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Today Event

November 2, 2015 1:00pm

Community Event

Nicolas Krusek hosts an engaging learning session in advance of each production at the West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre.

November 3, 2015 7:00pm

Community EventOpera

Opera Speaks is an innovative program delivered in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library.

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From Our Blog

Oct 8 2015

A report from VanFUNDING 2015

VO's RBC Career Launch Associate Amaar Kajani recently attended a crowdfunding conference. Here's his report.Amaar-Kajani-loresOn September 29th, I had the pleasure of attending the VanFUNDING 2015: Crowdfunding Conference at Library Square, where I got the chance to hear from and speak with some of the pioneers of this movement in Vancouver. I would describe the experience as both distressing and inspirational.As I walked down Georgia towards the library on a pleasant Tuesday afternoon, I wondered what the day ahead of me would be like. This was my first encounter with the Vancouver startup scene, as well as an introduction to the concept of crowdfunding. That morning, I agonized over what to wear, in the end opting for a traditional blue suit and red necktie, deciding it was better to be overdressed than appear like a college student who doesnt realize hes in the completely wrong room while his study group commences next door. After stopping to ask a security guard directions to the conference room (which he provided without skipping a beat, upon seeing my attire), I retrieved my personalized lanyard and ambled nonchalantly into the room, a maneuver I have leaned on many a time when I have felt uncomfortable or out of place.I was immediately taken aback as I rounded the corner into the main hall what were all these 20-somethings doing here? Had they all gotten lost looking for their respective study groups? Many of the[caption id="attachment_2426" align="alignright" width="150"]Bernd Petak from Finstripe Bernd Petak from Finstripe[/caption]attendees were my age (mid 20s), and so they couldnt have possibly already launched their own start-ups, could they? Gosh, I thought I had more time! I promptly took my seat around one of the round tables, chilled water in hand to ice my bruised ego. I glanced over at the speakers tables, and took note of the numberof youth represented. At the very least, I thought, it was going to be an interesting day.The conference kicked off with multiple mini-presentations from people who have used crowdfunding in their business successfully, or developed a crowdfunding platform, or just had an educated opinion on the emerging sphere.There was a lot of talk about how opportunities that were simply not accessible to the average investor, due to legislative restrictions on those without a certain level of wealth, were now being opened up to people with hundreds or thousands to invest, instead of hundreds of thousands or millions. This democratization of financial markets will go a long way towards narrowing income inequality in this country, remarked Finstripe Co-founder and COO Bernd Petak. Sandi Gilbert, Founder and CEO of[caption id="attachment_2427" align="alignleft" width="150"]Lukas Svec from Sansaire Lukas Svec from Sansaire[/caption]SeedUps Canada, used the term mass affluence to describe this locked up wealth that has traditionally just been dumped into a mutual fund or GIC. The layman can finally have access to all these opportunities, and the linkage between this mass affluence and young businesses is an exciting thing all around.The rest of the day consisted of a number of panels, who discussed everything from the viability of crowdfunding for your business, the tax implications and accounting treatments, the regulations in BC and across the US and Canada, as well as crowdfunding for equity and for debt instruments. Much of this was nitty-gritty and technical and went right over my head, but what I took away was how many different ways there are to raise capital in todays economy, and how exciting a time this is for investors and entrepreneurs alike. No more are we limited to and shackled by the big banks and other intermediaries the possibilities are endless.The day ended off with a lovely networking reception at the Library Square Public House, where they, ironically, blocked off access to the public for the duration of the reception.[caption id="attachment_2429" align="alignright" width="150"]Sandi Gilbert from SeedUps Canada Sandi Gilbert from SeedUps Canada[/caption]Complementary drink in hand, I nervously approached some of the attendees and got their thoughts on the days events. As they introduced themselves, I was struck by how many different industries and interests were represented at the sold-out conference and were looking at crowdfunding as a potential dimension to their organization. The feeling seems to be that the trains leaving the station, and its probably best to get on board.[caption id="attachment_2428" align="alignleft" width="150"]Networking Break Networking Break[/caption]As I walked back down Georgia to catch the Seabus home, the angst I felt in the afternoon had melted away and been replaced by inspiration. Truly, theres never been a better time to be an entrepreneur.