By Ashley Forseille, Operations Coordinator at Dyspatch

On September 30th, Sendwithus danced the Slamba* at the fourth annual Startup Slam. This year over 400 students, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs joined us at the University of Victoria to learn practical skills and connect with YYJ tech startups. Call the Slambulance, because the workshops were heart-stopping this year.

Sendwithus founders Matt Harris and Brad Van Vugt planned the first Startup Slam in 2014 as a way to introduce students to local tech companies and provide industry-related skills. Since then, Startup Slam has grown to include folks from business and design backgrounds, with a focus on growing the tech community and sharing knowledge with the next generation of tech leaders. Have any feedback about what you would like to see at Startup Slam 2018? Drop us a line and tell us how you’d like your green eggs and Slam served next year.

For anyone who wasn’t able to be there, Startup Slam is a series of interactive workshops presented by leaders in the tech community. This year we had four tracks: intro to tech, advanced tech, entrepreneur, and design. We added the design track based on your feedback and Slamalama ding dong, it was good. We also had more non-developers, business students, and startup enthusiasts joining in this year, and we’re thrilled to see our Slamily growing. The complete list of workshops this year were:

Aurora Walker – Dr. Bash, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Command Line
Aashni Shah – How To Prep for the Job Hunt
Hayden Waring – Git Gud: Why Version Control?

Izaak Schroeder – Using Elasticsearch and Kibana for Data-driven Analytics
John Oram – Lessons Learned Storing 30 Million Records an Hour
Laura Cooper – Exploring Animation with CSS3

Sendwithus Platform Manager John Oram leading a workshop on Lessons Learned Storing 30 Million Records an Hour

Andrew Seipp – Let Data Tell the Story: Using User Analytics to Build a Kick Ass Product
Bob Warwick – We’re Still Here – A Practical Guide to Failing
Adam Cowley – Criteria For My Next Startup

Amanda Healey – Practical Design Tips for Non-Designers
Miriam Thomas – Mapping User Experiences
Michele Macklin – Usability Testing: Testing Early and Often

A productive workshop on Mapping User Experiences with Miriam Thomas.

Keynote Panel

We started the day off with a keynote panel of technical and non-technical leaders speaking about building a meaningful career in the tech sector. Lead by YYJ Tech ladies’ co-founder Mon Gill, panelists participated in a candid conversation about how they got into the tech industry, what their biggest hurdles have been, and how to develop leadership skills. Panelists were:

Sue Connors, VP of Business Development at RevenueWire
Megan Rose, Project Manager at Axiom Zen
Mel Reams, Senior Developer at Referral SaaSquatch
Dominique Charlebois, Software Developer
Tara Hurst, Creative Director at Flytographer

Ask an Expert

This year we incorporated a new opportunity called Ask an Expert, where attendees could book a 10-minute one-on-one appointment with a founder, angel investor, engineering manager, or startup legal expert. The aim of Ask an Expert was to connect folks with mentors who could give practical advice on how to build a career in tech, either as a developer or founder. The feedback from these sessions was great on both sides of the table, so look for a bigger better version next year. Thank you to our experts who participated this year!

Adam Cowley, Founder and CEO of Rooof
Brad Van Vugt, Cofounder of Sendwithus
Jason Morehouse, Founder and CEO of Checkfront Inc.
Nicole Smith, Founder and CEO of Flytographer

Scott Lake, Angel Investor
Dave Arnsdorf, Angel Investor

Kerry Wright, Engineering Manager at AbeBooks
Aurora Walker, Software Development Team Lead at Bambora
Anthony Theocharis, Director of Software Development at Workday
James Addison, CTO of ChatterBlock

Kyle Lavender, lawyer at LaBarge Weinstein LLP

Thank you for making this year a Slam dunk

Representatives from Unicorn sponsor Flytographer

From sponsors to speakers to experts, we rely on the support of the local tech community to host Startup Slam every year. Startup Sam 2017 was Powered by Rooof. Rooof founder and CEO Adam Cowley also lead a workshop on the criteria for his next startup, as well as acting as an expert in the Talk to an Expert series. A huge thank you to Rooof for being an integral part of Startup Slam 2017!

Startup Slam 2017 had twenty one sponsors who contributed to take you to Slamsterdam this year. Thank you to these businesses for their commitment to enriching the tech community in Victoria!


Caffeinated by:



Full Slam ahead

If you liked Startup Slam, but were hoping for more competition, coding, and 80s video games, we hope you’ll join us for BattleSnake 2018! Look forward to a bigger programming competition than ever before. The mettle of your team will be tested in battle and the winner will be the last team slithering. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on BattleSnake 2018 and other community events hosted by Sendwithus.

Want to get involved? Reach out to the Sendwithus team at if you are interested in sponsoring, volunteering, or participating in Battlesnake 2018 or Startup Slam 2018.

*The Slamwithus team apologizes for our bad puns. We just can’t help ourselves.