Elevate Toronto adds Vinod Khosla, Amanda Crew as speakers, $20,000 pitch competition

Vinod Khosla

As Elevate Toronto looms closer, the inaugural event is on track to hit 5,000 attendees with 95 community partners.

Since BetaKit published its guide to Elevate Toronto, festival organizers have continued building the three-day celebration of Canada’s diverse tech ecosystem. As part of that mission, Elevate Toronto has announced new speakers and programs that highlight the importance of including a variety of perspectives.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily about capitalism — it’s about solving a problem for the world. Canadians have that lens around making our communities better.”

“All of the tracks are north of 40 percent [women to men], so we’re pretty balanced in terms of what we set out to do and profile the people that may not be represented in the community,” said Razor Suleman, CEO and co-founder of Elevate Toronto.

The new speakers include Vinod Khosla, current head of Khosla Ventures and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He will be doing a fireside chat with OneEleven’s Bilal Khan on the Elevate Main Stage on September 12, touching on AI and Silicon Valley’s challenges with diversity and inclusion.

Amanda Crew, an actress on HBO’s Silicon Valley that is passionate about investing in women-run tech ventures, will also take part in the event to talk about the importance of this work.

Former US president Barack Obama’s global ambassador for entrepreneurship, Julie Hanna, will take part in the event as executive chairwoman of Kiva, a crowdlending marketplace for entrepreneurs. Hanna will be on the main stage for a TED-style talk.

To give back to the local community, Elevate Toronto is also hosting “Elevate-R pitches” for three local startups doing social good: Awake Labs, which develops a wearable to help caregivers understand anxiety and understand behaviour; AccessNow, which developed an app that allows users to find out which local restaurants and hotels are wheelchair accessible; and Rumie, which develops tablets loaded with digital education solutions for underserved communities.

The winner of the pitch segment will receive $20,000 and one year of marketing consulting from SapientRazorfish.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily about capitalism — it’s about solving a problem for the world, and we as Canadians have that lens around making our communities better,” said Suleman. “We were really passionate about giving these social entrepreneurs a platform for them to be able to share their global idea.”

Elevate Toronto King West Social

More Elevate Toronto News

  • Elevate’s King West Social is jam-packed! Over 18 different companies have come together to host interactive experiences at eight different venues along King Street West. Want to know where to go and what to do? Check out the King West Social page here.
  • Choose your Elevate Educate track before it’s too late! Both the Elevate Growth and Elevate FinTech and Blockchain tracks at Elevate Educate are now full! To ensure you can select the track you want, get your ticket now!
  • Early badge pickup now available! In order to avoid much longer lines at the Sony Centre on Tuesday the 12th, Elevate has opened up advanced registration/badge pickup for 3 days, and at 3 locations. All advanced registration will take place on Thursday, September 7th; Friday, September 8th; and Monday, September 11th, between 11 am and 7pm. The 3 locations are: Brightlane (545 King St. West), Mars Discovery District (101 College Street), OneEleven (325 Front St W).
  • Elevate Toronto takes place from September 12 to 14. Get 20% off tickets using BetaKit’s discount code.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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