From the venue and the flashy event website, Waterloo, Ontario’s True North conference (in its second year) doesn’t seem all that distinct from a laundry list of other major tech events that take place each year across North America. But from the moment its main stage programming kicked off on the first day, it was clear this wasn’t your typical gathering place for the tech industry faithful.
The main stage track kicked off with Communitech CEO Iain Klugman. The event is produced by Communitech, an entrepreneurial support and resource organization founded in 1997 to foster the Waterloo region’s technology industry. Communitech sprung out of BlackBerry and the University of Waterloo and the world-class innovation community that surrounds both.
Klugman, a former communications executive and current board member at a number of Communitech-fostered startups and academic institutions, sounded a cautionary and urgent note that continued throughout the day.