Applications are open for Startupfest’s $100,000 investment prize


Montreal’s Startupfest has opened applications for the $100,000 investment prize for the 2020 pitch competition, which will be held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year’s winner of the $100,000 prize was Sparkcharge.

The $100,000 investment is open to anyone, and the terms are based on the festival’s previously-used standard convertible note. The terms are subject to change, and in each application, applicants can propose alternative terms to be reviewed by the investor judges.

Shortlisted participants will be invited to a video conferencing session with the investor judges for a live pitch followed by a question-and-answer session.

At the beginning of this month, Startupfest introduced Pitch from Home, a virtual substitution for Startupfest’s in-person pitch events, which were cancelled due to COVID-19. Startupfest was one of several Canadian tech events to cancel or move online due to the pandemic.

In March, True North, Shopify Unite, and Collision all announced that their events would be either postponed or held virtually to abide by social distancing recommendations outlined by public health agencies.

Last year, Startupfest granted $1.6 million in prizes and investments during the three-day festival. The organizers are pledging to bring those same prizes and opportunities this year, and are expected to release an initial overview on more of those prizes in the coming weeks.

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Last year’s winner of the $100,000 prize was Sparkcharge, which received an additional $500,000 from investors who wanted to increase their participation. The deadline to apply for this year’s prize is May 30 and shortlisted startups will be announced on June 15.

In previous years, Startupfest’s other prizes have included spots in accelerator programs, a Grandmothers’ Choice Award, paid proofs-of-concept, and long-term partnerships with corporations.

The event is issuing a call-out for grandmothers to participate as judges for its Grandmother’s Choice Award, which will see startups pitch their business ideas to a panel of cutthroat grandmothers. Last year’s judges included Merle Finkelstein, mother of Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein, as well as Quebec-based entrepreneur Daniele Henkel. Grandmothers can be nominated on Startupfest’s website.

Image source Startupfest via Facebook.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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