Top Ten Lessons from PACT 2008!

Written by on October 26, 2008 | Technology Startups

Had the pleasure of attending last weeks Plug & Play Acceleration & Collaboration Track (PACT for short) event down in Sunnyvale, CA.  The event included start ups from Spain, Japan, China, Australia and Canada and was organized on Canada’s side by Guillaume Parent from the SFO Consulate.  For a first time event it was extremely well done- primarily in that it happened! and without a whole lot of excessive logistical requirements!

Top ten lessons:

10. Thumbs up to the Toyota Prius Hybrid- takes a little while to get use to booting up your car but handled 100 mph on the 101 and comfortably seats 5 and 1 in the trunk (beauty Wayne) so very much impressed! 

9.  A bundle of valuable pitch advice from Chris Gill the CEO of SVASE a Bay-Area NFP helping start ups get funding and a bunch more.  Key points I got, not included in the hand out.

a.  Don’t specify your value in your pitch - “The market will set the value of the business”  

b. Ultimate pitch is 10 minutes.  

c. Sales cycle average- Awareness (3mnths), Consideration (3mnths), Trial (6 mnths), Approved (6 mnths), Purchased (6 mnths) so pitch viral marketing and sales accordingly.  

8. “SaaS” or Software as a Service means a lot things depending on who you talk to- some say that only web applications are SaaS, some say executable applications that rely on online connectivity are Saas, some say hybrids like QCDocs are SaaS and some say that provisioning of services over the internet like Tandem or our new friends from Corefino are even SaaS.   We’ll leave it up to our new friends from to figure it out!

7. QCDocs may have a bit more margin to be had- Professor Matsuo from Kyushu University picked up QCDocs to just share business cards he’s received with colleagues around the world -“$25/month… done.”

6. Redwood Technologies Inc from Calgary are building some whicked mobile apps (cellphone client/billing management- sorry clients I’m doing something about my $500/month blackberry bill now!) LOL’s. Chatted up Terry Hughes (kick ass pitch by the way for a Brit!) about how QCDocs and the paperless online backoffice could jump start a whole new domain of business related wireless apps- ie. our blackberry remote cheque/check signing, sick day, time and vacation submission/approval sync to payroll/billings, expense reporting and doc approvals, paperless receipt mgmt, remote EFT payments, workforce management, etc.)

5.  Other companies to watch- Simo (before travelling LD with your cell phone check them out!), 3rdwhale(Boyd chat with BigRoom) and you’ve got a winner!), Coveritlive (because Boris was intrigued with the live blogging for obvious reasons!), odijoo (looking forward to getting our online training ported into pro-version!), Dynamite (because we’ll use this at some stage), Ariane Controls (because of my semiconductor days but proof is in the engineering),  Applocation(because this would be a nice add on to QCDocs for end-to-end asset tracking), Visionnet (because this would be a nice add on to QCDocs for SMB’s to streamline multimedia sales and marketing initiatives) andAdhack (People-powered advertising…brilliant, practical adaptation of social networking!)

4. Get on Guillaume’s twitter account so you don’t miss the bus!?  Also there’s something weird about downloading Googlemaps in the Google parking lot to find your way to Plug&Play…!?

3.  Some great Bay Area resources to help Canadian Start ups that I met – Guillaume of course,  Rick Rassmussen, working with Canadian trade commission out of Palo Alto,  Gordon Smythe with Invest-BC also working out of Palo Alto. 

2. Plug & Play – Wow!  Kick ass facility for incubating start ups.  Great starting point for early stage Canadian Tech Bay Area point of presence.  Jupe Tan, Jackeline Hernandez and Saeed Amidi were great hosts!

1. Beware of Danny’s “5 more Mie Ties” at Tau Tau’s (happy, happy btw) the night before 2 minute pitch to Tim Draper and VC panel.  LOL’s

Risk Master

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