Why the Canadian tech community came to #GROWconf 2015

GROW Conference 2015

If you’re a part of the West Coast tech scene, you’ve probably heard of GROW 2015. Tech pioneers rub shoulders with VCs and hungry young entrepreneurs in an event that’s all about how to innovate and grow. That’s the big picture, at least – but what are attendees getting excited about in particular? We wanted to know, so we asked them.

“Since Shopify is hosting the Under the Radar event, I’m most excited to hear from the presenting companies. Shopify is always on the hunt for new partnerships that will help our merchants grow their businesses and this is such a great opportunity for these companies to show off the value of their products. I also love that I’ll get to share the stage with some of our existing partners like Hootsuite and Intuit.”

– Atlee Clark, Head of App Store & Third Party Developer Ecosystem at Shopify

“GROW is an opportunity to get together and talk shop in front of one of the most inviting, inspiring backdrops in the world. I’m looking forward to the entire program. Most of all, I’m excited about having a smart, engaging conversation with Atlee Clark and Michelle Zatlyn on how being acutely adept at prioritization powers every organization’s success”.

– Linda Kovlowski at Evernote

“Looking forward to meeting what looks to be a great lineup of speakers and attendees. Lots to learn and share about starting and growing companies.”

– Matt Switzer, VP of Corporate Development at Hootsuite


Brian Solis GROW Conference 2015

“GROW is a community not just a conference. It’s where speakers and attendees share, learn and grow. It’s fascinating in that speakers don’t just do their thing and leave. They stick around, become part of the experience, ask and answer questions, and contribute to the vibe that is GROW, in Whistler of all places.

– Brian Solis, Principal at Altimeter Group

“GROW provides a great opportunity to see old friends, meet new people and discuss the state of the startup world. Everything from “winter is coming” to changes in the VC ecosystem, you got a front row seat during the whole conference.”

– Mike Kirkup, Director at Velocity

“As a startup, we’re grateful for getting to present at the Under the Radar session, which gives us access to investors, customers and partners that we would never have met before. The most interesting theme that runs through the presentations is how things are changing, from how we sell to how we fundraise. I want to learn how that can change our business.”

– Marko Savic, Co-Founder and CEO of FunnelCake


“I’m excited to experience the energy that comes from people who grow and fund startups in the Bay area. That energy is infectious and it’s something we need more of within the Vancouver community. Vancouver is talent-rich and entrepreneur rich, but has a reputation as a lifestyle business city. We need to grow that. The people at this conference are here to help grow that.”

– Peter Hudson, CEO of Shelfie

“The DMZ went to GROW to connect with some of North America’s smartest minds in the tech and startup scene. We also brought along 6 of our incubated startups to experience the incredible content and connections – an opportunity that’s sure to pay dividends as they continue to build their companies.”

– Danielle Smith, Community Liason, DMZ

“Canada is becoming a growing force for innovation and GROW is the place where the leaders driving that innovation can connect. I’m attending because it’s a great opportunity to dive deep and build relationships. IBM is honored to attend and take part.”

– Nigel Beck, Vice President, Corporate Development, Business Development, Strategy at IBM


“I was very excited to be able to listen to and speak with the product guy from Jawbone, Steven Rechtschaffner. We got to speak with him about where he thinks it’s going and his involvement in the company. I had a chance to really talk to someone and get their insight – and opportunity I wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

– Kerry Costello, Co-founder of Headcheck Health

“First time at GROW! Learned a lot through the sessions, but you also learn a lot outside the sessions, with people like Tyson Miller from Recon, their leadership team — having a beer with these kinds of people, pitching my startup and getting grilled basically, by guys in a constructive and positive way, engaging you and ripping your idea apart — you just don’t get that anywhere else. You’re also getting a 360-degree view of the tech scene — it’s hard to get that kind of access anywhere else.”

– Dave Savory, President, Co-Founder of Riipen


GROW Conference 2015

“I had a great time here and met some amazing people — just a real brain trust of great ideas and lots of energy, and now I’m looking forward to taking advantage of that in the form of partnerships and endeavors.”

– Kevin Sandu, CEO & Founder, Grouplend

“The Telus objective coming to GROW is to discover new companies that help us expand our incubation around our marketplace product, which is helping Canadian organizations get to market using successful Telus Channels. We had the opportunity to meet these organizations, finding some very addressing applications, both on data streams, on social media and on network analytics that could be useful to both us and our customers.”

– Shawn Sanderson,Vice-President of Internet of Things at Telus


“This is the first time Roger and I have been interviewed on stage! We hope it resonated with the audience and our values with Shoes.com. The point I wanted to get across was the BBD: all you need to be successful is a briefcase, business cards and a dream. When you look at successful companies and their sales rising each quarter, that success can look linear, but there were many challenges along the way and you need to hold to that dream.”

– Sean Clark, Chief Revenue Officer at Shoes.com

“The West Coast continues to deliver an incredibly high quality and quantity of world-class tech events! GROW didn’t disappoint, combining a relaxed yet highly curated experience while allowing startups to directly interact with established global players. It was a timely reminder for all, that you are very rarely the smartest person in the conversation, let alone the room.”

– Alexander Peh, Head of Market Development & Mobile at PayPal Canada

Images courtesy GROW and the immensely talented Kris Krüg.


Jonathon Narvey

Jonathon Narvey is a content marketing strategist and BetaKit Senior Editor. Living and working in the heart of downtown Vancouver, he's watched this city's tech hub grow and start to compete on a world-class level. He has learned most of what he knows about tech startups and entrepreneurial spirit by interviewing some of the most innovative thought leaders here and abroad. He's always up for learning something new about the startups, leaders and technologies that are changing our world.

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