Yesterday, NextAI celebrated the top 15 startups in its inaugural cohort at Venture Day, which invited over 200 investors, mentors, and partners to get a look at Canada’s up-and-coming AI startups.
While the event gave the startups an opportunity to pitch their businesses, it was also an opportunity to celebrate the startups. Intuitive, which develops an AI-powered garbage can that automatically sorts garbage from organics and recyclables, received the title of top venture. The company was awarded free submission into the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, as well as $5,000 in API credits on the Clarifai platform.
“When we launched NextAI, it was to fill a gap in the Canadian AI ecosystem. In Canada, we have been experts at research and education, but these 15 companies are working to actually commercialize AI and build successful businesses,” said Anthony Lacavera, co-chair of NEXT Canada and chair of Globalive Capital. “We’re excited to graduate our first cohort from the program today. Over the last eight months these entrepreneurs have worked with top industry experts and educators to build their businesses, and they’re committed to changing the way everyday Canadians interact with technology.”
Deepnify took the prize for the People’s Choice Global Impact Award, which included free submission into the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, as well as $5,000 in API credits on the Clarifai platform. Senso AI co-founder Saroop Bharwani was named valedictorian.
“NextAI has given us the opportunity to turn our idea into a business with huge potential for growth,” said Krista Caldwell, co-founder of Deepnify. “This program is unique in that it focuses on bringing our ideas to market, and through the access to technology, funding and mentorship, our company has made huge progress. We’re grateful to NextAI and NEXT Canada for launching Deepnify and helping make AI more accessible to Canadians.”
NextAI ran from February to September with $5.5 million from partners like IBM and Google. Teams received up to $200,000 in seed financing to develop their technology, as well as hands-on instruction from faculty at the University of Toronto, McGill University, Georgetown University, University of Guelph, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, and Harvard University.
Photo via Twitter