Techopia Live: L-Spark adapts SaaS accelerator but keeps the ‘aggressive style’

Strapped with lessons learned from their previous cohorts, L-Spark’s Leo Lax and Jamie Petten dropped by Techopia Live to talk about how their approach to this fall’s latest batch of SaaS companies is different from years past.

Firstly, Lax said, it’s not just about Ottawa anymore. While the accelerator may be based in the “SaaS capital of Canada,” L-Spark’s reputation had made a name for itself across the country.

“We found that there was a large number of amazing entrepreneurs all around Canada who were interested in what we were offering, and therefore we spent some time and effort expanding our reach,” he told Techopia Live.

As a result, the company hit the road on its SaaS Roadshow to hear pitches from beyond Ottawa.

“As a consequence of that, our intake was from all over Canada,” Lax said.

Petten told Techopia Live that L-Spark, a startup itself, learned more about its own strengths and where to focus. The majority of its mentors’ capabilities and programming was better suited towards scaling companies that already have a base.

As a result, L-Spark no longer looked for companies at the ideation stage.

“Our expertise and our aggressive style of working on revenue growth tended to be a bit much,” she said. Instead, cohorts are comprised of companies that already have products, customers and early revenues, and are ready to take it to the next level.

One of the other major developments for L-Spark has been the launch of SaaS North, which runs this year from Nov. 29-30. Lax says the team saw a need for a conference that didn’t just talk about entrepreneurship or emerging technologies, but which explicitly focussed on software-as-a-service.

SaaS North, he says, should illuminate the industry for new entrants as well as established firms. There’s a large variety of programming: areas such as the investor zone, where SMEs can meet with large institutional investors focused on SaaS, are supplemented by a lineup of more than 80 speakers. This year’s stars include Shopify chief operating officer Harley Finkelstein, Klipfolio CEO Allan Wille, PageCloud CEO Craig Fitzpatrick and media personality Amber Mac.

“We’re going to expect they take away hours and hours and weeks and weeks of lessons learned that they can apply to their businesses from just two days at SaaS North,” Lax told Techopia Live.