AccelerateOTT: Founders, Startups and Communities

Posted in AccelerateOTT, Blog
Jun 26, 2018

This blog is part of our AccelerateOTT: Scale or Fail Speaker Series. View the full series here.

Chris Heivly speaking at Accelerate OTT

Chris Heivly, Entrepreneur In Residence, Techstars

Speaker: Chris Heivly, Entrepreneur In Residence, Techstars
Title: Founders, Startups and Communities
Lessons Learned from a Serial Entrepreneur

Chris Heivly is known as the “Startup Whisperer,” but it was his stage presence and inspiring message that made him so memorable at AccelerateOTT 2018: Scale or Fail. During his keynote speech, the audience was locked-into his every word. Conference attendees left loaded with actionable advice, both on how to master the world of investors and how to influence positive change within an entrepreneurial community. His theme was “give first,” and his talk was filled with high-quality takeaways but, for our readers, we’ve selected our top 8:

  1. Success in entrepreneurship is a game of probabilities, not certainties.
  2. Create more doors and windows because not everyone will use the same entrance.
  3. [As an investor] the first thing to look for in a founder is a healthy sense of self-awareness.
  4. The way to support entrepreneurs is to first understand what entrepreneurs need.
  5. You don’t get your entrepreneur badge until you have covered payroll out of your own pocket.
  6. Great founders find the tribe that best supports their vision.
  7. Cast a wide net by building a network, not a hierarchy.
  8. Always ask yourself, “How can I support an entrepreneur in achieving their vision?”

And here are a few takeaways we pulled from Twitter:

At AccelerateOTT 2018, not only did Chris Heivly impress us onstage, he also wowed us backstage. Tune-in to Chris’s interview with Techopia LIVE where he explains why finding an investor is like finding a spouse:

About Chris Heivly

Chris Heivly is one of the nation’s leading experts in how to turn startups into multimillion-dollar companies and has been dubbed the “Startup Whisperer.”  For over 30 years, Heivly has worked at the highest levels for some of the world’s most recognized brands, including MapQuest, Rand McNally, and Accenture. He has also personally directed over $75 million in investment capital on behalf of these and other companies.  Heivly current serves as one of two managing directors of The Startup Factory, the largest seed investment firm in the Southeast and as an EIR at Techstars. Chris writes for INC.COM, his blog at and recently published his first book about startups called Build The Fort.

AccelerateOTT brings together the city’s innovators, creators and inventors. Work in tech? Starting a business? Just want to dip your toes in the proverbial entrepreneurial waters? You’ll be surrounded by founders, mentors and venture capitalists (some from as far as Silicon Valley) providing strategic and sage advice.

Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has ignited the Accelerate series in Ottawa, providing a conference that truly fuels the entrepreneurial fire. The day is packed with world-class speakers, power networking breaks and an epic after party!

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