Communitech photo: Kurt SchwarzMarketer sets Leap conference as stretch goal Kayleigh Platz January 27, 2016 Columns, Ecosystem, Startups, Tech About Town I first met Marko Savic on Twitter. At the time, he was Creative Director for Igloo Software in Kitchener. We met in person at a few events and chatted about marketing and communications, and the local tech scene. A short while later, in March 2015, I ran into him in The Communitech Hub. He was moving a monitor into the Google for Entrepreneurs space. He had left his full-time job and was launching his own startup, FunnelCake. FunnelCake, a marketing platform that helps B2B marketing teams understand their buyers’ journey, was founded from his own frustrations. “I developed a brand, messaging and a go-to market strategy at [Igloo Software] and I ran into the issue that I had to measure everything,” Savic said. His struggle to track the data he needed — manually — and his research to find a solution, revealed the gap in the market that led to FunnelCake. Today, FunnelCake is in private beta and has a team of seven working on the platform. It fills in the gaps between marketing campaigns and sales by connecting a company’s CRM, web and social accounts to better help a company understand the trends, buyer segments and campaign influences that turns a browser into a buyer. Savic continues to be the CEO and founder of FunnelCake. As his team built out the product, he developed a product advisory board of local marketers from well-known companies such as D2L, Vidyard, Auvik Networks and Axonify. “We began to have really good conversations,” he said. “I was talking with experts about their challenges. Savic and his group wanted a chance to go more in-depth in their conversations. “My plan was to get maybe 20-30 people in a room, bring in a couple of guest speakers and call it a day,” he said. He booked the Atlas/ Matrix room at Communitech. After getting a larger-than-expected response, Savic has developed the idea into the Marketing Leap conference, a one-day event Feb. 29 (hence the leap). It has already outgrown the original space Savic booked. The 150-person conference will be held at the Tannery Event Centre from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. “We were a two-person team when we decided to do this,” he said. “Communitech was our first place to go to for the venue, and it came on for logistics and support. That’s what this community is about.” The line-up of local, Toronto-based and Valley-based speakers came together from Savic’s vision of his dream conference. “I planned out the topics and then looked at who was the best,” Savic said. Speakers include Jason Falls, a globally respected digital media strategist; April Dunford, an engineer turned marketer who has built marketing and sales for startups like Tulip Retail and Watcom; and Cam Davies, a Waterloo-based marketer at Miovision who’s passionate about the link between marketing and sales. All the speakers are donating their time, something that aligns with Savic’s vision of the day. “I want this day to give back to the community,” he said. Savic and his co-founder Andrew Lawton have joined the Upside Foundation to commit to pledge one per cent of their equity to local charities. With that philanthropic idea in mind, Savic is donating all ticket sales to the Working Centre in downtown Kitchener. Currently, with 65% of the tickets sold, the event has raised $10,000. “Running an event as a startup seems like a crazy idea, but we all live in this community,” he said when asked about why he’s putting on a conference. “We need to keep the downtown inclusive, especially to the people already living in it.” *** Those winter blahs are getting people down around town. Luckily, there is no shortage of amazing events to motivate you to get out of the house. I see and hear that . . . If you’re hungry and want to eat and watch a movie at the same time, Apollo Cinema has you covered this Thursday, Jan. 28. Apollo’s Feast features a gourmet meal cooked onsite (this month’s selection includes southern fried chicken, pulled pork or a burger) delivered tableside to you in the theatre while you watch either Brooklyn or The Martian 3D. The Brooklyn viewing starts at 6:45 p.m., and The Martian 3D at 9:30 p.m. General admission to Brooklyn is $11 and The Martian 3D is $18. . . Get inspired at the second annual Flash contemporary photography celebration. Join professional and amateur photographers on Friday, Jan. 29 at the Tannery Event Centre (151 Charles St. W., Kitchener) for an evening of food, drink and a showing of photography. The keynote speaker is Camille Seaman, a Native American photographer and TED fellow whose haunting images of melting icebergs at Earth’s polar regions have drawn more attention to climate change. The event starts at 6:45 p.m. Tickets cost $15, which includes appetizers. There is a cash bar . . . Another favourite event is back: Stone Soup Too is on Saturday, Feb. 6 at THEMUSEUM (10 King. St. W., Kitchener). The fundraising evening will benefit Nutrition for Learning and the Immigration Partnership Council Fund for Syrian Newcomers through The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation. The music-filled evening also features local art, good food and an auction. Tickets are $60 each and the evening starts at 7:30 p.m. Photo: Andrew Lawton (L) and Marko Savic, co-founders of FunnelCake and the Marketing Leap.