This week, 12 of NEXT Canada’s ventures pitched at the organization’s eighth annual Venture Day, which included an audience of business leaders, partners, and investors at the MaRS Discovery District.
Venture Day celebrates the end of two NEXT Canada programs including Next 36, which supports young founders of early-stage businesses; and Next Founders, which focuses on founder development for existing startups with significant traction. This year, Next 36 startup Crescendo and Next Founders startup Nomz received the Outstanding Venture prize for their respective programs.
“NEXT Canada gave us access to education and advice from world-class professors and mentors.”
– Sage Franch, co-founder, Crescendo
Through its programs, NEXT Canada provides entrepreneurs with access to capital, education, mentorship, and networking in order to build and scale a company; ventures are also eligible to receive up to $80,000 in seed capital. NEXT Canada said that this year, 23 companies participated in Next 36, while 20 companies participated in Next Founders. The companies represented a multitude of sectors including healthcare, sustainability, diversity and inclusivity, fashion, and FinTech.
“Nine months ago, my co-founders and I were just 3 people with an idea to make workplaces more inclusive. Now we’re a company with a real product, customers, and employees,” said Sage Franch, co-founder of Crescendo. “I knew I wanted to take the leap from the corporate world into entrepreneurship, but until Next 36, I didn’t know how to begin. NEXT Canada gave us access to education and advice from world-class professors and mentors, who helped guide us through the uncertainty of Crescendo’s early days and set us up with a strong foundation for the future.”
At Venture Day, NEXT Canada recognized the top companies and entrepreneurs for their progress and achievements during the programs. The award recipients include:
- Outstanding Venture (Next 36): Crescendo, co-founded by Sage Franch, Daniel D’Souza, and Stefan Kollenberg)
- Outstanding Venture (Next Founders): Nomz, founded by Jana Al Zaibak
- Satchu Prize: Emily Bland, founder of SucSeed
- Hepburn Valedictorian Award (Next 36): Morgan Rosenberg, co-founder of Supports Health
- Next Founders Valedictorian: Shonezi Noor, co-founder of Will + Zack
- Geoff Taber Alumni Achievement Award: Daniel Rodic, CEO and co-founder of Exact Media
In October 2016, NEXT Canada launched NextAI to support commercially viable AI ventures. Last month, the organization also announced that the first cohort of its NextAI program in Montreal will begin in February 2019. Venture Day for the second cohort of NextAI will take place on September 20.
NEXT Canada is currently accepting applications for the 2019 cohort of Next 36, while applications for the 2019 cohort of NextAI will open on September 20 and applications for the seventh cohort of Next Founders will open in early 2019.
Photo via Twitter