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Calling Canada’s startups: There’s a $200B TV market ripe for the taking

By Jason Flick

We made a very happy discovery this year at Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES): There’s a $200-billion market out there for the taking. A market in which almost every customer is unhappy with dated products and overall experience, but expected to tolerate regular price increases.

I’m talking about the global TV market (video on demand, cable, satellite, IPTV), which totaled $137 billion in the first half of 2012, according to Infonetics Research.

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You really can achieve great things when industry, academia work together

As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked serial entrepreneur Jason Flick to share some of his insights. This is his next commentary and we welcome your feedback

By Jason Flick

According to Statistics Canada, expenditures by Canadian universities on research and development totaled $11 billion in 2009-2010, up about 0.8 percent from the year before. Spending by Canada’s top 100 R&D companies, meanwhile, fell 9.4 percent in 2010 to $9.4 billion. Compare that university R&D figure to total VC funding for Canadian companies in 2010, which was less than $1 billion.

If these numbers are a surprise to you then I hope I have your interest. What I will talk about here are the successful adventures I have had with my companies levering this vast pool of IP and perhaps suggest a way for you to see some alternate funding options for your venture.

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Breaching academias ivory towers

As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked serial entrepreneur Jason Flick to share some of his insights. This is his next commentary and we welcome your feedback.

By Jason Flick

Past posts in this series have explored the complexities of turning intellectual property created in a university into a flourishing business. Some of the issues are specific to Canada, but, generally speaking, there is no reason why we can’t do more with what we have. My biggest complaint is that by my estimation – and I have also heard the number elsewhere – 80 percent of startups in Silicon Valley have a close working relationship with a university, while in Canada, the number is much closer to 20 percent. To be honest, I think that Canadian figure is optimistic. I would love to hear examples of productive relationships between universities, colleges and startups.

How do we fix this and why is it happening? I have invested a fair bit of time working with, and trying to work with, our academic institutions. Let’s start with why we so rarely lever their strengths to support startups here in Canada.

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Why companies must incubate

As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked Jason Flick, Co-founder and President of You i Labs and President and CEO of Flick Software, to share some of his insights. This is the third of his commentaries and we welcome your feedback.

By Jason Flick

Over the past couple of years, incubators inspired by organizations such as Y Combinator and TechStars (see TechStars harnesses the power of mentorship) have taken the limelight and become hotbeds for angel investment and innovation. Montreal alone has seen at least six new incubators created so far in 2011. It is being done and it makes sense. In contrast, large enterprises often invest thousands of times more in R&D than the typical web or mobile startup needs to get to market, with questionable results.

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How to define, embrace and lever your startup DNA

As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked serial entrepreneur Jason Flick to share some of his insights on getting technology to market. This is the second of his commentaries and we welcome your feedback.

By Jason Flick

As I mentioned in my last post, startups don’t have a common culture. This is a myth that’s been created, perhaps intentionally, by the 95 percent of people who’ve never worked for a startup.

Who would want to search out and work for a company that can’t pay much, if anything, in salaries, expects you to work 12-hour days and in the end, has a 50 percent chance of failure? Over the past 21 years I have created four startups, been employed by five others, and mentored and worked with nearly 100. None of them has fit this mould, or any other.

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