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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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Lean startup: It’s the Canadian way

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 tech to market with lean thinking. This is the first of his commentaries and we welcome your feedback.

By Jason Flick

You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the billions in venture capital flooding into the Valley. Venture firms raised over $60 billion in Q1 2011 alone. Some companies are ramping from zero to billions in revenue in years rather than decades. Students fresh out of school are being offered six-figure salaries, four-month signing bonuses and iPads to come on board. (VentureBeat summed it up well in this recent story.)

Of course, these stories seldom report that for every company like this, there are 99 others that flounder and end up as large financial craters.

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Recent Comments

  • James LaPalme : Francis Would not say thrived - but close - in spite of geography. 15ish years ago - a group of similar skilled and experience and capable business folks (sales, channel, alliance, business development) all lived in Canada (Ottawa-Toronto-Waterloo). All except for one stayed - that would be me. Well the guys that went to Silicon Valley have thrived well beyond expectations. The others - Boston, Dallas and EU have done very well - thrived. My survival has been predominately based on CEO's from outside Ontario seeing my value. Best to move on to more receptive fertile ground if ambitious. A successful strategy is to move south do a few years and remove the pure northern business experience then come back - which my experience is very few will.

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

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