I’m excited and humbled to announce the re-launch of Mercury Grove as an ambitious, community-led project to grow startups in Ottawa, Canada.
Over the last 6 years I have been an active, and sometimes vocal advocate for the Ottawa startup community. Through this community I have launched three products, built a world-class team, witnessed the birth of many new companies, and the amazing growth of many others. I’m proud to be a mentor, friend, and advocate of the all startup entrepreneurs in this community.
Although we have great people in our community, there is a strong sense that we are underserved in Ottawa. That we don’t have enough investors. That we don’t get enough exposure. That Ottawa isn’t “keeping up” with strong, vibrant tech hubs in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and the Valley. Some people leave. Many stay but feel like there’s a significant disadvantage staying.
And there has been a new trend I’ve noticed in Ottawa. At most of the startup events I attend (two per week on average) and in the mainstream media when startups are mentioned, it isn’t actually about startups. It’s usually about government funding announcements, or “startup organizations” in the city, or new programs for startups. Everyone wants to cash in on the “startup buzz”.
Which is why we refocused Mercury Grove to support and help grow startups. As entrepreneurs, I’m pretty confidant that we can help ourselves. We can’t wait for someone else to fix our problems. We don’t need government hand-outs. We don’t need permission.
Over the last few months we have raised a small seed fund to invest in Ottawa startups. 100% of the fund is from startup founders (real, after tax, self-earned money) who believe in the talent, ambition, and quality of startups in Ottawa.
We’ve recruited over 50 mentors from the community who have agreed to help our startups grow. These are amazing, accomplished people who want to give back and see this community thrive.
And we’ve had over 450 people in our community (and some from around the world!) signup on this website. People who care and want to help the community succeed.
At the same time Guido and I have been meeting with as many startups in this city as we could (over 80!) to determine who we could help achieve their next growth milestone. We met dozens of amazing people doing great things. And this week we selected four of them who we felt we could help grow quickly, were at a great stage of development, and cared as much about the community as we do.
The companies are Vegan Cuts, ND Storefront, Openera, and Project Speaker. We are excited and proud to partner with these companies, and we will be spending the next 4+ months hustling to build momentum for these great startups. You will hear a lot about these companies and I hope you’ll support them as we introduce them to the world.
We all benefit from their success. A spotlight on these four companies overflows to all the great startups in Ottawa. Their success – because of Ottawa, not in spite of it – paves the way for your success and shows that, as a community, we can build great companies together.
This isn’t about me or Mercury Grove. This is about you. It’s about us and what we can do to build a great community with epic success by focusing on what we can do and not wasting anymore time bitching about why we can’t.