The numbers are in, the venues are cleaned up, new stories have been told and old lessons proved true. All in all this year’s Tech Week was a great success for London’s Tech community. We saw over 450 people out to various events and activities, showcasing the vibrancy of the sector. I wanted to highlight a few different events through the week.
Talkin’ Tech with Sarah Prevette
The week kicked off with Sarah Prevette hosting Taylor Ablitt, Mallorie Brodie and Jeff Evans—founders of Diply, Bridgit and Tiny Titan Studios, respectively. In a talk show format, Sarah asked questions about the challenges each founder faced in business. The guests gave candid answers, sharing important insights with those in attendance.
Two fairly consistent themes quickly emerged—finding and retaining top talent and figuring out how to focus an organization on key objectives. All three panelists highlighted this as both a challenge and an opportunity for startups. A few of my highlights from those talks included:
The fallacy of thinking that if you achieve one specific goal, somehow running a business will get easier. “If we could just get to a million in revenue, if we could just get to xyz—the reality is this never goes away. You always have to hit a new target. It’s grow or die in tech. It’s not one pain point, it’s a constant thing.”
The importance of being anchored in London: “Why stay in London? It punches well above its weight class. The amount of young talent in the city is phenomenal.”
Be lean and maximize what you can accomplish with your existing resources. “Think like ‘Moneyball’ (a movie about maximizing return on investment from baseball players using analytics) – watch how to use your capital, watch for sales, keep it lean as possible.”
We compiled some “offline” Talkin’ Tech articles with a few members of our community as well leading up to and during the week. You can review those posts here:
- Talkin’ Tech with Brennon from Dibbzz
- Talkin’ Tech with Keegan from InnoSoft
- Talkin’ Tech with Brad from ZTR
- Talkin’ Tech with Matt from Orca
Munchies with Mentors
Munchies with mentors saw over 20 participants meet with an all-star cast of mentors. It was a rare opportunity to connect one-on-one with some of our city’s strongest leaders. Our mentors included:
Barney Lawn: President & CEO, Core Solutions
Chris Kirby: CTO, Voices.com
David Strucke: CEO, Media Sonar
Patrick Poulin: TechAlliance Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Paul Turner: Senior Product Manager, CarProof
Peter Rocca: President & CEO, Start.ca
Rachel Berdan: COO, rTraction
We know that talking to fellow entrepreneurs that have “been there, done that” can dramatically help new businesses succeed—and so we’re grateful for those who take the time out of the schedule to connect with new businesses needing help.
Secondary School Technology Awareness Campaign
In the Talkin’ Tech segment above we mentioned that talent attraction and retention is one of the key obstacles facing technology company growth. We see one of the opportunities in changing that as getting out to high school students earlier in their academic careers to encourage them to consider a career in technology.
We were able to get in front of 230 students at six schools with presentations from several industry leaders:
Karen Chalmers: Big Blue Bubble
Michael Feeney: Fanshawe College
Adam Caplan: web.isod.es
Keegan Howlett: InnoSoft Canada
Alicia Boynton: Advanced Composites Training
We’re grateful to these leaders for taking the time out of their schedules to help students understand the opportunities that wait for them in technology, and perhaps most importantly, the technology sector in our city.
Our week wraps up with a celebration of the accomplishments of our technology community. It’s a great opportunity to get together, share stories and recognize those leading the way in three key areas: Business Growth, Startup Innovation and Community Engagement.
The hardest part for any judge (I was a judge in the Community Engagement competition) is selecting from 2–3 amazing finalists as all of the finalists are worthy of recognition for their accomplishments.
The finalists in each category were:
- Community Engagement: SixFive, Media Sonar
- Startup Innovation: Dibbzz, TecVana, Visitor Queue
- Business Growth: Northern, Mobials, Zomaron
However, only one company per category can “raise the cup” – we salute the winners from each category:
Community Engagement – Media Sonar
Startup Innovation – Dibbzz
Business Growth – Mobials
Teamwork makes the Dreamwork
Last, but not least, we’d like to thank everyone who makes the week successful. It takes a lot of people, partners and participants to make an event like this successful.
Thanks to the TechAlliance staff for putting on a great week. We also could not have had the week’s programming without all the volunteers who joined our panels, attended our networking events, interviewed for blog posts or visited our high schools. Thank you!
We’d also like to thank the amazing sponsors who support the technology community by getting together to celebrate our sector. We (literally) could not do it without you!
Premier Sponsor: Ferrara Wealth Advisory Group
Techcellence Awards Celebration & Mixer: HSBC Canada
Munchies with Mentors: WORLDiscoveries
We’re already looking forward to next year! If you have any feedback about the event, ideas for next year, or questions we can help answer about the week—contact us.