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TechVancouver Holds Inaugural Meetup at Unbounce to Strengthen Local Community

On Tuesday, TechVancouver held their inaugural meetup at the Unbounce office in Vancouver with nearly 150 people in attendance.

TechVancouver brings together tech leaders, innovators, and enthusiasts with the intention of creative education, networking, and advancing the city’s technology ecosystem.

After drinks and mingling, the event opened the “community mic,” which allowed anyone in the audience to take 5 to 10 seconds to present themselves or their company to get exposure and facilitate later conversation.  

The event featured five-minute, TED talk-like presentations from selected local technology leaders.  Last night, Kevin Sandhu of Grow, Andrew McLeod from RentMoola, Kimberly Hansen from signl.fm, Spencer Thompson from Sokanu, and Jayesh Parmar from Picatic each had five minutes to impart their wisdom before being cut off.

Organized by Alexander Norman, TechVancouver is a counterpart to TechToronto, which was created to strengthen the tech community in the city. 

Norman said of the value of the event:  “You meet someone new, and you learn something new every time you come out.”

Norman claims the turnout in Vancouver tripled that of the first event in Toronto.

Highlights from the Talks

Kevin Sandhu of Grow discussed the future of the digital banking experience in Canada.  Showing a screenshot from one of the major five banks informing the customer that their digital experience will be followed up with a call for an appointment to come into a branch, Sandhu said, “This is not a 21st Century experience.  It’s not a 21st century solution, going to what is called online banking but realistically is an online portal for what you really want to do.   It’s a sad excuse for a digital experience.”

He claims in five years, the digital experience will change, though in what way is anyone’s guess.  The spirit of change though, he claimed, will be one of increased convenience, transparency, and flexibility as exemplified by Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix in their respective domains.

Andrew McLeod from RentMoola discussed fundraising.  “Everyone with a startup should pitch a VC at least once.   If you want to feel bad about yourself, it’s the best way.”  The lessons he emphasized were 1) don’t take the first deal, and 2) treat a partnership with a VC like a marriage.  “You don’t want to be married to someone you don’t like.”

Kimberly Hansen from signl.fm spoke of lessons in branding, with funny anecdotes on choosing a name.  For instance, you do not want a business name that autocorrects to ‘vomiter’.

Spencer Thompson from Sokanu discussed the question:  “Why does your company exist?”   If you want to build the best company or career for yourself, Thomspson claims, it needs to be aligned with and optimized according to one of five reasons for being.  

Thompson has categorized these reasons as 1) to make as much money as possible, 2) to solve a personal problem, 3) to solve a market need, 4) to solve a social issue, and 5) to utilize personal abilities.

Finally, Jayesh Parmar from Picatic, a company that just surpassed $10 million in sales, presented a captivating talk on ‘dogfooding’, or using your own product, taking the audience through Picatic’s meandering and fascinating journey from Saskatoon through San Francisco, Toronto, New York, and finally Vancouver, and discussing the highlights and advantages of each.

The next TechVancouver meet up will be on March 29 and posted on meetup.com.

Photo: East Side Games

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