RBC launches Reach accelerator with Highline BETA

RBC Ventures

RBC is launching an accelerator through its new venture arm, RBC Ventures, in partnership with Highline BETA, BetaKit has learned.

The accelerator, called RBC Reach, will run several cohorts a year, with each focusing on a specific theme. Participants will get access to office space in Toronto’s financial district, and receive an initial investment of $100,000 from Highline BETA and RBC.

“This is a unique approach to corporate accelerator programs,” said Mike Dobbins, chief strategy and corporate development officer at RBC. “Over the course of the program, the selected companies will collaborate with RBC executives, our own intrapraneurs and venture specialists from Highline BETA to address real challenges experienced by our clients. Our ambition is to create an expedited path to a commercial agreement with RBC, as well as solutions in market that could transform the way our clients do business.”

Participants will get access to office space in Toronto’s financial district, and receive an initial investment of $100,000 from Highline BETA and RBC.

During the three-month program, startups will work with Highline BETA to identify opportunities for growth within their companies, while working with RBC on potential commercial agreements. At the end of the program, companies that sign commercial agreements with RBC will continue part-time programming to implement the pilot. These companies can potentially receive additional investment from RBC and Highline BETA, and support from Highline BETA on raising future rounds of funding.

“As accelerator leaders and investors at HIGHLINE.vc, we saw firsthand the value that commercial relationships with large corporations can drive for startups,” Marcus Daniels, founding partner at Highline BETA, told BetaKit. “At Highline BETA we’ve also brought this experience to the other side of the table, helping our corporate partners speed paths to a partnership, investment, or launch. By bringing together the best that both startups and the enterprise have to offer, we can help both to build better ventures.”

RBC Reach is looking for companies at the post-seed and pre-Series A stage. Applications to the accelerator are due August 31, and can be submitted to the new RBC Ventures website.

RBC Ventures

The companies currently listed on the new RBC Ventures website.

RBC announced the launch of RBC Ventures earlier this month at the bank’s investor conference. The website lists some of the companies it has co-created in-house, including Butter, a subscriptions and memberships hub led by RedFlagDeals founder Derek Szeto; and Arrive, which helps immigrants navigate the process of moving to Canada.

RBC will be meeting with eligible startups during Montreal’s Startupfest on July 12 and 13, and schedule meetings throughout the summer. Highline BETA, for its part, is a partner on the Startuptrain from Toronto to Montreal, who will be providing mentorship to companies.

International companies that are chosen may also be eligible for Startup Visa sponsorship.

Highline BETA announced it would work with RBC back in December 2017, and while full details on the nature of the partnership weren’t released, it was made to support RBC’s internal efforts towards new venture development.

“RBC is working with Highline BETA to take a startup-centric approach to tackle some of the most interesting opportunities to serve clients,” Dobbins said at the time of the announcement. “By embracing the co-creation model championed by Highline BETA, we believe RBC can blend our own intrapreneurs who have a deep understanding of consumer and industry challenges with entrepreneurs who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to accelerate our innovation and growth.”

This story has been updated with new information.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor. Follow her on Twitter @jessicagalangg or send her pitches to jessica.galang@betakit.com.