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Financial Post doesn’t read GrowthTimes, wakes up on the Ontario Emerging Technologies Matching Fund

January 13th, 2010 by Greg Boutin
The wordmark of the Government of Ontario, fea...
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Karen Mazurkewich, Financial Post, in an interesting article on Monday entitled “The new uber-angels” comparing the VC-fund approaches of Ontario and Quebec, declares on the Ontario Venture Capital Fund that “What Ontario didn’t — or couldn’t — predict was the lack of potential co-investors for these funds.”

Karen, I would invite you and Ontario’s decision-makers to step up your due diligence and review Growth Times’s August 4th, 2009 blog post entitled “Who Will Match Ontario’s $250M Emerging Technologies Matching Fund?”…………….. (more…)

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How does Canada Compete with the U.S. for Immigrant Tech Entrepreneurs?

October 7th, 2009 by Greg Boutin

A great post today by Suzanne Dingwall Williams of Venture Law Associates LLP in Toronto, regarding the recent considerations by the U.S. to increase the number of H1B visas for skilled foreign workers, apparently thanks to a push by venture capitalists.

The stats she quotes are startling:

“A recently released study by the NVCA notes that (a) immigrants have started more than 25% of U.S. public companies that were formerly venture backed, and (b) more than 50% of the employment generated by U.S. public venture-backed companies has come from immigrant-founded companies like Intel, eBay, Yahoo!, and Sun.

The New York Times has also taken note, citing Harvard Law professor Vivek Wadhwa’s claim that 52.4% of today’s Silicon Valley startups have at least one foreign founder. US VCs are figuring that, to expand domestic deal flow, they need to expand the immigrant entrepreneur base.” (more…)

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Talking on Techie-Biz Divide at Communitech Guelph on Sept. 3

August 31st, 2009 by Greg Boutin

I will soon have another opportunity to test my beta talk on the Divide between Technologists and Business folks, and why that is the number one root cause of tech venture failures (see my slides – torn apart by Slideshare, here!). Communitech has kindly invited me again to speak, this time at their entrepreneur group in Guelph, where I currently reside. It will take place from 6-8pm at SYNNEX Canada Ltd, 107 Woodlawn Rd W.

As a preamble to this talk, I just came across a very interesting blog post, recommended by Guelph’s very own Brydon of start-up Brainpark, arguing for the need to shift from a product development mindset to a customer development approach. I added some comments there too.

I look forward to seeing many Guelphites and having a good chat about this topic. Bring your war stories!

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Who will match Ontario’s $250M Emerging Technologies Matching Fund?

August 4th, 2009 by Greg Boutin
Matching maxiimo

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It’s official, the Ontario’s Emerging Technologies Fund (ETF)  is now open for business. This $250-million fund will co-invest into companies in high-growth sectors such as clean technology, life sciences and advanced health technology and digital media and information and communications technology. Co-investments are made along with qualified venture capital funds and other private investors. For more information see http://www.ocgc.gov.on.ca/

I am generally not a fan of public sector intervention in the private sector, but this comes as a positive move in contrast, since the government has wisely decided to let VCs and angels screen investments for the fund money instead of trying to do it itself. And frankly, after distorting the economy through massive subsidies to under-performing foreign car manufacturers, any public money directed towards innovative ventures is welcome. It also comes as somewhat of a relief to the Venture Capital industry in Canada, which is doing much worse than in the U.S. (yes that’s possible, apparently!), and is down to almost nothing according to this report by their association. Not that there was much in the first place!

The main question is whether there will be dollars to match. In other words, this program unlike, say, SR&ED, doesn’t make investments more attractive. It just makes it possible to invest in more companies. (more…)

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Blog comments showing in Canadian Business print magazine this week

July 19th, 2009 by Greg Boutin

I am glad to report that Canadian Business decided to reprint the main part of a post I wrote in May on this blog, pointing out the weakness of their argument against the Green Energy Act.

It’s not online so I can’t point to it, but you will find it on P8 of the August 17, 2009 issue (they pre-date their magazine), the first comment on the page, entitled “California Dreamin’” (unfortunately this title misleads the reader about the nature of the argument, but let’s not be too picky…)  The fact that they publish a pretty strong critique like this one speaks volume about the willingness of the magazine to show all sides of a story. Kudos to Canadian Business!

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