The 10th Annual Metabridge (Metabridge X) is being held in Kelowna on June 6 – 8, 2018. Metabridge is a national mentorship program for growth stage technology founders which includes an annual summer retreat for technology CEOs, Founders and Executives. This event is by invitation only and has been designed to provide a curated experience of high level networking amongst like-minded peers. Thought-leaders, seasoned entrepreneurs, mentors and VC’s will travel from around the world to connect at Metabridge X and enjoy everything the Okanagan has to offer.
We recently caught up with Metabridge mastermind and Co-founder of FreshGrade, Steve Wandler to learn more about the inspiration behind Metabridge, his passion for #OKGNtech, and why he believes so strongly in the power of community.
Q. Why did you move to the Okanagan?
A. I moved here from Cold Lake, Alberta 18 years ago. I had never been to the Okanagan before and arrived at night in a Uhaul truck. I remember waking up in the morning and thinking…this is a pretty RAD place! When I started my first tech company there was no Accelerate Okanagan or strong tech community in the Okanagan and I had to grind it all out on my own. The support system that we as a community have built since then, is helping to grow and strengthen Okanagan tech in ways I only dreamed possible.
Q. Why did you start Metabridge?
A. I started Metabridge as a way to help startup entrepreneurs get access to high value talent in the Silicon Valley, Being a startup entrepreneur is difficult and I wanted to find ways to help entrepreneurs avoid some of the landmines I experienced in my own journey. The grind of building a tech company on my own in a small city in Canada was is difficult and when I moved to the Silicon Valley it was like a tech entrepreneurs Disneyland. When I moved back to the Okanagan it felt lonely, so I invited a bunch of my connections here to create a little piece of Bay Area in Canada and that’s really how it all began. My philosophy has always been that you have to create the kind of life you want, you can’t wait for someone else to do it for you.
Q. What is Metabridge?
A. Metabridge is a national non-profit organization initially launched in 2008 in partnership with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. What started 10 years ago as a 30 person,1 day event is now a cross Canada community of seasoned technology founders who have built and exited companies, investors, alumni and mentors, with 18 Metabridge companies having been acquired and over $270M in investment raised by alumni.
For the last decade, Metabridge has been held right here in the Okanagan, showcasing the region and bringing hundreds of thought leaders and founders here to disconnect, build relationships and network, including a cohort of scaling technology companies selected from across the country each year. Past Okanagan founders that have participated include DataNerds, CommunitySift, Vineyard Networks, Immersive Media, Corehealth Technologies and RFind.
Q. How can our community get involved with Metabridge?
A. Founders and CEOs can apply to attend the Metabridge X event for a series of think tanks, roundtables and facilitated networking events. There is limited space available so make sure and get yourself on the list. Not a Founder? Local suppliers or service providers wanting to get involved in the program, can reach out if you are interested in partnering. Metabridge are always looking to showcase local products, services and venues in their programs.
Stay tuned for more details on the Top 15 companies who were chosen for this year’s competition. You can also check out the full calendar of events at metabridge.com.