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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto - Is your startup eligible for this new funding opportunity?

Issue #91 — 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! Many of you are struggling to fill open roles right now, competing with the FAANGs and, in Toronto’s case, the SW1s. (That’s Shopify, Wealthsimple, and 1Password, an acronym I just made up.) Some days it might be difficult to see how large companies siphoning talent is good for the local tech ecosystem.
These large companies add value that many smaller startups can’t, like resources (and time) to train staff and bring them up to speed, education funds to promote learning, and clear paths to senior roles or other departments within the company. People taking advantage of these perks can gain expertise and experience that can later be put to use in smaller startups. The presence of big players could also encourage more people to pursue a career in technology, providing for future hires.
What can Toronto startups do now to attract that talent? For one, if people who’ve joined companies like Shopify did so while agreeing that “pay isn’t everything”, they could be persuaded to jump ship to work on a meaningful product, to work with some cool tech, or to experience the challenge of building something from scratch. Culture can also be a differentiator, and longer-term employees of larger tech companies could be looking for a change. The MaRS Startup Toolkit also has some ideas on how to compete for talent.
In addition to talent, women-led startups are finding it difficult to attract funds. Pre-pandemic, women-led ventures accounted for under a fifth of all startups, and less than 3% of all VC funding. (For Black women founders and teams, it’s an even more abysmal 4% and 0.06%, respectively.) COVID-19 decimated those figures. VC funding for female-founded or led startups in the U.S. was down 31%, nearly double the 16% drop for firms founded or led by men.
To address this absence of funding, Archangel Funds launched the Phoenix Fire fund, focused on investing in women-led early-stage startups. Led by managing partner Danielle Graham and TD Bank executive Claudette McGowan, the fund surpassed its fundraising goal of $2m in the first month, and plans to invest between $100,000 to $250,000 per cheque to selected startups.
If your startup addresses financial health challenges, be aware that IFH Lab by Fintech Cadence stops accepting applications tomorrow (Tuesday) for its six-month program. Be sure to apply before it’s too late! Read on for more details.
Have a great week, and stay well!
Ian Stevens ◦ ianstevens.ca
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.
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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Techstars Startup Digest Techstars Startup Digest Toronto is curated by:
Ian Stevens Ian Stevens - https://ianstevens.ca/
ian.stevens@startupdigestmail.com
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