While building products and managing cash flow are critical to success, many founders would argue that establishing a culture is also a vital piece of their growth landscape. Culture becomes even more crucial when scaling up. Alex Krause of TechStars Link in her research on culture states that “there are a lot of organizational culture theories out there when it comes to startups. It is 80 percent the founder of the company. It is established in the first 20 people. Things get weird after 150 employees.” The truth behind this axiom may relate to how the founder has treated culture during the rapid growth stage.
One of the most avoidable and often overlooked failure points cited in many startup post-mortems is a lack of a vision coupled with the inability to establish a scalable culture. After all, one of the most attractive things about a startup (let’s face it, it’s not about the money!) is the early days. The excitement of building something from scratch, pitching in where needed and the camaraderie experienced working long hours with people you really like is hard to replicate. If you are lucky and the business takes off, retaining that early magic as the headcount grows becomes critical…especially as initial employees start heading out the door looking for that buzz elsewhere.
Cultural aspects deemed most important for organizational success
Most founders have their early focus on product, customer, marketing strategy and funding because that is what drives revenue generation. Culture can become an afterthought and left to grow aimlessly, a by-product of the founder and the people he/she hires. According to a recent HBR article by Gulati and De Santola Link, not being purposeful about the culture can actually hamper a startups ability to grow. Alisa Cohn in her article about SendGrid Link shares a discussion with CEO, Sameer Dholakia who stated, “When I was CEO of my first startup I didn’t spend enough time thinking about culture. I was not as intentional as I should have been.” With SendGrid, Dholakia cites culture as one of the company’s strategic imperatives.
Founders are able to intentionally establish culture from the outset without the burden and layers of history. Justin Sachs, writing for Forbes Link states, “Culture is harder to undo than to do so you have to build culture into your startup planning.” Stewart and O’Connell, authors of Woo, Wow and Win: Service Design, Strategy and the Art of Customer Delight Link agree. “Startups need to create the culture they want from the beginning with both an internal and external focus.” This includes customers as well as internal employees.
Although many startup founders have had different paths to success, and a few failures along the way, there is universal agreement that culture should be a deliberate element of the business strategy. The following are some common fundamentals around building successful cultures:
1. Establish your core values. You are the leader of your organization and the values should reflect who you are. Be genuine.
2. Have a shared mission and vision that is bought into by everyone in the organization.
3. Communicate your vision over and over. Make it part of your daily ritual.
4. Hire good people with strong “soft” skills.
5. Foster a culture of open and transparent communication. Provide opportunities for one on one feedback sessions with employees. Be transparent with both good and bad news.
6. Promote collaboration and teamwork. Build activities that bring people together to help build resilience for when tough times hit.
If you are fortunate enough to be part of the 10% of successful startups and are battling to turn it into a viable company, don’t forget the importance of translating early cultural success into one that can be sustained and embraced as you grow. By being purposeful from the outset you will invest in the collaborative and innovative framework that will attract and retain the employees you need to propel the organization forward as you scale up.
Carolynn Anderson is a culture and change leader who evaluates, benchmarks and enhances organizational cultures while they are experiencing rapid scale ups.
ABTEC1000: Technology Alberta is pleased to feature Alberta Technology Companies that collectively are hiring 1000 people over the next year. This initiative was originally called the ABTEC100, but there are so many jobs out there - we have expanded it to ABTEC1000. See below for this Month's Feature Companies.
Aucerna is the world leading provider of Integrated Strategy, Planning and Reserves solutions for the Oil and Gas Industry. Over the past 10 years Aucerna has managed to achieve unmatched growth as the company has evolved from a Calgary-based software provider to a global partner for more than 450 companies around the world.
Curve Dental partners with dental practices of all sizes to help them work more efficiently. A 100% cloud-based dental software solution provides a modern method to simplifying and streamlining dental practice tasks such as billing, charting, imaging and scheduling. Curve has the experience and expertise to migrate Dental offices to the cloud easily, all while ensuring patient data is safe and compliant.
At FitMyLife Health Analytics Inc. we have launched a new type of fitness application called FitMyLife. The market is loaded with simple applications that might count calories, show you how many steps you have taken in a day, or give you a workout the same as for any other user.
FitMyLife changes the paradigm. We use sophisticated health analytics to model your metabolism. And YOUR metabolism is most often different from everyone else's. You digest fat, carbs, and protein differently from others. You may need more or less calories to maintain your weight than others. At FitMyLife, we model what is unique to you. We use information about what you have eaten and what exercise you do to figure out how you can best reach your fitness goals.
With headquarters in Alberta and Singapore and having a skillful team of clinicians and scientists, MEDO envisions to radically simplify the use of ultrasound for common and critical conditions, using AI- Augmented 3D Ultrasound technology.
Disruption has been at the heart of the world’s three great industrial revolutions. Now it’s the buzzword for the proponents of artificial intelligence, the mavericks of supercomputing who are prepared to lead the world down a new path of growth and prosperity.
But what if the pathway is blocked, beset by detours and red tape?
That kind of disruption is a big worry among Edmonton’s AI champions. Last year they joined forces to form a steering committee, gave up their Friday afternoons for about six months and put together a business plan that they released in January.
The vision? A $235-million blueprint to turn Alberta AI into a billion-dollar economy by 2025 — including a $60-million ask of the provincial government to help them get there.
Dalibor Petrovic speaking at a community meeting on Sept. 24, 2018 to gather feedback on the AI business plan. (Photo: Mack Male)
Stream rises from the downtown skyline on another frigid start to the day in the city. Gavin Young/Postmedia
In a news release, AEC president and CEO Kristina Williams said these new numbers show a promising future for the tech sector.Women are helping drive a boom in Alberta’s technology and innovation sector, launching or co-founding more than 30 per cent of tech startups, according to a new study.
Alberta’s female entrepreneurs have doubled the national average in participation in technology according to the Alberta Enterprise Corp.’s 2018 Deal Flow study, which notes 70 per cent of the province’s tech companies are generating revenue, with nearly a quarter bringing in more than $1 million annually.
The study found 432 new technology startups have been established in Alberta since 2016 for a total of 1,238 tech companies headquartered across the province.
Calgary leads the way with 767 companies operating in the city, compared with Edmonton’s 394.
LWOL is an informal get-together for Edmonton entrepreneurs, small business owners, academia, investors, and service providers. Anyone looking to encourage collisions between people and create connections that will help drive the success of entrepreneurs in Alberta's innovation system is welcome to attend.
Lunch without Lunch runs every Wednesday at Work Nicer Beaver House.
DATE: Wed, March 6, 13, 20, 27 2019
TIME: 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM MST
PLACE: Work Nicer Coworking (Beaver House)
10158 103 Street Northwest #100
Edmonton, AB T5J 0X6 View Map
Colin refuses to accept the status quo of the world. He’s constantly reading (about 500 books a year) and studying to find out why things are the way they are and what can be done about making them better. After having started, sold, failed, grown and invested in businesses over the last 20+ years, Colin curated a freely accessible model designed to be the best way to start and grow a business called The Whole Entrepreneur – with the crazy goal of defeating the unnecessary failure in entrepreneurship worldwide.
While his day job is helping entrepreneurs from startup to $20M build meaningful profit and love their life through his business THNQ, he is also launching a pilot project for microlending and entrepreneur development in Central America; building a construction incubator/accelerator, and reinventing drywall.
Colin’s kaizen mindset stretches through family, marriage, church, business, life, fitness, the way we learn, the way we grow, relationships, humility, philosophy, technology and more.
Colin's central core value is entrepreneurship. As an advocate, he is a part of the Rainforest Initiative in Alberta, several mentoring groups, supporting the development of entrepreneurs globally through HOPE Worldwide and his class on innovation and entrepreneurship is the most sought-after program for school-age kids through the Career Pathways at the EPSB.
Koleya is the co-founder, President and CEO of Absolute Combustion International. With over 14 years of entrepreneurial experience, Koleya has helped to create and develop companies from the ground up. Working within technology companies for over the last decade, Koleya has proven herself capable of taking groundbreaking technologies all the way from the inception phase through to commercialization, while developing relationships with major corporations to facilitate the deployment of various technologies she assists in designing. Working alongside ingenious inventors and technology experts for over 10 years, Koleya’s passion for technology capable of making a strong impact to society rapidly grew and her desire to create technology capable of assisting to clean up the planet is unstoppable. Koleya has also proven capable of branding and marketing different technologies to create a strong digital footprint and brand awareness of the technology she deploys.
Chris is the business development and strategic lead for Honest Dumplings. Chris was previously the Business Development Manager at TEC Edmonton where he managed the business development team and developed the UA Solve program. His role supported entrepreneurs in both business development and technology development. His strengths include: strategic analysis, people management, identifying market opportunities, analyzing the strength of new technologies and helping to determine the best commercialization strategy. He has technical and research experience in food, agriculture, energy systems, clean technologies, and communications.
March 27th - TBD
If you are interested in presenting or know someone who should, please let us know!
Heralded by many as the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence has inspired countless news articles, novels, and films. With this deluge of information comes hopes and aspirations, fears and misconceptions – some justified and others not.
How can we make sense of it all?
Join Amii as we pull back the curtain on AI and lay a pragmatic foundation for what AI is, what it isn't, and how you can begin to think about the place of AI in your business.
Rainforest Alberta - Connector is an informal get-together for Edmonton entrepreneurs at all stages (from ideation to exiting), small business owners, and service providers looking to encourage and promote collisions between people and create connections that will help drive the success of entrepreneurs in Alberta's innovation system.
Our Connector events run the evenings of the 2nd last Thursday of each month. Join us to meet new like-minded people, celebrate successes and learn from failures, and build a community that supports and promotes entrepreneurship across the Province.
DATE: Thur, March 21 2019 TIME: 4:00 to 6:00 PM MST PLACE: Advanced Technology Centre 9650 20 Avenue Northwest Edmonton, AB T6N 1G1 View Map Agenda:
Registration is open for the 2019 Financial Technologies (FinTech) Networking Workshop to be held at the University of Calgary on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The FinTech Networking event will: (1) connect researchers at academic institutions with potential industry partners, (2) provide opportunities for industry to work more closely with academic institutions in Alberta through internships, shared research, and partnerships, and (3) highlight and develop funding opportunities between researchers and industry partners (e.g. NSERC, Mitacs).
Please register at: https://financialtechnologiesinnovation.eventbrite.ca
Dr. Yuriy Zinchenko (Associate Professor – Mathematics & Statistics)
Dr. Antony Ware (Professor & Department Head – Mathematics & Statistics)
Dr. Alfred Lehar (Associate Professor - Haskayne School of Business)
Dr. Christine Sharp (Outreach and Engagement Specialist - Faculty of Science)
ACCELERATEAB, POWERED BY THE A100, CONNECTS LOCAL STARTUPS, KEY MENTORS, INVESTORS AND PARTNERS ACROSS THE PROVINCE
Alternating between Edmonton and Calgary each year, AccelerateAB is the province’s annual flagship event that brings together leaders, investors, influencers and supporters of Alberta’s fast-growing startup community, with the goal of leveraging the success of the next generation of technology entrepreneurs across the province.
Tickets on sale: 15 January 2019
Ticket policy: Full refunds are available 30 days prior. After this date, you may send an alternate to the event without additional charge.
Registration is open for the 2019 Blockchain, Information Security, and Privacy Workshop to be held at the University of Calgary on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
The networking-based workshop will focus on current challenges and opportunities in blockchain, information security, & privacy. Topics of interest include software, computer science, and mathematics related to protocols and applications as well as hardware innovation for the physical implementation of these technologies.
The Blockchain, Information Security, and Privacy Workshop will: (1) connect researchers at academic institutions with potential industry partners, (2) provide opportunities for industry to work more closely with academic institutions in Alberta through internships, shared research, and partnerships, and (3) highlight and develop funding opportunities between researchers and industry partners (e.g. NSERC, Mitacs, ITB program).
Dr. Joel Reardon (Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science)
Dr. Daniel Oblak (Assistant Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy)
Dr. Christine Sharp (Outreach and Engagement Specialist - Faculty of Science)
Singularity University (SU) was co-founded in 2008 at the NASA Research Park in Mountain
View, California. They are not a “traditional academic university,” but rather a think-tank
and an ecosystem of world- renowned technology experts, social entrepreneurs and leading
futurists. SU help inform, inspire and transform individuals and organisations to create a
more abundant future and shape our collective future.
About SingularityU Canada
SingularityU Canada is a Canadian not-for-profit that was founded in 2017 in an effort to
bring this important global movement to Canada, a customizable platform for guided
exploration. A forum that brings uncommon partners together to engage in strategic
conversations about our (possible) future.
Change is happening at an accelerated rate. Many of the changes are a result of the
exponential speed of technological advancement. The challenge with this kind of change is
that once the underlying trajectories are obvious, it’s too late: the tipping point has been
reached. Last year, organizations from the public and the private sector, from diﬀerent
industries and across the country - all came together to bring Singularity University to
Canada. Our first Summit brought 1,300 leaders to Toronto for two days of strategic
conversations about our collective future.
SingularityU Canada Summit
The 2019 SingularityU Canada Summit is taking place April 23 & 24 in Edmonton, Alberta.
The summit is devoted to reinforcing Canada’s global role as a key technological innovator.
It aims to give a deeper understanding of how exponential technology will benefit nearly
every aspect of our daily lives.
Attendees can listen to and participate in expert panel presentations and open discussions.
Work and play with product demos that let you experience the future today. Meet like-
minded forward-thinkers and join a growing network of thought leaders, trailblazing
practitioners, and impact startups.
Tickets can be purchased from https://sucanada.org/summit2019/
INVENTURE$ 2019 is a tectonic shift in the innovation landscape – surfacing new opportunities that shape and create the future. INVENTURE$ is where you’ll make connections, forge business relationships and strike deals thanks to curated match-ups and conversations with influencers from across the globe.
It’s an experience that opens doors, opens minds and erases boundaries, bringing entrepreneurs and
startups together with venture capitalists, angel investors, service providers and thought leaders.
INVENTURE$ 2019 will bring fresh insight and new thinking on:
BUILDING SMARTER CITIES
FEEDING A HUNGRY PLANET
INTEGRATING THE ARTIFICIAL MIND
DESIGNING HEALTH SYSTEMS FOR A GLOBAL VILLAGE
EXPLORING BLOCKCHAIN BREAKTHROUGHS
GREENING OUR BLUE PLANET
June 5-7, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Why Attend INVENTURE$ 2019?
FOR INVESTORS: INVENTURE$ gathers entrepreneurs, startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) seeking partners,advisors and capital. It provides a one-stop opportunity to assess fast-growing players through pitch competitions and scan for investments across the entrepreneurial landscape.
FOR ENTREPRENEURS: INVENTURE$ gives you access to investors, thought leaders and fellow entrepreneurs through keynotes, panels, pitch competitions and informal networking opportunities. The National Angel Capital Organization is bringing more than 400 early stage investors to Calgary in an overlapping conference.
FOR RESEARCHERS, ACADEMICS AND INDUSTRY THOUGHT LEADERS: Multiple programming streams offer choices for discovery, sharing and deeper learning in emerging and transforming fields.
FOR INNOVATION SERVICE PROVIDERS: INVENTURE$ is a platform to showcase offerings to potential customers, scale and spread your networks and plug in to a larger ecosystem for knowledge-sharing.
Maintain, manage and support Technology Alberta's technologies used in the day to day operations.
A few common duties and responsibilities include
Create, develop and manage content for Technology Alberta's web presence
Coordinate web projects
Manage file sharing site
Manage email hosting
This is a volunteer position, where we ask you to commit 2 to 3 hours a week on an ongoing basis. We are looking for someone who sees the value of contributing, and who wants to make a change in Alberta's technology sector and industry.
Technology Alberta is pleased to announce that nominations for the 2019-2020 Board of Directors are open. Technology Alberta’s Board of Directors governs the association's activities and represents the Alberta advanced technology eco-system to the outside world. Technology Alberta's primary role is to support the growth of Alberta's small to medium sized businesses.
As Volunteers, Board Members have the opportunity to drive the future direction of the association by participating in the nomination of board members. The Technology Alberta community is unique, and we rely on our members to identify the leaders who will provide thoughtful insight and vision to the organization.
Technology Alberta is led by a group of committed and passionate entrepreneurs and experts from a number of industries. They are driven by their shared vision of a diversified and thriving Alberta economy that is sustained by a strong and world-class advanced technology eco-system.