Starting with WatStart

Waterloo Technology Startup NetworkIn the grand tradition of prefixing the names of Waterloo-produced things with Wat, such as Watcom, Watstar, and WatPubs, comes WatStart:

WatStart is a new community initiative to help prospective entrepreneurs and very-early-stage technology companies in the Waterloo area.

WatStart creates opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs to get together — online and in person — with each other and with local service providers to learn from each other and to receive ongoing guidance, support and encouragement.

Gary Will, who chronicles the Waterloo technology scene in his widely read Waterloo Tech Digest, has gathered together several local sponsors to produce a very attractive and potentially useful site. I write potentially because since its launch in early September, there has been very little activity on the website. The forums are practically dead, except for the occasional posting from sponsors, whose articles are either cut-and-paste copies of articles from somewhere else on the internet or cheesy bits of marketing fluff that you might expect to find as mail inserts with their bills. And none of it has anything to do with starting a company in Waterloo! The top non-sponsor poster has posted less than ten messages to the forum, and he’s in Mississauga!

But enough of my complaining. My point is that the site has a lot of potential. All it lacks is some interesting content — Waterloo-related content — to get people talking.

Personally, I’d like to see WatStart succeed. It’s not so much that I am interested in starting up a company in Waterloo, though I do toy with the idea from time to time, but I like living in Waterloo. I like working in Waterloo. Should I ever happen lose my current job at AMI Semiconductor, I’d like to see a thriving local high-tech industry from which I could choose another job. I think WatStart has the potential to help that happen.

All this is to say that I plan to give some attention to WatStart over the next little while: participating in discussions, asking questions, stirring the pot, trolling for conversation, teasing with flamebait, and the like. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.