AccelerateAB conference

Today I attended the annual AccelerateAB conference hosted at Mount Royal University today. This event was put on by Startup Calgary, the C100, and A100, which together represent a significant percentage of Alberta’s tech sector.

It was an interesting day! Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla (who make the Firefox browser) talked about the ongoing explosive growth of (mobile) internet connectivity to 2 billion people in the developing world, and the “short circuits” that are taking place as a result – disruptions in industries like banking, communications, agriculture, and retail that have been made possible by putting a phone in every pocket.

We heard from lots of other influential people throughout the day including Chris O’Neill, the managing director of Google Canada (let’s get prepared for the inevitable release of Google’s commerce search features in this country), venture capitalists, journalists, and entrepreneurs.

The best-received pitch I watched was by two sisters who founded Poppy Barley, a bespoke ecommerce store for women’s boots, right here in Calgary. They knocked it out of the park and were chosen to receive free press coverage by the five media representatives who judged the “PR Dragon’s Den” competition. Very encouraging to see another ecommerce business beginning operations here as it indicates the coming sea change in Canadian consumer’s habits.

The neatest service I learned about was BufferBox, who were acquired by Google this year. At, we could integrate their service into our checkout to give people in the Toronto area (eventually, the rest of Canada), the option to deliver their parcels to an automated kiosk that they can retrieve them from at their leisure. This neatly solves the “waiting for the post-man” problem.

Overall it was a rewarding day and a great opportunity to get out and see the 30,000 ft. view of Alberta’s tech sector and where fits into the picture.