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Vancouver’s Spring startup program acquires Kick incubator in push for global presence

Vancouver’s Spring startup program acquires Kick incubator in push for global presence

Posted by Juan Gavasa on April 18, 2016

Go anywhere in the world and tech entrepreneurs know the names of startup accelerators like 500 Startups or TechStars, says Vancouver’s Keith Ippel.

“We only actually have local programs here and I think that is a gap in the market,” the CEO of Spring Activator told Business in Vancouver April 14.
“In order for Vancouver to be, I think, a global player in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we currently lack any programs or companies that really play on the global basis.”

Ippel aims to change that with Spring’s acquisition this week of the Seattle-based Kick incubator program, which has a presence in more than 30 cities worldwide. Spring Activator is also rebranding as Spring University to coincide with the global expansion.

“We don’t have companies and programs from a support perspective that take the best of Vancouver to the world and bring the best of the…world back to Vancouver,” Ippel said.

While Toronto-based accelerator Highline also operates out of Vancouver, both of Highline’s campuses are in Canada.

The acquisition of Kick means Spring University will operate in cities like Tokyo, Amsterdam and Manila.
Incubators typically offer low-cost offices to early-stage companies and generate income either through government funding or through the fees they charge startups for support services.

Accelerators, meanwhile, invest in startups, take equity and assist founders for a set period of time – usually three to four months.

Ippel said Spring University would operate as both an incubator and an accelerator.

For the past 18 months, Spring has been the largest licensee of the Kick incubator program.

Ippel said it made sense to acquire the program upon hearing team behind Fledge, the prior owner of Kick, became too busy to continue with it.

By taking ownership of the program, the newly rebranded Spring University would boost its alumni’s legitimacy no matter where they’re operating, according to Ippel.

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