By Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto
It is my absolute pleasure to announce our fourth class of Techstars Toronto. Building on the success of our first three programs (which have already produced 3 exits totalling nearly $50M CAD), I would like to summarize our thoughts behind selecting our fourth class.
We have decided to increase the international footprint of our investments by selecting companies that have operations across 8 different countries, and truly leverage the efficiencies of operating our accelerator virtually in 2021, while keeping the city of Toronto as the anchor.
We are excited to continue in our tradition of selecting companies who are tackling a broad range of verticals. We have discovered some of the world’s best innovators addressing solutions across various areas including public bus transportation in Africa, mental health and self-help coaching for live groups, shared micro-mobility for cities, omnichannel AI chat and customer support for enterprises, solutions for single-use plastics, smart sensors for indoor waste, AI applications for live yoga and fitness, no-code AR software for the largest social media platforms, digital marketplaces for health, wellness and beauty, and global platforms to unlock Africa’s massive talent pool and support black talent worldwide.
We are equally excited by where these companies are joining us from. We have continued to demonstrate our confidence in Africa, in Nigeria in particular, by doubling down in that country with two selections. We are excited to have made Techstars first investment in Vietnam and into a dynamic Vietnamese-Canadian sole female founder. We are proud to welcome two companies from the US, from Silicon Valley and NYC. We are likely one of the first global investors to make an investment in Azerbaijan, in support of entrepreneurs who have overcome incredible recent hardship and regional conflict. We’re also welcoming entrepreneurs from India, Turkey, China, Taiwan, and of course, Canada.
In many cases these companies have incorporated in Canada already, and the founders are targeting a move here. In all cases, these companies are in a position to continue to attract investment from the world’s leading investors.
My final comment is one about Israel. And the UAE. And Canada.
Techstars Toronto will run in tandem with Techstars Tel Aviv. We see this as an exciting opportunity to build a bridge between two of the world’s most equipped and dynamic innovation nations. With my colleague Hilla Ovil-Brenner, Managing Director of Techstars Tel Aviv, Techstars Toronto and Techstars Tel Aviv will collaborate to support a total of 20 startups and engage the best investors, mentors and corporate partners in both regions.
It gets better. We are also working closely with the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator, based in the United Arab Emirates led by my colleague Vijay Tirathrai, to unlock collaboration resulting from the recent Arab-Israel peace agreement. We will position Canada into this model in recognition of our important communities of Jewish and Arab innovation and business leaders who can be called upon to contribute and to make the world a truly better place, led by entrepreneurs.
This is what entrepreneurs can do. This is what few others than Techstars can do.
See you at Demo Day which we will hold fittingly on July 1st 2021, Canada Day, in both Tel Aviv and in Toronto.
EQUO delivers easy, sustainable solutions for everyday single-use plastic items. EQUO’s line of products feature drinking straws made from grass, rice, coconut and sugarcane that are 100% plastic-free, biodegradable, compostable, and non-toxic. Upcoming categories will include utensils, dishware, and stationary.
Smartbin.io automates indoor waste and recycling management with the use of technology that alerts users when bins are full. Data collected on bin levels helps to ensure that spaces are kept clean, and offers companies insight into site-specific waste and recycling generation on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis.
Mine’d is an app that allows consumers to discover and interact with emotional health experts, and for those experts to engage and monetize their audience. Through daily live and on-demand group video and audio sessions, users are able to learn new life tools, ask experts questions and connect with other users for support along the way.
MixPose is an AI-powered platform for hosting live, interactive yoga classes in HD. Instructors are equipped with AI pose estimation and dashboard analytics to track instruction effectiveness, monitor class performance, and offer individual targeted feedback. The platform also gives instructors new student leads, making it easier for new teachers to get their business off the ground.
Plentywaka connects 20 million daily commuters in Nigeria’s largest transport hub with an app that enables a quick and secure way to purchase local bus tickets.
Roll is the leading Canadian-owned, developed, and operated micromobility provider focused on the last-mile transportation market. Roll offers smart mobility solutions by providing dock-less electric scooter and bike-share services to cities and campuses.
Cameraah is the fastest, user-friendly way to create Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. Using a no-code, browser based tool with 1000+ pre-made templates, created content can be deployed across Web, Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat within minutes.
TalentQL connects top global technical talent with jobs they deserve, with an initial focus on African tech talent.
Whelp utilizes an AI-based chatbot to automate online customer support, and unifies customer communication across multiple platforms into one user-friendly intuitive interface.
ZERV is a digital marketplace for health, wellness and beauty services. We make it easy to find and book personal care appointments with local businesses.