The Rise of the Tribe

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The C-Tribe Festival takes place on November 24th to 25th and it is our way to celebrate diversity, creativity, and to push the innovation agenda forward. Our breakout tracks are composed around topics that will have a significant impact on how we live and do things. One of the breakout tracks we will be focusing on is innovation and decentralization in the health system. Visit our website to learn more about how you can get involved with theC-Tribe Festival.


We failed at building the Cappsule platform due to, amongst other things, lack of resources and leadership (*slowly raises a hand here*).


We tried to align with two macro-trends that really couldn’t be disputed:

1) The cost of transportation is steadily decreasing as more competition enters the market and innovation drives for better ways of getting around. Call it audacious thinking, but Elon and Co. plan on making it possible for any human to get anywhere on earth in less than an hour.

2) When the global poverty line declines, more individuals enter the working class and look to travel. These newly minted global citizens seek experiences that are personalized to them and often in favor of the off-the-beat travel destinations that they can discover.

We worked towards on making it possible to share and discover video recommendations from friends in your network (more trusted) and if we could pull this feat off, we would have created a more social, and video-based, Yelp. Isn’t it funny how things don’t ever go as planned?

I still recall that plane ride back from New York after the accelerator program denied us. It was our last lifeline, and there seemed to be no hope. I was tasked with ‘bringing home the bacon,’ but needless to say, I failed to do so.


The collapse.

We ran out of money; the Cappsule platform wasn’t growing the way we intended, I had to come home and layoff our staff, and I was leaving the vibrant ecosystem that New York City had to offer (I’ll get back to this in a minute).

It was February 4th when I landed. The winter felt extra cold and my bed extra warm. There wasn’t a day during that first week following that I didn’t sleep in past noon. For the most part, I didn’t want any interaction with anybody.

It’s safe to say that those days were very tough to deal with. I would never consider myself to be uncheerful, but looking back, it was depression that got the best of me.

I didn’t get it. Despite being denied by the accelerator program, the concept was still there. Besides, companies like Airbnb were rejected several times before gaining any traction. And Amazon? It took 60 meetings for Jeff Bezos to raise his first $1M.

With the cost of transportation drastically dropping, and with more people moving up into the middle class around the world, people were looking to travel. Cappsule was supposed to evolve into a video community for trusted recommendations for this audience.

Imagine if you were from Argentina visiting Edmonton. What does “Remedy Cafe is where you will find the coolest hipsters and their chai lattes are off the charts” mean to you? If this is translated over, how would it help you make a purchase decision?

We were supposed to be the “Yelp for video content” that would help solve this communication barrier. A one minute video provides the same context as writing 1.8 million words so what did we have to do to show that our budding platform had some merit? How could we keep the brand alive until we could do some fundraising to build the platform?


The Rise of the C-Tribe.

When you’re faced with adversity you have two choices: 1) give up and fold, or 2) re-focus and evolve. There is no in-between and thankfully, we chose the latter.

One thing that defined New York for me was the diversity. Industries ranging from creative fields, technology, finance, science, etc. all came together to collaborate on big ideas. It was the precise description of a healthy innovation ecosystem. To take things a step further, they did well at telling their story and letting the world know about their success stories. In other words, they were loud. Verrrrry loud.

How could we contribute to the growing ecosystem back home to be more inclusive and to bring people together from different backgrounds and industries? Furthermore, how could we build a platform for underrepresented voices and encourage them to take action even if it meant failure? Lastly, how could we keep the Cappsule brand alive in a way that would add value to people’s lives?

An innovation festival—we first described it as an unconference—was the answer. It didn’t rely on any technology development time (a cost that was extraneously expensive for our firm), it was filling a gap in the Alberta market by providing a platform for underrepresented voices, and it capitalized on my best skill set: bringing people together.


The hypothesis that set us apart.

When you create experiences that already have a mental roadmap in people’s minds, people know what to expect when they attend, and it brings people together from different backgrounds. Those experiences for us were structured with music, art, and fashion in mind; the innovative programming and discussions around pressing problems came secondary.

Our hypothesis was we did not need to be discussing innovation to the people that were already spending $3,000 for a conference ticket and a flight to San Francisco. That isn’t to say that this demographic wasn’t important to us, but we were more interested in the increased marginal value provided to the ones who for the first time were becoming inspired by the possibilities of technology and this form of enlightened thinking.

In other words, how could we expose more students to the dramatic changes artificial intelligence will bring to the workforce they will be entering? What steps could we take to educate health care professionals about all the emerging companies that are looking to address inefficiencies in our current health care system? These are just two examples of what the innovation festival is for—less to frighten, and more to inform and empower.


The short version of the ending.

Something clicked. For the very first event that was put together in only three months after stepping off a plane from New York, we were able to bring together thirteen speakers, six corporate/community partners, a full day worth of activities, and over 200 delegates in attendance. However, we were worried when only forty of them showed up for the speaker series and discussions in the morning. As the day progressed, more individuals started showing up, to the point where we were oversubscribed for the fashion show that took place in Epcor Tower.

As we approach our second festival, we are up to twenty-five speakers, twenty community, and corporate partners, two days worth of activities, and an anticipated 400 delegates in attendance!

Things have been far from perfect, but the movement is growing, and we’re fulfilling our mandate of adding more creative minds and diverse connections to the ecosystem.

Selfishly, the Cappsule brand still exists, and it’s living vicariously through the C-Tribe Festival. We know that to achieve global growth, we will have to bring technology back in the mix, and maybe Cappsule v2.0 is a way that we can do this. Perhaps not, but we won’t know if we don’t try. For now, it is the team and community behind C-Tribe that is building the organic growth that any startup seeks. What’s to come isn’t necessarily up to us, but we thank you for sticking with us on this journey.


The C-Tribe Festival is an Edmonton-based event featuring two full days of innovation-based programming capped off by a live fashion show.
This annual event aims to connect leaders, creatives, industry experts, entrepreneurs, and YOU to explore the challenges and opportunities that society today faces. The themes center around exploring ways to introduce more focus, diversity, and innovation to our ecosystem.


Break-out sessions discuss the areas of health tech., artificial intelligence, blockchain, fashion technology, experiential traveling, and designing future cities. C-Tribe’s growing and a disruptive intergenerational audience have come to know the Festival for its unique, accessible and thought-provoking content, inspired by Edmonton’s exciting and ever-changing startup community.
While celebrating innovation and enlightened thinking, the Festival allows attendees to address key challenges and opportunities relevant to our local, national and international ecosystems. In doing so, C-Tribe is working to re-imagine Edmonton, tell our city’s story, and put #DisruptiveThinking first.

Interested in joining us? Until Friday, grab some discounted tickets and save 15% off using the discount code ‘TRIBEYEG‘.

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