Happy HIGHLINE Year!
Since our launch back in August we’ve been working hard to introduce the HIGHLINE brand to the ecosystem, hunt founders to apply for our Q1 2015 programs, create new products on our accelerator platform, integrate Vancouver-Toronto operations, do new strategic deals with global players, and bolster our investment portfolio.
As a recap, here are some of the 2014 highlights:
BRAND & FOUNDER ACTIVATIONS
- On August 19, we launched by opening the TSX in the morning and flew across the Canadian HIGHLINE to the GROW conference to help push Canadian startups to embrace bigger ideas
- We organized 16 HIGHLINE events that reach over 1,200 founders, sponsored another 10, and deeply partnered on others including OpenAngel Canada, ProductHunt and Startup Canada
- We had over 15 media features, presented at over 20 industry events, and launched our new website while helping our startups truly get venture connectivity East-West
- We’ve had a record number of Founder Applications and will complete responses to all founders on next steps / future entry points by Friday January 9th
ACCELERATOR PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT
- We helped shift the accelerator landscape by evolving our model in many ways, which includes moving away from ideation-stage programs to build specialized accelerator products that align better with experienced founder needs
- We meshed work from Extreme Startups’ Founder Development Academy with GrowLab’s Farm Team offering to prepare for the launch later this month of a new accelerator product that combines curated co-working + specialized training + advisory funding
- We blended the best parts of the GrowLab and Extreme Startups programs with fresh programming components for the HIGHLINE Accelerator launches in both Vancouver (February) and Toronto (March)
- We worked on several new Specialized Accelerator Products with new partners that will not only spawn our first mobile-focused accelerator, but also other products that bring leading corporates closer to our startups
GLOBAL OPERATIONS DEVELOPMENT
- We evolved Lauren Robinson‘s role to Global Operations Director to drive our Toronto and Vancouver campuses’ growth, Founder intake summits, and StartupVisa leadership
- We strengthened the YVR team by adding Bianca Bartz (Digital Marketing Director) to spearhead digital experiences that put a spotlight on our key stakeholders, and Lynn Shinto (Community & Operations Manager) to drive national founder community integration and YVR operations
- We added new strategic partners including Dell for Entrepreneurs, Startup Socials and others that we will unveil in the upcoming months
- We worked with some new partners on our 2015 NYC and San Francisco presence and operations that will kick in gear during the spring/summer cohorts
FUNDING PARTNERS & INVESTMENTS
- We secured new funding anchored by BDC Capital, a second investment by Relay Ventures with renewed support from Rho Canada Ventures, Yaletown Ventures and iNovia Capital to help drive our Speed To Speed brand promise
- Several angel investors stepped up, including Amar Varma, Boris Wertz, Leonard Brody, Jason Bailey, Vincent Cheung and myself, to invest meaningful amounts into HIGHLINE
- We received strong recognition and funding from key government partners including the OCE and CAIP
- Our portfolio consists of 35 active startups, 18 of which have raised over $1 million, giving us one of the best track records for startups raising follow-on capital and several on a path to an institutional Series A
Most importantly, we’re enhancing this foundation by working with many new founders, institutional investors and ecosystem partners to foster a broader cooperation to create a Canadian platform powerhouse that wins on the world stage.
Looking forward to helping you accelerate globally with us!