who put in a huge effort to get all of the logistics sorted out including finding the venue. She is now our resident Silent Auction superhero. Believe me, organizing one is a superpower.

Thanks to the following people who volunteered or helped find sponsors: Christina Baudin, Lateef Martin, Massimo Farina, Sarah Lolley, Julian Haber, Christine LaFontaine, Peter Bailey,and DJ Andy Williams

And a huge shout-out to individuals and businesses to contributed prizes:

We’re working on new fundraising projects that will focus on the long-term rebuilding effort in Haiti so stay tuned. If you want to help out, please drop me a line and stay in touch.



Haiti Tweetup – What’s Next?

Thanks to everyone for their enthusiastic support of our Haiti Tweetup fundraising drive! We need your help on the final drive for participants on Tuesday, 19 January at Casa Del Popolo (4873 blvd St-Laurent) between 5:30pm and 8:30pm

Get tickets here:

Check out the Facebook page:

Reasons to come:

  1. Haiti needs help on the ground and they need it yesterday.  This is an international issue (that needs no more explanation from me) AND it’s also a local one.  Thousands of Haitian Canadians are worried sick and losing sleep over their friends and relatives; they deserve to know that we’re with them and we support them. 
  2. DJ Andy Williams will provide the sound and fury for your rump shaking pleasure. 
  3. Prizes! Prizes! Prizes! Raffles and silent auctions will be going on for a list of wicked prizes that won’t stop growing! 
  4. Did I mention something about an earthquake ravaged country just-a-few-short-hours-by-plane away? Yes, that one. 

How to help: 

  1. Send an email.  Copy and paste all of the above in a new message, send it to your entourage then sit back and take the credit. Plagiarism for a good cause doesn’t count. 
  2. Get on the phone – call your friends to come out and meet you for a drink on Tuesday at Casa del Popolo! They’re good people and itching for a way to give – the $10 donation-at-the-door might just be the trick.
  3. Get Social on Facebook and Twitter – shout it loud and proud that you’re coming with the #haititweetup hashtag.  Let everybody know that Haiti has your support and ask them to join you. 
  4. Work your contacts – Do you have friends in high places? Know people well placed in the media who just need to know about this initiative? Point them to this blog! 
  5. Add a Haiti Tweetup Widget to your web page – it’s beautiful and functional. Code here: [<div style=”width: 250px;”><iframe name=”countdown” id=”mgframe” src=”″ width=”250″ height=”420″ marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ scrolling=”no”  frameborder=”0″ ></iframe><a href=””><img src=”” alt=”Events” border=”0″/></a></div>]
As of writing, we are 80% sold out!  

Add the Haiti Tweetup Widget to Your Web Site

If you have a Web site, please consider adding the Haiti Tweetup Widget to your home page to help spread the word about the fundraiser on Tuesday January 19th. You can see an example of the widget to the right of this page.

Just cut and paste this code into your Web page:

<div style=”width: 250px;”><iframe name=”countdown” id=”mgframe” src=”″ width=”250″ height=”420″ marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ scrolling=”no”  frameborder=”0″ ></iframe><a href=””><img src=”” alt=”Events” border=”0″/></a></div>




Help for Haiti – Montreal Fundraiser Tues Jan 19th @ 5:30pm

It’s rare that we post non-business stuff to the Flow Ventures blog but we’re making an exception to announce the Haiti Tweetup to help raise money for disaster relief efforts.  This fundraising get-together will be held next Tuesday January 19th at 5:30pm at Casa de Popolo in Mile-End Montreal.

See all the details and RSVP here:

Tickets are free but we’re asking that people donate at least $10 at the door. All proceeds will go to the International Red Cross ( who are already on the ground in Haiti and have been for quite some time. If you can’t make it, please just donate directly to the organization of your choice.

Help spread the word using #haititweetup on Twitter. Look for the Facebook event called “Haiti Tweetup Montreal”.


The Flow Ventures team


Playing to Lose

I heard a bunch of different pitches from startups this week that made me think: too few startups are playing to win. Most people have a strategy for moving from point A to point B but I’m hearing more and more strategies for getting “better” not becoming the “best”. I think it’s a problem.

Here are some strategies that I consider Playing to Lose:

  • You don’t have a strategy. No further explanation necessary.
  • You only have one strategy. A good sign that you are playing to lose is that you can’t describe several alternative strategies in detail. A strategy is only as good as the ones you considered, but rejected. Be a skeptic.
  • You don’t understand the cost of success. When people plan to scale a business they often forget that revenues don’t scale by themselves without a some kind of scaling of expenses. Take headcount. Double headcount and I bet you’ll more than double HR expenses. Double the feature set of your product and I bet it doesn’t maintain itself anymore. These ‘diseconomies’ of scale better be built into your strategy.
  • Your winning strategy is your losing strategy in disguise. Sometimes I hear a strategy for winning that sounds a lot like a strategy for losing. Here’s an example: Your platform is so feature-rich and versatile that it can be used by anyone. Your strategy is to sell it to anyone. But soon you’ll realize that all of your customers are different and all your recurring license revenues are replaced by low-margin service fees for customization. Yep, that’s your winning strategy.

I think you can avoid Playing to Lose by spending more time understanding your winning scenario and making sure it holds up to scrutiny. Why do you think your cost structure will be leaner than other comparable companies? Why will acquisition costs go down, not up? What things get more difficult, not easier, the more you achieve success?

Are you sure your idea of winning is actually winning?

Next up: Playing for the tie