Huggy Rao spoke this morning at the Communitech Scale Up Breakfast and it was a really solid talk.  For those who weren't able to attend here are my notes from the talk. Excellent organizations allow you to be you.  Are we creating an organization where people can be themselves? Scaling is about spreading and sustaining a mindset not just a footprint. This isn't about hiring cops to ensure people do the right thing. They should do the ...

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I am leaving Velocity

Posted on April 5, 2016

Originally published at http://velocity.uwaterloo.ca/2016/04/velocity-prepares-to-bid-farewell-to-director-mike-kirkup/ I am leaving Velocity. After four years of working to make it the best place in the world to build a startup, the time has come for me to go help a startup become the best in the world. This wasn’t an easy decision. I truly love the team we have built at Velocity and will miss working with them every day. It has been an ...

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The Three Rules of Silicon Valley

Posted on October 29, 2015

At the end of September, Velocity held its “Big Dinner” event, where entrepreneurs in our programs are invited to join us for dinner to meet new people and hear an amazing speaker.  Tom Williams flew in from California to share some of his insights and set a very high bar for future big dinner speakers.  One of my favourite parts of the talk was Tom’s three rules of Silicon Valley: 1) Always be helpful 2) Always be honest 3) ...

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BNN Interview – Talking startups

Posted on October 19, 2015

I had an opportunity to participate in an interview on BNN today to discuss the Canadian startup ecosystem ahead of the election today.  A good discussion about the importance of intellectual property policy, how we keep companies located here in Canada versus heading to the Bay Area, and my suggestion for improved tax treatment to help angel investors.  Check it out. BNN Interview  

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Founding Employee Compensation

Posted on September 4, 2015

One of the most common questions I get from new founders is how they should compensate their first employee.  We call your first set of employees “founding employees” because although they are not officially considered founders they are joining the company at an extremely early stage and sharing much of the risk with the founders.  On top of that, these new employees will be critical to the success (or failure) of your company so ensuring ...

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Giving back with GiveGetWin

Posted on August 18, 2015

I had the opportunity to meet Russell Silver last week when he reached out to tell me about GiveGetWin asking if I was willing to help out.  The concept of connecting great mentors with those looking for help with all of the proceeds going to charity sounded like an amazing concept.  This fit so well with our "pay it forward" approach at Velocity that I jumped at the opportunity.  Based on a short discussion with Russell and then followed ...

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Currency matters!

Posted on May 20, 2015

It has been too long since I last blogged and I wanted to spend some time sharing lessons we are learning at Score More Baseball.  One of the biggest lessons learned this week was that currency really makes a difference.  When we first set up payment through Stripe we were selling to the local community in Waterloo such that charging in Canadian (CDN) dollars made perfect sense. However, as we continued to sell to more and more intern...

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Should universities have venture funds?

Posted on October 21, 2014

With the renewed focus on entrepreneurship at many universities and colleges, the question of whether universities should be operating their own venture fund is being opened. The reasons for doing so range from the admirable (startups at our institution struggle to raise so let's help) to the supportive (let's put our pension dollars where our mouth is) to the money making (we should fund our programs off the success of our alumni). However, ...

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The trend back to text messages

Posted on September 24, 2014

This past weekend I had the opportunity to judge some of the amazing hacks at Hack the North. There were almost 200 projects and our group of judges had approximately 40 to review.  There were a surprising number of hacks that focused on leveraging text messages (SMS) to provide core functionality or augment the experience so the user did not have to install an application.  This goes against the current trend where everyone is bundling and ...

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Grow Conference 2014 – Day 2

Posted on September 5, 2014

Why Big Brands Need to Innovate - Bonin Bough (Mondelēz International) -huge opportunity today with media on mobile. but so little spending by brands on mobile today. -brands are worried mobile isn't a scaled technology -1B people in the world own a mobile device but not a toothbrush -hackonomy - opportunity to create value by breaking things. Build a culture of breaking things. -looked at re-inventing oreos by looking at 3D printing of ...

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