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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto - This Toronto startup sold for $340M last week

Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! If you're looking for some inspiration, check out l
Issue #29  •  December 7  •  View online  •  Suggest a link
Toronto
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! If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out last Thursday’s Business Insider feature on Clearbanc CEO Andrew D'Souza. It’s the story of how D'Souza left Canada to work in Silicon Valley, only to return soon after and ultimately co-found Clearbanc. It’s also a call for people to come to Toronto:
He says that going home to Toronto after a stint in the San Francisco Bay Area turbocharged his career in tech. His advice for young professionals is to migrate north if they want to be part of a fast-growing ecosystem.
“It’s like coming to Silicon Valley 20 years ago,” D'Souza said.
Silicon Valley based payment company Affirm made a journey of its own to Toronto last week. On Thursday, Affirm announced that they’re acquiring Toronto’s PayBright for $340M. (At the end of 2019, PayBright had raised a total of $60M in financing.) The instalment payment business is growing globally, and Affirm is reportedly getting ready to go public with a valuation of up to $10B USD.
I’ve added another opportunity to our listing. It’s a pitch competition for $20,000 in seed funding. Part of January’s Black Career Conference, the competition is open to businesses headquartered in Canada in which 25% of the founding team identifies as Black. Scroll down for more information.
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.
Do you think you have the next $10B Idea? Do you want to test drive it with Y Combinator and Hatchery founders? The Pitch-A-Thon is the place to be! During the month of January 2021, you will be guided by Hatchery mentors to craft your 60-second pitch. On January 29th, 2021 @ 4:00 PM EST, you will present your pitch to founders from Y Combinator and the Hatchery! 
Next AI is a world class program for artificial intelligence-based ventures and technology commercialization. We identify talented ideas or early-stage teams with ambitious solutions and leverage Canada’s leadership position in AI to provide them with the capital, mentorship, education and network to disrupt industries. Participants have access to a world class curriculum, top AI scientists and mentors, venture funding to scale their business, in-kind products and services, a co-working space, and an alumni community for coaching and other resources.
Not only is the Black Career Conference (BCC) Canada’s premier virtual student-run black-focused career conference, it’s also your chance to pitch your idea and win $20,000 in seed funding. Applicants must have a business headquartered in Canada in which 25% of the founding team identifies as Black. On January 15th — the first day of the conference — selected submissions will pitch their innovative idea to a panel of judges.
Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator powered by Highline Beta in partnership with Aviva Canada is back for the second round of the Road Safety challenge. This 6 month program is focused on helping early stage startups pilot their road safety solutions with Aviva Canada. Startups focused on road safety are encouraged to apply to qualify for pilot opportunities, mentorship and follow-on funding. The program is looking for seed stage startups in the IOT, mobility, smart city and other relevant areas that bring real, innovative solutions to road safety. We are proud to support this program committed to building safer roads for everyone. 
With another Demo Day done, it’s time to start forming the 2021 cohort for Techstars Toronto Accelerator. Apply today. If selected, over the course of three months your team will gain access to funding and dozens of mentors — individuals with deep industry, investment, or entrepreneurship experience. These experts are matched to your needs, and are committed to contribute to your long-term success. Once you complete the program, you’re not on your own. You’ll still have access to Techstars resources, with its worldwide network of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and alumni.
Trying to find your footing during these uncertain times? YEDI is here to help! The YEDI Incubator program presents an intensive 16-session program and guided process including lecture-based learning, seminar training, deliverable milestones, peer workshops and mentorship by subject matter experts. Offering a hybrid entrepreneurial environment comprising of innovators from a diversity of sectors. At the end of the term, entrepreneurs have the unique benefit of graduating with a formal Executive Education Centre at the Schulich School of Business certificate and pitch their ventures to investors at the YEDI Venture Fair.

Have a great week, and stay well!
Ian Stevens ◦ ianstevens.ca

Calling Startups in Supply Chain Innovation

Techstars Sustainability ChallengeThe Techstars Sustainability Challenge is an equity-free challenge that brings together founders with industry leaders in sustainability. Top Supply Chain solutions in the areas of Data & Automation and Materials & End-of-life Impact will have access to potential commercial opportunities with our corporate partners. We are looking for proven technologies that are able to be pilotable in 2021.
Applications are now open and close March 1, 2021.

Monday
In this interactive workshop, you’ll receive feedback and coaching on your business story. Build your skill in storytelling, and how learn how to communicate value to potential clients, customers, and investors. Learn the features of a strong pitch, and prepare for future pitch competitions, funding or investor meetings, and more.

Join us for a conversation with Rahul Vohra, founder & CEO of Superhuman. Rahul will share the insights he learned from his previous startups and acquisitions, along with the unconventional strategies used to grow Superhuman’s userbase.
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Tuesday
Join this virtual session and move through interactive stations that get you generating ideas and applying your creativity to solve challenges. In this session, you’ll practice the creative process, work with other innovators and use your creative abilities to solve real problems. Join the Startup Circuit and you just might walk away with a startup idea of your own!

Newcomer to Toronto? Think you might have that entrepreneurial drive? Thinking of starting a business, or have already launched one? Then this course is for you. It’s a training program, helping women to become successful bosses of thriving businesses. We’ll be offering inside tips, tactics and strategies for female success. Each week industry professionals will share expert insights to women in this hands-on workshop.

Thursday
You’re invited to the next edition of MaRS Mornings, this time featuring a chat with Joshua Wong, president and CEO of Opus One Solutions. Topics of discussion include: the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, tips for managing innovation and getting your product to market, and Opus One’s long-term strategy on its way to becoming a $100-million company.

Between September and December 2020, ten student designers worked with technical and business leads of ten Canadian companies to explore and develop a new methodology for connecting design to internet startups. Designers considered existing design gaps, performed user interface/usability studies, and developed design strategies for the companies in residence. At this event, each designer will give a 5-minute presentation on their work they concluded with the participating Canadian startup companies.

Friday
Discover the untold stories about successful fundraising rounds, with firsthand accounts from the people in the room. In each episode, you’ll hear from each side — the founder and the investor — about the process of closing a deal. You’ll also learn more about the ongoing relationships that drive businesses forward. Each week, TechTO’s Alex Norman interviews buzzworthy founders and investors.
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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto is curated by:
Ian Stevens Ian Stevens - https://ianstevens.ca/
ian.stevens@startupdigestmail.com
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