Startupfest to host 2020 festival through hybrid in-person and online model


Startupfest has announced it will be hosting its 10th-annual festival via a live broadcast with a studio audience in Old Montréal. The event, which cancelled its in-person event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be broadcast across Canada, free of charge, on July 15 and 16.

Québec, which accounts for over half of Canada’s COVID-19 cases, recently allowed indoor gatherings of up to 50 people.

The event organizers called this year’s event a hybrid between an in-person and virtual conference. During the two half-days that the festival will be broadcast, Startupfest will organize a series of interactions and dynamic contests on stage. In-person participation in the event is limited according to the local regulations in Montréal, where the event will be hosted, which is currently 50 people.

“While things may look a little different with this hybrid version of Startupfest, we’re bringing back some of your favourite elements of the event from the past decade,” the Startupfest organizers said in an announcement, referring to the festival’s $100,000 pitch competition and the Grandmother pitch competition.

Last month, Startupfest announced it was hosting Pitch from Home, a virtual substitution for its in-person pitch events, which were cancelled earlier this year amid COVID-19. Pitch from Home will make over $1 million in prizes and investments available.

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Startupfest was one of several Canadian tech events to cancel or move online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

Web Summit, which hosts Collision, announced Wednesday that it will still hold its event in December. Like Startupfest, Web Summit will be hosted both in-person in Lisbon and online. The mix of offline and online will be subject to Portugal’s health protocols for events at that time.

Québec, which accounts for just over half of Canada’s COVID-19 cases, recently began reopening several sectors on Wednesday, particularly in the Montréal area. On June 22, the province allowed indoor gatherings of up to 50 people, but social distancing rules are still required to be followed. Currently, a maximum of 50 people can attend Startupfest’s in-person event.

Those interested in attending the in-person portion of Startupfest can register online.

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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