Fintech Growth Syndicate went to the Tech TO meetup and afterparty event, July 11 and we also attended their SalesTO event July 19. Tech TO and their meetups, for those who don’t know, are a real phenomenon: the events are very well attended with 600-700 people present. It is a bit of a circus (in a good way) and the ringmaster is Jason Goldlist, GM for Canada of WealthSimple and one of the principals of Tech TO who is constantly in motion, buzzing around on his hoverboard (there is a drinking challenge involved if he takes a step off or runs into someone). He is really engaging and quite funny and gets techies, investors, accelerators and startups all to come out and participate - real community engagement. The events are populated mainly by startups and founders of tech companies – about 75% - and a couple of the heavy-hitters are sponsors, as well. The venue was at RBC’s property in the south core, John Stackhouse was in attendance, and PWC was there. The meetups are a great place to meet people in the same boat as you.
We met with a young man named from Deloitte, Oren Berkovich who is working on their “Bridge” concept, and we also met Marianne Bulger, also one of the other principals of Tech TO (along with Alex Norman) – they are both those extremely bright, hard-working and plugged-in millennials who just makes you feel like such a loser. You know, like your parents didn’t push you hard enough? For instance, during the meet-your-neighbour portion of the program where we were encouraged to ask how the people around us came to be at the event, we found out that our seat-mate was a young woman entering her third year at Waterloo in engineering and she was working with WealthSimple, the online, low-cost investment app. She was loving her program, doing co-op work, and will graduate with an engineering degree AND have a ton of real life work experience under her belt. We asked her, straight-up if she knew that she could have any job she wanted in Fin tech after graduation and she shyly smiled and said, “Yes”!
In addition to feeling like you are an underachiever, you can also get a job at a TechTo event. There is an open mic, 10-second pitch portion where the audience is invited to pitch the people in the room. Indigo’s Executive Vice-President & Chief Strategy Officer, Krishna Nikhil, asked the room if anyone would be interested in joining the team that was developing their app for Indigo. Very exiting stuff and there was a lot of buzz around the room at this great opportunity.
We look forward to the next Tech TO events, Fintech TO and the Sales TO events. You can find their next event at http://www.meetup.com/TechTorontoOrg/#upcoming – a lot of fun and very worth the modest admission.