Startupfest introduces Pitch from Home as 2020 event moves online


Montreal-based tech festival Startupfest is introducing Pitch from Home, a virtual substitution for Startupfest’s in-person pitch events, which were cancelled earlier this month amid COVID-19.

Pitch from Home, which will make over $1 million in prizes and investments available, is one of several changes the festival has made to ensure it can still run the event remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Startupfest was one of several Canadian events to be cancelled or moved online this month due to the pandemic.

“Three weeks ago, we made the difficult but absolutely necessary decision to cancel Startupfest 2020,” the organizers wrote in an announcement. “We’re glad we did, [as] the wisdom of that decision has become more obvious with each day and headline.”

Startupfest organizers noted that more information on the 2020 festival is set to be announced on a rolling basis throughout the spring and summer.

Last year, Startupfest granted $1.6 million in prizes and investments during the three-day festival. The organizers are pledging to bring those same prizes and opportunities this year, and are expected to release an initial overview on prizes in the coming weeks. The requirements will vary for each prize, but will include basic company information, as well as written or video pitches.

In previous years, Startupfest has offered up prizes such as spots in accelerator programs, two $100,000 investment prizes, a Grandmothers’ choice award, paid proofs-of-concept, and long-term partnerships with corporations.

Events at this year’s Startupfest will fall under three pillars. The first is content, which will feature lessons learned from experts, the second is resources, such as money, staff, and tools for startups, and the third is networking.

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Startupfest was one of several Canadian tech events to cancel or move online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, True North, Shopify Unite, and Collision all announced that their events would be either postponed or held virtually to abide by social distancing recommendations outlined by public health agencies. This year marks ten years of operation for Startupfest.

“Startupfest wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for the incredible ecosystem that’s supported us, and more importantly one another, over the past decade,” the organizers wrote. “We’ll be back with more content, networking opportunities, and memorable experiences down the road. But for now, this is what we can do to focus on our core mission of making more, better startups, faster.”

Image source Startupfest via Facebook

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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