What I love about conferences is the unofficial encounters and spontaneous discussions that are often more interesting than the official presentations – not to name names! At the LeWeb conference this is exactly what happened with John Stokes, partner of the Real Ventures investment fund. I’d often seen him around Montreal but it wasn’t until Paris that we had a real conversation.
I asked John about the differences between startups developed in Europe versus those in Canada. At first glance, projects are similar on both sides of the Atlantic. A pessimistic outlook would explain this phenomenon as a lack of creativity and risk taking, because it’s easier to adapt or copy an idea that works well.
We also talked about the advantages Montreal offers to startups. The multiculturalism of the city is a real asset, since it already fosters internationalization projects. Montrealers are also great connectors, which facilitates the development of partnerships or the search for clients.
From my experience with Seevibes I can confirm that these two points are completely true. This reminds me of a discussion I had with Fred Guarino about how in one direction Montreal is the first step towards Europe, and in the other direction the first step towards North America. I think that the program of the International Startup Festival which is held in Montreal demonstrates this reality.