Welcome 2019 Class of Techstars Toronto Accelerator

I am thrilled to present to the world the second class of Techstars Toronto Accelerator.  

This class builds upon the success of our inaugural class in 2018 from which 10 fast-growing technology companies were launched across several verticals including AI, food technology, virtual reality, financial services, construction tech, enterprise SaaS, and more.  These companies were successful in raising well over $10M of follow-on capital collectively immediately upon graduation and, of greater significance, growing their businesses into viable disruptive tech companies.

Techstars Toronto Accelerator made a significant and positive impression across the city and country and I am thrilled to launch the sophomore class.

This time our 10 startups are charging head-on into many new verticals including travel, crypto-currencies and secure custody, mobility, quick-service restaurants, cross-border payments, government, logistics, entertainment, financial services, and mental health.

The companies were selected from within the talent-rich Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor and from across Canada and the world.

Toronto has become a magnet for attracting the world’s best entrepreneurs and our profile as a global tech centre has never been higher.  

Our one and only goal is to leverage the broader ecosystem to support and grow these ten incredible companies. Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and strong partners and mentors help make this happen. The Techstars Toronto Accelerator program provides mentorship and access to all the talent and tech support that Toronto has to offer.

I would like to thank our mentors, sponsors, partners, and alumni for their generous support.

Special thanks to the team at Real Ventures for their true commitment to the success of our partnership and in particular to Janet Bannister who has been the best partner one could ask for.

It is with great pleasure that I announce the class of Techstars Toronto Accelerator 2019!

Balance

Balance offers a safe and easy way to buy, hold, and trade a basket of crypto assets. Our current product offering consists of:

www.balancenow.ca

Eddy Travels

Eddy Travels is a travel assistant to help you find the best flight and hotel deals in your favorite chat app:

www.eddytravels.com

Envoi

Envoi facilitates retailers looking to meet consumer demand for same day delivery, through a crowdsourced driver network. We provide Amazon-level logistics, but for everyone in retail who is not Amazon.

www.envoinow.com

Inkblot

Inkblot is Canada’s top high-quality, secure and affordable counselling platform. We use proprietary matching algorithms to connect clients with the most effective mental health counsellors or life coaches based on their needs and preferences. Our video-counselling sessions are scheduled and take place directly on the Inkblot platform from the comfort of home or a quiet space at work.  Our prices are half the national average and are reimbursable by most private health insurance plans.

Inkblot is focused on providing the best employee mental wellness packages to Canadian organizations of all sizes. Inkblot creates more positive and engaging workplaces and is trusted by organizations like the DMZ, League, and TribalScale.

www.inkblottherapy.com

Koomi

Koomi is the first Point of Sale system made specifically for line-ups, takeaway and on-the-go customers, and has a strong focus on consolidating  online, mobile and regular ordering.

Koomi was created to maximize the customer experience for independent QSRs and stop customer loss during a rush. Koomi’s systems are used in over 350 locations across North America.

www.koomi.com

Kora

Kora was founded with the simple idea of making the flow of money and value into, within, and from Africa seamless, efficient, and cheap. Our flagship product (Korapay) is an online cross-border payment solution that leverages cutting edge technology (including Blockchain settlement) to lower the cost of remittance, while increasing the speed of individual and business payments into and within Africa.

www.kora.network

Madlipz

Madlipz is a dubbing/subbing app that aims to be the ultimate parody platform, available for iOS and Android devices. It has organically reached 35 million lifetime users from +100 countries in the world, and our users speak (and dub) in 80 different languages.

www.madlipz.com

Moregidge

Moregidge is a Toronto-based technology company that is reinventing the homebuying experience. Our platform provides mortgage brokers, realtors, appraisers, and solicitors the tools they need to succeed and grow their business. We leverage an intuitive design, integrated experience, and transparent workflow to empower users, reduce processing times and improve the overall customer mortgage journey.

www.moregidge.com

Proof

Governments are bogged down by red-tape which wastes taxpayer money. Every time a decision is made, +20 people need to sign-off and the process is stuck on paper.

Proof empowers governments to go paperless by streamlining internal approvals, digitizing application forms, and improving policy decisions with data.

www.proofgov.com

Velocia

Velocia is an open loyalty network for integrated mobility and transportation services, relying in part on decentralized technologies, such as the Aion blockchain, to power its functionality. Velocia brings together all mobility participants, so users, service providers, and other stakeholders can interact directly and seamlessly.

www.velocia.io








Techstars Meet and Greet Chicago

DESCRIPTION

At Techstars, we are on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed. Over the past 10 years we have helped over 1,200 companies grow and raise over $4 billion in funding, with a market cap of $10 billion. Now we’re on a search for the next wave of companies to join our worldwide network!

We currently have applications open for Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator programs around the world. Join our program staff for an evening of networking, Q&A, and a chance to show us what you’re currently working on. They will be there to connect with you, inspire you, answer your questions and tell you more about our programs.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

  • 7:00pm – Doors open, food and drinks served
  • 7.30pm – Techstars Presentation
  • 8.00pm – Question Time
  • 8.15pm – Open Networking

    Event ends 9.00pm







Techstars Meet and Greet New York

At Techstars, we are on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed. Over the past 10 years we have helped over 1,200 companies grow and raise over $4 billion in funding, with a market cap of $10 billion. Now we’re on a search for the next wave of companies to join our worldwide network!

We currently have applications open for Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator programs around the world. Join our program staff for an evening of networking, Q&A, and a chance to show us what you’re currently working on. They will be there to connect with you, inspire you, answer your questions and tell you more about our programs.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

  • 7:00pm – Doors open, food and drinks served
  • 7.30pm – Techstars Presentation
  • 8.00pm – Question Time
  • 8.15pm – Open Networking

    Event ends 9.00pm







Techstars Meet and Greet Los Angeles

At Techstars, we are on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed. Over the past 11 years we have helped over 1,500 companies grow and raise over $5.5 billion in funding, with a market cap of $13.9 billion. Now we’re on a search for the next wave of companies to join our worldwide network!

We currently have applications open for Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator programs around the world. Join our program staff for an evening of networking, Q&A, and a chance to show us what you’re currently working on. They will be there to connect with you, inspire you, answer your questions and tell you more about our programs.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

  • 5:00pm – Doors open, food and drinks served
  • 5.30pm – Techstars Presentation
  • 6.00pm – Question Time
  • 6.15pm – Open Networking

    Event ends 7.00pm

ALREADY KNOW THAT TECHSTARS IS A GOOD FIT FOR YOU?
Apply for Office Hours, a 30-minute session on the day of, the day before or after the Meet and Greet Event, where you meet one-on-one with








Pangolin takes the 1st place in Techstars Startup Weekend Toronto, powered by INFINITI.

54 hours of action took place during the weekend of October 20-22, in Workhaus Commerce Court in downtown Toronto. Participants from all over the Greater Toronto Area got together to pitch their ideas, form teams and take the first steps to launch their startups. The event was possible thanks to the support of INFINITI Canada, a company that empowers entrepreneurs in different stages, previously with their INFINITI LAB for later stage companies and now through Techstars Startup Weekend, the event where entrepreneurs go to ‘get their start’.  

On Friday night more than 24 ideas were shared in front of the audience, and out of those, 7 were chosen to be worked on by teams during the weekend. On Saturday, the teams were coached by mentors from all over Ontario, including mentors from the Toronto startup community like Oksana Salamaszek from The Working Group, Tariq Haddadin from Techstars Toronto, and Grant Brigden from the startup Rover, which won 1st place in the past edition of Toronto INFINITI LAB. The teams got advice from mentors from the INFINITI Canada team, including Julie Daigle Raphael Huegli and Chris Little. You can see the full list of mentors here.

Some of our Coaches and Jen Riedel, facilitator of the event.

On Sunday the teams presented a 5-minute pitch in front of a panel of 3 judges: Theresa Humphrey, Brand Manager for INFINITI, Angelo Del Duca, Angel Investor, and Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program.

The top 3 places went to the following teams:

1st Place: Pangolin –  Pangolin helps lower the premium for retailers by mitigating risks for insurance companies using smart IoT devices

2nd Place: Hybernate – Hybernate helps businesses decrease the expenses related to HVAC through IoT

3rd Place: GEM – GEM helps millenials be congruent with how they spend their money and what their values are, using a ‘GEM’ reward system.

Besides taking the top 3 places in the contest, one member of each of the winning teams got a full scholarship to join the January cohort of Founders Institute Toronto, so they can continue developing the skills needed to be great founders.

Techstars Startup Weekend was a great success. Thanks to our signature sponsor INFINITI, Workhaus for being great hosts, and to all the mentors, coaches and judges that helped empower this amazing group of entrepreneurs.

Stay connected to the Techstars Toronto community by following us on our Facebook page here. 








Sunil Sharma Joins Techstars to Lead Toronto Accelerator

Toronto, much like Canada, is having its moment.  

Converging factors are happening in Toronto, and it’s great for tech startups. I am excited to join Techstars as the managing director for the new Techstars Toronto Accelerator, our first accelerator in Canada. I am looking forward to working in a city that has the ideal conditions for entrepreneurs to launch and grow amazing technology companies.

While this program is located in Toronto, we have a truly global thesis in large part predicated around Canada’s progressive and open immigration programs that support the growth and mobility of entrepreneurs and startups, no matter their country of origin.

Techstars is proud to be a designated entity for Canada’s Start-up Visa Program, a movement that encourages immigrant founders to build their businesses in Canada. A designated entity is an organization that has been approved to invest in foreign startups, making it easier for them to immigrate to and build their businesses in Canada.

Techstars Toronto will have a horizontal focus and will operate like our other city programs, like Boulder, Austin, Boston and NYC.

Specific areas of focus include:

  • Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data and Bots
  • B2B and B2C applications and marketplace disruption
  • Fintech including blockchain technologies
  • Vertical SaaS
  • IoT, hardware and embedded system

I have been a student of Techstars for many years, starting with an effort to recreate much of their thoughtful model more than five years ago when I created my first accelerator, Extreme Startups. In addition to Extreme Startups, my background includes managing a Canadian Consulate in California and working as a venture capitalist.  

Diversity of People leads to Diversity of Ideas

Toronto is a research and innovation powerhouse underlined by unparalleled diversity.

Toronto has the ideal conditions for entrepreneurs to launch and grow amazing technology companies. Toronto is a diverse city; it is rich in technical talent; its entrepreneurs are ambitious and driven; and it is a leader in artificial intelligence, fintech, blockchain, mobile applications and more.

Now, we can add Techstars to the mix.

This is Techstars’ first accelerator in Canada. We’re very thankful for all the help from Real Ventures, Canada’s most active early stage venture fund, for their assistance in making this happen. They have always been very focused on building the local ecosystem and encouraged us to launch in Canada.

The first class of Techstars Toronto will run in 2018, though we’ve been in Canada with our Startup Programs since 2010.

We are thrilled to be opening our brand new accelerator inside the equally new WeWork space in the heart of Toronto’s vibrant technology community, and we look forward to investing in a new wave of tech startups in the middle of this thriving city.

I encourage you to apply. The entire team and I are looking forward to working with the ten companies that will form the inaugural class of the Techstars Toronto Accelerator. The deadline to apply is October 15. Apply today!








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.








Techstars Launches Accelerator in Toronto

As a Canadian native, I’m proud to announce that Techstars, a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, is opening our first Canadian outpost in Toronto. We’re very thankful for all the help from Real Ventures, Canada’s most active early stage venture fund, for their assistance in making this happen. They’ve been a champion for us in the community and helped encourage us to make the leap into Canada. We’ll run our first accelerator program in Toronto in 2018, though we’ve been in Canada with our Startup Programs since 2010.

It’s no secret that Techstars has been active in the entrepreneurial community throughout Canada for a number of years. The speculation began when my co-founder David Cohen visited Toronto-Waterloo in 2014 and has been building since. The Toronto-Waterloo/Kitchener startup market is full of innovation, mentors and capital – the exact ingredients for a successful accelerator. We have several alumni companies with Canadian roots, including Vanilla Forums, Lean Systems, Mosaic, Kepler, Sprout Wellness, Shyft, and CuePath Innovations.

Techstars Toronto will have a horizontal focus and will operate like our other city programs, like Boulder, Austin, Boston and NYC. Since our inception in 2006, we have successfully operated more than 100 accelerator sessions and have more than 1,000 companies in our portfolio. We’re excited to build on this success with the entire Toronto-Waterloo/Kitchener ecosystem. Application and program details will be announced later in 2017.  

If you’d like to be notified about Techstars Toronto updates including when applications open, click here. If you have questions about the program, email us at Toronto@techstars.com.