Plug and Play has partnered with Boast Capital, a financial advisory firm specializing in R&D cost recovery, with locations in Calgary and Vancouver. The goal of the partnership is to find the best Canadian startups and expose them to the unique resources of Silicon Valley.
“We ran the accelerator in Calgary last year, and then in the New Year Alex and I told Saeed that it didn’t make sense to continue running it. So we started striking up partnerships with all of the acclerators in Calgary and Vancouver, saying to them that we wanted to invest in their best companies and bring them to the Valley,“ Lloyed said.
The issue in Canada is not innovation, but rather the dispersal of resources. While the networks and the resources in the Bay are concentrated in one city, having multiple accelerators in the smaller pockets of Canada creates an unhealthy competition for mentors, investors, and deal flow. It’s like a surplus of lions all going after a substantially smaller herd of gazelle. Lloyed decided it was time to consolidate and strike out for more plentiful pastures.
This partnership put together a Canadian demo day that gave startups that were accepted the chance to pitch in front of a committee of local angel investors. One of the companies that won this event was Bex.io, the most recent investment on a Bitcoin company made by Plug and Play.
“Jesse, the founder of Bex.io, is a good friend of mine. He’s a great guy and a quintessential hustler. When we launched the call for applications I asked Jesse to pitch. He said that he’d be happy to pitch, but that if Bex.io won, they wouldn’t take the money because the 5% valuation didn’t work for them. Once an early stage startup tells you that they want your money, you want them all the more.” Lloyed said.
They finally convinced Jesse to join the Plug and Play team and the investment was recently announced. Plug and Play Canada has also been investing in other B to B companies. Lloyed expressed particular enthusiasm about Bex.io.
“I’m really excited about Bex.io for two reasons. First, Bitcoin is still early and we don’t know who’s going to kill it in that sphere, but from a team perspective, looking at Jesse and the team he’s assembled, I can say personally that if anyone can do it they have the team. Second is the uncertainy. Bitoin is still new, it’s exciting, its in the buzz, its up and down, its roller-coaster. When you’re early stage it’s all about uncertainty. The more uncertain it is, and when you see spikes go up and down, it’s like a jolt and that’s important. It’s why early seed investors do what they do.” Lloyed said.
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