Startup Weekend Vancouver Brings Together Over 200 Startup Enthusiasts and Announces This Year’s Winning Team

Nearly 200 attendees gathered at Unbounce last night to witness the startup teams competing in Startup Weekend Vancouver’s 7th annual competition. This year’s Startup Weekend Vancouver involved 125 participants, with 52 pitches presented at Startup Weekend Vancouver’s kick-off night on Friday — which resulted in 15 teams formed.

Over a span of 54 hours, teams took to the streets of downtown Vancouver to validate their startup ideas, develop their minimal viable product and prototype, while gaining valuable insight and feedback from a team of industry professionals as their Startup Weekend coaches.

With the steady growth of startups emerging within Vancouver’s technology sector, events such as Startup Weekend Vancouver have provided participants with an unfair advantage in receiving an outpour of support from the Vancouver startup community.

“The tech scene in Vancouver is at a tipping point with the success of companies such as Hootsuite, and Slack — both of which once started in Vancouver as startups themselves,” said Sean Elbe, the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC)’s Technology Sector Development Manager. “With the steady growth of startups emerging within Vancouver, we expect up to 15,000 jobs opening up within just the tech sector alone. We were excited to help foster this startup momentum through our support of Startup Weekend.”

As the final presentations on Sunday night fast approached, teams prepared to pitch to their panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and top-tier VCs consisting of: Ryan Holmes (CEO, Hootsuite), Wade Foster (CEO, Zapier – which emerged from Startup Weekend Columbia), Amy Rae (Principal, Vanedge Capital), and Igor Smirnoff (Chief Commercial Officer, PressReader).

After an intense, 3-hour long round of pitches, three well-deserved startups made it to the top 3: Draft Madness (3rd Place), HouseHive (2nd Place), and Culitech, claiming the winning title of this year’s Startup Weekend Vancouver competition and category winners of having the “Most Disruptive Idea”, presented by PressReader. Additionally, Automated Vertical Agriculture (AVA) took home the title of having the “Best Impact”, presented by Spring Activator.

Thebrain-child of two young entrepreneurs, Angela Wang and Madeleine Liu (both whom are still in secondary school as eleventh graders), Culitech offers detachable cutlery that can detect allergens, toxins, and nutritional content (calories, sugars, proteins, etc.).

HouseHive, claiming 2nd Place, offers an online platform which connects household service providers to city residents.

Draft Madness, at 3rd Place, offers a revolutionary March Madness drafting platform to enable players to win more money through engaging in fantasy sports.

Lastly, AVA was awarded as having the “Best Impact” by Spring Activator. AVA provides a simple, beautiful solution to home gardening using the AVA device, a microwave-sized, smart urban gardening box for the urban cultivator.

With the support of local and global sponsors such as Google, dotCo, Vitamin Water, Branch Metrics, Zenefits, Unbounce, Jukebox, QuickMobile, PressReader, the finalists took home over $16,000 in prizes to help further their startup success.

Other local sponsors for this year’s Startup Weekend Vancouver competition include:

  • BC Innovation Council (BCIC)
  • Smythe CPA
  • Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC)
  • Small Business BC
  • Lighthouse Labs
  • MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP
  • iQMetrix
  • Launch Academy
  • Todoist
  • Spring Activator
  • Mailchimp
  • Mobify

About Startup Weekend Vancouver
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

For more information on Startup Weekend Vancouver, please visit:


Prix du Startup Weekend Ottawa-Gatineau 2015

*English follows*

Première place

  • Trois mois d’accès à l’incubateur de Startup du CRTL offerts par le CRTL, Export Outaouais et Exportation et développement Canada (EDC) (espace de bureau, salles de réunion, Internet et accompagnement)
  • Une session de consultation d’une heure pour bénéficier du programme IBM Global Entrepreneur
  • Deux adhésions individuelles d’un an au Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale (RGA)
  • Un abonnement d’un an à la Chambre de commerce de Gatineau
  • Une session de consultation d’une heure offerte par Welch LLP sur le modèle de coûts/revenus
  • Bourse de 250 $ pour un projet d’une valeur minimum de 1500 $ sur la plateforme de socio-financement Ecloid
  • Une rencontre avec le comité de sélection d’Anges Québec

Deuxième place

  • Atelier interactif offert par le CRTL, Export Outaouais et EDC pour raffiner la stratégie d’affaires et évaluer le potentiel à l’international du produit ou service
  • Trois heures de consultation en gestion financière et fiscalité de Raymond Chabot
  • Deux adhésions individuelles d’un an au RGA
  • Un abonnement d’un an à la Chambre de commerce de Gatineau
  • Certificat 20 heures de location de salle ou 10 accès d’une journée pour un bureau chez Créagora
  • Bourse de 250 $ pour un projet d’une valeur minimum de 1500 $ sur la plateforme de socio-financement Ecloid

Troisième place

  • Certificat 20 heures de location de salle ou 10 accès d’une journée pour un bureau chez Créagora
  • Trois heures de consultation en gestion de Samson & Associés CPA/consultation
  • Deux adhésions individuelles d’un an au RGA
  • Un abonnement d’un an à la Chambre de commerce de Gatineau
  • Bourse de 250 $ pour un projet d’une valeur minimum de 1500 $ sur la plateforme de socio-financement Ecloid

Autres prix

  • 15 heures de service de développement Web et mobile offert par Adelphatech
  • Cinq heures de coaching offertes par le Centre de la géomatique du Québec (CGQ) pour le développement d’une application utilisant la  géolocalisation
  • 10 heures de mentorat scientifique offert par le Centre d’accès à la technologie en bio-innovation de La Cité
  • Un mois gratuit d’espace de coworking et 5 heures pour utiliser la salle de conférence du Lab38
  • Cartable, porte-cartes et carnets de notes d’EDC


First Place

  • Three months access to the CRTL Startup incubator offered by the CRTL, Export Outaouais and Export Development Canada (EDC) (office space, meeting rooms, Internet and coaching) (value of $ 2,500)
  • One hour work session offered by IBM Global Entrepreneur program on how to join IBM’s Startup Ecosytem
  • 2 individual memberships for a year offered by RGA
  • 1 individual membership for a year offered by the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce
  • One hour session offered by Welch LPP for revenue/cost modelling
  • $ 250 toward a project worth a least $ 1,500 on the Ecloid crowdfunding platform
  • A meeting with the selection committee of Anges Québec

Second Place

  • An interactive work session offered by the CRTL, Export Outaouais and EDC to help define the business strategy and to assess the export potential of a product or a service
  • 3 hours of consultation in finance management and fiscality offered by Raymond Chabot
  • 2 individual memberships for a year offered by RGA
  • 1 individual membership for a year offered by the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce
  • 20 hours of free access to conference room or 10 one-day passes to the coworking space at Créagora
  • $ 250 toward a campaign worth a least $ 1,500 on the Ecloid crowdfunding platform

Third Place

  • 20 hours of free access to conference room or 10 one-day passes to the coworking space at Créagora
  • 3 hours of management consulting offered by Samson & Associates CPA/consulting
  • 2 individual memberships for a year offered by RGA
  • 1 year individual membership offered by the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce
  • $ 250 grant for a project worth a minimum of $ 1,500 on the crowdfunding platform Ecloid

Other prizes

  • 15 hours of web and mobile development services offered by Adelphatech
  • 5 hours of coaching offered by the Centre de la géomatique du Québec (CGQ) in the development of a geo-located application
  • 10 hours of scientific mentoring offered by the Technology Access Center in Bio-Innovation of La Cité
  • A free month access to the Lab 38 coworking space and 5 hours of use of their conference room
  • Binder, cardholder, notebook offered by EDC


#SWVan Update — Here are this year’s awesome startup ideas

Our 7th Startup Weekend Vancouver event kicked into high gear at Unbounce Friday night with over 150 attendees eagerly awaiting to pitch their ideas. When the dust finally settled, a total of 52 concepts were pitched resulting in 11 ideas voted in, and 15 teams finally formed.

Early Saturday morning, the teams got right to work bringing their startup ideas to life. Some took to the streets of Downtown Vancouver for customer validation, and others hustled to develop their prototypes (with coffee in hand, of course).

We’ll be opening our doors to almost 200 guests for our sold-out event on Sunday night, and we’re excited to see our teams present their innovative ideas. Here are the exciting ideas our #SWVan teams have been working on so far (*updated team names):

1. Magic Motion 

Magic Motion is an affordable virtual reality (VR) system that enables PC-gamers to enjoy VR games using Google Cardboard. As a direct competitor to Oculus Rift, Magic Motion’s advantage is making VR gaming affordable for the average PC gamer.


2. Draft Madness

Draft Madness is a new platform for fantasy drafting of March Madness (one of the largest sporting events in the United States featuring men’s college basketball). Draft Madness allows you to draft your favourite team through a live, interactive auction, double your winnings when your team wins, and buy/sell teams amongst your friends throughout the tournament.



3. Closure

Imagine suddenly losing a loved one, and now having the daunting task of settling all their outstanding liabilities (phone bills, loans, credit card payments, etc.), finding a funeral home, estate lawyer, and countless other tasks while still grieving for their loss. Closure is an automated platform that will close all outstanding tasks required to manage the death of a loved on — saving you time, and stress while allowing you to grieve.

4. ActivePal

ActivePal is an online community that connects you to active pals nearby who love the outdoors. Key pain points outdoorsy people face are: finding other active people nearby to enjoy the outdoors with, connecting with smaller groups of people (avoiding large groups of hikers), and finding an active community for outdoor activities (that’s not a dating site!). This platform will be filtered based on location, availability, interests, and various activities you’d like to do.


5. ActiveShadow

ActiveShadow is an online platform that helps people improve their presentation skills through a live, online audience. Think SoundCloud meets Toastmasters. Users will connect on the platform with the intention of wanting to improve their presentation skills, or to provide feedback on the presentations that others’ make. The platform will enable presenters to record their presentations, and engage in Q&A with their audience.

6. Culitech

Culitech aims to produce smart, attachable cutlery that will detect toxins, allergens, and nutrient content in your food. This smart utensil will enable both consumers and households to take precautions of any dietary sensitivities, or toxins (i.e. mould, bacteria, etc.) that otherwise may harm cause harm to your body.

7. is a web and app-based platform that optimizes rental property revenue, helping landlords get more money through an auctioning system. This rental property revenue optimizer allows you to get the best market price for your rental property by crowdsourcing bids from qualified, trustworthy renters.


8. HouseHive

HouseHive enables your local neighbourhood to leverage purchasing power by bundling common household services. This online platform helps organize you and your neighbours to find common services you all require, package up the service requests, and connect you with the best local service providers in your community. With HouseHive, you can find out who’s already working in your building (home cleaners, dog walkers, cooks, carpet cleaners, etc.) and find the best deal on your shared services.



9. Rideaway*

SurfLife is an online community that connects extreme sports professionals with new learners to provide their expertise, share lessons and sports equipment. Through SurfLife, you can find suggestions for local spots to best enjoy the sport, and learn from seasoned professionals at a fraction of the price. SurfLife’s extreme sport-listing will include (but not limited to) surfing, ski/snowboarding, and mountain biking.

10. Wow Her

Wow Her is the Expedia for date nights — a web and app-based platform that will enable users to find and search for date night ideas. Filtered based on budget, location, and interest, Wow Her will personalize your next date night suggestions.

11. AVA

AVA, or Automated Vertical Agriculture creates beautiful, modern, indoor farming units for the urban cultivator. Paired with a smart tech plant food gel dispenser, users can grow and monitor their organic produce using AVA’s mobile app. AVA aims to encourage more urban cultivators to adopt a healthier, self-sustainable lifestyle.


12. Quantext*

Carbon Context is a B2B platform that simplifies environmental data for companies to make better choices in their project initiatives. Corporate Social Responsibility representatives (CSRs) are often tasked to evaluate possible environmental impacts made on any company-initiatives, however the data collected is scattered and difficult to understand. Carbon Context provides a clear, visual representation to enable businesses to make better design decisions to prevent harmful environmental impacts that damage may damage the earth.

13. Blue Circle Project

Blue Circle Project is a food redistributor service that takes any leftover food from grocery stores and restaurants and re-distributes them to local animal farms, charities, etc. Billions of dollars worth of food gets wasted every year, and produces substantial amounts of CO2 emissions into the environment. Blue Circle aims to reduce the amount of food waste to help foster a low-carbon economy.

14. Local Log

Local Log is a discovery engine for local shopping, helping shoppers discover local stores and support local businesses. Additionally, local business owners can expect an easier transition to developing an online presence for their store through Local Log.

15. Lift

Lift is a match-making service for fitness and nutrition coaches to connect with new and goal-orientated clients. Moreover, Lift will match clients with their ideal coaches who can best accommodate for their fitness and nutritional goals. These highly-trained coaches will be vetted based on their experience, training/background and professional network to offer a variety of options for clients to choose from.

Sneak peek at what’s being built this weekend


Startup weekend Ottawa-GatineauThe room here at the Maison du citoyen is buzzing, and teams are hyper-focused on validating their ideas, talking to customers, and hacking together prototypes and mock-ups.

We’ve got a sold-out event to see the pitches tomorrow evening, and we can’t wait to see how far these amazing, hard working teams have come since their initial pitches.

Here’s a sneak peek at the demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Ottawa-Gatineau.

1. Reverse Calendar
Instead of planning out what you want to do later today, or later this week, Reverse Calendar helps you track what you actually accomplished in the past hour. By the end of the week, you will have graphs and analytics that can help you make better decisions on how to spend your time. With Reverse Calendar, you won’t have to look at the clock and wonder “where did the day go!?” ever again.

2. Iceberg
“Making chilling easier”

The Icebrg platform takes you out of the usual routine with the usual friends. It makes hanging out and trying new things as easy as can be. The core features are providing ideas for activities, finding from your existing network who would be interested, and facilitating the logistics of setting a time and location. Gain a deeper connection with your friends while experiencing new things – it’s all possible through Icebrg.

3. Haggel One

Haggle is place for people to post and find local trades and help.

Team : Abdel, Issam Al-Dalati, Hamza Quresh, Nikhil, Ron Gagnier, Nayaelah Siddiqui, Dines Anandavel,

4. Baby Book

Baby Book is an app that allows parents to create, store and share all these first precious moments of their baby’s life. A baby album that you carry with you all the time to make sure you don’t miss anything.

5. Aggregate APIs

A better way for data scientists to interact with data.

6. Preferencia

Preferencia is an online platform for complementary medicine practitioners to easily refer patients to each other. / Preferencia est une plateforme web de référencement de patient pour les thérapeute de la médecine complémentaire.

7. Tummy
Tummy c’est une application mobile portée par une équipe chevronnée qui permet à un utilisateur d’avoir accès à des recettes selon les ingrédients qu’il à sa disposition.

8. FeelDapper is an online platform that provides styling services for our clients at their doorstep. Our focus is on creating a great customer experience that makes our clients feel dapper.

Startup Weekend Vancouver is Here — Thank You to Our Amazing Sponsors!

The moment we’ve all been waiting for Startup Weekend is finally here, and we are thrilled to present the 7th Annual Startup Weekend Vancouver event tonight at Unbounce!

Startup Weekend Vancouver is a volunteer-run event, and we couldn’t have done it with the support of all our amazing sponsors:


Unbounce has always been an amazing supporter of Startup Weekend Vancouver, and as our Signature Venue Sponsor for this year’s Startup Weekend, we are so excited to host our competition at their new headquarters in Downtown Vancouver. Unbounce will also be providing a 1-year account for the winning team for SWVan.


Originally founded in San Francisco, CA, it’s hard to believe that Zenefits was once a startup only two years ago, and has been our biggest contributor to helping us put on an amazing event. Zenefits Financials is one of the fastest-growing SaaS Businesses ever, and we’re thrilled to have them as our Platinum Sponsor and hosts of our Official After Party for SWVan!


While serving customers in over 100 countries, most people don’t think of Jukebox Print as a startup, but in fact, Jukebox was once the very definition of a startup— created and managed by one person. Huge thanks for Jukebox Print providing us with all the beautiful print work for SWVan! Find out more about their story in our latest guest blog from Jukebox’s Founder & CEO, Loredo Rucchin.


Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, QuickMobile was named Deloitte’s #1 Fastest Growing Technology Company in Canada in 2013, and has now expanded globally with offices in London, UK, and Singapore. This year, we are thrilled to have QuickMobile provide our attendees with our Startup Weekend event app —complete with a list of our event schedule, profiles of our judges, coaches, sponsors and more!


PressReader is the global leader in multi-channel, cross-platform content distribution and monetization, and the chosen partner of more than 4,000 publishers from 100 countries. We’re grateful for PressReader’s support in SWVan this year as one of our Gold Sponsors, and sponsor for one of our extra prize categories for “Most Disruptive” idea.

In addition to our featured sponsors, we’re so thankful for the support of our Bronze and Silver Sponsors:

To our awesome community and media sponsors, thank you for providing some awesome prizes and perks for our SWVan attendees:

Lastly, huge thanks to Guayaki, SPUD, KIND Snacks, Whistler Water, and Red Bull who have graciously donated supplies for the event.

Thank you again to all our amazing sponsors, and for more information on a complete list of all our awesome perks and prizes, be sure to check out our Big Basket of Prizes!

The big basket of prizes

Startup Weekend Vancouver is an action-packed weekend of entrepreneurial learning, execution, and fun. With such a short timeframe for teams to build a new idea, it’s amazing to see what they come out with.

That said, Startup Weekend is still a competition to see who can create the best idea, MVP, and present the viable business in the short 54-hour period—and competitions aren’t competition without an awesome basket of prizes to be won. So let’s take a look at what’s up for grabs!

Prizes for the Winning Team

  • 1-year MailChimp PRO account from MailChimp
  • 1-year Premium account from Todoist
  • 1-year account from Zapier
  • $3,000 of accounts services from Smythe
  • Coffee with Mobify Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Peter McLachlan
  • $2,500 worth of legal service (including incorporation) from MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP
  • A month’s supply of free snacks for your office from SPUD
  • 1-year account from Unbounce
  • 1 free pass for a team member to attend the Lean Entrepreneruship Program from Launch Academy
  • 1-month of office space at the wantoo Lounge

Total basket is worth over $10,000 in prizes!

Second & Third Place

  • 1-year Premium account from Todoist
  • 1-year account from Zapier
  • $1,000 worth of legal service (including incorporation) from MLT (2nd place only)

That’s not all, though. We also have some alternate prizes for teams that meet other criteria.

Most Disruptive Idea

PressReader is also offering the team with the “Most Disruptive Idea” a 1-year PressReader membership for the whole team.

Best Impact

Spring is also offering the team with the “Best Impact” one (1) scholarship to Spring’s Kick pre-accelerator program—a 4-week intensive to help you get from concept to clarity by emphasizing lean methodology, idea validation, and customer discovery. The “Best Impact” prize will be awarded to the most promising business concept that looks to create the biggest positive social or environmental change through technology.

Global Startup Battle Prizes

But wait! There’s more!

As our Startup Weekend event is participating in Global Startup Battle, the top 3 teams will also be able to compete in the exclusive Champion’s Track against other winning startups from around the world for even more prizes!

There are also addition tracks open to all teams that compete in Startup Weekend where you can still win some of the awesome prizes.

There are still a small handful of tickets available to Startup Weekend Vancouver on Nov 20-22 so if you don’t have your ticket yet, what are you waiting for?

Startup Weekend: Template for Final Presentations

Template for the Final Presentations on Sunday night:


Ready? Let's Talk Pitching!

Parts of this blog originally appeared on

By the time 4:00PM rolls around here at Startup Weekend NB, you will have crafted your pitch and be ready to go.. but don’t worry! That does seem like a lot in a short time span? Don’t worry! We’re here to help you get there.


Pitching is the culmination of a lot hard work. No matter how how things shake out, our competitors should be proud! It can be a true test of character to go through the Startup process. If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal in my books. While this is a competition, also remember the bigger picture that we are all allies as well. When this weekend is done, you’re now part of a greater community of entrepreneurs that helps fosters partnerships and mentorship alike. Like Ernesto Sirolli said in his TEDtalk: “No one succeeds alone.”

But for now, this is a competition, and after the dust clears, one team will get to lift the microphone high and be the champions of Startup Weekend NB. We’re all in this together… let’s go!

This blog post will aim to better equip you for your pitch, and help you get a better sense for how the events of the day will flow.



The Order of The Pitches

You don’t want to get caught off guard. Keep an eye out for the Pitch List, this will be the order of the pitches. You’ve got to be ready to take the stage when your time comes!

Got the jitters or the pitch itch? Whether you’re worried or chomping at the bit, you will have a practice pitch during your Tech Check. We will have mentors on-hand to give you some feedback on your pitch and your slide deck.


Prep your Pitch

Each time’s pitch will be 5 minutes long, with a 5 minute Question period. A timer will be on display for the presenter, showing their 5-minute countdown. Keep an eye on the timer, because there is a hard stop when the time runs out. You don’t want to get cut off during your pitch, so if your time is running out, gently end your pitch. A soft landing is better than a crash.

If you’re still having trouble putting your pitch together, check out these links:

The Firing Squad

Your panel of Judges will be:

  1. Kayley Reed, Co-Founder of Wear Your Label
  2. Paul Simmonds, Owner of Robert Simmonds Clothing
  3. Heather Boyd-Kinnie, Program Coordinator of the Pond-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Check out their bios!

Judging Criteria

Be sure to keep these things in mind when building and practicing your pitch. This is how the judges will be scoring you.

Business Model Validation
Who are their key partners? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What is the cost and revenue breakdown?

Product Execution
Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Were they able to demo something functional?

User Experience Design
Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?.

Get Ready for the Question Period

After your pitch, you will be subject to a question period with the judging panel. During this period, judges will ask you questions to help them understand your idea more deeply (remember, they weren’t here all weekend, so they are hearing about your idea for the first time). They may also want to stress-test the validity of your idea as a business. So, before you break a sweat, build up your confidence by preparing answers to these Common Judge Questions:

What’s the most impressive thing you have achieved this weekend?
Where is the rocket science here? What is your secret sauce?
Why did you pick this idea to work on?
Why do the reluctant users hold back?
Who would you hire or how would you add to your team?
What problems/hurdles are you anticipating?
Who is “the boss”?
What is the next step with the product evolution?
What obstacles will you face and how will you overcome them?
Who needs what you’re making?
How does your product work in more detail?
What are you going to do next?
What do you understand that others don’t?
Where do new users come from?
How big an opportunity is there?
Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you this weekend?
Tell us something surprising you have done this weekend?
Who are your competitors?
What’s new about what you make?
How many users do you have?
Why isn’t someone already doing this?
What are the top things users want?
How do you know customers need what you’re making?
What domain expertise do you have?
What, exactly, makes you different from existing options?
What’s the conversion rate?
What systems have you hacked?
Who would use your product?
How will customers and/or users find out about you?
Why did your team get together?
In what ways are you resourceful?
What is your distribution strategy?
What has surprised you about user behaviour?
What part of your project are you going to build first?
What resistance will they have to trying you and how will you overcome it?
How are you understanding customer needs?
What’s the biggest mistake you have made this weekend?
Who might become competitors?
What do you understand about your users?
What is your user growth rate?
What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Who is going to be your first paying customer?
If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Who would be your next hire?
How do you know people want this?
What do you know about this space/product others don’t know?
How much money could you make per year?
How long can you go before funding?
How will you make money?
Will your team stick at this?
How much does customer acquisition cost?
How did your team meet?
Who in your team does what?
How are you meeting customers?
How many users are paying?
How is your product different?
Are you open to changing your idea?
What makes new users try you?
What competition do you fear most?

Good luck, Startup Weekend NBers!

Develop Your Startup Like Jukebox: A Successful Online Business Card Company

Guest Post by Loredo Rucchin, Founder & CEO of

Loredo Rucchin Bio PictureAt Jukebox Print, we’ve experienced it all. As a successful e-commerce business serving customers in over 100 countries, most people don’t think of Jukebox Print as a startup, but in fact, Jukebox was once the very definition of a startup. Jukebox was created and managed by one person. That one person was the CSR, the designer, the packager, the shipper, the IT guy and the accountant. The “office” consisted of a bedroom with a desk and computer, and the product line consisted of only business cards. If any of this rings true to your current circumstances, keep reading. We’ve got some insight from our own personal experiences growing into a successful business. There will still be some challenges along the way, but with our help, you might just be ready to face them.

You have a brilliant idea for your own e-commerce company; a product or service that stands out and meets an unmet demand. What you need before you launch is an effective name, and this should be given serious consideration. If we were called Loredo’s Print Shop, you would probably envision us as a small, plain, industrial shop offering the same old aqueous coating on everything. Instead, we’re called Jukebox Print – an offbeat, exciting, intriguing, stylish and memorable name that lets you know immediately we are not your average print shop. If you are not an overly creative person, enlist the help of someone who is. Test out your name ideas by judging the reactions they receive. The first general reaction to the name Jukebox, along with our bright pink branding, was shock and disbelief. The fact that people had such a strong reaction is what solidified the name as the right choice for us. It would give people something to talk about – and for 8 years, it has.

Another main challenge you will face in your early stages is making the leap to expand outside of your basement or home office. Jukebox is an online business that has grown its customer base mainly through referrals, and although we serve an international customer base now, we grew locally first. Before you are known as a reputable business, people are going to want to meet with you, view samples in person and in general, get a feel for how professional your business is. This demands that you have a professional office space. A great option for today’s budding startups is a shared office or “co-work” space. You don’t need a large storefront, so focus on finding a small yet modern environment. Expand your team slowly by hiring one person at first, and don’t overlook the value of students or those with little experience – you can mould the right person into exactly what you need. Although it might be tempting, don’t hire your friends. The more professional you keep all aspects of your business, the more professional your reputation will be with your clients.

As you grow, your challenges will change dramatically. If you are operating your business mostly or even partially online, you need a good IT team (yes, you need to hire multiple people) to keep your website stable, secure and operating smoothly.

Once your website is backed up by a great IT team, you can start to focus on international expansion. Shipping and payments will be your biggest challenges. Choose your business partners wisely from the beginning. We are thrilled to offer UPS shipping and Paypal during check-out, company names that are trusted all over the world. This has had a direct increase on our international sales.

Grow your international customer base further by having a strong social media presence, and by tailoring your marketing approach to the specific location you are targeting. The products that are a hit in North America may not be new or exciting in France or Australia. This will be the case with any product or service you offer, as worldwide customers will have different appreciations and expectations of service. It might seem obvious, but don’t forget that an exotic Bamboo business card isn’t so exotic in China. Communication can also be a difficult barrier you may face. When hiring, start to look past the obvious talents and put more value into multi-lingual capabilities. This will be a huge asset to your company, as one employee can help you connect with a whole new market.

Lastly, never forget the power of aesthetic attraction. Our branding is something our customers compliment us on the most. Something as simple as a beautifully wrapped box can be the motivation your customer needs to share photos online or recommend you to everyone they know. This can be as simple as branding your packaging using a custom stamp of your logo at first, evolving into using a fully customized set of branded tissue paper, boxes, wrapping paper and product tags. And we happen to know the perfect place for you to get them printed.

About the Author: Loredo Rucchin is a successful entrepreneur – his company, Jukebox Print, recently made Profit’s top 100 list, with five-year growth of 4,331%. offers high quality business card products and the latest, most innovative print products. Learn more about Jukebox Print.

7 raisons de participer au Startup Weekend Québec

  1. Vous avez une idée
    La raison la plus évidente de participer à Startup Weekend est que vous avez une idée que vous souhaitez développer et vous avez besoin d’aide pour créer un plan d’affaires, valider votre marché et créer une maquette d’application. Au Startup Weekend vous côtoierez d’autres participants avec les compétences nécessaires pour vous aider à amener votre idée au prochain niveau et plus encore!
  2. Vous avez des compétences que vous voulez partager
    Si je n’ai pas d’idée, puis-je quand même participer? Absolument! Si vous avez des compétences et des connaissances qui permettent l’avancement d’une startup, votre présence est essentielle pour les autres participants. Que vous soyez programmeur, développeur, designer ou personne d’affaires, votre expérience et vos compétences sont requises. Faites équipe avec un entrepreneur dont l’idée résonne avec vous et vous pourriez jouer un rôle déterminant en aidant votre équipe à lancer une startup.
  3. Vous aurez accès à des mentors d’expérience
    Tout au long de l’évènement, plus d’une dizaine de mentors seront disponibles pour vous conseiller sur le développement de votre startup et l’art de le présenter devant les juges. Où d’autre aurez-vous accès à des conseils d’experts en un seul endroit sur une période de trois jours?
  4. Vous aimeriez vous faire remarquer
    Vous courez la chance de vous faire remarquer d’entrepreneurs d’influence dans votre domaine qui seront présents à l’évènement.
  5. Vous accroitrez vos connaissances
    C’est l’occasion rêvée d’en apprendre davantage sur les startups, l’entrepreneuriat, votre apport au sein d’une équipe, l’art du pitch, etc. Vous serez en mesure d’appliquer ce que vous aurez appris au Startup Weekend pour développer vos propres produits dans le futur.
  6. Vous agrandirez votre réseau
    Même si vous ne gagnez pas la compétition, l’évènement est une excellente occasion de rencontrer d’autres personnes de domaines variés avec qui partager vos compétences et connaissances et peut-être même avec qui faire affaire dans le futur.
  7. Vous courez la chance de gagner plusieurs prix
    Nous offrons aux gagnants une série de prix plus qu’intéressants pour poursuivre le développement de leur startup.

    Qu’attendez-vous? Inscrivez-vous dès maintenant pour avoir la chance de participer à l’édition 2015 du Startup Weekend Québec.

    Ce texte est fortement inspiré de :