in Canada, Competitions, Contest, Events, Startups

A Startup for All Seasons

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Is it me, or does it feel like there are 2 distinct seasons of activity in the startup community?

  • Post Christmas Pre-Summer (aka golf season) Holiday
  • Post First of School and Pre American Thanksgiving

Whether it is reality or bad cliche, it feels like there are 3-4 months of the year where nothing gets done. But no more!

Thanks to events like Startup Festival and Grow Conf, the summer season for Canadian startups is getting stronger and more important. There are localized opportunities to connect with investors, strategic partners, and potential customers at events like the aforementioned Startup Festival and Grow Conf plus Jolt Demo FestAtlantic Venture Forum, Metabridge and others. (You could go to CVCA in Banff, and golf with the Canadian VC landscape, that might up your chances of raising funding).

Things for Startups To Do

  1. Apply to pitch at StartupFest. Startups get access to press, investors, and a chance at a $50k investment prize from the organizing committee.
    Deadline: Friday, May 10, 2013 5pm EDT.
  2. Apply to be one of the 45 Canadian startups at the Metabridge retreat. You’ll get access to investors, advisors and a great cultural event.
    Deadline: Friday, May 10, 2013 5pm PDT.
  3. Apply to throwdown at the Smackdown at GrowConf. Winners will get access to press and investors. Plus more Debbie Landa.
    Deadline: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

There are a lot of opportunities for Canadian startups to get access to both local and foreign capital, corporate development folks and press by participating in these events. Take a bit of time, and figure out which ones you benefit from attending. Plus it’s a great excuse to get out of the office and hustle.


  1. Shouldn’t the people going to all these conferences and pitch competitions be spending their time actually building companies? If you shouldn’t pay to pitch to a VC then you certainly should pay to “compete” for the “chance” at a pitch or for the possibility of a brief meeting.

    It feels a lot like the stuff that’s rampant in the entertainment industry – getting naive wannabes to pay for pitch sessions, conferences, competitions, etc. almost none of which ever results in a career. You could go to a new conference every week, spending thousands in the process, and never come out with anything but the business cards of other wannabes and tepid non-committal encouragement from investors – investors that you essentially still have to cold call months after conference is over.

    Am I wrong? Is there some list somewhere of major *lasting* companies that have resulted from these conferences and pitch competitions?

  2. Hey Kyle,


    Attending an event on the merit of the connections you make, speakers you want to see, and anything else that you’re able to generate. If you feel the benefits of attendance apply to you or your startup you should attend. Otherwise, you’re right head down back to customer calls and issue/feature tracker.

    I don’t think any of these events are “pay to pitch”. You do need to pay to cover your travel and expenses.

    Why don’t you make a list of the “lasting” companies. If you look at Canadian Innovation Exchange for example there are a number of Top 20 companies that have had exits or impact including:

    * GoInstant
    * Rypple
    * Dayforce
    * Cognovision
    * AdParlor
    * Acheivers
    * Polar Mobile
    * NexJ
    * D-Wave

    We can argue about the success of all/any of these companies on lasting impact.

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