Launch'Pad Bootcamp

Launchpad Bootcamp, in Winnipeg May 5-8, 2017 is for serious entrepreneurs, offering 3.5 intense days of boot camps presented by experienced national and international angel investor and entrepreneurs.

Launchpad Bootcamp is your entry into the 2017 Venture’Challenge on June 20, 2017. 

Learn about how Launch’Pad 2016 went.

What to Expect

Launchpad Bootcamp is designed to help you transform your business strategy and prepare investor-friendly business plans and crisp investment pitches. The Bootcamp is run by experienced local, national and international angel investors and entrepreneurs, including Randy Thompson, from Calgary, Alberta, Permjot Valia, from London, England, and Dustin Refvik from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jeff Amerine, a fund manager from Fayetteville, Arkansas, will participate in one-on-one sessions and help judge final pitches on May 8.

Following the Launch’Pad Bootcamp, six participating companies will be chosen to compete in the 2017 Venture’Challenge for significant cash and in-kind prize packages!

Venture’Challenge, which takes place on June 20, 2017 as part of Lift’Off, is Manitoba’s premier capital challenge event. The six companies selected from Launch’Pad Bootcamp will compete at Venture’Challenge, including:

  • Opportunities to present and expense paid trips to one of the Banff Venture Forum in Banff, AB, or the Canadian Financing Forum in Vancouver, BC;
  • An expense paid trip to MentorCamp, an expense paid trip to the National Angel Capital Organization Annual Summit and free entry to pitch to the VA Angels super angel network in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Kelowna.


Over three and one-half days of the bootcamp you will learn from experts in the business, entrepreneur and investor community. At this point, you have already started your company. To move things forward you have realized that you need capital to finish your development, build out your team, mass produce your product or launch a marketing campaign. Who can you turn to? The scenery is a bit confusing at times. When the bootcamp is over, you will have a clearer picture of your business, opportunities and next steps. You will have had the chance to practice your pitch in front of some of the best business and investor minds in Canada. You will have a wealth of new contacts, and an incredible network of information, connections and support as your business grows.

By taking part in Launch’Pad Bootcamp, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of your critical success factors.
  • Learn how to fine-tune your business strategy.
  • Understand and learn to execute de-risking strategies.
  • Gain experience and expert advice on making an effective pitch to investors.
  • Meet and network with other entrepreneurs, investors and industry members.
  • Be eligible to advance to the 2017 Venture’Challenge.

Entry Fee

The entry fee for Launch'Pad Bootcamp is $1,000 plus $250 for a second participant from the same venture, to a maximum of two participants for each venture.

For the registration fee, participants receive:

  • Three and one-half days’ of valuable bootcamp from experienced national and international angel investors.
  • Opportunities to network and form working relationships with other entrepreneurs and mentors in attendance.
  • A networking reception on the Friday evening of the bootcamp with light dinner and refreshments.
  • Continental breakfasts and hot lunches during the bootcamp.
  • An opportunity to advance to the 2017 Venture’Challenge

The six successful ventures advancing to the 2017 Venture’Challenge also receive:

  • An opportunity to pitch before experienced investors, receive valuable feedback and compete for significant prizes.
  • A chance to win awesome prizes and recognition!


Launch'Pad Bootcamp might be just what you need to help you grow your startup, but don't take it from us! Listen to what a few past participants had to say.


Bootcamp Details & Fees

May 5, 2017
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Fort Garry Hotel

May 6, 7 & 8, 2017
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
United Way Learning Centre

Entry Fee $1,000. Each venture can send a maximum of two participants. 

Learn about our Westman and Pembina Valley Boot Camps.

Dates & Registration

Boootcamp Registration

May 05, 2017 - May 08, 2017
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

$250.00 - $1,000.00

United Way – Main Floor Learning Centre
580 Main St
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Sorry, registration isn't open. Please contact us for more information.

Bootcamp Eligibility & Rules

  • The bootcamp is designed for high-growth potential businesses. It is not open to restaurants, bars, resource exploration businesses, franchisee-owned businesses, traditional retail or services businesses, or home-based businesses.
  • The business must be incorporated and must have sales or raised some founder or external financing.
  • Participating companies from previous years’ Venture’Challenge may participate, but previous Venture’Challenge winners are ineligible unless the business being presented is substantially different.
  • All entries are subject to filing a completed application form and payment of the entry fee prior to the application deadline of 10:00 pm, May 3, 2017, and are subject to acceptance by a review committee. Paid entry fees for applications not accepted will be refunded.

Bootcamp Leaders

Randy Thompson

Randy Thompson

Randy returns again as LaunchPad’s chief bootcamp leader. He has been working in the startup venture space since 1992, when he started the first ISP in Alberta.

In 1999 he started working on developing Angel Groups in Alberta. Since then, he has built two angel groups, including Deal Generator, an Edmonton-based angel group, and in 2003 Randy’s started what is now VA Angels, where in the last ten years 85 members have funded 60 plus startups for $28 million. As well, Randy has acted as a venture capital advisor to the Province of Alberta, a GP in a cross border Venture Fund, and introduced Western Canada as an investment region to investors in New York, London, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Seattle and Dallas. Since beginning the Angel group, Randy has invested in 11 startups and has two positive exits to date. He has assited over 150 Western Canada companies through boot camps, advisory, or angel activity to date, and currently sits on three boards.

Permjot Valia

Permjot Valia

Permjot returns again as a renown LaunchPad Bootcamp leader. Permjot started angel investing after having served as Sales and Marketing Director for Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Services in London.

Permjot was able to learn first hand what it took to be a successful start up and the problems they encounter along the way. After leaving Ernst & Young, Permjot founded Help with Sales. This business, in which he is still active, helps companies with their commercialisation approach and strategy. Permjot co-founded a fund management business called Flight & Partners Ltd. which now has around $20m under management. The fund, which started in early 2008, invests in distressed situations. In 2010, Permjot was nominated as one of the Best Mentors to Startups in Europe by Techcrunch. In 2011, Permjot co-founded MentorCamp, a business that brings together the best mentors in the world to help companies in specific sectors enjoy explosive growth. MentorCamp has held events across Eastern Canada, South Africa and the USA. Permjot is an active angel investor and has invested in over 30 companies across the world. Permjot Valia gained a degree in Economics with Honours from the University of Leeds in 1993.

Dustin Refvik

Dustin Refvik

Dustin Refvik has always been an entrepreneur. Gaining experience straight out of high school as a sales representative for his father’s business, Dustin then left university early to join a friend’s startup. He launched Night Ideas, a web development company now run by his wife Christy, in 2010.  In 2013, Dustin and business partner Matt Doak placed third at Innovate Manitoba’s Venture’Challenge with ScheduleAide, which used a proprietary SaaS platform designed to provide professional and trade service providers with agile web and mobile scheduling tools. While that business is now on hold, both Dustin and Matt learned some valuable lessons that allowed them to independently move on to other high growth opportunities.

Dustin now focusses his entrepreneurial energies as co-founder of both FarmTrack Technologies and Trap Tap.  TrapTap garnered much media attention for its professional and ultra-successful Kickstarter campaign, by which the company raised over $350,000 against a target of $85,000. FarmTrack’s technology allows cattle producers to assess the health of their herds by digitally tracking cattle feeding patterns.  FarmTrack currently is launching its second pilot project with a large feedlot operator to test an advanced version of its technology and is in the process of closing a Series A round of financing, after having raised a seed round in 2016.  

While still only 32, Dustin has gained a lot of hard-earned experience and in the process, has become a founder who has “been there and done that”. His specific expertise includes customer discovery, software development, technology validation, market entry approaches, capital formation strategies and structuring deal terms, and digital marketing.

Jeff Amerine

Jeff Amerine

Jeff is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He has over 40 direct and indirect (via funds) investments in early-stage companies, and currently sits on the board of directors/advisors of 8 companies. Jeff is or has been the manager of a number of angel and venture funds, including Gravity Ventures Fund I, a $525K angel fund (recent 4X exit (Acumen Brands)); Gravity Ventures Fund II, a $1.1M angel fund; VIC Growth Fund, a $1.4M IP- focused captive angel fund; an investor/board member, Fund for Arkansas’ Future, a $5.5M angel fund; an investor in ARK Fund I, a $550K accelerator fund; and Arkansas Representative, Fulcrum Equity Partners, a $93M VC/PE fund; among others. Over the past five years Jeff has become one of the key leaders in the State of Arkansas and the region engaged in building a lasting tech-focused venture/startup ecosystem.

Jeff is the Director, Technology Ventures at University of Arkansas and Adjunct Faculty, teaching entrepreneurship, at the Walton College of Business. Jeff joined the Technology Ventures team in February 2008 after enjoying a successful, 18-year career building technology businesses. Prior to joining the UA, Jeff’s career involved creating, financing and deploying high-tech telecommunications and information technology products and services. He has held senior leadership positions in seven startup ventures and three Fortune 500 companies. As the Director, UA Technology Ventures, his role at the University is to lead the commercialization of world-class research.

Jeff holds a BS, Physical Science from the United States Naval Academy, and an MS in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas. Jeff is a certified project management professional (PMP).

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