Canadian VC’s have been indulging in a pissing contest all week long. Mark Skapinker’s comments about the state of the Canadian venture industry to the Wall Street Journal touched off a firestorm – a rebuttal from Rick Segal, and various other angry comments via blogs and Twitter, a clarification from Mark, and a follow-on from Rick.
Let’s face it. The funding environment in Canada is a mess. Mark isn’t saying anything new when the best option an entrepreneur has for financing is to appear as a contestant on the Dragon’s Den.
There is innovation happening here in Canada. I’m not sure whether the current conversation has done anything to move the funding situation forward, however. And does it really matter? Most entrepreneurs seem to have moved on from the fantasy of a fat VC cheque to the reality of bootstrapping and angels.
Perhaps the best commentary of all has been offered by Suzie Dingwall Williams. On her blog, Venture Law Lines, she writes about the just announced Ontario Emerging Technology Fund, saying:
…in the last two years, most of the province’s most promising entrepreneurs have designed and built emerging businesses specifically so they will not need to access venture capital that has not been there. If the provincial government is serious about preserving the current generation of entrepreneurs, then it needs to make sure that those who are in the market today can access ETF funds.
Suzie recommends visiting the ETF home page, and using the “comment” link at the bottom of the page to send email asking for insight and an opportunity to comment on the investment guidelines before they’re released.
Smart advice indeed.