One day in advance of Startup Canada releasing their findings from their 6-month cross-country tour HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes penned a guest piece for the Vancouver Sun titled Vancouver venture capital gap: all brains, no bucks.
Holmes is adamant that he will keep HootSuite headquartered in Vancouver even though “nobody thinks British Columbia, or the rest of Canada for that matter, is a good place for a tech startup to grow up”.
The HootSuite founder lists the many advantages that Vancouver has over other cities but no one will be surprised that he identifies the lack of venture capital at the city’s achilles heel.
“The reality of this province and of the country as a whole is there are not enough investments being made into promising start-ups, and without that money those small companies will often burn out or move away”.
“It’s an absolute travesty to see Canadian tech entrepreneurs selling their start-up businesses to American buyers for $10 million or $50 million early on. These companies move south of the border and the talent pool often follows. We need investors on the home front to encourage technological growth within Canada and show confidence in the true quality of Canadian tech experts by investing locally”.
HootSuite is doing their part to foster a climate of open investment for tech companies within British Columbia. The $20 million investment from OMERS Ventures earlier this year allowed Holmes and other early HootSuite investors to seed the local ecosystem with an investment here and there.
Holmes writes, “I’ve invested in a number of companies with an ultimate goal, and I say this often, of creating Canada’s equivalent to the “PayPal Mafia” – a cohort of financially independent people who have made money off of other companies, who understand the tech industry and who can now invest and advise start-ups”.
It’s safe to say that we’ll see Holmes and his crew continue to foster and fund BC’s startups in 2013.
We just need to come up with a name for Vancouver’s own PayPal Mafia.