Following recent merger, Startup Montréal announces program to spur late-stage growth

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The Government of Québec has committed $6.5 million to the program.

Startup Montréal has teamed up with Silicon Valley’s Apexe Global to launch Hypergrowth Québec (Hypercroissance Québec), a new mentorship and global commercialization program for late-stage Québec startups.

The Government of Québec has committed $6.5 million CAD towards the program over the next two years. Through the provincially-backed initiative, Startup Montréal aims to help “the highest potential” late-stage startups and scaleups grow their revenue and increase their exports.

The launch of Hypergrowth Québec follows the recent merger of Montréal Inc and Bonjour Startup Montréal, which have joined forces to create Startup Montréal, in an effort to better serve entrepreneurs and startups in the city.

“This program is a very important one … We’ve been wanting to launch it for two years now.”
-Liette Lamonde, Startup Montréal
 
 

In an interview with BetaKit, Startup Montréal Managing Director Liette Lamonde said, “it’s been at least three years since we founded Bonjour Startup Montréal that we knew we had to help our startups grow to the next phase, because we’re good at creating startups but not so much at growing them.”

According to Lamonde, the Hypergrowth Québec initiative is the product of some past experimentation and Startup Montréal finding “the best partner” in Apexe. “We’re really happy that it’s finally happening,” she said.

“This program is a very important one,” said Lamonde. “We’ve been wanting to launch it for two years now … and it will be, probably, the biggest program that we’ll be running [at Startup Montréal].”

In addition to the $6.5 million promised to the program by the provincial government, Desjardins Group has made a $1 million commitment over five years for Startup Montréal, “most of which will be earmarked” for Hypergrowth Québec. BDC Capital is also providing an undisclosed amount of financial support to the project.

Through Hypergrowth Québec, Startup Montréal aims to support up to 80 businesses over the next two years. The organization plans to select the program’s first 20 to 25 participants “in the next couple of weeks,” ahead of the launch of its first cohort in May.

Lamonde confirmed that the program will be open to startups across the province. She said Hypergrowth Québec will seek out companies with at least $2 million in annual revenue that are bootstrapped or around the Series A stage, have already achieved product-market fit, have a scalable and repeatable sales and marketing model, with annual growth of 40 percent or more.

Hypergrowth Québec will connect late-stage startups and scaleup executives with mentors, organize small trade missions, offer role-specific peer-to-peer sessions for core executive groups at different firms (like CEOs, CMOs, and CTOs), and organize coaching and growth hacking seminars.

RELATED: Montréal Inc and Bonjour Startup Montréal merge, become Startup Montréal

Montréal’s tech sector showed signs of continued growth last year, as the city broke its previous venture funding record in 2021. Last year, overall investment in Montréal startups rose by roughly 33 percent to $1.6 billion, from the $1.2 billion raised in 2020.

Lamonde said that to date, Québec has done a good job of supporting startup creation. “Now, it’s time to go to the next phase, and grow the startups but also grow that ecosystem,” she said.

The program has a number of core goals, including to: triple the number of Québec startups with over $100 million in sales over the next five years, quadruple the exports generated by participating businesses by 2025, create nearly 15,000 new jobs, and generate close to $1 billion in revenue in additional exports per year by 2025.

“We have such a small market here in Québec, and even in Canada,” said Lamonde. “If you want to grow, you have no choice but to go worldwide, to go global.”

She said that this approach also fits with the Government of Québec’s focus on increasing the province’s exports.

RELATED: Venture funding for Montréal tech sector grew steadily in 2021 with $1.6 billion raised

Lamonde added, “We noticed that our startups may be a little bit shy, or more shy, than other startups and other ecosystems to go global,” said Lamonde. “And we want to bring that ambition and help them really make it happen.”

Hypergrowth Québec hopes to achieve this in part by connecting local execs with experienced coaches and mentors from abroad.

“We don’t have that many startups here that have been through the scaleup phase, so it’s difficult to find mentors and coaches locally,” said Lamonde. “We’ve tried that and it didn’t work really well—we noticed that we always had to go abroad to find the right person. So now, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Enter Apexe Global, which Lamonde said brings “those global connections that we lack,” and would take years to build on its own.

“We want to create this network of founders helping each other.”
-Liette Lamonde, Startup Montréal

“Québec and Montréal have long produced world-class technology and entrepreneurs, and Lightspeed, Nuvei, and Dialogue are only the most recent examples of big success,” said JF Gauthier, founder and CEO of Apexe Global, and founder of Startup Genome. “Now is the time to accelerate Québec’s international commercialization capabilities so the province will produce more global leaders and large IPOs.”

Amid a Canadian tech environment where many companies have turned their attention outside of the country to recruit experienced executives at the growth stage, Lamonde said she hopes Hypergrowth Québec will help develop more homegrown talent.

“We want to create the next generation of mentors and coaches here in Montréal, because we’ve seen that it’s been so difficult to find them,” she said.

According to Lamonde, every entrepreneur who joins the program “will pledge, will commit to helping other startups run when [they] finish the program.”

“We want to create this network of founders helping each other.”

Feature image by Jennifer Lim-Tamkican via Unsplash.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit staff writer who loves to tell Canadian business and tech stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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