On October 22nd, Startups in Toronto got together at SPiN ping pong club for a night of hurling tiny white balls at each other and connecting with great people. We called it Startupong!
I’m thrilled that there is no shortage now of amazing events for the startup community in Toronto. If you look back at October alone, we will have had Startup Open House, AccelerateTO, and Toronto Homecoming just to name a handful. This is part of the huge transformation that has taken place in the community over the last 5 years—these events and opportunities to connect didn’t exist back when I was looking to get involved.
So, with all the existing buzz and a schedule that didn’t allow me enough dinners at home, you might be asking why it was so important to make Startupong happen.
Without taking away from the great events I mentioned above, and many others throughout the year, the problem with a lot of them is that you always see the same people. Many of the entrepreneurs who make it out are founders looking to keep up with the startup scene and talk up where their business is at. When my co-founder and I decided to make Startupong happen, we wanted to create an event that celebrated the members of our team and the other great startups blooming in our backyard.
And Startupong was just that: a night of fun where marketers, developers, success agents, sales reps and others joined together in what I hope will be the first of many Startupong events to follow.
When I got home after the event, my wife asked me how I felt. Like any entrepreneur, my answer to a question like this is usually that I’m never content and always want more. But my answer to her on October 22 was simple: I was proud! Not in a conceited way but proud of the community that I am a part of.
I elaborated on this thought with three key things that every other startup’r in Toronto should feel:
- Proud of a thriving TO Startup Community. We had over 750 people register for Startupong (and we closed registration three days before the event due to capacity concerns). SPiN was full to capacity of startups kicking ass, with representatives from big shooters like Freshbooks, Checkout51 and Influitive to great up-and-comers making impressive headways like Startupong tournament champions Gata Labs! Seeing so many people who were passionate about this space truly puts Toronto’s startup scene in the league of SF and Boston—and that’s something to be proud of.
- Proud of the community that supports Startups. A strong ecosystem relies not just on the participants but the supporters. I was proud of how our community stepped up to show their support. Startupong cost a pretty penny but we didn’t have to fully bootstrap this one! With contributions from the likes of PwC, Osler, and Lennard Commercial the event only fell a bit outside our budget :) We even had great in-kind sponsorships from other local startups like RightSleeve (swag), Mill Street (beer), and Smash Score (tournament software).
- Proud of our amazing team. Any startup’r knows that an idea only goes as far as team buy in. It wasn't tough getting buy in from the rest of the Uberflip’rs for a night out to play ping pong, but I must say they did so with class and made a great impression as leaders in the tech community.
So, where do we go from here? For us we’re already trying to figure out how to top this year come Startupong 2015. But I also encourage other startups to do the same and find ways to bring together the local community, even if it’s a small event like a hosted meetup. When we come together like we did at Startupong, we’re all reminded of how much we have to be proud of here in Toronto.
Check out more Startupong awesomeness on our #Startupong marketing stream!