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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto - Is it wise to keep your side-hustle startup a secret from your employer?

Issue #35 — 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.

Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! We’ve finally received a decent amount of snow coverage lasting more than a few days. I hope you’ve had a chance to get outside and enjoy it. My children and I hit the sledding slopes several times this past week — keeping together and physically-distanced of course — and it was glorious. Do yourself a favour and get out every day.
Staying on the topic of snow, California-based Snowflake, which offers cloud-based data-warehousing, announced that they’ll be opening an engineering site in Toronto, joining their three other offices. With a USD$77B market cap, Snowflake is one of the bigger international companies to recently open a Toronto office, citing our diverse talent pool as a primary motivator:
Toronto was an obvious choice for several reasons. It offers an exceptional pool of technical talent due to the presence of top schools. […] It ranks number 4 on a list of 50 cities identified as places that attract top talent in the high-tech sector. “Toronto’s open and multicultural environment attracts populations with diverse backgrounds,” said Snowflake Engineering Manager, Johnston Chu.
That talent doesn’t come cheap, and many startups can’t afford it. Canadian founders often bemoan about the state of funding — or lack thereof — in this country. Venture capital in Canada has been notoriously cautious, and the pandemic hasn’t helped matters. Dan Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, recently wrote an article for the Toronto Star in which he advocates for the use of a special type of common share — the flow-through share — for Canadian startups looking to raise money:
The flow-through share […] allows eligible companies to “flow through” certain expenses to the holders of such a share. Investors may claim these expenses as a tax deduction, rather than the company’s deducting them from profits. […] The use of flow-through shares fuelled investment in Canada’s mining, oil and gas, and renewable energy sectors over the past half-century.
If you’re running a startup as a super-secret side-hustle, you might be interested in this Globe And Mail article on the legalities of doing so while also employed. You may want to review your employment agreement, as some employers require you to give your full time, effort, and attention to the company:
If you end up doing more work for the startup and use time that you are supposed to be working for your employer instead of working on your startup, there could be legal recourse.
If it’s early days for your startup and funding isn’t yet on your radar, you have two new chances to help grow your startup — look for them below. The YSpace Technology Accelerator replaces the LaunchYU accelerator previously featured in this newsletter. This program helps pre-revenue technology startups execute their go-to-market strategies and acquire customers. If you’re designing fintech solutions aimed at improving personal financial help, take a look at IFH Lab 2021. Powered by Fintech Cadence, IFH Lab is looking for ideas that will help Canadians build financial health and resilience. Find these two opportunities and more in the next section.
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.
Feb 5 - TiE Quest 2021
TiE Toronto has opened applications to the prestigious TiE Quest 2021 and is calling startups to apply. This sought-after event is a multi-stage business venture competition, bringing startups across Canada to receive advice from industry professionals, and network with top angel investors, venture capitalists, fund managers and other professionals. The winner takes home a cash prize of $25,000 and the opportunity to receive $100,000 in investments. We look forward to watching your ideas become reality!
At the Founder Institute, you won’t “learn” how to build a business. Rather, you will build your business alongside top startup experts using a proven, structured process that has helped some of the world’s fastest growing companies raise over $950M in funding. Over the course of four months, founders and teams can either launch through basic or advanced tracks via the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator. Build your startup along the Innovation Corridor and Silicon Valley and build your worldwide network of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and alumni.
Think you have the next high-potential technology venture and want to take it to the next level? This 4-month virtual accelerator program is designed to support entrepreneurs as they launch and scale their ventures through bootcamps, workshops, one-on-one mentorship, and over $30K in cash awards plus perks. Formerly known as LaunchYU Accelerator, the program on helps pre-revenue technology startups execute their go-to-market strategies and acquire customers. The program will feature ample opportunities for hands-on experience, accountability sessions, customized mentorship, and dedicated growth hours with key partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Mar 26 - IFH LAB 2021
As millions of Canadians struggle to pay for today, save for tomorrow, and plan for the unexpected, they need help to better their financial lives. IFH Lab is a six-month program for early-stage startups designing real solutions to the most pressing financial health challenges Canadians face, particularly those most financially vulnerable. Selected startups receive access to mentorship with personalized guidance from founders, financial services executives, investors, and experts in financial health. Startup teams will also join a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs, exchange best practices, and get access to a broader network of investors and partners.
Have a great week, and stay well!
Ian Stevens ◦

Techstars Startup Digest Techstars Startup Digest Toronto is curated by:
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