Female Entrepreneurs Rocked #TechTO Meetup in Toronto Nov 14th

Last nite I attended my 4th TechTO meetup, to keep current on the tech ecosystem because it overlaps FinTech in a big way. Again, I am amazed at the turnout - standing room only. Might be the free wine from @SIP and beer and pizza. Or might just be the really great event! But the big take away was the number of female entrepreneurs that presented and told their stories.

If you aren't familiar with TechTO it's a meet-up that is held at RBC's Queens Quay location and somewhere around 600 people show up. Nov 14th was the 25th meetup - wow. Crazy. Alex and Jason are the co-founders. TechTO's mission is to connect talent to the tech ecosystem and deliver learnings from tech entrepreneurs to those who attend. Among other things, there is a "community mic" opp for 10 seconds - ask for a job, offer one, promote an event, share something interesting; networking and presentations.

As a former big company innovator, I want to tell all corporate innovators to come to TechTO meetups. Why? Because I think you will get a giant dose of entrepreneurial culture, see how agile works in action, hear from entrepreneurs and begin to understand them better, hear honest and unfiltered comments that you don't hear in the boardroom, and come find talent for your team. I hear so many corporate execs are struggling to attract talent. It's a talent war right now. Ok - but the red name tags at TechTO all want jobs. I am sitting beside a data & analytics expert, who just moved to Toronto from Brazil and is looking for a job. 

Tonite I learned a bunch of new things I will share with you. Check out Twitter #techto to see all the cool stuff that was shared. Oh and I wonder if its a coincidence that there were so many Brazilians in the house?? And people looking to hire designers and developers - tons of talent needs.

Top 5 (IMO) Community news shared:

  • Check out PWC's Vision to Reality 2017 Innovator of the year awards - nominations are open until January
  • L-spark - Jamie Director of Marketing is in town with her team - they are a Canadian Saas accelerator in Ottawa with 19 companies in their portfolio - looking for new startups. Open office hours in Toronto this week
  • OSC regtechhackathon at end of November - few spots left - contact Chami, FinTech Advisor to the OSC
  • Some crazy Bermuda/Canada partner agreement enables tax free income - huh?
  • SIP - brought wine - must find out what they do?? "Enjoy a welcome drink everywhere you go. Every Day" Www.FindyourSIP.com and use SIP30 for a free month on their app. Interesting 

Presenter Highlights

1st presenter - Laura Wyngaarden Diligen Software - blockchain for contracts. Interesting presentation on the power we have with technology - but I didnt quite get it.

2nd presenter - Andrew CEO of Bitmaker - what it's like to sell out. Young guy, ex VC, made his first computer at 13, started Bitmaker in 2012, bought out his cofounders in 2014, sold to General Assembly this year. Due diligence really sucks - mind numbing work. And a few more lessons.

3rd presenter - Janice Taylor CEO of Mazu - based in Kelowna - what is your problem to solve - what is your secret sauce? Go after it.

4th presenter - Alex and Ali - husband and wife co-founders (cool I can relate to working with your husband because I do). ChickAdvisor.com is a product review site - startup from 2006 - bootstrapped it because when they went for funding early on - the VC's offered - but only if she would step out of the business. Its that simple - women don't get funding. Their lesson was about perseverance. It's a marathon not a sprint. Tips and tricks for making it work (working with your family) - Have a short memory. Have clear roles and split responsibilities.

5th presenter - Bianca Lopes - Bioconnect VP Strategic Marketing and Partnerships - Bioconnect is an identity offering. Here to teach us about identity theft and barriers to financial inclusion due to lack of verifiable identity. Forms of identify fall into 2 categories - behavioural and physiological identifiers. Bianca is an amazing presenter!

6th presenter - Opencare - match you with healthcare solutions - team of 13 - "it's a talent war out there" - how to win? Culture - isn't a beer fridge - it's a set of values. Develop your people. Toronto has raw talent - use a mentor API to help ppl get skills they don't have - connect them with people who do.

And that's a wrap! Well done TechTO team

Sue Britton

FinTech Growth Syndicate, 628 Fleet Street, Unit 1006, Toronto, ON, M5V 1A8