Alacrity Foundation

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    A conversation between host Owen Matthews and Sam Haffar, partner at Real Ventures. see more

    Source: alacritycanada.com

    Between 2 Term Sheets Episode 9 Sam Haffar Real Ventures

    Episode 9 of Alacrity Canada’s “Between 2 Term Sheets” podcast features a conversation between host Owen Matthews and Sam Haffar, partner at Real Ventures.

    Listen to this episode to hear Sam and Owen discuss:

    • The types of investment opportunities Real focuses on
    • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
    • Why Real Ventures aims to be accessible to everyone (hint: their staff can relate to the challenges of entrepreneurs)
    • The differences in term sheets that come out of the Silicon Valley vs Canada
    • Element AI
    • And more

    “great entrepreneurs don’t need venture capitalists. venture capitalists need great entrepreneurs” – sam haffar

    About Sam Haffar

    Sam Haffar is a Partner at Real Ventures responsible for working with founders on all aspects of their business: from organizational development, product strategy, to series A fundraising, growth and scale initiatives.

    Sam’s background involves 15 years of experience in technology, and includes joining the founding team at Chegg (a leading education technology company that went public in 2013) and leading growth, marketing and sales teams in the Silicon Valley. Combined, his startups have raised well over $200M from VCs.

    About Real Ventures
    Real Ventures, launched in 2007, is an early stage venture capital firm in Canada that has invested in 150+ companies and grown a network of 1000+ founders. Real tends to invest throughout the life-cycle of early stage companies, and provides stage-appropriate capital and support for the founders it backs. Their partners are based out of Montreal, Toronto and the US.

    Real has raised over $300M across 5 early-stage funds, witnessed Canada’s transformation into the home of multiple top-20 global tech hubs, and seen the Valley’s best VCs jumping on flights from SF & NY to Canada to back industry-defining companies.

    About the host – Alacrity Chairman Owen Matthews
    Owen joined Wesley Clover as a General Partner in 2004 and has invested in Echosec Systems, Encepta Corp., HYAS, Pretio Interactive, Referral SaaSquatch, Tutela Technologies, and Certn, among others.

    Prior to joining Wesley Clover, Owen founded NewHeights Software, a pioneer in enterprise unified communication software which was eventually acquired by CounterPath Corporation.

    With his love of tech and creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs, Owen co-founded the Alacrity Foundation. Alacrity provides an intense incubation environment to prepare graduates for entrepreneurship in the tech industry.

    Previously on “Between 2 Term Sheets”
    Episode 1: Tom Williams (Angel Investor & Founder) and Will Fraser (CEO of SaaSquatch)

    Episode 2: Scott Lake (Co-Founder of Shopify & General Partner at Hello Ventures) and Karl Swannie (CEO & Co-Founder of EchoSec)

    Episode 3: Ben Narashim (Venture Partner at NEA)

    Episode 4: Alex Tong (Information Venture Partners)

    Episode 5: Certn CEO & Steve Clark of Company Capital

    Episode 6: Bruce Croxon of Round13 Capital & Owen Matthews

    Episode 7: Brian Kobus of OMERS Ventures 

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    It seems Victoria has its entrepreneurial wings at last... see more

    Source: Douglas Magazine
    Author: Pamela Roth

    Victoria Is a City of Entrepreneurs

    With angel investors arriving en masse this spring, and startups, popups and meetups infusing our lingo, it seems Victoria has its entrepreneurial wings at last. But don’t expect a copycat of Silicon Valley. This city has its own vibrant attitude...

    [Click to read more]

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Owen Matthews sees China as a solid investment. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Chinese trade opportunities loom large for Victoria firms

    Despite slower economic growth in recent years, China remains a market full of potential for Canadian companies. And for some Victoria firms, it may represent a massive missed opportunity if they don’t get into the game.

    Owen Matthews sees China as a solid investment. Matthews is chairman of the  Alacrity Foundation, which provides mentorship and guidance to start-up firms and engineers in order to create new tech companies.

    A single city, Shanghai, with a population of 24 million, is better funded and has more wealth than Canada, he said.

    Matthews, who is also a partner with investment firm Wesley Clover, said companies have the potential to be valued higher there given the availability of capital and the room for growth.

    “Not being part of that in some way is a huge missed opportunity,” he said.

    Matthews, who has just established a branch of the Alacrity Foundation in Shanghai, said China is starting to open up and the country is more open to technology partnerships in particular. But he warned it’s important for Canadian entrepreneurs to find a Chinese partner who they can trust.

    “You have to have people you can work with, whose interests are aligned so when the Victoria company does well somebody there also does well,” Matthews said, noting that partnership is key as it can mean the feet on the ground in China will protect the firm’s interests.

    The seven year-old Alacrity Foundation may be able to do some of that for Canadian firms. The non-profit entity, supported by industry and government, has branches around the world, including Turkey, India, France, the U.K. and now in China.

    Matthews said each of the Alacrity branches gives interested companies an insight into global markets.

    With its arrival in China, Alacrity’s network has trusted feet on the ground in Shanghai that can help open doors, or offer advice.

    The mayor of Victoria hopes local firms are looking at the opportunity in China. Lisa Helps, who returned from a two-week trade mission to China in late October, told a gathering of local business people this week that Victoria firms are well positioned to take advantage of China’s potential. She said she believes the $22,000 trip was a huge success and has laid the ground work for trade deals to be signed with a country that is continually changing and opening up.

    “The central government is focused on growing its economy in a sustainable manner and they need the innovation and technology we have here,” Helps said

    Matthews said having the Victoria mayor join local firms on trips to China can open a lot of doors.

    “It’s a great endorsement,” Matthews said. “It makes a big difference in China. Their assumption is government is a very important player in our economy. Having a mayor shaking hands beside a tech company goes a long, long way.”

    It can also help the tourism industry, said Paul Nursey, chief executive of Tourism Victoria, who was in China at the same time.

    Nursey said Victoria has seen strong growth from China — 20 per cent each year over the last few years — but it can do better.

    “We have a great brand and a great product,” Nursey said. “But we are being more deliberate in targeting overnight stays.”

    Nursey said Tourism Victoria has changed its sales team to be more digital savvy, and able to converse in China, as they go after a more lucrative slice of the Chinese market — the individual traveller rather than packaged tours. That’s a segment growing as a result of an emerging middle class. “Now it’s about the hard work on the ground and pitching, it’s a sales proposition and we have refined our sales approach,” he said.