Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Anastasia Hambali, communications coordinator for metabridge , and the community manager at GrowLab in Vancouver.
On June 20-21, passionate entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial spirits from Vancouver and Kelowna teamed up to host metabridge 2013. Back for its fifth year, metabridge is a two-day exclusive event to connect talented entrepreneurs with investors, potential partners and industry experts from Canada and the Silicon Valley.
Just like everything else in business, it all boils down to the people. Steve Wandler founded metabridge in 2008 after realizing how difficult it can be to make connections with key decision makers in tech startups. As Craig Walker (CTO of Xero) puts it:
“Even though Canada is not as far away from the Bay Area as New Zealand, a lot of the same issues and frustrations exist for startups in both countries. It’s very difficult to get funding outside of Silicon Valley – it tends to be left to previously successful ex-pat entrepreneurs who have money to invest or early stage investment government grant programs.”
This is why we organize metabridge — to create a bridge that levels up the playing field for tech startups that are not based in the Silicon Valley. One conversation, with the right person at the right time can alter the entire course of a startup.
We carefully crafted a string of events to facilitate networking and learning to take place: a pitch competition to showcase early-stage startups, group discussions and activities, as well as one-on-one meeting with VIPs for top 15 startups. And let’s not forget metabridge networking party at the end of each day.
Not long after the event, Jayesh Parmar told us: “Thank you all very much for a great conference! #amazing!” Curious how we impressed the CEO of an event planning platform? Keep on reading!
Event planning is 3 stages of filmmaking
As you can imagine, running metabridge – or any type of events for that matter — is not for the faint of heart. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of like the three stages of filmmaking:
If metabridge were a film script, then founder Steve Wandler, and Executive Director Ray Walia, would be the Producer and Director respectively.
And first order of business? Finding the talent.
The Cast and Crew
First off, the dynamic duo needs to find the talent for metabridge to execute the vision. Thus, the metabridge organzing committee is born.
Next up is casting! Much like actors and actresses doing casting for a part in a production, startups apply to be part of metabridge. Our team went through the referrals and the applications to select the top 15 startups which get to connect with metabridge VIPs.
Identify your backers
Now, no production is going to happen without any financial backers. For metabridge, that means finding sponsorship dollars to do what we do best – connecting people. (Many thanks to our sponsors for making it happen!)
Some backers do not contribute any financial support, but provide valuable contributions to a project. For many filmmakers, it’s the support from their closest and dearest. For metabridge? It’s the willingness from metabridge VIPs to connect, mentor and network with these budding entrepreneurs.
Location. Location. Location. metabridge has so many different components to it. We run many different segments, which require different venues depending on the activity and the number of people involved.
We inquired and visited many venues in Kelowna; from Rotary Centre for the Arts for the pitch competition, DIRTT and Disney offices, to Mission Hill, Grey Monk and other wineries for the Wine Tour. All venues carefully selected to provide the best experience for metabridge attendees.
Although it is often overlooked, set design plays a crucial role in setting a tone of a film. The same applies to event planning; anyone who attended metabridge finale party would attest to that. Canadiana, anyone?
Now that you have your talent and prep work in place, it’s time to go live – gone to camera! In our case, it was running metabridge on June 20-21.
Now, this is where the challenge(s) of running an event kicks in. No matter how carefully stitched your plan is, something is bound to come up (e.g.: weather changes or service providers delayed in traffic, etc). Panic mode is never the answer. Instead, keep calm and channel a duck — no, that does not mean making duck face!
metabridge is about connections that matter. So during the event, we try to facilitate introductions and interactions as much as possible. You never know where one conversation can take you… As Ray Walia shared on metabridge stage, without his ‘one conversation’ with Mike Edwards, Launch Academy would not exist.
Thankfully, event post-production does not include endless days in an editing suite. However, we do other things that filmmakers do after a film premiere: gathering feedback, and monitoring coverage/reviews. And occasionally (mini) press-junket.. sort of like me writing about being part of metabridge on a Picatic blog post.
metabridge 2013 has ended, but the real journey is just beginning. Make the most out of your metabridge connections. And keep us in the loop at firstname.lastname@example.org of where your metabridge experience takes you!