NEXT Canada announced that the first cohort of its NextAI program in Montreal will begin in February 2019.
NEXT Canada said NextAI-Montreal will be delivered in partnership with HEC Montréal. Both NextAI-Montreal and Executive Education HEC Montréal are partners in the Montreal-based SCALE.AI AI-Powered Supply Chain Supercluster, one of the superclusters receiving part of $950 million from the government’s supercluster initiative.
While applications are not officially opening until September 20, NextAI announced that it will award an advanced spot in the Montreal cohort to the strong team pitching an AI-enabled venture idea at AI Fest, which is part of Montreal’s Startupfest taking place this week.
Companies selected to participate in NextAI-Montreal’s first cohort will receive up to $200,000 in seed funding for their businesses. The program will select approximately 50 founders to build 20 AI startups.
“We are thrilled to kick off our first expansion outside of Ontario at Canada’s largest annual technology and startup festival, here in Montreal.”
“We are thrilled to kick off our first expansion outside of Ontario at Canada’s largest annual technology and startup festival, here in Montreal,” said Sheldon Levy, who was appointed as CEO of NEXT Canada in 2016. “We are forging special relationships with HEC Montréal as well as with Hélène Desmarais and her colleagues at SCALE.AI, who have built a consortium of incredible partners. We intend to make NextAI an integral part of Montréal’s robust AI ecosystem.”
To implement NextAI-Montreal, program director Julien Billot will work towards building a core team and a network of top faculty, scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs to deliver a structured founder-development curriculum. NextAI is also going to establish a second cohort in Montreal as it looks to collaborate with organizations such as Quebec’s Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), Ontario’s Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii).
“NextAI is different from traditional accelerator models because it provides high potential founders with entrepreneurial training through exposure to leading experts in their field,” said Billot. “Our program will be delivered at HEC Montréal, and will leverage the immense talent at other universities and research labs in Montreal and beyond, building on HEC Montréal Executive Education’s experience running multiple AI programs to date.”
NextAI-Montreal will run concurrently with NextAI-Toronto, which runs from February to September and will be soon be celebrating the graduation of its second cohort.
NEXT Canada announced the 22 companies accepted into the 2018 cohort of its Next Founder’s program in May. In November 2017, the organization received a $3.57 million investment from FedDev Ontario.