Canadian start up story

This is a cross post from my personal blog John’s Musings.

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front, haven’t even been tagging so much on mainly because two new projects has rather taken up a lot of time. The first was setting up a new company jbsh LLP that actually took a lot less cognitive effort than I’d expected. This post (and a few others) will be cross-posted. If things work out (how often does that happen?) this will become more of a personal blog and jbsh will become my professional / work musings.

So the other thing that that’s taken my time has been helping a start-up get through the business plan writing and raising finance process. They’re based in Canada which has led to rather more late nights (thank God for Skype) than is probably healthy but a fantastic business proposition so worth it. Actually there’s a third project looking at a new innovation / funding support network mechanism in Bristol (oh and applying for jobs in case the previous 3 don’t pay the mortgage)!

In working with Howard and the team I’ve given myself a crash course in Canada’s education system, their Provincial structure (and I mean that non-pejoratively) and also looked in some depth at different funding options. I’m not a financial advisor so I’m not in a position to tell Howard what to do, but I can read widely and offer perspectives so that when he does talk to a qualified advisor he’s already prepared.

Fortunately, in this day and age, there are loads of great resources and people that are sharing their experiences (as I will in the coming days/weeks/months). Wil Schroter has a great new blog / venture called Go Big! that has been a source of information and moral support. I’ve been a long time reader of Rick Segal and his thoughts, comments and notes on the Canadian scene. I’ve recently found (through Rick’s blog) Suzanne Dingwall Williams and her Venture Law Lines blog. Nivi and the team over at Venture Hacks have been another fantastic source of Term Sheet Hacks that have been chock full of ideas, comment and humour.

So I’ve got a draft business plan, an executive summary / pitch proposal, some financial spreadsheets and a digital address book of contacts. Lots of meetings (virtual for me, face-to-face for Howard) and with a fair wind and following sea we should be working up the full product for release next year. There’s a hybrid version that should be ready for the end of this year to kick-start the revenue. More to follow…

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