how it works
Entrepreneurship and startups are a growing trend around the world. It is often seen as the main source of employment & growth for emerging and established economies alike. In order to see successful companies begin and flourish there must be a healthy startup ecosystem. In many communities where entrepreneurship is relatively new, the players, tools and funding are not available for new companies to thrive.
There is a clear funding gap between MFI's (micro finance institutions) which typically cap investment around $5k, and $100M+ projects which are often granted to multinational corporations. There are few funding options available for startups or any company that falls into this space, or what we call the ‘missing middle’. We are told frequently that government and private investors are only interested in investment in major infrastructure projects, or more traditional investment vehicles like real estate.
Entrepreneurs and Investors would like to do business together but may lack connection points, don't understand the other side's priorities, and don't share the business language or the financial/legal expertise to make deals happen.
High quality training coupled with mentorship from an experienced entrepreneur is rarely available. Experienced entrepreneurs know that taking investment money by itself isn’t always helpful, it’s ‘smart money’ invested by people with connections, experience and industry specific knowledge that can be the difference for many startups.
Training that is available is typically 'hit-and-run' type devoid of local context and relationship. As we have come to learn general business training without an understanding of the ecosystem, business culture and local constraints is not valuable for an entrepreneur.
We believe that the only way an ecosystem thrives in the long run is that it is uniquely local. This means that local entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and government must come up with a model that works for their local context. Startup communities that try to emulate Silicon Valley are making a mistake. That model will not work for your ecosystem, it is a unicorn. The concentration of funding, talent, universities, culture, and legal structure make it unique. That doesn’t mean that a different model can’t be healthy.
Our first tenet is that we don't pretend to know what the local ecosystem needs to look like, what will work, or what types of businesses will succeed. What we have found is the the silicon valley model doesn't work outside of the valley and there are many options to solve funding gaps including traditional equity deals, convertible notes and 'venture debt'.
Relationship and understanding of local context always precedes capital. We are playing the long game. We share our learnings and experience from communities around the world because we are global leaders in this space.
We find that most often the reason an ecosystem isn’t thriving is not because capital isn’t available, it is that the deals out there aren’t amazing. We provide world class training to help you understand how to grow, structure your deal, and pitch to investors.
We train both entrepreneurs and new investors in a format that allows them to meet and equips them to work together. Our preference is always to co-invest alongside local investors to demonstrate the process, how to recognize patterns, and perform due diligence.
meet the team
Co-Founder & Chairman
Randy is the Founder of VA Angels - the largest and most active Angel Investment group in Canada with multiple chapters across Western Canada. In honour of this he was named Canada's Angel Investor of the year in 2013 by Startup Canada.
With a few exits under his belt, and active in 20+ startups as an investor or board member, Randy harnessed his expertise and created a widely successful workshop for entrepreneurs called Basecamp which he has delivered across the Americas and has helped participants raise $40M+ as a result.
Co-Founder & President
Despite finding success at a Fortune 500 company, Luke felt there was more to doing business than the bottom line. He moved to Bangladesh and worked with Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Muhammad Yunus (AKA The Banker to the Poor) at the Grameen Bank.
Luke has always had a passion for startup companies, showing his startup chops early on as a finalist for Student Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 (having started and sold two businesses) in Vancouver, Canada. Luke now plies his expertise as an investor and board member of multiple social enterprises, nonprofits, and for profit organizations across 4 continents. Luke also runs The Seed, and trains entrepreneurs any chance he gets.
Sandra took on the role of Entrepreneur Director with the Seed Global following the recent incorporation of her company, Nimble Strategizing, which provides program development and delivery for organizations serving a variety of entrepreneurs including acting as Executive Director of VA Angels BaseCamp Inc, which provides hands on training for companies seeking private investment and brings this programming to the Seed and supports VA Angels, Western Canada’s most active angel network, in deal screening and helping entrepreneurs access investors.
Sandra’s passion for entrepreneurs goes beyond her 7+ year career in the innovation ecosystem. Sandra has been an active mentor with Futurpreneur for the past 4 years and is an active certified facilitator with 3 Day Startup.
Program Director, Latin America
Viviana is a diverse professional with with a decade of experience in both public and private sectors, managing programs and relationships in cross-cultural environments (Bolivia, Peru, Puerto Rico). She is passionate about connecting people, coaching, and developing value-driven initiatives.
Viviana has worked with the UN Development Program managing several projects focused in strengthening Bolivia's Superintendency of Telecommunications and in 2007 she was hired to open ACDI/VOCA´s a multinational American non-for-profit regional office in Lima, Peru. In Puerto Rico (2010-2014), Vivianna worked as the Guayacan Venture Accelerator and Outreach Manager for Grupo Guayacán, Inc., a non-for-profit corporation, whose goal is to develop Global Entrepreneurs and Ventures. She has since returned to Lima, where she uses her wealth of experience and relationships to grow our program throughout Latin America.
Program Director, South Asia
Sushan is both an academic and an entrepreneur holding a Masters degree in Disaster and Emergency Management and is currently running his very own trading company.
In 2015, Sushan returned to the Kathmandu valley to his family where he played a crucial part in the response to the earthquake along with the Canadian Red Cross Team. He had never imagined, at the time, he would be rebuilding the country he was born in, in an altogether different way – building startup communities and strong Nepali businesses. He has gained multiple years of real estate market and management experience in Toronto while he also operated an import and distribution channel of Nepali handicrafts and carpets in Canada.