Announcing the Startup Weekend Canada Competition

Techstars believes in the ability to start a successful company anywhere, beyond borders, and beyond large metro areas.

In Canada we have seen a growth in startup activity, the introduction of the startup visa, and we are expanding with Techstars Toronto, our first Canadian Accelerator program. The time is ripe to drive momentum and to ignite the startup community nationwide.

What better way to do this than through a friendly competition? From September 1st through October 1st, we are excited to launch the Startup Weekend Canada competition! In this inaugural year we will see seven cities compete through Startup Weekend programs happening all over Canada.

From the far port city of Saint John to the beautiful lakes of Kamloops, startup ideas will be spurred into action and the winning team from each city will be given the opportunity to compete for a grand prize.

“This first Startup Weekend Canadian competition is the tipping point to inspire and educate Canadians, no matter where they are, to launch tech ecosystems like we did in Montreal, as well as to help each other.” -Sergio Escobar, Startup Weekend Montreal Community Leader

On October 3rd, a panel of esteemed judges, including our Managing Director for the Techstars Toronto program, will crown a grand prize winner.

Are you ready to kick start your entrepreneurial journey? Save the date (or dates!) and venture out to a Startup Weekend near you.

If you have an idea that you are ready to take to the next level, curious to learn the foundations of becoming a successful entrepreneur, or simply want to network with the brightest people from your city, sign up for an event near you.

City

Date

Register Now

Kamloops, BC

September 8-10, 2017

Register

Belleville, ON

September 15-17, 2017

Register

Calgary, AB

September 22-24, 2017

Coming soon!

Montreal, QC

September 22-24, 2017

Register

Brampton, ON

September 29-Oct 1, 2017

Coming soon!

London, ON

September 29-Oct 1, 2017

Coming soon!

Saint John, NB

September 29-Oct 1, 2017

Coming soon!

 








Reflections on my Hometown of Montreal, Canada

I spent most of last week in my hometown of Montreal and it was a really great experience.

I left Montreal in 1990 because at that time, support for people like me (crazy entrepreneurs) was very limited. I had met some American entrepreneurs and found them to be kindred spirits and much more supportive. When offered the opportunity to join a startup in Miami, I jumped at the opportunity and moved within three days.

How times of changed!

Previously, I’ve gone back to Montreal a number of times, but it was to visit family, not to be in the community.

Last week, I attended FounderFuel demo day. There were about 1000 people in attendance and the companies were great. John Stokes of Real Ventures was very kind to bring me up on stage and reminisce at how he had come up with the idea after coming to Techstars demo day in Boulder in 2009. They have now graduated 10 classes and their companies have raised over $100M. Quite an accomplishment!

For the rest of the week, I attended Startupfest, an incredible festival now in it’s seventh year, celebrating entrepreneurs from around the world. I gave the keynote and attended many panels and discussions, ranging from the future of accelerators, to diversity and inclusion and more.

The comment I heard most often was how nice Canadian entrepreneurs are, and how they don’t let that be a disadvantage at all.

Techstars is excited to expand our presence in Canada, with the addition of our new accelerator program in Toronto, which will have applications opening July 24, 2017. We have long run Startup Weekends in the region and I had the pleasure of hanging out with about 25 fantastic community leaders at an event last week. All were excited about the opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs.

In this time of immigration uncertainty in the United States, it’s great to have neighbors to the north that are providing an inclusive and startup-friendly environment.  

Oh, and I got to visit the home I grew up in. I admit that I got a little choked up.








Over $20,000 In Prizes 

Startup Weekend Vancouver is an action-packed weekend of entrepreneurial learning, execution, and fun. With such a short timeframe for teams to build a new idea, it’s amazing to see what they come out with.
First Place Prizes $11,800: 
  • 2 Full Scholarship to Launch Academy’s Lean Entrepreneur Acceleration Program (LEAP) – $3,000
  • 1 Full Scholarship to attend Draper University – $2,000
  • 6 Full Scholarships to Launch Academy’s LEAP Online Plus – $1,800
  • MLT Western Canada’s Law Firm Services – $2,500
  • Sponsorship to any of Spring’s Programs – $800
  • 1 Year Pro Account from Wantoo – $600
  • 3 Months Full Scholarship to the Venture Acceleration Program – $600
  • 5 Days Workspace Access and Mentorship at iQmetrix’s ThinkTank in Gastown with $500 worth of Food & Beverage
  • 2 Hours Virtual Mentoring by DraperU team
  • 1 Year Blinkist Premium Subscription with full access to the whole library – $79.99

Second Place Prizes $4,900: 

    • 1 Full Scholarships to Launch Academy’s Lean Entrepreneur Acceleration Program (LEAP) – $1,500
    • 4 Full Scholarships to Launch Academy’s LEAP Online Plus – $1,200
    • MLT Western Canada’s Law Firm Services – $1000
    • Sponsorship to any of Spring’s Programs – $600
    • 3 Months Full Scholarship to the Venture Acceleration Program – $600
    • 6 Months Blinkist Premium Subscription with full access to the whole library – $49.99

    Third Place Prizes $2,800: 

      • 4 Full Scholarships to Launch Academy’s LEAP Online Plus – $1,200
      • MLT Western Canada’s Law Firm Services – $1000
      • 3 Months Full Scholarship to the Venture Acceleration Program – $600
      • Sponsorship to any of Spring’s Programs – $400
      • 3 Months Blinkist Premium Subscription with full access to the whole library – $24.99

      All ParticipantsPrizes

      • A chance to win a part-time iOS course at Lighthouse Labs – $1500
      • 6 Months Pro Account from Wantoo – $600
      • $100 off Launch Academy’s LEAP Online – $100
      • Start Smart Series seminar vouchers from Small Business BC – $49
      • Complimentary Square Reader
      • And more…







      Startup Weekend Vancouver is back on Nov 18-20!

      We’re excited to officially announce that Startup Weekend Vancouver is back again on November 18-20th, 2016 at Launch Academy. Since you were a participant from previous years, we’d like to extend this invitation to have you back participating in this year’s event.

      It’s very fortunate to have this year’s event hosted at Launch Academy, Vancouver’s leading startup hub, who has helped over 400 early-stage startups to get off the ground. Yours could be next! 

      Registration is now open for all designers, developers, and anyone with a background in business, marketing, and PR.  

      We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Startup Weekend Vancouver. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements coming soon!

      We’re about 4 weeks away from the event, so get your tickets soon! Tickets are available through Eventbrite until 11:59pm on Sunday, November 13th, 2016.








      The world’s biggest startup competition returns to Vancouver – tickets now available!

      Startup Weekend Vancouver

      Vancouver, are you ready? The world’s biggest startup competition is returning to our city for the second year in a row, and tickets are now up for grabs!

      Startup Weekend Vancouver takes place on November 20-22, 2015 at the new Unbounce HQ, and will bring together developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts alike to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups. We’re excited to be one of over 250 cities taking part in the Global Startup Battle 2015!

      The stakes are high. Last year, not only did ConceptKicker, the winners of Startup Weekend Vancouver 2014, win locally. They also competed against 3,200 teams from 83 countries and took home the title as the 2014 GSB Champion.

      Are you up for the challenge? Tickets are available now for purchase!

      We’re giving away a Lighthouse Labs scholarship!

      In celebration of the opening of ticket sales, we’ve partnered with Lighthouse Labs to give away one full scholarship to their Part-Time Web Fundamentals Course. If you’re trying to build a minimum viable product (MVP), communicate with your dev team, or gain valuable career skills, this opportunity is for you. Everyone who buys a ticket before Monday, October 19 will be entered to the giveaway! Learn more about the course.

      What’s in store this year

      This year’s Startup Weekend is shaping up to be another can’t-miss event. We’re bringing out some of our community’s most experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts to support our teams.

      Throughout the weekend, teams can meet one-on-one with coaches and mentors. Our current lineup of coaches and mentors include Jayesh Parmar (CEO & Co-Founder, Picatic), Hussein Hallak (Director of Strategy & Marketing, 3 Tier Logic & Head Instructor of the Lean Entrepreneurship Program, Launch Academy), Wade Foster (CEO & Co-Founder, Zapier), Elizabeth Steward (VP Marketing, Dun & Bradstreet Cloud Innovation Center), and Keith Ippel (Co-Founder & Partner, Spring Activator).

      On the last day of Startup Weekend Vancouver, teams demo their prototypes and receive feedback from a panel of judges. We’re excited to welcome Boris Wertz (Founder & General Partner, Version One Ventures), Ryan Holmes (CEO, Hootsuite), and Wade Foster (Co-Founder & CEO, Zapier) as this year’s judges.

      We’ve also partnered with fantastic supporters to give the best perks and prizes to our attendees. They include Unbounce (our venue sponsor), QuickMobile (our gold sponsor), BCIC, MailChimp, Smythe CPA and Lighthouse Labs (our silver sponsors), iQmetrix and Spring Activator (our bronze sponsors), & Futurpreneur and Todoist (our community sponsors).

      We’re continuing to add more mentors, coaches and partners. Stay tuned for more updates by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or signing up for our newsletter.

      Grab your ticket today before they sell out!








      Zone Montreal: A New Match-Making Platform for Entrepreneurs!

      Welcome to Zone Montreal Inc., the matchmaking platform designed to help you meet and learn from other members of the entrepreneurial community!

      What is it?

      It’s Brain Dates for learning humans, where you can find like-minded people interested in sharing knowledge face to face, one-on-one.

      How it works?

      Zone Montreal Inc

      Congrats Fondation Montréal Inc. for this amazing project.








      Montreal-based MakerBloks Hits Crowdfunding Goal in Two Days! Wants to Rethink How Kids Learn Electronics

      MakerBloks A Montreal startup that wants to teach children about electronics is seeing strong success on Kickstarter, reaching its $25,000 goal on the second day of its crowdfunding campaign. MakerBloks are colourful blocks that allow children to create real electric circuits. A Kickstarter campaign to fund their creation launched on Tuesday morning, raising over $20,000 within 24-hours and reaching its goal on Wednesday afternoon. Francois Poirier, the CEO and creator of MakerBloks says he got the idea while working as a product designer. Clients would come to him with little more than a circuit board and his job was to make the products look good and be easy to use, but he says, “I actually had no idea what they had in their hand, the [printed circuit board] itself was a mystery to me.” Poirier says his then-seven-year-old niece was developing a strong interest in science and technology at the same time so he thought it would be fun for the two of them to learn about electronics together.

      “I looked at all the different ways to do it, software, books, DVDs and toys,” he says, but nothing fit. When it comes to toys, he says, “they are all bad, they are all using outdated technology.” He says the toys on the market might make sense to engineers but they don’t make sense to a six-year-old. Having worked as a consultant for Mega Brands, he thought about creating an educational tool that involved bright plastic blocks.

      One of the MakerBloks kits being launched as part of the Kickstarter campaign also includes a augmented reality feature – a mirror that attaches to an iPad’s camera and allows children to solve puzzles in a virtual game using their real-world blocks. It’s another thing that Poirier says sets MakerBloks apart from other electronics kits on the market. “They don’t use what the kids are using,” he says. “I thought it was important to adapt to the kids of today.” Still, Poirier says MakerBloks won’t be going entirely virtual. “For me it’s really important to always have the hardware piece, the blocks,” he says. “Because if they are more interested in electronics when they are 10, 12-years-old and they actually want to pick up a soldering iron and build real circuits, it’s always going to be a physical world.” As part of the Kickstarter campaign, MakerBloks is offering several different kits as individual perks, that will help guide future developments from the company. “I think the Kickstarter campaign will actually give us a really good idea of what our audience wants,” Poirier says. That’s a big part of why he decided to launch his product through a crowdfunding campaign. “Gaining visibility and validating the product is the major reason we’re doing the Kickstarter, for sure the funding will help but it’s not the main goal,” he says. “Dollars are the best feedback you can get.” While delivering the MakerBloks on time and living up to the promises made in the Kickstarter campaign is Poirier’s main goal right now, he’s also got his eye on the future. He wants MakerBloks to be the flagship product of a company that’s focused on science, technology, engineering and math learning for kids.

      Makerbloks Awards
      Makerbloks Press Coverage

      Originally posted in TechVibes Canada








      Montreal-based Makerbloks Wins 2015 Silicon Valley CrowdPitch Competition!

       

      crowdpitch_blog

      Congratulations to Francois Poirier of MakerBloks, the winner of the 16th Founder Showcase CrowdPitch CompetitionMakerbloks creates small, reactive building blocks that allow anyone to learn and build electronic circuits without any technical background. The company took first place at the Montreal TechCrunch Pitch-Off, which led to them attending TechCrunch Disrupt in New York to showcase their new product.

       

      François Poirier is a graduate of Silicon Valley Founder Institute as well as Google-backed Startup Next program in Montreal, Canada.

      Originally posted on http://fi.co/posts/15771

       

       








      Lavery And Its GO Inc. Program Join Forces With Startup Next Montreal

      Lavery LawyersLavery is pleased to announce its involvement in the Startup Next Montreal program that is allowing selected Quebec entrepreneurs to participate in one of the most renowned pre-acceleration startup program in the world and to also benefit from a special session on the legal issues that startups face, offered by the lawyers of Lavery’s GO inc. Program.

      The Startup Next Montreal pre-acceleration program runs from February 23 to May 2, 2015 and is aimed at priming four startups for success in their search for financial backing either from seed or accelerator funds. The four selected companies are Makerbloks, led by François Poirier, Logrr, led by Julien Denaes, Elysia, led by Vanessa Cherenfant, and Heddoko, headed by its founder Mazen Elbawab.

      Google and Techstars backed Global Pre-Accelerator Program
      Google and Techstars backed Global Pre-Accelerator Program

      Startup Next is a global program implemented in 40 cities around the world and backed by Google for Entrepreneurs and the Global Accelerator Network. Lavery is hosting six consecutive and mandatory weekly sessions of three hours each, plus one special session dedicated to the legal issues associated to business startups. During these sessions, entrepreneurs meet with company founders as well as with experts who share their own experiences in growth-company management, get to make their elevator pitch before a panel of mentors who provide feedback and are paired with mentors who help them delve more deeply into strategic issues. The entrepreneurs had the opportunity to be mentored by top professionals like Bob Dorf, Startup Trainer and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School, LP Maurice, CEO of Busbud and Partner at Interaction Ventures, Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner of iNovia Capital, and Sean Brownlee, General Partner at Rho Canada Ventures.

      The best Montreal entrepreneurial teams will be invited to present their start-up companies to investors or accelerator funds like XPND CapitalInteraction Ventures, Global Silicon Valley fund Expansive VC, to angel investors like Anges Québec, and to decision makers, as well as to the Jeune chambre de commerce de Montréal (JCCM) and the Regroupement des jeunes chambres de commerce du Québec (RJCCQ) business community during Startup Next Montreal’s presentation night at the 48h Entrepreneurs event.

      48H Entrepreneurs – JCCM, RJCCQ

      “With its GO inc. Program, Lavery targets dynamic and innovative startups that stand out from the crowd. Our partnership agreement with Startup Next Montreal helps us reach out to several of the most promising technology startups in Quebec,” said Don McCarty, the firm’s Managing Partner.

      “We are very pleased that the Lavery GO inc. Program is partnering with Startup Next Montreal, because it is essential that entrepreneurs understand the main legal issues they will need to manage in order to successfully grow their company. We added a training session to the program specifically to address this topic and provide entrepreneurs with the best tools possible for the challenges that lie before them,” added Sergio A. Escobar, Startup Next Montreal Program Facilitator.

      “Lavery is delighted to welcome the entrepreneurs selected by Startup Next Montreal. The members of the Lavery GO inc. Program plan will analyze with them the major legal issues related to their startups,” stated Étienne Brassard, lawyer in charge of the Lavery GO inc. Program.

      The Lavery GO inc. Program provides personalized support to selected businesses over a wide range of legal services needed during the start-up process, including incorporation, trademark and domain registration, service agreements and various internal company policies.

      Lavery Lawyers






      UP Montreal: Startup Next Alumn "Logrr" Selected For Silicon Valley Global Demo Day

      Featured in the Blog of The Founder Institute

      Logrr is an Identity as a Service platform for enterprises that connects employees to their cloud business applications without using passwords. The security tool startup ventured through The Founder Institute’s first Canadian cohort in Montreal 2014, and it is now part of Startup Next Spring 2015 cohort.


      If you’re tired of constantly having to remember and retype passwords, learn more about
       Logrr while their pitch to top Silicon Valley investors at Founder Institute first Virtual Global Demo Day (video-recorded).

       

      Logrr wants to cut the costs of identity management by 50% and increase the level of security. Logrr’s mission is to connect employees to cloud applications through a Single Sign On, using digital signatures. Founder Julien Denaes states:

      “We started by thinking about two facts: People always have their smartphone with them and passwords are weak…From there we decided to create a platform that enables you to authenticate without using password at all.” – Julien Denaes, CEO at Logrr

      Logrr is currently enrolled in the Spring 2015 cohort of Startup Next in Montreal. The program is managed by UP Global Facilitator Sergio A. Escobara former entrepreneur who’s also Mentor for Accelerator programs around the world (Silicon Valley, UK, Singapore, Canada, Latin America). In 2014, Escobar graduated Navut, a startup from Montreal that helps people find the neighborhood that’s best for them, efficiently, and stress-free. Since completing Startup Next in Montreal, Navut has been able to attract $500,000 in seed funding.

      Google and Techstars backed Global Pre-Accelerator Program

      Startup Next Montreal First ShowCase Demo with the entire cohort will take place at Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec on May 2 during 48H Entrepreneurs.

      To know more about the UP Montreal startup community, join their groups in Linkedin and Facebook.

       

      Startup Next is the #1 global pre-acceleration program powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and supported by Techstars. The program, which helps startups prepare for accelerators or seed investors, gives participants access to the high-impact mentorship, best practice tools and resources, plus the opportunity to gain access to capital through an extensive network of accelerators and seed investors.