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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto - Whither Toronto's demo community?

Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! Who remembers Toronto's DemoCamp? Back in the early
Issue #38 — View online — Suggest a link
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! Who remembers Toronto’s DemoCamp? Back in the early days of Toronto’s startup ecosystem — 2006 it was — David Crow of Startup North found a need and an eager audience for small tech ventures to demo their products and get feedback. The energy was fantastic, demos sometimes failed, but everyone kept going. Six years later, DemoCamp stopped. Increased hosting and organization costs were to blame for its demise.
I bring up DemoCamp not to wax nostalgic, but because I received an email from a newsletter subscriber asking about local demo opportunities. It’s been eight years since fledgling Toronto startups were able to show their products to a receptive audience at a regular event dedicated to tech demos. TechTO used to give time for demos at its events, but I believe that’s changed with the pandemic.
If your startup product is in an ideation phase, there are sometimes opportunities to get feedback and guidance on your idea. You can do that this Thursday with EDGE’s Look Before You Leap free workshop. I haven’t seen many such events for products in development, though.
Do you know of any GTA events or meetups where founders can demo their product to a supportive audience? Suggest a link by scrolling to the top or bottom of this newsletter, and help keep this newsletter the best resource for local startup events and opportunities.
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 February 28th. Find out more below.
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.
Tech Undivided bridges gender and diversity gaps by better supporting women founders and leaders, who are underrepresented within the tech sector. We go beyond technology and business support by curating a supportive community focused on equality, open dialogue, and overcoming obstacles. Our comprehensive 6-month program challenges women-led tech companies to scale their businesses. Designed for founders building breakthrough solutions leveraging hardware and/or enterprise software technologies, Tech Undivided gives participants access to a dedicated advisor, founder meetups, our mentor network, a 6-part sales and marketing workshop series, free workspace, pitching opportunities, and a hardware lab with state-of-the-art specialized equipment.
Google for Startups Accelerator Canada is a three-month accelerator program for Seed to Series A Canadian technology startups. The accelerator is designed to bring the best of Google’s programs, products, people and technology to startups that leverage machine learning and AI in their company today or plan to in the future. In addition to mentorship and technical project support, the accelerator also includes deep dives and workshops focused on product design, customer acquisition and leadership development for startup founders and leaders.
Mar 5 - PITCH IT! GBC
The PITCH IT! GBC Competition is designed to provide seed funding to support aspiring entrepreneurs in developing and pitching their business/social innovation ideas. Open to George Brown students, participants have an opportunity to win a portion of the $10,000 prize fund. Two streams of the PITCH IT! GBC competition will occur simultaneously: one for-profit business and one for social innovation enterprises. For-profit businesses can apply for both streams if their product offering covers social innovation. Applications can be submitted by solo-entrepreneurs or multi-founder teams.
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.
The events of this past year have created incredible challenges for all entrepreneurs, with studies showing that women in particular have been hardest hit by the global pandemic. This year, it’s more important than ever to elevate the women entrepreneurs and founders in our communities who continue to invest it all, demonstrating remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of all obstacles. It’s time to recognize their work in front of a national audience, and a nomination is the first step. If you know a Canadian founder that deserves some recognition, nominate her.

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

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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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