Start Alberta Start to Exit Series

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Working backwards from the goal

Unicorn or not – Fortune favours the prepared, and a founder’s most likely exit is an acquisition. While an exit may not be top of mind immediately post incorporation, it is something many founders think about early in their development; therefore, founders are well positioned to understand what contributes to an exit. What lessons does each of the following experienced and exited founders and active M&A professionals have to share about increasing one’s odds of an exit?

  • Mike Urquhart, Co-Founder, COO and CFO at Zamplo
  •  Jason Yujuico, Co-Founder, COO and CFO at Zamplo


Catching Angels

Conversationally, angel investors often arise as a de facto source of investment early along the entrepreneurial journey. While many often consider angel investors a “given,” how do savvy entrepreneurs identify, pursue, and engage with angels. What are the dos and don’ts? 

  • Irene Dorsman, CEO Angel Forum Vancouver

Practicing Financial Hygiene

Cash is a start-up’s lifeblood. It is also one of the hardest things in the early days. The longer you can make it last, the better. Getting cash management right may seem like a distraction in bringing bold ideas to vision. Still, it is a common linchpin in securing an investor seamlessly today versus years later once your financial hygiene is in order. What fit for purpose are practices essential for busy CEOs and CFOs of quickly growing start-ups?

  • Audit and Accounting Advisory Service Provider, (TBC)

Understanding Financing Structures available

While convertible promissory notes and SAFEs (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) are commonly used securities and have gained acceptance among the venture community as providing a fair balance between company-friendly and investor-friendly terms – what are the nuances to understanding each?

  • Legal Service Provider (TBC)


Keeping a clean Capitalization Table

The start-up ecosystem has grown tremendously in Alberta and worldwide, calling for a greater understanding of standards and transparency in Cap Table management. Between a multitude of ways to raise cash and use option incentives to attract talent – there are generally accepted practices start-ups can follow to best manage their capitalization tables. What common standards and best practices serve early-stage and fast-growth companies when creating and managing their Cap Tables? What are typical ownership structures VCs expect to see on Cap Tables so as not to deter prospective investors?

  • Legal Service Provider (TBC)

Offering Employee Stock Option Plans

Using equity as a form of compensation allows start-ups to preserve cash in the very early days. What are the typical standard issuance shares for Employee Stock Option Plans? What are the standard practices, including vesting schedules and what are cliffs? How are exercise prices determined? How is Fair Market Value determined?

  • Legal Service Provider (TBC)


Building “venture backable” start-ups

A determined Team, the Ability to Execute and, of course, Market & Vision are must haves? Beyond this, what exactly makes a business “venture backable” – what do they look for?

  • TBC

Finessing your pitch and the deck

Love or loathe deck building – one thing is for certain. Founders need one. Great pitch decks sell the dream and use quants that make it easier for investors to understand your vision.

  • 500 Global, San Francisco


Strategizing your fundraise to trigger “FOMO”

How can you make your round “hot” and trigger FOMO with investors? There is a method to the madness that can place you, the founder, in the driver’s seat.

  • TBC