Phil Telio and his team at the International Startup Festival are officially accepting applications to pitch at this summer’s International Startup Festival. It will be the fourth consecutive year the globally-minded festival will be held.
Startup Fest will be held July 12-14 in Montreal’s Old Port district.
The $90,000 grand prize for best pitch, the “Grandmother’s Pick” and the Best Startup award at Startup Fest already carry a bit of history. In a mildly controversial twist, last summer a former judge of Startup Fest, Jason Bailey, won the prize for his gaming intelligence platform ldrly.com.
But the award has also propelled other startups onto big things. In 2011, Tel-Aviv-based startup Onavo won the Grandmother’s Pick award. The company would go on to be acquired by Facebook in October for $150 million.
“When it comes to the prize, of course we’re looking for a startup that is investible and one that we can get a nice return,” said Telio. “But when it comes to the startups that we put on stage, we’re looking for diverse, game-changing ideas, we’re looking for people with passion and we’re looking for the great ones. We’re trying to be the farm team for the best of the best.”
Startup Fest’s Best On-Stage Pitch award can mean a huge opportunity for a startup looking to get a bit of investment, but without the big numbers. Telio admitted that the winner of the $90,000 pitch is the one with the best ability to articulate their message in a fun and passionate way and “not necessarily the companies that have all of the factors in play.”
Startup Fest is also moving to a new location, we just don’t know exactly where yet. It can’t be too far, because Telio told us the festival would remain in the Old Port district of Montreal, with the popular “Tent City” remaining outside. He said he’ll reveal the new location soon.
It’s also a good time for Startup Fest as it’s Elevator World Tour continues to generate buzz. Tel-Aviv went well, as did the series’ first location, the CN Tower in Toronto. Now Telio has his sites set on One World Trade Center in Manhattan. The pitch fest where 100 startups cram into an elevator ride with two venture capitalists will happen on May 22.
“The notoriety internationally continues to grow and certainly in part due to the elevator world tour, as we travel the world and connect communities,” Telio told BetaKit. “Back in Montreal there’s a lot of excitement, people keep coming back and new people keep on coming.”
Telio also said that since One World Trade Center is still a baby, concluding construction and only beginning to find tenants, it represents a startup in a way. “What resonated with them is they’re still in a startup phase and here we are a startup event. It’s super relevant,” he said. “It’s quite spectacular, really. We were there last week and it’s off the charts. Emotionally, it’s an exciting place to be. You feel the resilience of the city when you walk into a building like that.”