Dogfooding and other startup insights from the inaugural #TechVAN

TechVancouver’s inaugural event took place on a Tuesday night at the Unbounce meeting space in a shiny downtown Vancouver office tower. Put on by the same organizers as the popular monthly #TechToronto meetups, TechVancouver was buzzing as the room was packed with excited individuals looking to grow and foster the Vancouver tech community. 

Lighthouse Labs, a programming and coding school based in Gastown, sponsored the event, with their very own Charlyne Fothergill as MC, providing a “community open mic.” Over 100 people in attendance got insight into local grassroots startups, hiring opportunities and ways to build their own startup opportunities.

Five leaders and innovators in the startup community each gave insight into how they were able to grow their startups and face common challenges that every entrepreneur will encounter.

Local FinTech startup Grow’s Kevin Sandhu kicked things off, sharing the need for FinTech companies to partner with big banks, not fight them. Partnership “provides the security and reliability of a big bank with the better service and accessibility of a FinTech,” he added.

Next up was Rentmoola’s Andrew McLeod, who emphatically highlighted the importance of viewing the relationship with VCs as a marriage. He encouraged entrepreneurs to interview VCs prior to signing a deal. “It’s hard being in a marriage with someone you don’t like, and you’ll find that when you start interviewing VCs instead of pitching to VCs, they’re going to start talking about ways that they can add value. You’ll see that with lots of VCs they’re really saying ‘this is what I can do for you and how I can help you.'”

At the end of the night, it was Picatic’s Jayesh Parmar, who stole the show with his instructions on dogfooding: “using your own products, and having the community support and use your products.”

Success comes from an ecosystem, Parmar added. “Dogfooding helps everyone and everything with this support. We want new funding to come into the Vancouver ecosystem, and when there are startups that go out there and they make it, they bring in new capital. That helps bring in new jobs. It also brings in talent. The only way these companies can go out there and get through the startup process and pay high wages and excel, is through going and building that ecosystem.”

Charis Whitbourne

Charis Whitbourne

Charis Whitbourne is a PR practitioner and writer keen on discovering all that technology has to offer.