Building a successful tech company doesn’t happen overnight. When you are building your tech company, getting insight and guidance from someone who has been there before, can save you precious time and money. Over the past two years, our Executives in Residence (mentors), from our Distance Venture Accelerator Program (VAP) have helped over 50 BC tech startups achieve their goals, through weekly mentorship meetings.

We checked in with our four current Executives in Residence (EiR): Alan Foster, Peter de Verteuil, Beth Gallup and Ean Jackson to learn more about what gets them excited about mentoring BC tech startups across the province.

 

Curiosity and drive have given Beth the opportunity to work with large publicly-traded companies, research-driven universities, growing businesses and new start-ups. Her own entrepreneurial ventures deepen her understanding of the many ways innovation succeeds, and stalls. Beth joined New Ventures BC as an EiR in 2016. She is passionate about entrepreneurial success, achieved through a deep understanding of the customer and a solid go-to-market plan.

What is it like to mentor startups across the province?

Beth: “If “necessity is the mother of invention”, geography is a close second. There are creative problem-solvers and good ideas that could become good businesses everywhere in BC and it has been so interesting to be involved in BC’s evolving tech ecosystem”.

Why did you decide to be a NVBC mentor?

Beth: “The NVBC VAP, introduces me to all kinds of interesting clients and new innovations. It is a perfect fit: I am endlessly curious, enjoy mentorship and am passionate about successful entrepreneurship.”

Any NVBC VAP success story you would like to share?

Beth: “My past Fernie based VAP client, Rithmik Solutions, being accepted out of many, many applicants to participate a national, fulltime accelerator, NEXT AI in Montreal. Rithmik Solutions, leverages AI for predictive maintenance on mobile mining equipment. They are currently making some big strides; they are moving through the procurement process with a couple of big oilsands companies. They have also signed a data assessment deal with a tire dealer that wants to get into the predictive maintenance game.”

Peter is our most recent EiR team addition. Peter has over 30 years of experience in Sales and Marketing management, Business Development, Corporate Strategy and Communications. Prior to becoming a EiR for the VAP, Peter volunteered as a mentor for number of other organizations, including the New Ventures BC Competition.

Why did you decide to become a NVBC Mentor?

Peter: “I have worked in a number of companies across all stages of evolution. While I learned a lot and had great experiences in all kinds of organizations, the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of the startup world was something I always found compelling. Even while working for larger organizations I found myself mentoring, to keep my “finger on the pulse” of the startup community. I am also thankful for the many opportunities I have had and see mentoring as an opportunity to “give back” in a way to the community at large.

Why do you think mentoring is important in the initial stages of building your tech startup?

Peter: “One of the defining aspects of startups is they run very lean, with limited resources. Often times startups are unable to “hire” for specific skills or knowledge that the founders may not have. Working with mentors is one way to leverage the skills, knowledge and experience of others who have been there, which can ultimately help accelerate growth. Mentors can provide a valuable “Sounding Board” for bouncing ideas off. They can also provide guidance through critical junctures in a firm’s evolution.”

Alan has more than 30 years’ experience in building and managing technology-based ventures worldwide. Alan has been a NVBC Competition mentor for five years but recently joined the VAP as an EiR in Summer 2019.

Why did you decide to be a NVBC mentor?

Alan: “For the past five years I have volunteered as a mentor for the NVBC Competition. When the opportunity came up to work more deeply with early stage startups over a longer period of time. I felt that it being an NVBC EiR be a wonderful opportunity for me to continue to help clients reach successful outcomes.”

What do you enjoy about being a mentor?

Alan: “Mentorship has played a critical role throughout my career. Knowing firsthand the value of mentorship when the opportunities arose to mentor, I felt compelled to be one. Prior to working as a mentor at New Ventures BC, I was a mentor at Wavefront and Kamloops Innovation. I really enjoy sharing my business experience with creative and passionate entrepreneurs.”

What are the keys to a building a successful tech startup?

Alan: “In order to build a successful tech startup you need to have a deep understanding of the target markets pain. But more importantly, you have to grasp why and how your clients can be motivated to buy your solution. The world is filled with many entrepreneurs, your job is to find a big pool to swim in and figure out – can you service it?”

Ean has invested the past 25 years of his professional career in management, technical and business development roles in the technology industry. For almost 20 years, Ean has volunteered as a mentor for the NVBC Competition.

Why did you decide to be a NVBC mentor?

Ean: “During my personal entrepreneurial journey, I’ve been very fortunate to have had more senior, experienced people help me along the way. Out of respect for those who helped me, I wanted to pay it forward and mentor others.”

Any NVBC VAP success story you would like to share?

Ean: “There are many. I can’t honestly say that I have coached anyone I’ve met during my tenure with NVBC to a billion-dollar exit. I can claim, however, that I’ve helped several people save their homes, their marriages, possibly their sanity and most definitely their day jobs. The NVBC VAP is a great, low-risk way for people to test the entrepreneurial waters.”

What is the best thing about being a mentor?

Ean: “At various times in the past I have been both a competitive athlete and a national team coach. I loved both roles, but as weird as this might sound, I get more satisfaction when someone I coach does even better than me. I love it when the folks I coach for NVBC achieve their goals.”

Applications now open

Interested to applying to our Distance Venture Accelerator Program? Applications are now open.

Learn more or Apply

 

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