Twitter‘s CEO will be the keynote speaker at FounderProject‘s December 4 “FounderChallenge” event, where student startups will pitch investors simultaneously in Montreal and Toronto. Fasken Martineau’s offices will play host to the event.
FounderProject, the student-run venture capital firm still in the midst of a raising its fund, has been heavily promoting its cause with several pitching events this month in Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo. Several notable VCs from the Canadian tech world took pitches from dozens of startups.
“I’m very excited to have Dick Costolo speak to the amazing young talent here in Canada that we’ve been working hard to give a platform to for their ideas,” said FounderProject’s Ilan Saks. “Some of these student startups have the potential to change the world with their innovation, and to have Twitter’s CEO address them directly is something I’m pleased to see happen.”
Costolo took over from Evan Williams in 2010 as Twitter’s CEO. Previously he served as COO. After eight years at Anderson Consulting as a senior manager, he cofounded a startup called SpyOnIt, a web page monitoring service that sold to 724 Solutions in September 2000. In 2004 he cofounded web feed management provider FeedBurner. Google bought that in 2007, making him an employee until 2009 when he joined the company that recently went public, Twitter.
This year TIME Magazine named him one of the 10 Most Influential U.S. Tech CEOs.
For FounderProject, the speaking engagement couldn’t have come at a better time for the burgeoning student VC-firm. Launched in March, it has slowly come onto the radar of the Canadian tech scene. The branding potential is large form the events alone: on average, its events are attracting 120 motivated, social media-heavy students who are constantly recounting their experiences online.
While the fund has yet to raise most of it’s planned $500,000, about 160 student startups have been created and of those, six have received term sheets from Canadian VC firms. “Eventually the goal is for students to be making the investment decisions and we think we’re getting close,” Saks told BetaKit a few weeks ago.
This past month’s event series was called “FounderExpo”: four events in Montreal (twice), Toronto and Waterloo. Keynote speakers like OMERS Ventures’ John Ruffalo, 5by’s Greg Isenberg and Just For Laugh’s Andy Nulman. Meanwhile, several notable VCs gave their thoughts on the student startups, including Matt Roberts of BDC, Gideon Hayden of OMERS Ventures, Ian Jeffrey of FounderFuel, David Nault of iNovia Capital, Jeff Grammer of Rho Canada Capital, Aron Solomon of MaRS Discovery District and Ben Zlotnick of INcubes, just to name a few.