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Who would be the Godfather of the Canadian web industry?

Who in Canada will invest in 80+ startups (for a few hundred thousand each)?

if only there were an guy in town who had a big exit and wanted to spend time and money with young founders...

There seems to be more and more government monies available, provincial and federal. 50 X $250k = $12.5m.
Seems to me it would be monies really well spent to kickstart more startups.

Mark, very well said. I totally subscribe to yours and Yossi Vardi's comments. Early stage companies are the engine for innovation, job creation, and economic growth. Let's face it, even in the best of times, startups are typically run by entrepreneurs that wake up each morning, knowing that they must kill what they are going to eat, else their families and employees will go hungry. In the worst of times (such as we are living through right now), who else to bet on, but those that have the ability to survive and quite possibly thrive, through nuclear winter?

One other thought, there is a real need to have re-invested entrepreneurial experience to go with that early stage cash infusion. It would be nice to see more entrepreneurs who have had successful exits (such as Yossi) invest not only capital, but their experience, energy and contacts into the next crop of high potential entrepreneurs. Instead of putting "passive" money to work, and seeing the investee companies once every 3 months for 1/2 day Board meetings, I believe more in a model where experienced successful business builders invest time on a weekly basis, to provide coaching, support, contacts, strategic guidance, and access to resources -- not just capital. This, I think, would start a virtuous cycle of success breeding further success.

I would argue that weekly meetings with investors isn't a model that necessarily works - and Yossi subscribes to that too. I think it is much more important to provide tools, and a health peer network that provides help to entrepreneurs.
-MS

I'm thinking more about a model where experienced business builders have more skin in the game than just their cash, by investing their own personal brand and time. More like a "non-executive Chairman" role, who provides a sounding board to the founder/entrepreneur with many of the inputs that are required to scale up the company. For instance, idenfitying and recruiting talent, installing management systems and measurements systems, driving strategic priorities, partnerships and securing long term strategic capital. Not rocket science once you've done it a few times, but often a bit of a "black art" to the typical founder, who has been purely focused on the IP, the product or the launch customers.

Of course, that would mean that we need successful business builders to do more than just buy their cottages/estates and retire to the Muskokas after they've achieved their exits -- perhaps by investing into the new crop of aspiring entrepreneurs -- something that we don't have enough of in Canada !! :-).

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