A podcast series featuring interviews with startup founders
and tech community leaders discussing what it is like to build a startup
– and a startup ecosystem – in a small city.
Stay in touch with the friendly folks of Startupville.
Risk & Reward
“In our community, we rely on each other to watch each other’s backs. When we see each other in the hallways or at events, we say “how’s it going?” and [their response] isn’t just 'oh it’s good.' It’s 'this is what I’m doing, this is what I’m working on' and we tell each other that with the intention of getting feedback, soliciting advice and understanding that we’re talking to someone who genuinely cares about what we’re doing and how we’re doing. And they’re curious and interested either to learn or to help us learn from what they’ve done.”
Dan talks with Katrina German, CEO of KatrinaGerman.com, and Greg Sutton, CEO & Co-founder of TinyEYE.
Managing risk is a tricky business. Every entrepreneur has their own motivations for what they do, and they have to balance their "why" with all the risks involved in building a startup. Gaining a better understanding of what drives you will allow you to take calculated risks, and align your startup in a way that's the best fit for your goals. For founders who can master the art of managing risk, even failure can be a step forward that propels you to new heights.
. . . or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Feeding the Future
“You have to start with the benefits, you have to explain what is in it for them.”
- Wilf Keller
Dan talks with Wilf Keller, President & CEO of Ag-West Bio Inc, and Blaine Chartrand, Program Head of Bioscience Technology at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. The global population is expected to grow by over a billion people in the next ten years. Food production has changed in many ways, and technology is becoming a big part of how we are able to feed an ever-increasing amount of people. Coming from a hotbed of biotechnology and agriculture innovation, Wilf and Blaine discuss how tech is an integral part of growing more (and more healthy) food into the future. Combined, with over a half century in communicating bioscience and Wilf since the 1970's, they discuss some of the communication mistakes that were made from early innovators that have changed the public discussion around food innovation.
A Valley State of Mind
- Jordan Boesch
Dan talks with Jordan Boesch, CEO of 7shifts, and Leejay Schmidt, Co-founder and CEO of Skylite Labs. There’s no denying that Silicon Valley is the startup capital of the world. There’s a critical mass of experienced talent, capital, and mentorship, and the culture of hustle is unmatched. It all combines to create the perfect storm help startups scale. Is it possible for startup founders to take advantage of the opportunities smaller cities present, and still have access to the wealth of knowledge and support The Valley can provide? And how can they inject that Silicon Valley energy into their own communities to compete on a global stage?
“You have to have those spaces to do it. You have to have those incubators, those innovation spaces. Where people can come together and talk over a coffee or a presentation, and say where are those opportunities where you have some expertise, I have a problem, let’s come together to solve it.”
- Jeff Cutler
Not all technology is ready for market when it's first discovered or invented, sometimes it can take decades for a breakthrough to reach its potential. Some of the most revolutionary ideas take years of long-term research and investment for it to ever see the light of day. In this episode, our guests discuss how important it is for an ecosystem to invest in hard science that can pay dividends for society (and shareholders) if you're patient enough to see it through.
Degrees of Separation
- Ian Meier
Dan talks with Ian Meier, Co-founder & CEO of Agrimatics, and Alix Hayden, Associate Director of Innovation Enterprise. In a small city, you’re only ever a few degrees of separation from the next great piece of advice or support that can save you months of headaches. What can you do in the early stages of your startup to learn from the mistakes of those who came before you? And does starting in a small city reduce your access to mentorship and support, or can you take advantage a smaller, more connected ecosystem in a way you never could in a city of millions?
The $500 Startup
- DonnaLyn Thorsteinson
All cities and towns have an economic development office looking to grow activity in their region. Townfolio's software helps economic developers attract more investment, and they themselves are helping the local economy by growing their tech startup. SREDA, like many other economic development agencies, has embraced the power of tech entrepreneurship, because tech can scale faster than any other industry. This provides an opportunity for the local economies to skyrocket on the backs of a strong tech ecosystem, but there are many pieces of the puzzle to make this work successfully.
Little Sibling City
“The people we attract, they’re in it. You can tell that they’re in it for the long run, and they’re excited to be a part of a rocket ship they can help build, right here at home. Have a family, get to work in 3 songs (which they can’t do in the valley), and afford the lifestyle they want while pursuing the dream they want as well.”
- Jacqueline Cook
Smaller cities have something of a little sibling syndrome. Can they get over their inferiority complex and play in the big leagues? It can take years for startup founders from off the beaten path to realize their potential and the hidden potential of a diamond in the rough. And there’s nothing like a good surprise to catch the eyes of talent and investment. Can big things come in small packages?
It Takes a Village
“I feel really passionate about being able to take those lessons from the major tech hubs and bring that back, so we can have that expertise here.”
- Katherine Regnier
Building a startup is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s so important for founders to surround themselves with the right people to help push them through it all. Whether it is getting advice from an experienced veteran, commiserating over shared struggles with other founders, or having those closest to you keeping you grounded as you think you’ve reached your limit. Nobody has ever built a successful startup alone. It comes in many shapes and sizes, and we all need to find our village to keep us moving forward.
Chicken & Egg
“What they’ll come to realize is that everybody has a different viewpoint, and actually, that’s the special sauce.”
- Jordan Dutchak
Dan interviews Jeff Dyck of Mentor, a Siemens Company, and Jordan Dutchak of the tech incubator Co.Labs. Mentor (formerly Solido) was the largest tech acquisition in the history of their home province when they were acquired by one of the world's largest tech companies. Co.Labs is the provinces first tech incubator, taking startups from 1 to 1000. In this episode, they discuss the chicken and egg problem that all unestablished tech hubs face, and how Saskatoon is fighting the odds to build a vibrant, meaningful tech ecosystem thanks to continued involvement from the established veterans and small upstarts in the region.
Dan Gold MPRCA, hails from the south of England where he started out in the IT industry, although media was his first love.
In the ‘90s, he made the leap into broadcasting, working for Europe’s largest radio network. In 2007, Dan was enticed to London to work for a firm which would become a part of The Economist Group, producing strategic content for global brands in fashion and luxury, automotive, sports, finance, aviation, tech, health, and education.
While in London, Dan worked on campaigns that engaged millions of people worldwide on TV, radio, and online. After more than 4,440 productions and content on every major news and entertainment network, Dan made the move to North America to continue his storytelling journey with Martin Charlton Communications.
Mike is a born-and-raised small city advocate from Saskatoon, Canada.
With a background in building communities, as Collaboration Specialist with Innovation Place he works closely with the tech community from startup founders, students, firms and support systems to connect the dots and the people that need connecting.
Mike is a strong believer that a lot of big fish working together can turn a small pond into a blue ocean.