“Think big”, the key to success for start-ups

Are there things Bob “Elvis” Gratton will teach entrepreneurs?

Do you know the Startup Genome? It is an organization founded in California by Montreal businessman JF Gauthier. Its purpose: to highlight the strengths and weaknesses that characterize the various entrepreneurial “hubs” on the planet, to help them improve their ways of doing things.

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From one year to the next, it also takes the very popular ranking of the world’s most recognizable cities of start-ups. Naturally, San Francisco and its critical mass of tech companies are in the lead. Worldwide, 85% of the value produced in start-ups is concentrated in 10 cities.

This explains why Canada, Toronto and Montreal live relatively lower in the rankings, climbing or falling from the lower part of the Top 20 according to the cities compared.

In the 2018 edition of this report, we learn a little more about the three points that allow start-ups to be successful. Three factors that, in fact, are broader than the scope of a company. In other words: three characteristics that the entire ecosystem must embrace if it is to see its members achieve lasting success.

We discussed these three points with Mr. Gauthier in the last episode of the Une Tasse de Tech podcast (watch the interview at the end of the article, tagged 4m33s — sorry for the bad sound, a microphone fell on us in full circulation. .).

Invest big

“When you start a new business, you know what you want to do, but you don’t always know what other people are doing. It’s a little bit of what we want to bring to start-ups, including our project ”, launched by JF Gauthier from scratch.

“Montreal was a city that was successful in the 80s and 90s, but we didn’t invest enough to sustain growth, while other cities, like Singapore, did it aggressively. We work with 35 governments around the world, and we see that most are investing heavily. ”

Fortunately for the Quebec metropolis, it’s not just money in life. The local entrepreneurial ecosystem is relatively dynamic, ideas are launched, but as has been said for a long time, companies are usually hitting a wall when it comes to commercialization.

While creating investment funds for the early stages of creating new companies, it is at this level that we should work twice as hard, believes the president of Startup Genome.

Local needs, global solutions

In English, the term “scalability” is at the heart of techno. Yes, a local need must be met, but the solution must be applicable worldwide. The model should be able to scale quickly, at low cost. This is something we sometimes forget, when we want to design a customized application or service that will have difficulty in this transition to foreign markets.

“We have a bit of an insular attitude to Montréal, we’re not here to take over the whole world,” JF Gauthier thinks. “The hardest thing when you start a business is to know what’s going on elsewhere in the world. From San Francisco, you know what’s going on around the world. If I want to know what’s going on in Singapore, I have to I only know right away because there are Singaporeans who come to San Francisco regularly. “

But we are not alone. We are no different from 90% of other cities in the world. But the cities that are at the top, they have this mentality. “Hence the importance of plugging into a network of global start-up communities. In this small world, we have the same culture as the rest of the world.

“Montreal doesn’t need help with marketing or innovation. But you have to think about a global business model. You have to go to New York, to London, to Asia what is being done. It is from this moment that we will begin to have success.

Call Quebec inc.

The start-up world prides itself on trying to inspire a cage of solid players in aging industries, but it’s a new way of doing what other entrepreneurs did before them. In Quebec, the famous Quebec inc. incorporates in its own way the success of another generation of entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, very few bridges exist between the two groups.

An example: Rona is a big player in its sector, but always suffers from moderate transactional tools on the Web. Will an innovative approach at this level allow to become an acquirer in the United States, rather than the opposite? There is no shortage of transactional web strategists in Montreal… Lightspeed POS, among others, is successfully playing in this sector.

But the two did not seem to speak to each other. St-Hubert rotisseries (now owned by Cara), and even Camso, last week, were they victims of this disconnect?

Imagine all tech entrepreneurs could do if Alimentation Couche-Tard opened the doors of its convenience stores to revolutionize the convenience store market.

Imagine, as colleague François Rémy regularly does, that Hydro-Québec positions itself as a leader in advanced technologies in sectors associated with its traditional activities: virtual currency mining, blockchain, electrical microgrids , etc.

The founder of Startup Genome puts things in perspective. “We see that all over the world. Innovation centers are made to attract large companies. We, we say, are to combine technological people and non -technological people. The people of Rona and the developers must meet, it takes collisions between these various sectors.

Here JF Gauthier recalls an old Quebec maxim from the last century: “We need to talk to each other,” he says, minutes after advising entrepreneurs of all ages to think big. “Think big!”

Here are two sentences that are well embedded in the collective memory that deserve to go back to the forefront …

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