How much does it cost?
The program operates a standard accelerator model, whereby we provide investment and support, in exchange for equity. These terms are flexible, depending on the stage of your company, and your needs. Free office space is provided for the duration of the accelerator program, and for an additional 6 months thereafter. Startups are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation.
Do you accept only Canadian companies to your program?
We believe that ideas and innovation can not and should not be contained by borders. Therefore we accept applications from companies around the globe. More than 40% of our companies are from outside of Canada.
How many team members can come?
The program is for founders (those with +10% share of the equity in the company); however, if other key members are required to accelerate your growth, then we encourage those members to also attend.
Do you provide a visa support to international founders that need a visa to enter Canada?
Yes, we will issue a letter that can be presented to Canadian Embassy or Consulate where you apply for a Canadian visa. We also work in close partnership with state organizations that can further assist you with visa issues.
Do we have to go to Montreal?
We do ask that at least one of the founders or a key executive is in town for the duration of the program. If that is impossible, we have a minimum requirement of stay in Montreal for 5 weeks that cover 5 key days such as the Selection Day, Deal Days (Toronto, Waterloo, Vancouver, Ottawa), and Canada’s FinTech Forum. All other sessions can technically be remote. That said, it’s harder to capitalize on all the value added of the accelerator if you are mostly remote (e.g. meetings with clients/investors, working sessions with AI lab, connections to talent, etc…). As such, setting up a satellite office in Montreal with at least one founder and other key members makes for a decent compromise.
How do you define FinTech (who do you look for)?
Our definition of FinTech is quite a bit larger than most. In addition to traditional sectors we also include Regtech, Insurtech, and Blockchain. Our belief is rather centered around the customer journey, and that FinTech will increasingly transcend industries, thus we prefer not to create barriers. Instead, our goal is to select the best FinTech startups that we can best accelerate. Therefore, we first look for FinTechs for which our advisors and partners can help close them customers, all of whom are either directly in FinTech, or 1-degree separation. Once those deals are closed, our investment partners and AI lab ensure the startups deliver, thus priority hear to those who are raising rounds and incorporate an AI component.
We are already generating $3M in revenue - can you help us?
Given the quality of our advisors, access to an applied AI lab, connections to $1 billion in FinTech funding, and being embedded within the FinTech ecosystem, we can certainly help you. That said, our accelerator model is dependent on receiving a certain level of equity for our investment and services provided. While our terms are flexible, we must obtain a certain threshold of equity to ensure the “venture math” works out.
How much equity do you take?
Our terms are flexible, and in fact, we get the founders to make us an offer. That said, we allow 15 startups to make an offer, of which we only select 10. We expect terms similar to other Canadian accelerators: therefore 6% common shares on the first $25K, and $100K convertible note on a 20% discount.
Will you be opening other centres in Canada?
Too early to tell, but open to suggestions 🙂
What is Canada’s FinTech Forum?
Canada’s FinTech Forum is a two-day event from October 30th to October 31st, featuring +2,500 attendees. We’ll ensure you have a strong presence during this international conference.
What is NIPS, and why is it associated to Demo Day?
NIPS is Neural Information Processing Systems Conference, a world-class AI conference attracting +5,500 people. We just happened to time our Demo Day to take advantage of this momentum.
What stage startup are you looking for?
We look for pre-seed to seed stage companies. This is anything from a couple of PhDs with a proven technology that’s been commercially validated, to a startup with a product on the market generating revenue and now seeking their growth levers.
What is the level of commitment required by the startup?
We expect the founders to be full-time, therefore, 100% committed to advancing their startup to their next milestone.
Do you take equity?
Yes, we do take equity. Our terms are flexible (you make us an offer), which includes up to $125K cash, but in exchange for equity.
Who is the corporate sponsor and is the aim to do a pilot with them in a particular market?
We have half a dozen corporate sponsors. We can’t name them yet, however this will be announced in the coming months. During selection day, they will advise if it’s worth conducting a POC, then we will invest in the teams most likely to successfully implement a POC.
What is the program?
Will will seek 400 applications from around the world. The top 30-40 will be invited to pitch in front of +50 financial institutions, investors, partners and advisors. They will also receive a tour of Montreal’s current tech ecosystem. Based on feedback from the selection day VIP attendees, the top 10 will be selected into the program, which includes:
– Working with the Financial Institution and selected FinTech on agreed upon terms for POC
– $125K in cash, in exchange for equity (flexible terms)
– Additional follow-on capital from partners
– Weekly meetings with an Impact Team, consisting of a managing partner, AI scientists and UX designer
– Access to our applied AI lab, with discounted staffing costs if further development needed
– Visibility and networking opportunities through our Mentor Day, Canada’s FinTech Forum, Career Fair, and Demo Day.