FounderFuel announces startups in virtual 2020 cohort


Montreal-based accelerator FounderFuel has announced the companies that will be joining its latest and 13th cohort for 2020, which will be held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s founders all decided to double-down on opportunities to thrive, demonstrating incredible resilience, determination and grit.”
– Katy Yam

The accelerator received over 175 applications this year, and said it conducted “extra diligence” to ensure its finalists were adapting to the sudden economic downturn. Spun out of Real Ventures, FounderFuel provides mentoring and coaching by proven entrepreneurs over a three-month residency in Notman House.

“Despite the impacts of COVID, this year’s founders all decided to double-down on opportunities to thrive, demonstrating incredible resilience, determination and grit,” said Katy Yam, general manager of FounderFuel.

FounderFuel has now accelerated over 100 companies since its founding in 2011. During those nine years, the program has supported companies like Sonder, Unsplash, Mejuri,, BenchSci, and Willful.

One notable startup joining the 2020 cohort is Waverly, an “empathetic AI” startup that was launched by Element AI co-founder Philippe Beaudoin. Waverly uses natural language understanding to curate personalized, curated content that allows users to “quiet and control the content they consume,” said Beaudoin in an announcement Thursday. Sylvain Carle, who recently departed from his role at Real Ventures, has joined Waverly as an advisor.

RELATED: Sylvain Carle on his departure from Real Ventures and “next chapter”

Other companies in the FounderFuel 2020 cohort include:

B2B Quotes – A platform that sources professional service providers matched to users’ business needs.

Gallea​ – An online to offline art marketplace, aiming to make authentic and local art part of users’ daily life.

Lunchbox​ – A social platform that allows students to create work experiences together.

Oxilia​ – A flexible recruitment marketplace for locum and veterinary professionals.

QuoteMachine​ – A sales platform integrated into retailers’ operations to scale custom orders online.

Simplyk​ – The first fee-free fundraising platform for charities.

Stamped AI​ – A tech-enabled audit firm that takes care of year-end financials using a mix of seasoned accountants and technology.

Along with announcing its latest cohort, FounderFuel pledged to put a greater degree of attention on ensuring diversity in its cohorts. The accelerator said last year, women represented 37 percent of the program’s final cohort. This year, there were 20 percent fewer women in the selected cohort, FounderFuel noted

Yam said the program saw “significantly fewer applications” for this year’s cohort, adding that she is “disappointed by [the] lack of support for diverse founders in the FounderFuel program this year.”

“Diversity of experience and thought lead to innovation,” the FounderFuel general manager said. “In order to improve the diversity of our cohort in 2021, we will actively engage with communities beyond those orbiting the startup ecosystem, and ​educate minority founders about the VC path​ and the support they can receive to become the change they wish to see in the world.”

Image source FounderFuel 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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