Mark Evans is making a call for a Peter Theil in Canada. More investing in early-stage technology and media companies in Canada will definitely help entrepreneurs and attract others to entrepreneuring. But I’m not convinced that access to cash is the biggest problem facing Canadian web entrepreneurs. Additional funding will definitely increase the profile of startups. It will also increase the number of startups and entrepreneurs that get a chance to do it right.
“If you had a start-up fund with, let's say, $50-million, you could easily finance 25 companies – provided you could syndicate your post-seed deals. While Thiel takes a hands-off approach, a smart start-up fund should probably offer value-added resources such as infrastructure, human resources, legal services, strategic advisors, etc. given there isn't a large base of successful Canadian entrepreneurs who have been there and done that.”
Using a 2% management fee model this leaves about $1M/year to operate. I think Mark has the right numbers. I’m still not convinced that money is the root of our problems. As Heri points out, we’re doing a better job bring entrepreneurs, designers, and developers together. We probably need to work on bringing the money folks out to participate. Jevon and Jonas are doing a great job with StartupNorth and StartupCamp. The question can or should a VC be providing “value-added resources” such as “infrastructure, human resources, [and] legal services”. Is this possible on $1M/year. The challenge is that providing these services is either a lot of work, or very expensive if you outsource.
How many of the companies that you’ve seen at DemoCampToronto would you invest in?
Jevon and I have talked a lot about how startups are not an exclusive focus of DemoCampToronto (which explains why there is a huge need for StartupCamp). I keep wondering how we inspire and educate entrepreneurs to emulate Leila and Idee or Michael and Freshbooks. I think we need to teach some fundamentals. Rick Segal did a great job at DemoCampToronto15 providing an 5 minute presentation about venture funding for entrepreneurs. This is where seedcamp, YCombinator’s StartupSchool and StartupCamp have done a great job helping educate and connect technologists and entrepreneurs.