Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! Last week we learned that, despite the pandemic, companies are having a difficult time filling open tech roles
with new hires. With Netflix, WayFair, and Cloudflare recently promising to open up Toronto offices alongside Reddit, Tik-Tok, and Pinterest, will talent become increasingly hard to find? Not necessarily so, says Kevin Kliman co-founder of Humi, a Toronto-based HR software platform.
Kliman argues that the presence of these big players will encourage more Torontonians to get into tech
and serve as a pull to keep tech talent in the city, rather than see it head south to the States. Fundraising rounds will get bigger, our ecosystem will become stronger and more diverse, and waves of new startups will be spawned by those leaving the bigger companies to venture out on their own.
Toronto’s startup ecosystem grew a little last week when two local accelerator programs announced their new cohorts. The first, eCommerce North, is welcoming its first cohort
, with ten successful applicants. Five of them hail from Toronto, with two offering tech products and services: Beeja May
, with online resale clothing for children and women; and Beam City
, a multi-channel ad platform with AI optimizations.
Also welcoming its latest cohort
is ventureLAB’s Tech Undivided program
, whose admissions closed this past February. Five select Toronto-area companies are taking part in the program: Xesto
, with a shoe-sizing app promising the perfect fit; Walletifai
, an app to plan spending and track expenses; Optisolve
, which builds environmental monitoring tools for tracking contamination; Connexa
, a contactless customer services platform; and AwakeLabs
, which develops technology to help people with intellectual disabilities manage stress and enjoy life. Congratulations to all involved!
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.
The 2021 HardTech Pitch Competition will award up to $25,000 in prizes, and serve as an application to the third cohort of ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative. Eligible companies will fast-track their applications to the initiative, Canada’s only hardware and semiconductor lab and incubator, helping to accelerate commercialization at scale. The competition will be held on June 23 and is open to small businesses developing hardware and semiconductor-focused products. Up to eight finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their solution to a broad audience, including industry leaders, investors, government, media, and more!
The Station FinTech Montréal Accelerator, powered by Highline Beta, is an opportunity for fintech and insurtech startups from across Canada to work closely with Québec’s financial and insurance institutions. It’s a true ecosystem program to help startups and big companies connect. Operated in Montréal, the program will benefit startups with a product in the market that enables safer, faster, and more reliable payments. Participants will receive four months of milestone-driven programming tailored to their needs; hands-on weekly coaching on growth, plan development, fundraising, and corporate engagement strategy; corporate connections with curated events, pitch sessions, and private sessions with advisors; as well as an optional minimum initial investment of $25K.
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.
ATS Labs is a Canadian first — a unique 3-month program tailored to startups serving people with disabilities. Ever been told your product is not scalable, or won’t have a large enough market? So have we. We understand the unique problems you face, so we created sessions specifically tailored for accessibility startups, such as inclusive design, inclusive marketing, co-creation, and more. Starting in August, you’ll learn directly from founders of later-stage accessibility startups, world-renowned inclusive design practitioners, experienced accessibility innovators, healthtech specialists, and successful investors. We’re bringing together founders of accessibility startups from all over the world.
To solve the world’s climate challenges, we need more than just good ideas. We need diversity of thought to deliver meaningful impact. This means women and individuals from underrepresented communities — more than ever — need to be part of the solution. The RBC Women in Cleantech Accelerator is part of the answer. Each year, we recruit a mix of 10 exceptional women entrepreneurs and coach them through an intensive 12-month program, connecting them to top government laboratories, investors and corporate partners so that they may stay dedicated to their mission. Participants get access to a lead business advisor with deep sector knowledge, a potential no-cost opportunity to work with a federal government lab facility, workshops, networking, and market intelligence, capital, talent and communications services.
Have a great week, and stay well!