Blog - Page 3 of 11 - Concrete Ventures

Blog

It’s a pretty good time to be an entrepreneur in Atlantic Canada. A decade ago there were only a couple of firms investing in startups. Now, however, there are over a dozen firms based here. Let’s take a look at these VCs in Atlantic Canada.

NBIF logo

The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (est 2003) is an independent, private organization focused on venture capital and research funding. They help New Brunswick innovators solve globally relevant problems through research, solid advice and access to capital.

Website: www.nbif.ca

Innovacorp logo

Innovacorp (est 1995) is Nova Scotia’s early stage venture capital organization. They work to find, fund and foster innovative Nova Scotia start-ups that strive to change the world. Early stage investment is at the core of their business model. They also give entrepreneurs access to world-class incubation facilities, expert advice and other support to help them accelerate their companies.

Website: http://innovacorp.ca

BDC Capital logo

BDC Capital exists to help turn great ideas into great companies. And similarly, great companies into engines of jobs, growth and wealth creation. In fact, they are Canada’s largest and most active venture capital investor.

Website: https://www.bdc.ca/en/bdc-capital/

Build Ventures logo

Build Ventures (est 2013) is a Venture Capital firm that provides early stage capital to emerging Atlantic Canadian technology companies. The company is managed on behalf of its Limited Partners by Patrick Keefe and Rob Barbara.

Website: http://www.buildventures.ca

Concrete Ventures

Concrete Ventures (est 2018) finds great ideas and founders in Atlantic Canada that are ready to build massively scalable businesses and work with them to grow their businesses.

Website: http://www.concrete.vc/

Sandpiper Ventures vc

Sandpiper Ventures (est 2020) provides a platform where women investors and founders can radically disrupt the venture capital environment.

Website: http://sandpiper.vc/

East Valley VC

East Valley Ventures (est 2011) is a community of innovative entrepreneurs in the business of transforming early stage ideas into successes. They help passionate Atlantic Canadian founders launch meaningful and enduring technology companies.

Website: http://www.eastvalleyventures.com/

Killick Capital

Killick Capital Inc. (est 2004) is a leading Atlantic Canadian Private Equity firm, dedicated to partnering with Atlantic Canadian businesses and Global Aerospace businesses. Specifically, they focus on identifying and funding investments with the potential for substantial growth, long-term value creation and capital appreciation.

Website: http://www.killickcapital.com/

Pelorus VC

Pelorus Venture Capital Ltd. (est 2015) is a Venture Capital fund focused on Newfoundland and Labrador. They invest in pre-seed innovation companies with founders who disrupt and develop their bold ideas.

Website: https://www.pelorusvc.com/

Island Capital Partners

Island Capital Partners is an early stage venture capital fund that is in the business of investing in high potential Prince Edward Island entrepreneurs and startups.

Website: https://www.peislandcapitalpartners.com/

Tidal Venture Partners

Tidal Venture Partners is a pre-seed to seed + fund focused on the emerging ecosystem of Atlantic Canada. They back small teams with high potential, who have detailed plans for achieving larger, later stage milestones. They are interested in bold ideas backed by action.

Website: https://tidalventurepartners.com/

Cape Breton Capital Group

Cape Breton Capital Group  (est 2022) is one of the newest VCs in Atlantic Canada. They invest in early stage startups and support succession planning of businesses in Cape Breton.

Website: http://www.capebretoncapital.com/

LongShot Capital

LongShot Capital (est 2021) invests in early stage tech companies that are raising rounds of $300k-$1M. They invest with other angels, strategic and VCs, but they do not lead.

Website: http://www.longshotcap.com/

NPC

Natural Products Canada (est 2016) is a not for profit focused on Canadian natural product innovations that can replace synthetic products to benefit people, animals and the planet. They provide a one-stop shop for strategic insights, programs and services to anyone looking to participate in Canada’s natural product industry.

Website: http://naturalproductscanada.com/

Additional VCs in Atlantic Canada:

Are there any VCs we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Zendesk reviewed 4,400 early-stage companies to see how customer experience (CX) tools, tactics, and strategies at high-growth early-stage companies differed from slower growth startups. This report used 4.6k+ startups, starting in Jan 2014. The data shows that while there is no one-size-fits-all approach, startup companies’ success stories have one thing in common: the ability to provide more holistic support to customers from the beginning.

What Are the Best CX Trends, Tactics, Tools & Strategies Used by The Fastest-Growing Startups?

As the basis of every business is to acquire and retain customers, the customer experience (CX) has become increasingly important. Improving customer retention by 1% can have four times the impact of improving acquisition by 1%. With startups, CX can be make-or-break: the difference between the top 2% and top 1% in terms of performance is often massive and can mean the difference between getting funding or not or achieving a successful exit.

So, what are the best CX trends, tactics, tools, and strategies used by the fastest-growing startups? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Make sure your product or service is delivering on its promise. This may seem obvious, but many startups fail to meet customer expectations. If you’re not delivering on your promise, you will never win the CX battle.
  • Get feedback early and often. The best way to improve CX is to constantly collect customer feedback and then act on it. This means being open to criticism and always looking for ways to improve.
  • Build a strong relationship with your customers. The more you understand your customers’ needs and wants, the better position you’ll be in to provide them with an exceptional experience. Building strong relationships will also help you retain customers in the long run.
  • Be responsive to customer queries and concerns. Customers appreciate it when they can reach out to a real person who will help them with their problems. Make sure you have a system to quickly and efficiently respond to customer queries.

Constantly strive to improve. The best startups are always looking for ways to improve their CX strategies and CX tools. This might mean making minor tweaks on a regular basis or periodically overhauling your entire approach. Either way, always be on the lookout for ways to take your customer experience up a notch.

CX Is Seen as Cost Center, Not A Growth Lever

In a world where buyers have more power than ever before, businesses need to find ways to stand out from the competition. With so many choices, customers have become pickier, and it’s harder to please them. Studies show the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has declined by 34% since 2015.

Even more challenging for businesses is that the Cost of Customer Acquisition (CCA) has increased by 70% since 2015. This means it takes more money and effort to get new customers while, at the same time, product values have decreased, and customer willingness to pay has diminished.

To grow in this climate, businesses need to start seeing customer experience as a growth lever, not a cost center. By focusing on CX trends, early-stage companies can improve customer loyalty, increase customer lifetime value, and ultimately generate more revenue. Excellent customer experience is key to success in today’s market. Businesses need to focus on CX strategies to grow and thrive.

The problem is that many businesses see customer experience as an expense rather than an investment. This is especially true in industries where the average number of competitors has quadrupled or quintupled in the last 10 years. With so much pressure to keep costs down, it’s no wonder that CX strategies budgets are often one of the first places early-stage companies look to cut when they’re trying to save money.

High-growth vs Slower Growth Startups: Key Differences

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the differences between high-growth startup companies and slower growth startup companies. While many factors contribute to a company’s growth rate, one important area that’s often overlooked is customer experience.

High-growth startups tend to be laser-focused on acquiring new customers and growing their business as quickly as possible. As a result, they often sacrifice long-term customer loyalty in favor of short-term gains. In contrast, slower growth startups tend to focus more on retention and building long-term relationships with their customers.

There are a few key strategies that all businesses can use to improve their customer experience, regardless of their growth rate.

It’s important to invest in CX tools and staff them properly, so customers can get the help they need when they need it, and your team will be prepared to handle any issues that may arise. 33% of high-growth startups are more likely to add support in their 1st year, and 20% more likely to add a live chat by year 2.

They should also focus on meeting customers where they are with their CX strategies. This means offering omnichannel support so that customers can reach you through whichever channels they prefer. In fact, 33% of high-growth startups add omnichannel by their second year.

Invest in self-service options like Knowledge Base articles and FAQs. This will help reduce the number of support requests your team has to deal with and free up their time to focus on more complex issues.

Watch the full webinar about CX trends with guest presenter Adam O’Donnell from Zendesk:

Financial Model Templates, balance sheet example

We created a template that covers everything discussed in our how-to post. Filled with sample data for an imaginary startup so you can take the time to understand how cash flows through the business and eventually translates into progress towards milestones. 

This template is an over-simplification designed to drive home the point that cash is the lifeblood of your startup. Fill it with your own information and add what you need so you can get a clear picture of what’s driving your business. 

Concrete Ventures Pre-Seed Financial Model Template

If you’re looking to level up your financial model, then check out some of these financial model templates below:

SaaS Financial Plan v2.0 by Christoph Janz

Use this tool to:

  • Create a simple plan for an early-stage SaaS startup with a low-touch sales model 
  • Includes support for multiple pricing tiers
  • Supports annual contracts with annual pre-payments
  • Great headcount planning section
  • Simple cash-flow planning
  • Plenty of built-in charts

Limitations 

  • Revenue/cost-based model (no balance sheet)
  • Month to month only (doesn’t account for annual plans paid up-front)

SaaS Financial Model, by Jaakko Piipponen

Use this tool to:

  • Upgrade your SaaS Financial Model to an operational tool that helps you make more informed decisions.
  • Build scenario-based forecasts to get ahead of the data instead of reacting to it.
  • Includes loans & investments 

Charlie Tillet Financial Template

Use this model to track:

  • P&L by year and quarter
  • Sales Plan
  • COGS
  • Staffing plan
  • Expenses
  • Balance Sheet
  • Capex and Cashflow
    • Which lets you account for investment

Cash Flow Projection Tool for Tech Companies | BDC.ca

Use this tool to:

  • Present past financial results and project cash flow for up to 24 months into the future
  • Automatically generate key SaaS metrics, for example churn rate, monthly recurring revenue, and customer lifetime value
  • Present financial information and growth forecasts to investors, bankers, and other partners

Use insights from the cash flow projection tool to:

  • Understand the amount of additional funding you need to keep your tech company on the right growth trajectory
  • Highlight shareholder investments and other financial inflows, such as grants, when applying for loans
  • Keep track of key SaaS metrics, such as MRR and churn