Why EigenSpace? What is it all about?

Canadians need to focus on building the “401 Corridor” not the “101 Corridor"

Written by Nigel Stokes

Founders are sure to have many questions on why we launched EigenSpace. Let’s start with the Name, Eigen means ‘Own’ in German. We want you to own your chosen software space. EigenVectors are especially important in AI algorithms. “Everything important is an EigenVector” and the corollary is “Everything important is in EigenSpace”. Also, the Espace cofounders just really wanted to run a Space Program to help launch start-ups. EigenSpace is as good as it gets.

Does Canada really need another start-up program? Eighty-five percent of the graduating class of computer science and engineering from key Canadian Technical Universities like Waterloo are heading to the US to find success. The C100 shows successful expat Canadian entrepreneurs run Silicon Valley. One high profile example is Elon Musk. Mr. Musk’s Mother is from Saskatchewan, while he is originally a South African immigrant, he was educated at Queen’s University in Kingston before heading to the Valley.  The successful co-founder of eBay Jeffrey Skoll is another. There are many more. The brain drain from Canada to America has been going on for decades. 

In the late 90’s when DataMirror went public, I was encouraged aggressively by my Board to relocate to the Valley. I refused. It likely cost me some wealth, but as an immigrant I am committed to Canada’s values. Yes, we pay more taxes. We are “the Sweden of North America”. Toronto is “New York, run by the Swiss”. But talk to any immigrant about the opportunity Canada gave to them. All of them believe they are blessed with good fortune.

I am not against the Silicon Valley experience. YC is a great success. Over the years I’ve done many deals with Valley VCs. Many good friends and contacts live there. It is a good system. It provides entrepreneurial lessons. But it is not perfect. Canadians need to focus more on building the “401 Corridor” not the “101 Corridor”. Between Montreal and London Ontario there is an incredible concentration of high-tech Universities and budding high tech entrepreneurial talent. Beyond, the 401 Corridor, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and the East Coast are all bright technology hot beds.

Canada has the technical brains. EigenSpace is about sharing years of learning from our founding team. Collectively, we have been deeply involved in building start-up communities in Canada. We want founders in the EigenSpace cohorts to leverage that experience to achieve liftoff and escape velocity. The ESpace program is about helping entrepreneurs to get organized. MVP products launched and funded fast. We are committed to tripling start-up success. Start-ups will always be a risky undertaking, but we want to help build more successful Canadian start-ups. Succeed fast, don’t fail fast. Don’t fail at all.