The Space Cowboys from the Rackspace Startup Program were in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for FounderFuel’s Spring 2012 Cohort Demo Day. Over the last 100 days, student-led demonstrations against college tuition increases in Quebec have been a daily occurrence. Outside of the office where I sit, tens of thousands of sign carrying, red-clad protestors have flooded the streets of Montreal filling the air with chanted slogans and their excited energy.
The Monument-National, the oldest theatre still in use in Quebec, was the venue for FounderFuel’s Spring 2012 Cohort Demo Day, and the atmosphere inside the theater was as charged as that outside. The 800-plus seats were filled with entrepreneurs, investors and venture capitalists from all over North America. Attendees networked with one another and discussed technology and trends against the theater’s backdrop of red velvet seats and 19th century vintage wood work.
“For the entrepreneurs in the room, a quick lesson on the key things you need to do as a startup,” says John Stokes, a partner with Real Ventures and a FounderFuel mentor, as he walks out on stage. “Always have a t-shirt with your logo on it,” as he gestures to his FounderFuel t-shirt, “and don’t wash it till you succeed. If you’re in Silicon Valley build something people want, if you’re in Boston or New York, do more faster. We’re not in those places. We’re in Montreal, and Montreal is the home of creativity. So do something magical.” Stokes pauses for the audience as they applaud and cheer. “Before you show them the magic, you capture their imagination by telling them a story, and pulling people into your business, your vision, and your dream.”
The advice from Stokes above echoed with everyone in attendance, especially the members of the Spring 2012 Cohort. Teams wait nervously in the wings for their chance to pull the assembled crowd into their dreams, giving them a shot at securing funding and taking their business to the next level. Entering stage left, FounderFuel’s General Manager Ian Jeffrey now takes the stage. He has worked and mentored each of the 11 startups in the Spring 2012 FounderFuel Cohort over the course of the program’s 12 weeks, and he has the pleasure of presenting them to the audience.
Here is the Spring 2012 FounderFuel Cohort:
Appifier | Captivating applications that bring visibility, discoverability and monetization to web publishers.
Centerside | Adaptive web presences for the connected generation.
Epilogger | An entire event in one app! Consume, create, and share social content before, during, and after an event. Epilogger was the winner of the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX). The team will head to Silicon Valley for three months to continue development.
Healthaware | The online destination that takes the pain out of booking health appointments.
Live Rides | A community marketplace for rides that turns long drives into great social experiences.
Notesolution | Crowd-sourced course resources for university prep and exam season survival!
ooomf | The engagement platform that allows app developers to “socialize apps” which turns their followers into users, and fans into advocates.
PayPhoneAPP |Everything you need in one easy to use app on your smartphone that lets you use your money whenever and however you want.
Prestopolis |Real-time marketing solutions for local retailers.
ShopAround | Browse the malls before you leave home on your iPhone or iPad and discover your next favorite purchase from the comfort of your home.
TenScores | The automated platform that simplifies and optimizes Google Adwords spend, even for the smallest of users.
After the final presentations, the crowd filters out of the Monument-National Theatre while potential investors move to private areas to speak with the Cohort members one on one to learn more. For the Cohort presenters, there is hope that they have pulled the investors into their dream, captured their imagination and, most importantly, that they have secured funding to continue their pursuit of building a viable online business.
Later that night, we were privileged to attend the FounderFuel closing dinner with the entire Cohort to celebrate the end of the Spring 2012 class. Everyone was discussing the events of the day and plans for the future while sharing stories and experiences from the past 12 weeks. They talked about their excitement coming into the program, not knowing what to expect. They lamented over their “hell week” experiences and shared how they’d emerged on the ”other side” with a clear direction. Over the past 12 weeks, a true sense of community has developed among the group. Their interactions and easy laughs speak volumes as they mingle for what is probably the last time they will do so in one place.
It’s clear after listening to the shared stories and experiences that FounderFuel is doing something special, not just in Montreal, but within the startup community. Under Ian Jeffrey’s direction, FounderFuel is creating something magical and inspiring. Take a look at what the spring 2012 Cohort had to say. If your startup would like to experience everything that an accelerator has to offer, FounderFuel is currently taking applications for its Fall 2012 Cohort.
The Rackspace Startup Program is proud to be involved with the FounderFuel accelerator program. Congratulations to the Spring 2012 FounderFuel Cohort! These companies are now ready to introduce their businesses to the world. And the Rackspace Startup Program was there to help the FounderFuel companies build their businesses on a world-class Cloud Computing platform. Drop the Space Cowboys a note and let us know how we can help your startup facilitate the dream in creating the next big thing online!
Check out more news, articles and Startup Spotlight features from the Rackspace Startup Program.