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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto - Catch these 4 winning U of T startups before they take off!

Issue #90 — View online — Suggest a link
Techstars Startup Digest Toronto

Locally curated talks, workshops, and other events for those interested in creating a startup, growing one, or who want to connect with startups in the Greater Toronto Area.

Hello Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! This week brings us a couple of new opportunities, with another couple ending, to return at a later date.
To start off, we’ll revisit last week’s University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Week, where one of the high points was Monday’s pitch competition, with six early-stage and five late-stage finalists competing for $60,000+ in prizes. Four winners were announced on Wednesday, with two in each category.
First place in the early-stage category went to SPARKED, with a handheld device for early risk detection of cardiovascular disease, with second place going to SnapWriteAI, which offers an AI-powered web platform that generates product descriptions and features from uploaded images.
In the late-stage category of last week’s U of T’s pitch competition, HDAX Therapeutics, with treatments targeting brain cancers and neurodegenerative disorders, took the top prize, while second place went to blockchain startup TransCrypts, which boasts a platform to help automate the process of issuing and verifying documentation for organizations. Congratulations to all four winners!
If you’re a founder of a southern Ontario high-growth tech company that’s generating revenue and are looking to grow and scale, the Tech Undivided program could be the right opportunity for you. Run by ventureLAB, the program’s goal is to “help women-led tech companies by curating a support ecosystem of mentors, peers, and relevant resources to help them grow and scale their business.” Application deadline is April 15th. Find out more below.
For a more collaborative and community-minded approach to incubators, have a look at Ryerson University’s Science Discovery Zone (SDZ). The program fosters evidence-based practices to test big ideas and discover new ventures. If you’re new to innovation or looking to connect with a local scientific or technical talent network, the SDZ could be the space you’re looking for. Scroll down for more details.
As a reminder, two opportunities close this week. Check out ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative if you’re building hardware and semiconductor-focused products, and act quickly because Tuesday is the last day for submissions. Next Founders stops acceptation applications on Thursday; have a look if you’re interested in a more flexible approach to accelerating your startup.
Have a great week, and stay well!
Ian Stevens ◦
Community Opportunities
Here are some upcoming deadlines for applying to accelerators, grants and funding, or other competitions. Don’t miss out! If you know of others, please submit any application deadlines and I’ll post them if they’re relevant.
VentureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative is Canada’s only lab and incubator for founders building hardware and semiconductor-focused products. Funded in part by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, this competitive program enables tech companies building foundational technologies in transformative sectors like AI, healthcare technology, clean tech, IoT, and beyond, to accelerate their time to market in a sector that normally incurs lengthy entry and scale times. The Hardware Catalyst enables the creation of transformative technologies that will power the products of tomorrow: consumer electronics, telecommunications, smart energy, connected transportation, and more. As Canada’s leading hardware hub, the Hardware Catalyst enables ventures to become competitive players in the global semiconductor industry.
Mar 17 - Next Founders
Next Founders accelerates the growth of Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, access to capital, and unparalleled entrepreneurial education taught by world-class faculty. Next Founders is our most flexible program, offering à-la-carte education from some of North America’s top minds that you can opt into based on your individual needs. The ideal applicant is building one of their first ventures, often has a STEM background with little formal business education, or are startup founders from top-tier accelerators, looking to complement their experience.
Climate change is here and has far-reaching implications for us all. But while climate chaos impacts everyone, it’s experienced differently based on where people live and their socio-economic status, age, gender, race and culture. EDGE’s Social Impact Catalyst powered by RBC Future Launch provides youth entrepreneurs with mentorship, expertise and funding as they develop solutions that support climate justice. We’re looking for aspiring youth entrepreneurs in the Peel and Halton regions who have an idea, project or venture that seeks to tackle climate change or enhance environmental sustainability. If you think like an entrepreneur and see opportunities to create something new, you’re in the right place!
We started IFH Lab because we saw a gap in support for entrepreneurs addressing financial health challenges – industry-specific guidance delivered by mentors and industry experts who are mission-aligned, experienced, and in a position to really make things happen. IFH Lab is designed specifically to address this gap. For six months, we work with founders to adjust and adapt the program as we go, to make sure we are addressing real pain points, learning goals and challenges. As part of the program, selected startups receive access to personalized guidance from 100+ experts from the ecosystem across Canada, membership in a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs to exchange best practices, and access to a broader network of investors and partners, monthly workshops and chats, and credits with our software partner providers
If you know a Canadian founder who deserves some recognition, nominate her for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, the premier national awards program celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group. For 30 years, the awards have shone a spotlight on Canada’s most accomplished and impactful women who have demonstrated excellence — from economic growth to social change, from local to global reach, across multiple sectors. We are honoured to continue to highlight the collective impact of this group of entrepreneurs on our country.
Tech Undivided is an initiative for women tech founders to grow and scale their business. Focused on the pillars of raising capital, technology and IP commercialization, talent attraction and retention, and customer acquisition, Tech Undivided enables founders to accelerate business growth. Beyond technology and business support, Tech Undivided’s vision is to reduce unconscious bias and create an inclusive tech ecosystem that increases representation and access to capital. It draws on the expertise of ventureLAB advisors, strategic mentors, and industry partners to help you refine your product-market-fit, amplify sales, navigate relevant sources of funding, and help hone your pitch to better prepare for customer and investor meetings.
The DMZ’s Bootcamp helps early-stage tech founders validate their business idea, establish a minimum viable product and build a roadmap for implementation to launch a startup. Over the course of 6 weeks, this program gives founders exposure to the different domains important in building a venture: sales, marketing, operations, technology, finance, leadership and more. Through the Bootcamp, founders get: founder roundtables and peer to peer sessions, expert-led workshop series, and dedicated one-on-one support from our Program Leads. Upon completing the program, startups should be ready to launch within three months and generate revenue within six months.
BHive is an initiative powered by the City of Brampton with a goal to empower the next generation of innovators, accelerate their journey, and create a positive impact for the entrepreneur, economy, and community as a whole. The program has been strategically designed to ensure startups have everything they need to scale and grow. Successful applicants will have access to an unrivaled ecosystem and expertise to support exceptional founders in building successful companies. Our integrated approach involves thoughtfully designed programs, one-to-one mentorships, and access to our entire portfolio of service.
This program, delivered by Futurpreneur, will provide young, Black entrepreneurs age 18-39 across Canada with a comprehensive offering of $5,000–$60,000 in startup loan financing, as well as up to two years of mentorship, opportunities to engage with a national network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders and community organizations at a range of entrepreneurship events, and a variety of relevant tools and resources. Participants who are keen to scale their businesses even further will also be eligible for up to $40,000 in follow-on financing funded by RBC, based on the first two years of successful business performance.
At the Science Discovery Zone (SDZ) we help people take evidence-based approaches to test big ideas and discover new ventures. We aim to serve as a model for strong collaboration across all disciplines (not just the science ones) that fuels innovation and entrepreneurial discovery. What makes the SDZ stand out amongst other incubators are the unique services and opportunities we create for our community, which are geared towards fostering your goals and success!

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