If you’ve ever worked in a startup, you know what it’s like to attack one of the most exciting and uncertain beasts you’ll ever encounter. At any given moment you’re juggling 100 things; you never have enough staff; you need more cash, always; you have more ideas than you could ever execute; and most experienced investors will constantly remind you how difficult it is to achieve success at scale.
But if, despite all that, you still wake up every morning determined to change the world and you’re stubborn and resilient enough to actually get it done, you’re the standout entrepreneur the startup industry thrives on. And if that describes you, then The C100′s 48 Hours in the Valley event should be on your Top 5 list of things to do.
Twice a year, the C100 holds an event called 48 Hours in the Valley (subsequently referred to as 48 Hours) that offers 20 of Canada’s most promising startup companies two days of mentorship, workshops, investor meetings, strategic partner visits and networking.
The C100 is a non-profit, member-driven organization whose focus is to support Canadian technology entrepreneurship and investment. The organization is made up of a select group of people based primarily in Silicon Valley, including startups CEOs, top executives of companies such as Apple, Cisco, EA, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Oracle, and venture investors representing more than $8 billion in capital.
This year my company Digital Journal was recognized along with 19 other Canadian startups as “best-of-the-best of Canadian entrepreneurship” and so we headed from Toronto to San Francisco to take part in 48 Hours. Opening night began June 25 and it kicked off with a private welcome reception at Mozilla headquarters where CEO Gary Kovacs and CIO Todd Simpson welcomed entrepreneurs, C100 Board members and C100 partners. After that, it was two packed days of networking, mentoring, investor pitches and workshops.
I’ve done pitches. Hundreds of them. I’ve been to networking events where you run around staring at strangers’ chests trying to read a name tag that is always flipped over and impossible to read. I’ve followed the Lean Startup movement and have incorporated a lot of its teachings into our growing business. And I’m fortunate to have a pretty amazing Advisory Board so I know what it’s like to sit down for one-on-one mentoring sessions. I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than 10 years now and, despite all that, I’m walking away from 48 Hours feeling like I have learned a lot.
It was only two days in San Francisco and Silicon Valley but it was two of the busiest days in recent memory. The biggest takeaway? 48 Hours is a world-class networking event where every person will ask: How can I help you? I’ve never met so many people lining up to offer their network, experience, etc. with no strings attached.
But it was more than that, and so I’ve chronicled my learning and experience as 48 Hours Alumni into a couple blog posts. I am doing this because I want to continue the good nature and spirit of The C100 and 48 Hours and pay it forward to anyone else who is (or wants to be) an entrepreneur and is looking for help. I’ve broken my experience into two posts:
- 4 standout experiences from ’48 Hours in the Valley’
- The Top 8 things every entrepreneur can learn from ’48 Hours in the Valley’
I would like to extend a very sincere thank you to everyone who makes The C100 and 48 Hours possible, and for taking us along for the ride. A big thanks to Chris Chapman who introduced us to The C100 program; several VCs and mentors who voted for Digital Journal to be one of the 20 companies at 48 Hours; The Canadian Consulate; Atlee and Camille; our mentors Michael and Jeremy; our fellow 48 Hours alumni; and dozens of other wizards who work the magic behind the curtains at The C100. You guys really do change lives.