GrowLab is a local accelerator organization that many technology entrepreneurs in Vancouver startups have become quite fond of. It was founded in 2011 and it describes itself as an “accelerator for companies looking to quickly grow their consumer internet, social gaming, mobile or cloud based business by leveraging extensive networks rooted in Vancouver, BC and San Francisco.” To paraphrase that, if you have a tech startup you want to get off the ground, these will be the guys who help you do exactly that.
In 2011, It was founded by Boris Wertz (W Media Ventures) Leonard Brody (Clarity Digital), Debbie Landa(DealMaker Media), and Jason Bailey (East Side Games). To add onto this absolutely stacked line-up, recently they’ve hired Super Angel Mike Edwards as Executive Director who is fresh off a large investment spree last year that resulted in a portfolio including 40+ startups!
Your startup has to be a pretty good one with a sound business plan as there is competition amongst hundreds of startups applying to this program, which runs twice a year. Five companies get accepted into each cohort and can receive up to $25,000 in seed funding as well as the chance at $150,000 in the follow-on funding from GrowLab/BDC. The program wraps up with a visit to the Silicon Valley to meet investors, potential partners and customers, and of course, fellow entrepreneurs.
BlueBat Games, innovators of BlueBox, the engine that allows game developers to easily build on social platforms.
Cinecoup, disrupts how feature films have been created, financed and distributed.
Food.ee, a new product from Invoke Media, the maker of HootSuite, Food.ee simplifies group ordering of delivery food for offices.
Skyscrpr, makes it easy for bloggers to sell ads directly to advertisers with their user friendly interface and automated media kits.
If this sounds like something awesome enough to you, applications for Fall 2012 will open on June 1 for the program starting in early October. Start looking into it and apply online.
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Recently, an NPO named Launch Academy, has moved into the GrowLab office space. I had the pleasure of dropping by last week and talking with the co-founders alongside the various startups populating the space. Witnessing the energy and passion from the vast array of startups was really exciting and learning how all these people were aiming to make the world a more exciting place was remarkable.
Launch Academy is a not-for-profit institute focused on helping aspiring entrepreneurs and startup teams learn how to build tech companies faster, better and more efficiently via continuous learning from their fellow entrepreneurs, peers, and mentors. The aforementioned executive director, Mike Edwards, originally approached the three founders (Jesse Heaslip, Roger Patterson, and Ray Walia) in March because of the contagious passion and strong vision he saw in the team and organization. He invited them to share the free space at GrowLab, which wouldn’t be used until the summer. Ray Walia describes the organizations benefits by stating: “Launch Academy provides members with a variety of opportunities and events that allow them to learn from fellow entrepreneurs, collectively solve big problems, start new companies, and expedite the pace at which they begin to add value back into the ecosystem and economy.”
Whether you want to rent a desk with your team to surround yourself with fellow tech entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of or just be an associate member and connect with the community and other members, it’s definitely something to strongly consider. Apply on www.launchacademy.ca
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