The U.S. doesn’t have an exclusive on this whole startup thing and there are few places where that are more evident than Canada. The country might be known for its fixation on hockey and gravy covered French fries, but it’s not all fun and games for our neighbors to the north. Due in part to the ongoing efforts of individuals like Alistair Croll, the heart of Montreal, Canada is fast becoming an epicenter for the country’s burgeoning startup scene.
Croll’s resume reads like one from a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, but he did it in an area not traditionally known from its technologies or its entrepreneurialism. This goes to show that, while environments might be an enabling factor, an environment can just as easily be enabled by individuals.
This isn’t to say that Croll is personally responsible for startup Montreal — he’s not — it’s just difficult to discuss Montreal tech without correlating his presence in the area. More than anything, his participation undercuts the regional necessity for dedicated local ambassadors. Those whose vested interests in a location extends beyond simply vesting in a location’s equity, are most often the ones most capable of putting a place on the map.
It was through Croll’s persistence that the Rackspace Startup Program first landed in Canada for theInternational Startup Festival. During the event, we met a number of startups, like the traveling band behindDishcrawl, as well as FounderFuel, a Canadian-centric startup accelerator run by Ian Jeffrey.
The Real Ventures backed accelerator is running out of Montreal’s much lauded collaborative workspace, theNotman House. FounderFuel just rounded out its first week of operations and has revealed its first batch of startups to the world at a mentor dating event, where Rackspace Startup Program was excited to participate as a partner.
The FounderFuel startups are an impressively diverse group complete with everything from the straight B2B SAS web monitoring tool like the excellent Blame Stella (seriously, it’s awesome) to the personal investment utility Vuru.