Dear Hot Tech/Media Startups: Come Play in Canada! (Part 2)
Last week I posted Part 1 of “Dear Hot Tech/Media Startups: Come Play in Canada” where I discussed, at a high-level, my shock that many of the hottest start-ups in tech/media still do not have an actual presence on the ground in Canada.
All of the companies depicted above are in the early stages of monetizing their platform, and there is undoubtedly a tonne of experimentation going on with both advertisers and mainstream media/entertainment partners (e.g. TV networks, pro sports leagues, live events, etc.) as these platforms look to become the leaders of their respective domains.
I feel strongly that Canada is the ideal sand box for these companies to experiment within. I remember Canada playing a similar role in the early days of Facebook’s monetization… and all of the blue-chip consumer Internet start-ups that have emerged since have $100 billion reasons to follow suit ; )
Presumably when a hot consumer Internet startup is determining an ideal market for experimentation they’d be looking for:
- Population concentration (apply resources to only a few markets, yet reach significant audiences)
- High broadband/smartphone penetration rates
- Mass media concentration (lock in a few strategic media partnerships and be capable of rolling out integrations with hundreds of TV programs, radio shows, print dailies, magazines, web properties, etc.)
How does Canada match up?
- Population concentration: Approximately HALF of Canada’s population lives within the greater metropolitan area of our 7 largest cities Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Quebec City. As a result - social applications (like many of the startups depicted above) tend to gain wide-spread adoption very fast in Canada’s urban areas. For example, during Facebook’s first few years Toronto represented it’s largest concentration of users in any city in the world!
- High broadband/smartphone penetration rates: Canada (74%) has the highest broadband penetration rates in the G7, and Canada (45%) has a higher smartphone penetration rate than the US (40%) according to recent comscore data.
- Mass media concentration: although arguably not great for Canadian consumers, the media landscape in Canada is ripe for hot tech/media start-ups looking for strategic partners to experiment/develop case-studies with. Four companies: Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw essentially control the mass media in Canada. Furthermore all four companies are the dominant players in the Internet access business, and Rogers, Bell and Telus are the dominant players in the wireless market.
So…. hot tech/media startups - LISTEN UP! Come play in Canada! Put a pair of feet (*preferably mine) on the ground up here and begin to engage, educate and experiment with Canadian ad-agencies and media companies alike on a daily basis. Don’t assign the Canadian territory to a NYC biz-dev employee… we’re not a territory, we’re a COUNTRY… one that’s ripe for advertising/media experimentation on your platforms to boot ; )
I’d welcome the chance to be your 1st employee on the ground in Canada. Drop me a line, tylerjames (at) conversated (dot) com —> I’d love to chat!
Dear Hot Tech/Media Startups: Come Play in Canada! (Part 1)
Two years ago, as a 26yr old, I quit my six-figure salaried job at a conventional display ad-network because… simply put —> I wasn’t passionate about display advertising. I pictured a (not so distant) future where most of the snackable content we’d be consuming, would be consumed on our mobile devices, and I didn’t envision display banners playing a major role in monetizing that kind of content.
I hadn’t given much thought to what was next for me - but thankfully I inherited my father’s frugality gene, which meant my savings account allowed me a few months to sort everything out. At the time, I figured I had already missed the boat on getting in on the “ground-floor” with Facebook Canada (true!), but surely some of the other booming tech/media start-ups would soon follow suit and open up Canadian offices? (false!)
Some industry friends suggested that I move to San Francisco or New York - but truth be told I really f#*%ing love Canada. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE visiting San Francisco & New York, but not unlike why so many big-time American free agents shun my Toronto Raptors for the familiarity/comfort of American NBA franchises - I really enjoy being Canadian, and this is where I want to raise my family.
My attempts to “biz-dev” myself into a Canadian biz-dev role with some of the brands depicted in the image above were mostly met with: “Thanks, but the Canadian territory is typically handled by our NYC office”. I managed to convince myself that this made sense - most of these companies were not focused on monetization at that time. I chalked it up to bad timing on my part and went on to have an amazing 2 years playing in the branded entertainment space (via my start-up Conversated).
Conversated is at a crossroads, where in order to survive we’ll either have to i) chase gov’t funding/subsidies (no thanks!), ii) raise money (difficult at best for a pure-play online original content creator) or iii) get lucky with a big break (fingers crossed!). After ruling out i) & ii) and continuing to pursue iii), my team and I have agreed it wouldn’t be the worst thing to explore what other opportunities might be out there.
As I dusted off my “Dream Companies” bookmarks folder full of hyper links to the careers section of all my favourite tech/media start-ups I was excited to see that many had begun expanding operations outside of the US! I saw job postings for gigs in the UK, Japan, Brazil, Spain… Ireland….Luxembourg…huh?…. wait a minute….. STILL NO JOBS IN CANADA!!??
Canada represents a unique opportunity to act as the sandbox for some of these amazing tech/media startups to experiment within - from both an advertising and media/entertainment partnerships perspective.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be exploring why I think the time is now for companies like Flipboard, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare and Buzzfeed, among others to follow in the footsteps of Facebook, and Google/Yahoo! before them, by setting up Canadian operations early on in their existence.
Meet Conversated’s longest running partner: 5-Second FilmsThe Spielberg’s of micro-video storytelling. They make a new 5 second film every weekday on their homesite http://5SecondFilms.com. The rules are simple: 2 seconds of beginning titles, 5 seconds of film, 1 second of end titles.
Meet Conversated’s new partner: KipKay
A master hacker, prank artist and do-it-yourself video producer. We consider him to be a modern day MacGyver. Kip, the #4 All-Time Most Subscribed Guru on YouTube, has been featured on the DIY Network and Discovery Channel.
Meet Conversated’s new partner: Dormtainment
Comedy meets hip-hop. Dormtainment’s re-launched YouTube channel (Jun 2011) brings back fond memories of In Living Color, and their weekly videos are gaining serious cred amongst urban America.
Meet Conversated’s new partner: Final Cut King
Think Michael Bay meets Cheezburger Network. Zach and his crew consistently leave the FinalCutKing audience scratching their heads asking “How’d they do that!?”
Found your blog and I really enjoy it! I love the kinds of stuff you're thinking and talking about. I'm also an entrepreneur, just finished college and learning how to make all my ideas real.
I hope you don't mind me following your blog now!
Check out mine and follow me back?
Thanks for reaching out Raj!
I look forward to following your progress. My advice?
- Determine your areas of interest.
- Determine who the thought leaders are in that space.
- Subscribe to their blogs, twitter, etc.
- Learn/Absorb/Learn/Absorb as much as possible.
- Attend events that these people mention as being the most valuable.
- Start building your own case in support of or against their views.
- Share your thoughts with them in a tasteful manner (comments, @mentions, etc.)… you’d be surprised how many will give you feedback = )
I’m so proud of the new site for Conversated Media. Let’s face it - 99 out of 100 corporate sites suck. We wanted to design a site that could explain what we do as well as a direct conversation with us would….
~Light bulb Moment!~
WHY NOT JUST DESIGN A SITE THAT IS A CONVERSATION!?
We realize it’s long (*the longest corporate media site - according to a minimal amount of research), but we’re not going to apologize for that.
Be honest - what do you think? Comment below or email me directly at tylerjames @ conversated dot com
Portlandia : Is it local?
Really need to track down this show and watch a few full episodes!