Infamous startup investor Dave McClure is not happy with Startup Canada’s new “1000 Startups” initiative and it isn’t because the name is missing a comma.
Rather, it’s because McClure heads 500 Startups (you may note the similarity in nomenclature).
Upon announcing 1000 startups, McClure tweeted in at least partial disbelief. “Ummm… srsly guys?” he asked rhetorically. “We’re flattered & all, but that’s rather unoriginal.” He added that he would “appreciate” it if the folks at Startup Canada would “go another direction.”
Interestingly, pretty much no one – including Startup Canada – rose to defend 1000 Startups. Instead, people nodded at McClure and trashed the initiative – or at least its terrible copycat name.
“The whole Startup Canada thing is a big joke – no value add,” wrote Paul Dawalibi. Boris Mann dubbed the move “disrespectful,” while Kevin Gibbon suggested it was “amateur.”
500 Startups is an angel fund slash accelerator slash bunch of other things, while 1000 Startups is a website for its new campaign to profile 1000 Canadian entrepreneurs.
“As a nation, we need to celebrate and support our entrepreneurs, because their success benefits us all,” said Startup Canada’s CEO Victoria Lennox. “1000 Startups will showcase the diversity of Canada’s entrepreneurs, helping to broaden our understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur, show entrepreneurs across Canada that they are not alone, and help to create a national community of startups sharing, learning and paying it forward together.”
Lennox did not say the project would showcase Canada’s originality, however.
Startup Canada launched in May 2012 complete with bells and whistles, to what could have been described as an unprepared Canadian entrepreneurial community. The launch followed a lengthy cross-Canada tour in which cofounder Victoria Lennox engaged and consulted with over 20,000 entrepreneurs. As a result the organization pledged to roll out several programs supporting Canadian startups “in direct response to the call to action.”
Despite all of this some were critical, especially when Startup Canada failed to raise a targeted $100,000 through an Indiegogo campaign. In an editorial Techvibes’ Rob Lewis wondered what went wrong, despite thousands of Canadians being consulted prior to its launch. A flurry of user comments resulted in a lively discussion about the significance of such an initiative in Canada.
With files from Joseph Czikk.