February 28th, 2020
Over the last two years, the Techstars Montréal AI accelerator became a core part of an ecosystem that has established itself as a leading international AI hub. Last December we wrapped up the second class with a Demo Day that gathered almost a thousand mentors, entrepreneurs, investors and startup enthusiasts.
With a bit of time to catch our breath, we now set our sights on the third year of the accelerator program. Sitting down with our friends at Real Ventures, our program partner, we reviewed how we’re doing so far, talked about the progress of the alumni companies, and established how to keep on improving what we do.
Techstars Montréal AI doesn’t focus on a given industry. AI isn’t an industry, it transforms industries. Nadav and his team are reducing the usage of pesticides in agriculture. Marina and Thomas enable women to take control of their fertility. Justin and Ben are bringing a radical improvement to how transit agencies operate bus routes. Mark, Sam and Jean-Benoit are transforming how legal research is done. These are just a few examples out of the 20 companies that went through Techstars Montréal AI in 2018 and 2019.
So if we’re not focusing on a given industry, what are we looking for? Startups that will benefit the most from our accelerator program fit the following criteria:
AI is at the core of the product;
They’re aiming at a well-defined problem for which AI brings a much better solution vs existing ones;
They’re making broad adoption of AI easier, or build tools and infrastructure making the technical operations of AI startups easier;
They’re lead by a team that gets amazing things done.
Team is the key criteria. When we meet, of course we’ll talk about how big your market is, look for signs of early customer demand, and ask questions about your AI model and your dataset. However, the most important component is the team making it happen.
When you join Techstars Montréal AI, you can expect us to dive deep into the nitty gritty of the business you’re building and work side-by-side to tackle the issues and challenges. This is how acceleration happen. This collaboration goes well beyond the 13 weeks of the accelerator program.
Here’s what some founders had to say about their experience …
Applications are now open for our 2020 program starting in September. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your application, let’s start a conversation now! The easiest way to do so is by requesting office hours with us. During those office hours, you’ll get a 1:1 session of 20 minutes, either in person or virtually to talk about what your company is doing, present your team and hopefully leverage our experience of working with two cohorts of AI startups to tackle some of the challenges ahead.
We’ll be travelling to different cities over the next few months, starting with Europe visiting 5 cities in 10 days:
Helsinki, March 5,
Vilnius, March 6–7,
Paris March 9–10,
Berlin March 11–12,
Ljubljana March 13,
Before or after meeting with us, check out our Toolkit where we’ve compiled some of our best resources to run a startup. Additionally, visit the application specific toolkit for answers to frequently asked questions about how it works and what we are looking for on an application.
Bien que le contenu du programme soit en anglais, plusieurs mentors et moi-même sommes francophones. L’accompagnement ainsi qu’une partie du mentorat peut donc se faire en français.
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