If there was an overriding them yesterday at CIX, it was “bullish”.

From the opening roundtable discussion featuring high-profile VCs to fireside chats with successful entrepreneurs, there was bubbly optimism about the Canadian startup ecosystem.

“I’ve never been more bullish about Canadian tech and Canadian entrepreneurs,” declared Razor Suleman, who sold Achievers for US$110-million earlier this year.

bullishAnd when the audience was asked if there was a tech bubble, only a smattering of hands were raised.

In many ways, it is easy to understand. A growing number of Canadian startups are raising money, U.S. VCs are exploring deals north of the border, while successful companies such as Shopify have completed initial public offerings. Meanwhile, the newly-elected Liberal government has promised to make a strong financial commitment to innovation.

For entrepreneurs, investors and service providers such as myself, it is good news all around. It suggests that Canada is poised to become one of the world’s leading startup leaders.

Not to rain on anyone’s parade but I can’t help but feeling that everyone is overly bullish.

Sure, it’s great to believe the future is bright but let’s not get carried away. In the U.S., there is growing concern about a bubble at a time when investors are writing down valuations and IPOs are getting a lukewarm reception. Meanwhile, the global geopolitical landscape is admittedly volatile in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Paris.

As a glass-half-full person, I believe the Canadian startup ecosystem is heading in the right direction. Rather than bullish, I would describe my attitude as “cautiously optimistic”. It is amazing to see so much enthusiasm and so many entrepreneurs focused on creating vibrant businesses, but let’s not get too carried away.

Are you bullish? If so, why? If not, why not?


If you’re looking to jump-start your startup marketing, I can help you make it happen. I recently published a book, Storytelling for Startups, that provides strategic and tactical guidance to entrepreneurs looking to embrace the power of story-driven marketing.

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