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Screen shot of Pebble Kickstarter crowdfunding page
Screen shot of Pebble Kickstarter crowdfunding page

Small Business Briefing

Entrepreneur watches money pour in on Kickstarter Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz. Download our app here.

And still 36 days to go

If you want to see evidence of quick crowdfunding success, look no further than the nearly $900,000 - and counting - that Canadian-born entrepreneur Eric Migicovsky had already raised by Thursday morning from more than 6,600 backers on Kickstarter - and, with 36 days to go, that figure is sure to keep climbing.

The money began pouring in quickly. "We're absolutely blown away by your support, Kickstarter! $100k in 2 hours must be a new record," Mr. Migicovsky and his team wrote on its Kickstarter page.

It took about 12 hours to pass the $500,000 mark, reported the Vancouver Sun. The company's goal had been a what seems now modest $100,000.

The money is going to fund the production of a new e-paper smartwatch for iPhone and Android smartphones by Mr. Migicovsky's Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, Pebble Technology,

The watch, called Pebble, connects wirelessly by Bluetooth to iPhones and Android smartphones. It is customizable, allowing watchface changes, and will run a variety of apps, from controlling music to offering pace and distance information to a runner; more apps will be available through an online store. It will offer notifications and messages, its sharp display can be read even under direct sunlight, and it will come in several colours, including one that can be voted on by backers. Its starting price will be $99, according to its site.

The watch is a successor to an inPulse smartwatch that Mr. Migicovsky created for Blackberry at Allerta Inc., which he founded.

Early and large backers were offered watch goodies. For instance, early birds who pledged $99 or more would get one jet black Pebble watch that will retail for more than $150 (that's sold out). Those pledging $1,250 or more will receive five watches and a customized watchface.

Want to know more about the watch? Check out a video here.

Toronto world's fourth-best place for tech startups: ranking

Three Canadian cities made a ranking of the 25 "most active startup ecosystems" around the world for tech companies, with Toronto placing fourth.

It came behind Silicon Valley, New York and London but ahead of a host of other places from Seattle to Paris, Boston, Mumbai, Sao Paolo and Bangalore. as well as Paris, Seattle, Singapore, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Washington.

Also cracking the top 25 was Vancouver, in 16th, and Montreal in 25th, according to the Startup Compass list compiled by Startup Genome.

The ranking was based on a number of factors, ranging from start-up success rates to availability of capital, as well as market size and mentorship. The report focused mainly on the top three placers, offering a detailed comparison.

It noted, for example, that the Silicon Valley "start-up ecosystem" is three times bigger than New York's and four-and-a-half times bigger than London's; that Silicon Valley start-ups raise two to three times more money in the first three stages of development; and that they create 11-per-cent more jobs than New York start-ups, and 38-per-cent more than London.

Among other comparisons, it says Silicon Valley founders on average launched almost twice as many start-ups as founders from New York and London; that Silicon Valley has more founders that want to change the world while New York has more founders that want to make a good living; London has more that want to make a quick flip; and New York has double the number of female founders compared with the other two cities.


Small Business Summit Calgary

The date is drawing nearer for the next Small Business Summit being held in Calgary on April 25. Brought to you by The Globe and Mail's Report on Small Business in conjunction with Achilles Media, the one-day event for entrepreneurs wil be filled with strategies, sessions and presentations that will offer essential insights to grow your business. For more information, click here.

Global sales strategies for Canadian entrepreneurs

The Business Development Bank of Canada is sponsoring a workshop on "global sales strategies for ambitious Canadian entrepreneurs" in Ottawa on June 14 and 15. For more information, click here.


Coke, Nike succeed with new style of brand story-telling online

Brand communication used to be largely one-way, but now brands are talking with their fans in a two-way discussion. The most revolutionary way they’re doing it is by evolving their story-telling style, and social media is leading the way, writes columnist Mia Pearson, noting the two companies she believes are seizing new opportunities best are Coca-Cola Co. and NIke Inc.


Need financing? Join the crowd

A prescient story a year ago reported on how crowdfunding was taking off as a way to use social media to raise money from the masses, including some words from the co-founder of crowdfunding site Kickstarter. A related sidebar offered tips on how to reach out and succeed.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

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