Last week, Techtoberfest 2016 wrapped at Communitech, our most successful yet.
Since 2014, Techtoberfest has focused on connecting Waterloo Region startup founders with venture capitalists from around the world. It’s a connection that emerged organically: Waterloo Region has long been host to the second largest Oktoberfest on Earth, and just about everyone involved loved sausage and beer. It just made sense.
Now that Techtoberfest has an established brand as one of Canada’s best places for VCs and entrepreneurs to connect, the 2016 edition offered unprecedented opportunities to startup founders.
Peter Thomson, scion of Canada’s Thomson family and founder/Managing Director of Thomvest Ventures, was in attendance. He told me about how the “innovation hotspot” that is Waterloo Region is drawing him back to investing in Canada:
“We actually started in Canada with Certicom in the olden days… We followed the VCs who invested in Certicom back to the Valley, and that’s where we stayed for a long period, until recently we started doing some more Canadian deals. We’ve seen the ecosystem out here, it’s a hotspot for innovation, and we’ve decided to investigate it out here; look more seriously in this area.”
It was a sentiment shared by a small army of VCs in attendance, all kicking the tires of the startups, scale-ups, and enterprises in the region. Angel investor Kelly Hoey and music industry mogul turned Silicon Valley guru Troy Carter delivered stirring keynotes. Carter in particular was blown away by the ecosystem’s offerings:
— Communitech (@Communitech) October 13, 2016
“I saw some fantastic, fantastic companies. Probably one of the best cohorts of companies I’ve seen in one accelerator. So, literally just hit after hit after hit. And I think they tricked me into ending it off with this rockstar VR experience that I just had, that I’m still trying to get over after being lifted into the air by a giant… So, a really incredible experience here today.”
He’s referring to Sulon Technologies’ “magic beans” VR demo, an experience that has been blowing the doors off of VR enthusiasts since its announcement, grabbing headlines from places like TechCrunch and Engadget, and drawing favourable comparisons to Facebook and Google. Carter had just gone through the demo prior to the interview, and his legs were still wobbly.
As more and more Canadian tech companies take their place in the spotlight and take on giants south of the border, Techtoberfest is growing to meet them, and making sure that VCs and angels the world over know about Canada’s thriving tech ecosystem.
If you have ideas for what you’d like to see from Techtoberfest (or an event like it) next year, let us know on Twitter with the hashtag “#techtoberfestWR”.