Silicon Valley trip great learning experience for Klipfolio's Wille

A recent trip to Silicon Valley has left Allan Wille “fired up,” according to a blog the Klipfolio CEO recently posted on his company’s website.

Mr. Wille said while he remains confident in Canadian companies’ abilities to be leaders on the world stage, his recent participation in C100’s “48 hours in the Valley” trip has taught him some valuable lessons.

C100 is a non-profit group with a mandate to support Canadian technology entrepreneurs through mentorship, partnership and investment. It runs the “48 hours in the Valley” trip twice a year. Hundreds of businesspeople apply, but just 20 are selected for each trip.

Klipfolio, a dashboard developer, and Interset, a cyber security solutions provider were the two Ottawa companies selected for the latest cohort.

Mr. Wille said Canadian companies tend to think too small, concentrate too much on being first to market, think they need to be run by experienced entrepreneurs and believe relocating to Silicon Valley is a must. He said Canadian companies also think they will get only one shot at success, have a tendency to think success happens overnight and settle for too little.

Mr. Wille said if Canadian firms think bigger, they will put themselves on a more “dynamic trajectory.”

His trip to Silicon Valley introduced him to several companies that were not first to market.

“For every company that is still enjoying a first-mover advantage, there are just as many who are living the opposite,” he said. “It’s time we debunked that myth.”

Mr. Wille pointed to Facebook as an example of a successful company run by an inexperienced entrepreneur, and had to go no further than Ottawa’s Shopify to show that being headquartered in Silicon Valley is not essential for success.

As for settling for less, Mr. Wille said Canadian companies historically are easily satisfied.

“We think we’re doing well when we create a company and sell it for $50 million to a U.S. firm – which then turns it into a $1-billion enterprise. Why are we settling for the lesser win?”

Mr. Wille said Canadian “products, business acumen, vision and intelligence are as good as anyone else’s,” adding that Canadians have other advantages.

“We listen well, we understand our customers and we are able to show high degrees of empathy. And a lot of people around the world trust us,” he said.