In the video, Claire mentions:
- Launch Academy
- Grow Lab
- Revolver Coffee
- Full Stack
- Grow Conference
- Boris Mann
- Joel Solomon
- Social Venture Institute – Hollyhock
- We Are YVR
- Ray Walia
- Vancouver Economic Commission
- We are Made in NY
- Built in Chicago
Shane: Welcome to the Startup Genome weekly curator interview series. My name’s Shane Reiser, co-founder of Startup Genome. Each week we talk with a Startup Genome curator from around the world to find out more about what’s happening in their local community. This week we have from Vancouver Claire Atkin. Claire, let me start by asking generally, what makes the Vancouver startup community unique?
Claire: When I moved here 5 months ago I found that everyone who was here, many had grown up here but many of them came here to Vancouver sort of on a mission to come to the west coast of Canada. What makes us the most unique is probably the quality of life, or the natural areas that have sort of gathered a group of people who really want that together. Everyone who is here really wants to be here.
Shane: If I was visiting Vancouver and I wanted to bump into some entrepreneurs, where should I go? Where do they hang out? Is there a coffee shop or a bar or a co-working space or a particular neighborhood?
Claire: There is. We’re pretty focused. It’s interesting when you look at the Startup Genome map: Gastown is really the biggest epicenter and then there are a few sort of satellites. Gastown is where to go in terms of coffee shops. Our favorite is Revolver Coffee. But, there’s also, I mean thats, Revolver’s sort of very lucky because not only does it serve good coffee but it’s also sort of inbetween a lot of where these startups conglomerate. And they tend to conglomerate in accelerator and co-working spaces like Full Stack and Launch Academy and Invoke. So, I would go to all of those accelerators before I would go to anywhere else.
I like to think that Vancouver is a welcoming place. I was welcomed into the community and there’s lots of opportunities to meet people at a variety of events throughout the week and conferences.
Shane: What are some of your favorite events?
Claire: Vancouver is actually lucky to host Grow Conference, which is Canada’s largest technology conference. We, I don’t know the numbers on it, I’m sorry, but it was such a big conference and we had some really exceptional speakers and a lot of people from San Francisco came up, a lot of companies came up to recruit or to do promo and to meet our startups Grow Conf is really 3 days that are well worth going to.
Shane: You said that you felt really welcomed when you came onto the scene. Was there a specific event or maybe a specific person that welcomed you to the community? Maybe another community builder or somebody that you would mention?
Claire: Yeah, I owe much of my introductions to a man by the name of Andrew Howl. He and I made friends and he introduced me to Boris Mann who is a well-known connector. I also met Joel Solomon who’s a really interesting connector and investor here in Vancouver. He does what’s call social venture investing and runs a social venture institute called Holleyhock which is on the islands. And Launch Academy and many of the girls in tech, in here the girls sort of conglomerate together just to feel some sort of sense of majority temporarily. So I’ve met a lot of women very fast and they were all very nice as well.
Shane: You mentioned Boris and you work with Boris in an organization that is sponsored or was started by this city, correct? Can you tell us more about that?
Claire: Sure. WeAreYVR is a startup hub and directory online. We’re currently building the project. It is a collaborative endeavor between Boris Mann, Ray Walia of Launch Academy. The Vancouver Economic Commission have been very interested and we’re hoping to get them onboard shortly. We have many sort of provincial and federal stakeholders in the project. We’re using Startup Genome as sort of the data holding space. The Startup Genome API is open and that’s been really helpful to us. So we’re just sort of creating a database so that we can get metrics on the community and talk about it with a sense of authority and passion for what we do here in Vancouver.
Shane: Awesome. Have you, are you modeling that after any of these other kind of similar websites like Built in Chicago-things?
Claire: There are some exceptional websites out there. Berlin has a couple, Made in New York is one, Built in Chicago is one. There’s even sort of events listings out of Portland that I’ve been looking at. Really basic everything you need to know kind of websites about startup communities. We are, so far as I know, the first to build sort of a platform on Startup Genome as a locally curated and managed project. But, we’re hoping to replicate the project across communities. Our code for the website will be open code and anyone will be welcome to use it.
Shane: Good. I love that open source approach. Well hey. We like to keep these videos short, so we’re going to end it here. Claire, thanks for your time, thanks for the inside as to what’s happening in Vancouver.
Claire: Thanks Shane.