Andrew A. Duffy, Postmedia News · Jun. 20, 2011 | Last Updated: Jun. 21, 2011 12:57 PM ET

VICTORIA — It may have only just started to draw an online crowd, but a Victoria-based high-tech, social-media startup has already piqued the interest of some of the biggest players in the social media world.

Chatterblock (, a social media website for families, can already check high-level meetings with Facebook executives and Silicon Valley venture capitalists off its bucket list, having recently swept through Northern California.

“It was a big week of networking with people we would never be able to connect with normally,” said James DeGreef, co-founder and chief executive.

Chatterblock was one of 20 Canadian high-tech startups to be invited to the annual 48 Hours in the Valley event held by C100, a group of Silicon Valley-based Canadians -high-tech chief executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists representing about $8-billion in capital -that support and mentor Canadian technology entrepreneurs.

“They want to give back to Canada and help Canadian entrepreneurs to get plugged into Silicon Valley,” said Mr. DeGreef, noting Chatterblock fared well during its whirlwind tour of the Valley.

“We got to pitch to different people. We met with Facebook and established good connections with their executives, which is integral to us, met with power executives from great companies and we were one of eight companies chosen to pitch to a group of 100 VCs,” he said.

The idea of a social media site dedicated to providing directories of local content and community resources for parents -child care, education resources, camp programs, dropin schedules at libraries and recreation centres and the like -and which provides a forum for parents to connect with each other and share information clearly went down well with the California audience.

Mr. DeGreef said after the company’s three-minute pitch to the 100 VCs, he was approached by a number of them wanting to get involved in their next round of financing.

Chatterblock recently closed out a round of angel investing raising more than $500,000 locally, which is earmarked to officially launch the site in August.

The site is currently live and has lists of options and schedules around Greater Victoria, though all of its features are not yet available.

“That money will allow us to launch Victoria and maybe other test cities to prove out the concept, improve and refine it,” said Mr. DeGreef. “Then we will be looking at foreign venture capital to scale up and capture other cities.” The plan is to launch Vancouver and Silicon Valley focused sites in the winter.

Despite no advertising, other than word-of-mouth, traffic to the site has been steady with around 150 visits daily. Mr. DeGreef credits their strong content for that, which means Google searches often drive traffic to them.

Mr. DeGreef said there was a massive hole in the marketplace with parents having to scour the Internet and various websites to find recreation or educational options for their children.

Now it’s all in one place. As for making money, Mr. DeGreef said they will have three basic streams of revenue, with advertising being the main one.

They also intend to offer one-click registration for programs, classes and services allowing parents to send their information and payment via a click of a mouse, for which Chatterblock will get a small fee, and there will be a suite of premium services on the site that parents will have to pay for. “The idea is 95% of the site is free, but there will be some high-end features that must be paid for,” he said.