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Price Waterhouse Coopers Canadian Exposure

Howard and I have spent the last 24 hours at an event in Boston called Canadian Exposure, organized by Price Waterhouse Coopers, investor Celtic House, and Boston law firm Proctor-Goodwin. Cliff Taylor and Bruce Raganold in Ottawa’s PWC office first brought it to our attention. 

I think that this is one of the best organized events that I have attended. Kudos to PWC, Celtic House and Proctor-Goodwin.  First impressions are seldom wrong – and from the application process, through selection and pre-conference preparation (being assigned a coach to help in preparation of written materials and critique presentations) – it’s been flawless.

We arrived yesterday afternoon for the mandatory technical run through in PWC’s office on High Street.  We hadn’t anticipated we would find 30 people in the audience (the keeners and an assortment of coaches and mentors that came to provide their pre-show critique to presenters).

Our trial run uncovered a few technical challenges – most of which would be addressed by the IT folks at PWC figuring out how to get us an internet connection in he training room.

At 4:00 we headed over to Proctor-Goodwin for a social mixer, where we had the opportunity to meet a lot of VC’s, the other companies presenting and our hosts.  Andrew Waitman from Celtic House and Ben Kaak / Bruce Raganold from PWC were gracious hosts and went out of their way to make introductions. Some of the other familiar faces from the Canadian front were Tim Lee from growthworks and Paul Smelters from VenGrowth. Lots and lots of Boston VC’s, too.

PWC and Goodwins arranged for us to attend the Bruins / Maple Leafs game, where Boston won in a shoot-out.  Tough for the Leafs fans in the crowd.  What was even tougher was watching the Montreal / Ottawa score popping up on the displays around the Gardens, as Montreal ultimately beat Ottawa 5-2.

At 7:30 this morning, we started off with a group breakfast, and opening remarks. There were at least 100 people in the room. We heard presentations on last years venture numbers in the US, pitching US VCs, and a review of the Canadian market from Andrew Waitman.  It was interesting to see the orders of magnitude of number of deals that US VC’s do in comparison to Canadian VC’s.  A  little disheartening as a Canadian entrepreneur, as well.  But that’s why we’re looking for money south of the border as well as at home. As Rick Segal pointed out in his presentation a few days ago at VON Canada, Canadian VC’s have little tolerance for uncertainty, or errors.  It seems that there’s very little real "risk capital" available in Canada. 

The program had iotum kicking off the presentations at 9:15 – not much pressure! Howard and I reprised our DEMO presentation, and added some details about the company.  Like DEMO, it was a time limited presentation.  Each company had 12 minutes to present.  We used six minutes to present the product, and six to present the business.  It went very well, and we had plenty of compliments afterward.

Nine other companies presented in the IT space, and there were another 10 companies in the Life Sciences group.  In total, 20 companies presented to 35 VCs.  I’m not sure the event could have been more leverageable, more qualified, or more fun! 

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Mathew Ingram April 7, 2006, 4:48 pm

    Alec:

    Just wanted to mention that I finally got around to writing about the PricewaterhouseCoopers trip for globetechnology.com (just in the nick of time too) — the story is here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGA

    Mathew

  • Jim Courtney April 7, 2006, 5:36 pm

    A little excitement around the neighbourhood here this morning as the Bruin from our Mississauga neighbourhood was the one to score the shootout goal. And the Toronto press today jumped all over the fact that a traded Leaf draft pick was responsible for reducing significantly the Leafs' chances to make the playoffs. Glad to see your group could help fill the Garden as the Bruins sure looked short on fans on TV.

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