As you might have read already if you follow this blog, a startup called Groupnotes (@Groupnotes) led by McMaster students Matt Gardner and Jason Moore won Startup Weekend Toronto (@startupwekndTO) earlier this month. It’s probably fair to say that Startup Weekend Toronto is one of the more competitive Startup Weekends in North America, if not the world, for reasons of population and the maturity of the ecosystem. The event has served as a launch pad for cool startups like past winner Visualize.me.
Just winning the event was already an accomplishment for Groupnotes, considering the competition they were up against. After winning Startup Weekend Toronto Groupnotes was entered into the Global Startup Battle. The Global Startup Battle pits teams in a two round competition with a top prize which includes $35k in prizes, but perhaps more importantly, VIP trips to Rio De Janeiro and San Francisco to meet with founders, mentors and investors. Teams from 138 cities around the world competed in the first round of the battle over the last week, including major cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, and Paris.
The first round of the battle involved getting as many votes as possible to place in the top 15. Groupnotes has been running a very well executed and passionate drive to obtain votes over the last few weeks. It was great to see so many people in the community pulling behind them too, there was a lot of social media activity in particular in support of the team. It wasn’t just retweets or generic Facebook status updates either, e-mails and Facebook messages have been circulating from people in the community in Hamilton and Ontario pushing each other to vote and get the word out to others. And it must have all had an effect, because they placed in the top 15. Groupnotes will go on to the next judge-based round of the competition! I’m told it was close, which means every vote really did matter.
It’s a great win in terms of putting Hamilton and McMaster on the map of the global startup community. It means even more people from around the world will be aware of our community. And in truth it’s a win for Canada and in particular the broader Ontario community. Much of the support they had, at least judging from social media, came from the communities in Waterloo, Toronto, Halton, Peel, etc. We’re part of broader Ontario and Canadian communities and that’s a good thing because we’re all stronger for it that way.
Next Groupnotes will have to face off against the judges, who will base their decision on the video below. Whatever happens next for Groupnotes, they’ve already made the community here proud. Good job and good luck!