THE BLOG

07
Sep
Antologia poetica del renacimiento al barroco/ Poetic Anthology of Renaissance to Baroque

Build your lean startup with Year One Labs

Announcing Year One Labs: www.yearonelabs.com

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.

25
May

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.

13
Apr

Summer Internship Opportunities at Flow Ventures

Flow Ventures is looking for some amazing entrepreneurial interns for the summer.

You will fit a multi-tasking niche in a tight knit team located in Old Montreal.

What we do:

  • We are angel investors and grow startups from concept to execution.
  • We accelerate startups in Canada and the US.
  • We are startup community agitators (Startup Drinks CA, Startup Digest Montreal)

What you’ll learn:

  • You’ll learn how to research and critically evaluate a business model and contribute to its quick iteration.
  • You’ll learn how to run successful events and meet hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors in the process.
  • You’ll learn how operations fit strategy.
  • You’ll learn that sales is tough but that you’re tougher.

Who you are:

  • Approaching the end of your bachelor’s degree
  • Self motivated and independent
  • Able to juggle projects and priorities
  • Comfortable with the web and social media tools
  • Good networker

This is an unpaid internship that will begin as soon as your exams end and when your next semester begins. Through this process, you will meet startup founders, CTOs, angel investors and VCs. It will be rigorous and demanding and thoroughly rewarding.

Send your CV and a cover letter to Robin Ahn at rahn[at]flowventures.com. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.

www.flowventures.com

www.artanywhere.com

www.startupdrinks.ca

UPDATE: Art Anywhere, a Flow Ventures company, is also looking for an intern looking to leap headfirst into the world of PopUp! Galleries.  Learn more here!

19
Mar

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 Meetup.com 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?

24
Jan

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:

VANCOUVER

When: 5pm, 27 January, 2010

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

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

EDMONTON

When: 5pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: TBA

Your hosts: Cam Linke, Startup Edmonton

CALGARY

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!

TORONTO

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!

OTTAWA

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!

MONTREAL

When: 5:30pm, 27 January, 2010

Where: Brutopia (1219 Rue Crescent) (map)

Your host: Robin Ahn (Flow Ventures)

Sign Up Here!

ST. JOHN

When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

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

Your host: Jeff Roach (Propel Accelerator)

Sign Up Here!

FREDRICTON

When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

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

Your host: Jeff Roach (Propel Accelerator)

Sign Up Here!

ST. JOHN

When: 6pm, 27 January, 2010

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

Your host: Jeff Roach (Propel Accelerator)

MONCTON

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!

HALIFAX

When: Time TBA, 27 January, 2010

Where: TBA

Your host: Jeff White (Kula Partners)

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