Facebook and Canadian Innovation

Albert Lai sent me a link to his blog post about 60% Facebook Fund Phase 2 investments being Canadian. Each of these “winners” recieved US$250,000 with “no strings attached” (the initial US$25,000 grant as part of the Phase 1 finalist selection; and an additional US$225,000 as part of the user selection. The Canadians in the group include: Kontagent, MouseHunt and Wedding book.

  • GroupCard – GroupCard lets users rally their friends to sign the same printable online card to celebrate any occassion. Each friend can add a message, upload photos or audio, and even make a gift contribution. GroupCard started at Stanford, and is already used by thousands of groups worldwide.
  • Kontagent – Kontagent is a “leading viral analytics platform for social network application developers. Kontagent analytics provides deep social data visualization and analysis that delivers actionable insights delivered via a hosted, on-demand service.”
  • MouseHunt – “MouseHunt, a HitGrab creation, is a game of epic proportions. Players are hunters, hired by the king to trap mice that infest his kingdom. For each mouse caught, users will find a reward, bringing them closer to being the best MouseHunter in the land.”
  • Wedding book – “WedSnap created Wedding book, a social network on Facebook for those preparing for a wedding. Brides and grooms meet on Wedding book to get advice, support, and inspiration during their engagement and wedding planning process.”
  • Wildfire – “Wildfire enables consumers to discover, share and engage with interactive promotions like contests, sweepstakes and give-aways and enables companies to easily create their own attractive, branded promotions that are automatically integrated with Facebook’s social features.”

Jevon provides coverage on StartupNorth and it will be interesting to see if Facebook will continue to be a viable social media platform or if it is indeed dead. It always helps to have an additional $250k ($313,925 according to the Bank of Canada daily rate on December 10, 2008).

Dreaming the Next Web

Albert presented his vision for The Next Web at the October 2007 OCE Mind-to-Market Breakfast. I love that they’ve titled these events “Wake up and smell the future”. I hope it smells better than most CS labs.

OCE is offering a set of great programs like the IAF [PDF] up to $500,000 in early-stage funding for emerging technology companies. The Investment Accelerator Fund is AWESOME. “Investments are made in the form of a convertible debenture (loan) in return for a nominal equity position”. It’s very similar to the QuickStart Seed Funding from Charles River Ventures. I’ve written about this program when it was announced.

“It’s a challenge to find angels or early-stage firms like Ycombinator that develop entrepreneurs and companies. It’s a very different incubation model, i.e., incubate the people, the company, the technology – DON’T provide them space.” – David Crow – Nov 6, 2006

After the OCE breakfast we had an interesting discussion with entrepreneurs, community instigators, angel investment organizations, the Toronto Board of Trade and the OCE. Money is and important ingredient. One that we need to make it easier for Canadian entrepreneurs to find. But it is the people and skills to develop our talent that is just as important. There is the need for the right money, the right connections, the right skills to mentor and develop the people and the company into a powerhouse. Jevon and Jonas provide much better ongoing coverage and analysis of startup financing issues in a Canadian context at StartupNorth.ca.