Ever wonder what really goes on in one of those startup offices? On Thursday, October 30, a new event will be launching in Toronto that gives the public a peek into the startup world. As a part of the Startup Open House, around 100 local startup companies will open their doors to Torontonians.
Companies like Indiegogo Canada, Shopify, Bitmaker Labs, and Hurrier will welcome the public into their offices, along with many other startups. With the goal of creating an opportunity for people to discover the vibrant startup scene in Toronto, the open house is a completely free event offering entrepreneurs, students, and general public members a chance to see inside the world of startup companies.
For many young people, including U of T students, a startup is a novel opportunity to explore new technologies and big ideas, while working with a small budget.
Satish Kanwar, a University of Toronto alumnus and one of the organizers of the Toronto Startup Open House, said, “The goal of the event is to create knowledge and opportunities for people interested in startups.”
“The event started last year in Montreal and proved to be a high impact way for us to gain exposure,” said Kanwar, adding, “I partnered with LP Maurice, the original founder and organizer, to help bring it simultaneously to Toronto for 2014.”
Driven by the world of increasing technologies and the success of the startup economy in recent years, the big idea behind the initiative is simple: to aid in the connection and communication between the general public and local startup companies. Kanwar said, “The world of technology has created new kinds of companies that are being built to last in Canada.” He added, “We [at Startup Open House] feel it’s important to open doors to the general public to help them become more familiar with these companies, interact with their environments, and meet their people.”
Kanwar is also the director of product at Shopify, an ecommerce startup founded in 2006. “The idea [of creating Shopify] came when the founders wanted to open their own snowboard store and were appalled at the lack of quality ecommerce software available in the market.” Since then, Shopify has grown to over 500 employees supporting more than 125,000 stores all over the world!” Located at King Street West and Spadina Avenue, Shopify will be one of the many startups opening its doors to the public on October 30.
There are currently over 1,000 people set to take part in this event, and some of the different companies may hold small-scale tours and hold question and answer panels. For students interested in launching a small-scale business but daunted by the process, there are several ways to get involved with startups.
Kanwar said, “There is a large variety of types and stages of startups in Canada, which means there’s a lot of opportunities for students to get involved.” He added, “It’s important to learn about these companies, interact with them, and express interest. Follow their stories, use their technology, and find ways of meeting them in-person.”