Great BetaKit Dx3 Canada 2014 Video Interview of Extreme Startups Managing Director Marcus Daniels.
[Betakit] – We are on a mission here at Extreme Startups. Check out Betakit’s Accelerator Series on our recent evolution and big plans for 2014.
Read the full article on Betakit.
The “Day Job” documentary airs its world premier tomorrow at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and it will surely be a fantastic Toronto startup community celebration. It is focused on three tech entrepreneurs and explores how they coped being in our old 12 week accelerator program @ExtremeStartups. I hope many people will write about the doc in the upcoming days as I’m sure it will do a great job capturing the real commitment, sacrifices and emotions a funded founder goes through since a lot of mainstream media tends to focus on the highs not the lows.
A story worth telling is the intense adventure Fidelity Format went through to making this documentary and I hope this short snapshot will get others in the community to really appreciate all their efforts and work.
FIDELITY FORMAT INITIATIVE
In 2011 a fever pitch raged about capturing startup life especially with the Reality TV format with shows like Start-Ups: Silicon Valley. Even while I was the COO @TrendHunter we secured at TV development deal with BRAVO USA to do Trend Hunter: The Series covering our hunt for global trends and our award winning startup culture. So it was not lost on me how hard the venture Fidelity Format was embarking on especially given the authentic angle they wanted to take with their art. Extreme Startups gave them office space, access and morale support… they took the risk and delivered the magic.
TIME CAPSULE: COHORT TWO
Extreme Startups had a lot of buzz behind it given the initial market acceptance when Cohort One companies such as ShopLocket and Granify received significant funding. The accelerator market started to heat up as everybody started to concoct the launch of some sort of accelerator or incubator. The CVCA has tracked over 100 entities claiming to be in the space in Canada alone, which is pretty insane. Personally, Cohort Two has a special place in my heart as I was an Extreme Startups mentor and got to know all the companies fairly well. So much so that Picatic asked me to be their lead mentor and I even invested my own money into that venture because of what an outstanding founding team they had. Most importantly, it was that cohort that ignited my passion for wanting to turn disrupting the accelerator model into my next entrepreneurial venture.
CHALLENGES & WICKED PERSEVERANCE
Nobody will ever doubt Fidelity Format’s raw talent, but surviving in the uber competitive documentary space is ridiculous difficult. Their first major obstacle was funding. They ran a crowdfunding campaign and felt really let down by the community as whole as this important project neared bankruptcy. Innovative new platforms like Seed and Spark that my friend @EmilyBest is evangelizing around the globe wasn’t mainstream in that community yet. The Fidelity Format team showed the same courage and perseverance that our funded companies exhibit to never give up regardless of the obstacle and it’s a testament that they earned the right on their own to so-called “graduate” into a real business.
THE FUTURE: FIDELITY FORMAT & EXTREME STARTUPS GROWTH
Please buy a ticket and join us all tomorrow to witness the next phase in Fidelity Format’s growth. The whole @ExtremeStartups community is proud to have played some role in their venture. Last week we launched our evolution and cohort two played a key role in us thinking critically on how to enhance our accelerator model. I hope to see the whole community there to celebrate their authentic art and Toronto’s entrepreneurial spirit.
It’s hard to believe it has been three months since I came onboard as managing director of Extreme Startups. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a mentor practically from its inception and have been thinking about how best to disrupt the accelerator model for a few years now.
In starting or running five digital products companies over the past 15 years I’ve learned that the best way to disrupt an industry is to take a focused market driven approach with a team of entrepreneurial rockstars to co-create a bold vision in real-time.
Market Driven Approach
So I started a la Steve Blank and got out of the building… and then the country. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk to lots of people – our board, founders, alumni, mentors, investors and other accelerator leaders. From attending BDC backed accelerator rallies to diving deep into other international startup ecosystems including NYC, SF, Las Vegas and London’s Tech City with the goal to push the new vision’s thinking.
I’ve asked a lot of questions and spent a lot of time thinking about the landscape, challenges and killer opportunities to change the game. This is a critical time for accelerators. The market is flooded with hundreds of programs that graduate founders that are simply not VC fundable. Founders often enter these programs thinking or even being told that magically they will create a valuable business in 3 to 6 months that will get funded at a demo day. Most spend their time trying to launch their first commercial ready product and prepare for a vanity day pitch. The data points to the fact that most graduate without enough funding if any at all and lose momentum. We’re proud that 14 out 15 grads from Extreme Startups were offered the BDC note at the end of the program with other follow-on financing as well, but that’s just our baseline benchmark if we truly want to create meaningful global businesses.
Building Our Entrepreneurial Leadership Team
We don’t allow sole founders into our programs for a reason and the only way to win globally is to find other entrepreneurial rockstars who can extend the vision. So I’m excited for you to meet Lauren Robinson, an ex-investment banker and international program developer. She joined the team as Head of Operations & Learning to spearhead the launch of the Founders Academy and help scale globally via curriculum development partnerships. Some of you have met Lauren recently I will write a post on how our collaboration came to be and our fresh ideas in the near future.
Our First Big Change – Three Integrated Programs
Our track record to lead and move fast in both our local community and on the global stage is a direct reflection that we operate just like our startups. And we’re proud to continue on that path by launching a major market-driven programming evolution that I believe sets the stage for our future.
We’re moving from a singular 12-week cohort program to three integrated programs centered around an innovative new founder development curriculum. Our new three-program approach is firmly rooted in advanced digital product management training and we feel that will result in more startups securing institutional seed capital.
The programs, which allow for both continuous and multi-entry points, are:
- Founders Academy – Mentor-driven product leadership curriculum for founders working on early stage ideas.
- Venture Advisory track – High potential startups competing to get funded.
- Advanced Cohort track – Our funded startups that focus on optimizing product-market fit within a 16-week program.
Like Extreme itself, the goal of the new programs is to supercharge founders development and help secure institutional seed capital.
Cohort Showcase in New York
Lauren and I are currently in New York for the launch of the new cohort at VentureOutNY, which has selected all four of our Advanced Cohort track companies to participate in an investor-curated showcase in Manhattan. We earned 4 of the 8 spots.
I think that says a lot about the caliber of talent we’re supporting.
The companies being featured are:
- Candid – a visual commerce platform that tells a brand’s story through the eyes and photos of its biggest fans.
- ExecNote – a sales automation platform that is changing the way sales teams sell to enterprise CEOs.
- FameBit – a one of a kind marketplace that matches and connects brands with accomplished video influencers.
- SqueezeCMM – a platform that helps companies measure, analyze and compare the effectiveness of content and social media channels.
We will be profiling all of these companies in detail this month.
Here’s the news release we posted today. Stay tuned and buckle up. I hope you’ll join us for this red bull infused ride!
[TechCrunch] – Congrats to Extreme Startups alumni company ShopLocket for releasing a pre-order platform in San Francisco today that gives hardware startups an advantage by allowing them to do sales of product before they go into production.
Read the full article on TechCrunch
Apple is facing stern competition from market incumbent Google in the online mapping tools market but from now on it is getting help from a Canadian big-data startup, Locationary.
On Friday it was reported by AllThingsD that the Toronto bcompany had been snapped up by Apple for an undisclosed amount. Locationary has created cloud-based data product Saturn, which manages and updates the online information local businesses want customers to have, including, for example, their locations, operating hours, and products offered.
Full Article here at Canadian Business
The Financial Post gave a great summary of our last demo day with profiles of cohort 3.
Toronto-based startup ShopLocket wants to enable its users to sell anything, anywhere with an ultra-easy e-commerce platform that pretty much anyone can figure out. So why not let people sell things on their blogs? That’s what ShopLocket hopes to do now, by integrating with WordPress and launching a plugin to enable in-blog e-commerce.
WordPress, of course, powers a cubic buttload of web sites around the world, including the one that you’re reading now.* And no doubt, a number of ShopLocket sellers have blogs of their own, to talk about their products. So it seems like a no-brainer that the two would work together.
Full article here at TechCrunch.