TechTO March 2020: Celebrating Toronto’s Women Technology Leaders & More

TechTO’s March event, held shortly after International Women’s Day, celebrated a fantastic group of women in technology companies. I’m not sure when the next TechTO event will take place given the COVID19 developments, alas. However, there was plenty to learn from this event. Here are a few brief observations on the event.

Diana Goodwin (MarketBox): Reflections on Funding vs. Bootstrapping Business Models

With a background in B2C technology, Goodwin has expertise with B2C and B2B technology companies. Her presentation on MarketBox – the Shopify of services – was fascinating to hear about. Her first company, AquaMobile, grew based on profits while her current venture has sought out investor support. The most important lesson from her presentation: relationships. She had known the vital early investors in MarketBox for five years or more. That’s an important point to keep in mind – you don’t always have to rely on “The Big Pitch” to win funding for your technology company.

Donna de Winter On The Business Triangle

Bringing a wealth of experience in C suite roles, de Winter shared her perspective with TechTO. Using a triangle metaphor, she made excellent points about the interconnected nature of business problems. For example, if the sales team solves the problem of not selling enough contracts, that increase in sales creates pressure on customer success. Fundamentally, you should expect constraints in business rather than being surprised by them.

Highlighting the interconnected nature of business problems is a necessary counterweight to keep in mind. Generally, I tend to focus on maximizing marketing and sales results like driving more SEO traffic, getting more email leads, and booking SaaS demos. However, if a company cannot execute on an increased level of leads and prospects, the marketing team needs to know that. Otherwise, you could end up creating a bad impression when overworked sales staff struggle to give every prospect the attention they deserve.

Announcements and Events Coming Up: Lighthouse Labs, Toronto Real Estate Tech And A Technology Meetup

Lulwa Saffarini from Lighthouse Labs shared some interesting comments about their company’s approach to teaching technology skills. They are launching a new data science program. From an employer’s point of view, Lighthouse Labs is also interesting because they do make the tough decision to fail students who do not meet their expectations.

While women leaders were a focus at the event, I also met a few other people of note. During the Community Open Mic session, I learned about NxtHm from founder George O’Neill. It’s an exciting way to bring more transparency to the real estate market. I’m glad to see further innovation in Canada’s real estate sector, which has been relatively slow to adapt to the digital revolution. I hope resources like this can reduce the kind of buying frenzies that make Toronto real estate transactions so stressful.

Finally, an event announcement to share.

Adam Delgado from North Technology People is hosting the Toronto Data Science & Engineer, Big Data, AI & ML Meetup in the spring. The Meetup already has 160 members, so it should be a good event. If you’re interested in the event, get in touch with Adam for more details.

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