Collision Week 2024

Since the Collision Conference rolled into Toronto five years ago, it’s given the Canadian tech sector lots to talk about.

Intended to draw big names and attract visitors from around the world, the event has also made headlines for its steep price tag and the statements of its controversial founder. This year’s Collision will take place from June 17-20, 2024, in what will be the conference’s final year in Toronto.

The BetaKit Guide features insights and recommendations from our audience, weighing in on the most interesting side parties, events, speakers, Toronto hot spots, as the city says goodbye.

Audience insights

Do you plan on attending this year’s Collision?

of respondents plan to attend

Most anticipated Speaker

geoffrey hinton

Geoffrey Hinton

Godfather of AI

The Godfather of AI Geoffrey Hinton took the stage at Collision last year, shortly after resigning from Google. This year, he’s still the speaker our audience most wants to see, and doesn’t seem to be running out of things to say. Hinton recently advocated for governments to introduce universal basic income to help address the job losses that will result from AI.

Most anticipated VC

Gabriel Vasquez

Andreessen Horowitz

Gabriel Vasquez is an investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz focused on enterprise and FinTech. But interest in his attendance might have more to do with the fact that Andreessen Horowitz was the most active US investor in May, and co-led a $1-billion raise for Wiz.

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The Parties

The official events

Only 38 per cent of those surveyed by BetaKit said they were going to official Collision parties, which require attendees to have a conference pass. The two events will take place near the main conference site at the Enercare Centre. But neither the conference floor or the conference sanctioned soirees seem to be a big draw this year, with the majority of respondents saying they planned to attend private dinners.

Large crowd of Collision attendees at the 2023 opening night party at the Grand Bizzare, an outdoor venue.

Opening Night Party

Monday June 17 6PM

At the Grand Bizarre, a 41,000 sq ft supper club on the CNE Grounds that features a glass dome and outdoor swimming pool.

Networking at Stackt, an outdoor venue.

After Hours

Tuesday June 18 5PM

Held at the Stackt Market at Bathurst and Front, the networking mixer is hosted by Dell Technologies.

The local hangouts

Large tech conferences have sometimes been criticized for pulling focus and funding from local companies and ecosystems. But Toronto tech refuses to cede centre stage and a range of organizations and ecosystem leaders are hosting their own networking events. Check out the afterparty list for more.

TechTO Summer Social

Monday June 19, 6PM

Held at The Slip, at 235 Queen’s Quay West, the third annual Summer Social will feature food, drinks and a community open mic.

Black Innovation Zone After Party

Thursday June 20, 6:30PM

Bringing together Black founders, investors, professionals, and first-time attendees at Offworld Bar.

The BetaKit Talks

Following the impact of our recent Town Hall, BetaKit Talks: AI in Action on June 20 will explore the engineering challenges and real-world problems being tackled by some of Toronto’s top AI teams. Hosted by Intuit Canada during the week of Collision and featuring ​Dr. Anna Goldenberg, Co-Chair of AI in Medicine for Kids, SickKids Research Institute, ​Salim Teja, Partner at Radical Ventures (Cohere, Waabi, Xanadu) and ​Greg Coulombe, Engineering Director at Intuit.

The out-of-towners

The side party circuit features multiple events hosted by international delegations including Invest Hong Kong, Taiwan Startup Terrace, and the Central Eastern European Tech Forum. Canadian tech will also be repped from coast to coast, with parties and events hosted by ecosystem champions from across the country, including:

Vancouver Celebration Party

Monday June 17

The Vancouver Mayor will attend this Distillery District takeover as the West Coast makes a play for next year’s conference.

Last Collision Yacht Party

Tuesday June 18

Calgary’s Goodlawyer will host its annual yacht party, sponsored by Alliance Trust Company.

Startup Montréal Bus

Monday June 17

For those arriving from La Belle Province, MainQC has also put together a french language conference resource.

The private parties

What’s a conference without a little FOMO? Some of the most anticipated events are invite only and over subscribed. Two of the most popular parties are hosted by local VCs.

Party with Panache

Monday June 17, 6PM

The Panache Ventures bash sponsored by AWS, BMO, Fasken, and Telus Global Ventures is taking waitlist registrations only.

The Golden Ticket

Tuesday June 18, 6:30PM

You need a golden ticket to attend Golden Ventures’s event, hosted with Crosslink Capital and Deloitte Ventures, and headlined by Osler, Google Cloud & TD Bank.

Audience insights

What are you going to?

69% of respondents plan to attend private dinners

of respondents plan to
attend private dinners

62.7% Side parties

49.3% Conference talks/keynotes/panels

41.8% Booths/event floor

38.8% Collision parties

7.5% None of the above


How to approach a founder or investor at a party

“If you want to say ‘Hi,’ do that, and be direct. Say what you are working on and what you’d like from someone. Don’t trap them. Have a 60-second conversation and move on. If they are interested, they will keep you there. If they are busy, they will appreciate you letting them meet many folks.”

Dan Debow standing in front of a white wall with a Shopify neon sign hanging on the wall.

🔥 Hot tip

“When attending events, seek out individuals from varied tech backgrounds. Diverse perspectives can spark unique insights and lead to groundbreaking collaborations. Don’t just network—diverse network.”

Portrait of Lekan

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The Speakers

The Canadian AI Legends

Two Canadians are among our reader’s most anticipated conference speakers. With AI still dominating the conversation, it’s no wonder that people want to hear from the country’s most talked about AI company and the man who started it all.

Aiden Gomez, Cohere

Tuesday June 18, 10:30AM

This has been a big year for the Toronto-based AI company, which recently raised $450M. Fortune magazine praised Cohere as the AI underdog to watch, “doing the opposite of OpenAI’s every move.” The CEO will discuss The real world impact of AI.

Geoffrey Hinton

Wednesday June 19, 4:40PM

In conversation with author Stephen Marche, Geoffrey Hinton will provide his answer to the question, Can we control AI? The godfather of AI also has a familiar relationship with Cohere, as a former professor and employer of the founders and early investor in the company.

The timely investments

Vinod Khosla

Tuesday June 18, 4:15PM

The entrepreneur, investor, and tech optimist founder of Khosla Ventures will discuss The path to an AI utopia with Connie Loizos of TechCrunch.

KJ Sidberry

Wednesday June 19, 12:50PM

The GV (Google Ventures) partner will break down How to be a successful entrepreneur and share his impressions of what makes a founder stand out.

Gabriel Vasquez

Thursday June 20, 10:45AM

The a16z partner will talk about the future of fintech with the CEO of Jeeves, Dileep Thazhmon.

The whistleblower

From Facebook to Tesla, whistleblowers have been sounding the alarm of late on issues from workplace safety to societal decline. Sam Salehpour is a former quality engineer at Boeing who told a US Senate Committee that the company ignored concerns about defective parts and assembly problems affecting its aircraft. He’ll join a panel called Whistleblowers can save big tech (Wednesday June 19, 3:40PM) where the first question should be: did you fly here?

A world of founders

A mix of Canadian and global founders will take the stage on a range of topics.

Jeff Shiner


The Canadian founder will speak on The Threat of AI to Cybersecurity.

Raquel Urtasun


The Toronto-based founder covers The Road to Autonomous Driving.

Keily Blair


How to compete for eyeballs in the attention economy.

Sara Sabry

Deep Space Initiative

The astronaut and founder is part of a panel called To Infinity and beyond! The future of space.

Audience insights

Who else do you want to see on stage?

Elon Musk

X, SpaceX, Tesla

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative Party of Canada

Joanna Griffiths


Michelle Zatlyn


Dax Dasilva


Chamath Palihapitiya

Social Capital


A grand slam of career inspiration

“I’m excited to see Maria Sharapova in the speaker lineup. I’ve followed her for years and admire her pivot into entrepreneurship. She’s a great example of how careers can change in interesting and unexpected ways.”

🔥 Hot tip

“For founders who are speaking at events, my advice is to be authentic. Tell your story, share your learnings, or give your perspective with humility, honesty, and a genuine desire to help the audience.”

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The city

Park People

Almost 30 percent of BetaKit survey respondents suggested that Collision attendees visit Trinity Bellwoods. The popular hangout is one of 45 Toronto parks included in the creatively named Alcohol in Parks Program, and is within walking distance of the great shops, restaurants and bars of Ossington, Queen West, and Dundas West neighbourhoods. And while we did ask if people would recommend a visit to Drake’s house, now might be a good time to take in other views.

They ate

For those coming into town for the event, BetaKit readers offered restaurant recommendations across a range of neighbourhoods, cuisines, and price points. KJ Sidberry of GV, a self-professed foodie, said restaurants are a big part of all his city visits. “There’s a lot to learn but have heard great things about Prime Seafood Palace, plus who doesn’t love our faves from The Bear,” he said. “And apparently Beast comes with a little adventure.”

King West

Ruby Soho



Middle eastern



East End

Lake Inez






Yorkville & Midtown

Bar Reyna




West End








Solon Angel and Joella Almeida at SAAS NORTH 2023.

Via Mercanti


San Chen

Bubble Tea

Little Italy

Bar Raval


Conejo Negro

Caribbean, Latin

La Bartola


A bit thirsty

Meeting up for a drink or a chat is a big part of any conference. When it comes to getting a cocktail, BetaKit readers are more targeted in their recommendations, focusing attention on the downtown core.

Audience insights

What’s the best way to get around during Collision?

40% of respondents recommend walking

of respondents recommend walking

27% TTC

18% Rideshare/Uber

10% Bike


Where the mayor thinks you should go

“I am so pleased that the Collision Conference will bring so many visitors to Toronto. Our city is teaming with fun at this time of year. I encourage people to visit Toronto Island, one of my favourite places in the city.”

Michael Yang OMERS Ventures

🔥 Hot tip

While traffic in Toronto has gotten much, much worse, there have been some much-needed innovations since last year’s Collision when it comes to navigating the city. You can now tap to pay with Interac Debit on the TTC, GO Transit and the UP Express.

04 /

The big picture

Audience insights

What should tech conferences prioritize?

67% of respondents think tech conferences should prioritize exposure to new ideas.

of respondents think they should prioritize exposure to new ideas

49% of respondents think tech conferences should prioritize peer to peer learning.

of respondents think they should prioritize peer-to-peer learning

“The best part of Collision is the founders and builders. I can’t wait for the conversations (and drinks) with people way smarter than me.”

“Say ‘yes’ to as many events as possible. It’s the best way to catch-up with your network and to create new, spontaneous connections.”

Audience insights

Should Collision stay or should it go?

57% of respondents think Collision should stay in Toronto


57% of respondents think Collision should find a new home


25% of respondents don't care about whether it stays or goes.

Don’t care!

Presented by Interac