David Offierski drops in to answer 5 Questions

David Offierski is the founder of Canada’s location based mobile deal network, Clip Mobile.   Early-on, David saw how location features on   Smartphones have the potential to fundamentally alter how consumers find and transact on information. By taking a proximity over quantity approach to building a great mobile experience, David has a unique perspective on how mobile services will evolve in the Canadian marketplace. Clip is his first start up.

What motivates you to do what you do on a daily basis?

I think like any other entrepreneur I like building things.  Every new user that downloads Clip, and each time someone uses their phone instead of a web source to find a deal is proving our business hypothesis and introducing a totally new service to Canada.  Like most other startups where resources are limited, you have to do a lot yourself because there just isn’t anyone else to do it for you. If I don’t do it, it is likely not going to get done and that is not going to help get Clip to where it wants to be.

Do you have any success start-up tips for people wanting to create a name for themselves in your industry?

If you build game mechanics into your mobile startup, you’ll probably get funded in about 6-months.  Kidding! Kind of..  I think the biggest factor to creating your own success is surrounding yourself with a super solid team.  If you are not technical yourself, you have to work really hard to find the right people to start your company with.  I think superstar developers are key but you can also not overlook the importance of design/ user experience if you are building mobile & web apps.  I also think that once you have a product, content creation and a strong social media strategy are super important.  For example, I really like what the guys at Flowtown.com are doing with their blog in support of their product.  If you don’t follow, check it out!

In your opinion why is Toronto a hotbed for cool tech start-ups?

I think Toronto is getting to be an exciting place to be building a start-up because the community is bringing together a lot of these necessary company-building elements.  We’ve got development communities, entrepreneurial communities, funding and design events as well as a very multicultural population to test proof of concepts.  The money to fund early stage startups is still a problem in Canada.  It is frustrating when you read about “the scene” in the Valley and there are so many more people with risk capital and great experience wanting to get involved with building companies.  There is also way more competition so it forces the startups to be that much more legit.  My hope is this will start to change with a new generation of incubator funds, strong communities and some recent exits for Canadian companies.

What’s your favourite tech toy and social media site and why?

I am pretty attached to my iPhone for the obvious reasons but I am also pretty excited about the next iteration of the iPad which will likely come sometime after January 2011.  I have a goal to run my entire apartment from an iPad.  All of my entertainment, media, lighting, heat/AC everything will be controlled from the iPad sitting on my coffee table.  I guess that admission officially qualifies me as a tech geek.   Has anyone else tried this?  My favourite social media site would have to be Hootesuite as it has become the core tool we use to monitor and communicate with our community.  It just so happens that they are a great Canadian company that builds a best of breed product!

Who would you say is one of Toronto’s social media/tech stars and why?

I think the team over at Sprouter have done a lot to build the Toronto tech community and Erin Bury, Sprouter’s Community Manager is someone who really gets it.  She is a fantastic organizer, networker and master communicator.  Perhaps most importantly, Erin is totally genuine about the fact that she is loving her job which is so essential to the role.  I think Sarah Prevette, Sprouter’s founder would agree that finding the right people is so essential to building a great company and she hit the jackpot with Erin.