Interview with Vince Haeger, resident at Notman House.
At the OSMO Cafe bar, Vince Haeger COO and co-founder of Consilium Crypto puts down his cup of latté after taking a sip.
“It was in 2019, deep in the winter crypto bearish market, after telling them we’re looking to raise $600,000, the silence from the nearly eighty investors was very present” recalls Vince about launching the first investment round for Consilium. However, the startup whose office has been running at the Notman house since 2018, would not give up.
It would be two years of sailing the Atlantic before Vince set foot on land in Montreal, Canada where his sister was already living. He loved the city so much that he didn’t hesitate one second to enroll in Mechanical Engineering at Concordia University. This choice of career was obvious, considering all those summers spent at his uncle’s workshop in Dortmund, where he learned the secrets and parts of automobiles to the point that, at sixteen, they reassembled an entire car together.
After two years studying in his field, the doubts arisen. He then decided to drastically change course and began, with new winds, a degree in finance. It was in the last year of his undergrad that his now business partner and co-founder Austin Hubbell invited him to join a fintech startup in proprietary trading. “We proposed to them to not only look at the FOREX markets but also to go for the new crypto currency market, but they didn’t like the idea. That’s how I set my foot in the startup world, it was brief. So I went back to university to finish my undergraduate degree.”
However, that first brief but firm step would stir the seas that any entrepreneur would never hesitate to sail. Months before graduating, like a wave breaking on his voice, Austin came back to him and said, “Let’s do it again, but this time, we are the founders.”
In 2017, Consilium Crypto was launching into the startup sea that took it to Toronto and Montreal to be part of incubators and accelerators, including Holt Accelerator (2018) and CDL (2019). The company was starting to take off thanks to its first investments and projects well underway. But Montreal, one of the pillars of the Canadian startup ecosystem, like a lighthouse to which boats flock, beckoned in the distance.
“For us to be in an environment with people who shared the same struggles and the same aspirations is a great motivator. Once inside Notman House, it was not only about having that access to people but also giving back by participating in the community. Also, if we need to approach VCs, Fonder Fuel or Techstars, Notman is like that person who shows you around and opens the doors for you to meet them. And without that open door, it would be very difficult to get that first meeting”, explains Vince.
One of those doors at Notman house is called Google for Startups, which makes products and connections available. “It was huge for us, especially for a fintech company, to have access to services and, of course, the Google Cloud credits were very helpful”, says Vince. The entrepreneur remembers Nick Feller, Google’s Cloud Customer Engineer, walking into the Café OSMO wearing a baseball cap, waving politely as he sat down, looked up and set aside his computer. At this moment, Nick said in a pleasant tone, “Guys, I don’t need that, I’m here to meet you, to hear from you. I want to listen to you all and then teach you what I can teach you”.
“This helped us to further develop our structure plus Google was well aware of how and what we were using the credits for. If it wasn’t for the connection between Notman and Google, our growth would have been stunted significantly”, assures Vince about that 2019.
After that silence that flooded the room, floating was not an option, “We are not going to give up, we are not going to stop in this fundraising, we have to keep trying. As long as we keep growing we will try to get investment, at some point people will call and ask Hey, do you accept investment? you’ll see!”
And one day, the call came.
By January 2020, nine companies invested in Consilium Crypto $600,000 USD, which allowed them not only to maintain the team but to hire more professionals in times when the pandemic made the most optimistic doubt. “Many startup companies saw their investors’ funds withdrawn at the last minute,” adds Vince, who believes that while fortune was on their side at the beginning of 2020, that for many, delivered what it promised to be: a year of crisis. Part of the stability of the startup’s growth is due to the strong personal connections and shared vision between team members.
“When I was traveling on a ship for months at a time, all the luggage, people and belongings cohabited the same space. It was impossible to be indifferent to each other. That’s what we have put into practice since we formed the first team at Consilium , if we want to be productive we need to respect each other’s way of working and at the same time get involved in team projects, otherwise we won’t move forward”, concludes Vince, who has been served another Coffee and lets us understand that, while in Notman the synergy of an ecosystem floods its corridors, the synergy in a startup also navigates inside.
By César Salvatierra, Notman House staff
Google for startups has been a Notman partner since 2014. Through this partnership, we offer the Montreal startup community access to exciting programs such as the Sales Academy. And our members get even more benefits!
The Sales Academy provides startups with essential sales skills and immediate practical applications to get new customers and partnerships. For example, founders practice making sales pitches, creating traction and asking the best questions in interviews. They are mentored by Google and industry experts as they cover a variety of topics in a learning module. This virtual program runs from September 7 to October 19, with a one and a half hour session each week.
We are happy to see Linky Product and ReInvestWealth representing the Montreal entrepreneurial community in such an exciting program! We are also pleased to be able to continue to contribute to the growth of young companies.
Please join us in congratulating both startups and their founders in the comments!
We are happy to be launching our brand new website! After several months of work, the entire team is proud to finally present a clear, user-friendly site with the most up-to-date information about Notman and its services for startups.
With this new website we have made it our mission to simplify the pages to make it easier for you to navigate. Want to know how? Here are some examples!
Our new homepage presents a comprehensive overview of Notman. Our vision, our impacts, our spaces, our news, our events. It’s all there! At a glance, our visitors can understand who we are and what we do.
The community tab highlights what Notman offers to Montreal startups and entrepreneurs. Whether it’s by showing the many advantages of becoming a member or by presenting our partners and collaborators that they can work with at Notman.
The spaces tab presents our office and meeting room rentals. Startups looking for work spaces, event organizers and hybrid workers who want an office away from home will find what they need. Need a coffee? This is also where you’ll find all the details on Osmo x Marusan, Notman’s newly opened Japanese-inspired coffee shop and restaurant space.
Finally, those who want to know more about Notman, the OSMO Foundation and our partners should visit the about page to discover the history and vision of the organizations behind our technology hub and the teams that make it happen. You can also discover everything about our partnership with Google for Startups.
That’s it! Does it look like we’re really proud of the work we’ve done? We hope you’ll enjoy our new website as much as we do, so we’ll let you discover it.
Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think in comments! Or by writing to us here.
10 things Virgile from Livescale learned at Founder Fuel 2019… after 2 weeks
Founder Fuel has been back at Notman House for the past 2 weeks and we’re introducing you to one of the startups participating in the accelerator. Yes it’s a bit early to talk about a top 10, but we figure it’s never too early to see how things are going.
- Virgile from Livescale @virgile on Slack / @livescaletv on Twitter
- Participating in Founder Fuel to deliver a new product in less than 3 months.
Originally from France, Virgile co-founded Livescale in 2016 in Montreal. Livescale is a suite of tools to make it easy to record and broadcast live video anywhere on the net. Here are the 10 things Virgile remembers from his early days at Founder Fuel..
1. An accelerator to consolidate the foundations
Virgile has participated in incubators and accelerators in the past. Incubators are great for forming concepts, building the first pitch deck and team management basics. Where the incubator is a first class, the accelerator is a master class. According to Virgil, you have to come in with all your tools to refine them.
2. The Founder Fuel advantage: a diverse cohort
Participating in Founder Fuel allows you to meet startups at different stages and mentors connected to the local ecosystem. For new Quebecers, this is a golden opportunity.
3. Weeks 1 and 2: meetings and training
“The early days of the accelerator are intense because we have to build the first pieces together. We have a lot of training with mentors on both planning and strategy.”
4. Beaucoup de travail, vraiment
The challenge for Founder Fuel is to both participate in activities and at the same time move your project forward. “It’s hard, but you have to be a sponge. Absorb all the feedback and then find a way to make it your own.”
5. Prepare Well
The secret to a successful gas pedal is to get plenty of sleep and clear your schedule before and during the program.
6. It is a financial investment
To be truly effective, you must be willing to invest your time and all your resources.
7. Continue to run your business on the side
“I’m back to the schedule I started with. In the evenings after workshops, I go back to my office and work on Livescale until midnight. In the morning I come back 8am so I don’t miss anything.”
8. Develop a strategy quickly
The first phase of Founder Fuel allows you to quickly build a game plan.
9. Find a Demo Day deliverable quickly
To really take advantage of Founder Fuel, you need to find an easily deliverable project. Livescale will take advantage of the accelerator deliver a new product faster.
10. 3 months goes by really fast
The first few weeks go by in fits and starts. To keep the pace, you have to keep a clear head.
In collaboration with Real Ventures an OSMO
Next week, we invite you to stick your feet in Notman House’s door and meet investors and our new guests: lawyers of BLG law firm!
BLG lawyers will be there to answer your questions about :
- Intellectual property
- Fusions & Acquisitions
- Work and hiring
- Privacy laws
- Environnement protection
By appointment only, connect with potential investors, lawyers. So for 20 minutes, enjoy the best of what OSMO and Real Ventures can offer to your business! And it’s free.
This is not a pitch presentation! The goal is to give entrepreneurs access to information, share best practices in an array of subjects and grow their network without the fear of failing.
Save your seat now!*
How to schedule a meeting
- Select and click on the box below.
- Sign-up for a single meeting.
- Slots are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Each company may only sign up for one 20-min session per event
*The event is now over.
Startup Community Awards 2017 – An update
As most of you know, earlier in October we launched the first version of the Montreal Startup Community Awards. The goal behind these awards was to finally shine a light on and recognize all those who have been working tirelessly to support the ecosystem over the last year. We couldn’t be more excited about the response we received! We got over 175 nominations which made it quite the job to narrow that down to only 5 people per category. There were some clear trends with some people and organizations receiving over 10 nominations each! There were also a few gaps to fill and some curation to do (we wanted to ensure a broad and diverse pool of candidates for the awards) and for that we turned to various community members and finally settled on the 5 people / companies in each category. We definitely didn’t think it would be as difficult as it was and so we’ve taken a step back and put more thought into how this next round, the voting portion, will play out.
Basically, the public voting is now open and will be open until November 13th. The public will be determining the top 3 in each category ad then over the next few days we will be putting together a panel of judges made up of trusted and longtime members of the Montreal Startup Community who will narrow those down to the winner in each category. We will publicize the judge committee once everyone has been selected.
The next big question was: what about all those people who have spent the last almost decade building this ecosystem?? The startup community has really rebooted itself for 10 years now. 2017 is the year that we couldn’t pass without highlighting the amazing contribution of countless dedicated women and men without whom our ecosystem wouldn’t be where it is today! That’s why, for each category, not only will a 2017 Champion be selected but, in the wake of the last decade of dedication, we will be recognizing someone who has significantly contributed to the building blocks of our thriving ecosystem.
Our goal is to be as fair and transparent as possible in this process so please reach out to either one of us if you have any questions or concerns
– Emma & Ilias
Community Partners – Ladies Learning Code
Over five years ago, Breanna, Heather, Laura and myself gathered together to host a sold out coding workshop in Toronto. A month later, we hosted another workshop that sold out in 30 seconds. And then we hosted another. And another.
Eventually, it came time to formalize our work and we incorporated as a national non-profit organization: Ladies Learning Code, Inc. Today, Ladies Learning Code, Inc. operates Chapters in more than 29 communities from coast to coast and have taught over 50,000 Canadians through our programs for adults, youth, and educators.
But, as it turns out, that was only the beginning.
On October 6th, we launched Canada Learning Code to a packed room of friends, partners and community — and a whole new leg of our journey began (with the support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau!).
It might surprise you to learn that when we first started Ladies Learning Code, we didn’t actually realize there was a ‘women in tech’ problem. We just knew that we wanted to learn how to code and that there weren’t any resources in Toronto that catered to people like us. So we built them. And women came — in droves.
Not long after, we launched Girls Learning Code which offered programs like workshops, camps, and field trips for 8-13 year old girls to inspire them to be builders of technology and ultimately shape their future studies and careers. Kids Learning Code, which offers gender-balanced programs for boys and girls in the same style of our other programs, came soon after.
Ladies, Girls, Kids, and Teens programming grew us from one Chapter in Toronto to 29 across the country in cities like Montreal, Victoria, Edmonton and more and inspired a cross-country road trip in our travelling computer lab: the code mobile.
This sparked our next big offering: Teachers Learning Code. At this point, we’d been teaching people to code for over 5 years and teaching people how to teach code so it made perfect sense to extend this beyond our community and into schools teaching educators how to teach coding in their classrooms.
To recap, here’s the how the last 5 years went down:
First, we launched Ladies Learning Code.
Next, we launched Girls Learning Code.
Kids Learning Code followed quickly,
Then Teens Learning Code,
And then Teachers Learning Code
…and that brings us to the Spring of 2016
It’s been clear to us for a while now that we were only scratching the surface of what was possible and that there were still millions of Canadians untouched by our programs that need access to critical technology skills. And with a looming technical skills shortage in Canada, we knew that the need to provide Canadians accessible technology education was actually quite pressing.
It was also clear to us that we had created something special with Ladies Learning Code — a super engaged and incredible community across Canada running meaningful technology experiences that we could leverage to create even greater impact.
Meeting after meeting, call after call, we kept circling back to one question: how could we reach our full potential for impact?
Based on our success to date, we saw before us an opportunity to take our impact to the next level by bringing all Canadians into the fold of our programs.
But rather than chipping away at individual segments of the population by simply adding programs like “Newcomers Learning Code” or “Public Servants Learning Code” or “Parents Learning Code” to our roster; we wanted to shift gears and take a more holistic approach that would unite us all together.
After all, we’re in this together as Canadians, and we are all affected in one way or another by the same issues:
The way we work is changing: From a job market full of temp and contract positions, to the 42% of the Canadian workforce who are at high risk of being affected by automation, the way that we make both meaning and money is changing quickly. We need to use technology to enhance existing jobs, rather than make them obsolete. And then we need to ensure that Canadians receive the training that they need to accommodate the increasingly technical nature of their work.
We don’t have enough people to fill the jobs that we do have: There is one bright spot in the labour market, and that is the tech sector. It’s constantly adding jobs! The bad news is that we don’t have enough Canadian talent to fill them. In fact, it’s projected that, by the year 2020, there will be a shortage of more than 200,000 ICT workers in Canada.
There’s a lack of diversity in the tech sector: While progress has been made on this front, the tech sector still remains very homogenous. We need to engage with Canadians from all backgrounds in order to address the pipeline problem — while also working with industry to ensure that the workplaces they will enter are safe and nurturing.
Canada Learning Code
Enter Canada Learning Code.
Canada Learning Code is more than a brand and an organization (but it’s also those things, I’ll get to that in a minute), it’s a vision for the future of Canada — one where we are a world-leading innovative nation whose population is fully equipped to thrive in our digital world.
Over the next 10 years, Canada Learning Code will work to:
Empower teachers to deliver a curriculum that adapts to and reflects the needs of industry + technology
Prepare youth to create and work in jobs of the future in Canada
Ensure that new & transitional digital jobs are filled by workers upskilling with the necessary technology skills
Diversify the tech sector and ensure access for traditionally underserved communities.
Promote government innovation, guided by a vision of a government that relies on digital solutions and technology to inform policy and governance
Canada Learning Code will be both the brand and the organization that unites all of our programming, allowing us to leverage our existing infrastructure and capitalize on the strength and size of our existing community, while also giving us room to grow and serve all Canadians…which ultimately gives us the reach to make a dent in some of those big, meaty problems listed above.
Together, we have climbed mountains over the last 5 years. Now, we’re going to move them.
And after we’re done, Canada won’t ever look the same again.
Coding is having a moment in Canada and Canada Learning Code is here, ready and equipped, to turn that excitement and energy into results. But for now, it’s time to step back enjoy the holidays. Be safe, be good, and rest up — because come January 2017, it’s go time!
Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO
Meet a Member – Kids Code Jeunesse
Since we first arrived at Notman House three years ago, we’ve been continuously inspired by the passion, creativity and innovation of our neighbours. Our office started in a shared space at the front of the House and within a few weeks we had media knocking at our door…but not because of the work at Kids Code Jeunesse. We soon found out that we were working in the same corner where PasswordBox also started and had just been acquired by Intel.
As KCJ grew, so did our office space. Our growth is due in large part to Montreal’s tech community. In our first (very!) lean years, we grew because of support from Montreal’s Startup community, who helped us through a very successful crowd-fundraising campaign, Vigilant Global who has covered our office rent since Day 1, and the awesome TechNoel holiday parties/ fundraisers. In 2015, we moved into our own small office on the 1st floor and, now in 2017, we’ve moved up to the 2nd floor to accommodate the growth of our national team. We’re growing not only in Quebec but across the country, building KCJ communities in every province in Canada.
Kids Code Jeunesse is a Canadian not for profit dedicated to integrating digital skills into children’s education and building strong, innovative and educated communities. We work with all levels of education, from provincial Ministries of Education to classroom teachers, community centres and libraries. Our success is rooted in the many hours of work from over 900 volunteers who dedicate their skills to making a big impact. Lots of our volunteers and instructors are Notman alumni!
Notman House is our home. You’ll often see our own kids taking part in entrepreneurial opportunities at Notman and munching on croissants from Osmo Cafe. Actually, before Osmo Cafe existed, our 8-10 year olds used the space to sell their own home-made baked goods to fundraise for Kids Code Jeunesse.
Today, you’ll often find founder & director, Kate Arthur, mentoring teams of young girls to build businesses and apps, coordinator Dannielle Dyson organizing a Code Club or a Raspberry Pi Meetup, or lead KCJ instructor Yasmin Ahmad teaching kids how to code their own video game. If you’re interested in children’s education in the 21st century, drop by our offices – it’s a favourite subject. We’d love to find out what you’re up to.
We look forward to having you part of this great, rich, generous community we call Notman House.
– The Kids Code Jeunesse Team