Summer camp for Canadian tech is back: Startupfest returns July 12-14

Two men wearing lanyards sit at a table with plastic cups in front of them at a past startupfest event
This year: more Premium Fests, Investor Match-Ups, fan-favourite Grandma judges, and BetaKit.

Startupfest has announced its Big Picture Agenda, highlighting some of the major attractions coming to the Montreal technology festival when it kicks off July 12.

The festival’s tent village will return. More than 20 tents will hold an accelerator zone, demo spaces, and the festival’s “famous Grandmother judges,” who in the past have included the mother of Shopify president Harley Finkelstein, among others.

BetaKit is proud to announce it is now a Startupfest media partner.

In 2013, the grandmothers picked Onavo, a company acquired by Facebook for over $150 million USD. And in 2019, the grandmothers considered more than 100 pitches in 36 hours.

“Our esteemed panel of Grandmother Judges are a Startupfest favourite with an unbeatable track record—and they don’t suffer fools,” the festival noted.

The festival runs from July 12 to July 14, and this year it is introducing new formats for networking and new premium fests prior to Startupfest’s kickoff.

RELATED: Former ‘Grandmother’s pick’ winners Onavo acquired by Facebook for $150 million

“We’ve assembled experts in startups and technology to deliver hard facts and hard truths about what lays in store for technology startups through a series of augmented talks,” the festival stated in a release.

Speakers at Startupfest will include Finkelstein, Magaly Charbonneau, a partner at Inovia Capital, Shambhavi Mishra, a VC with Antler, and Michelle Yu, an investor with Georgian.

Startupfest is also offering curated matchmaking for startups and investors, powered by Regina-based tech incubator Cultivator. This invite-only half-day event matches top-tier VCs with high-growth startup founders. Startups get a focused, one-on-one, 20-minute discussion on fundraising, challenges, strategies, and direction. Startups interested in participating can apply here and high-value investors looking to fill the few remaining spots should fill out this questionnaire.

Premium Fests

The premium fests at the festival include FundFest, AcceleratorFest, and OceanFest, all events that require prospective attendees to submit an application, or, in the case of the already booked-up AcceleratorFest, join a waitlist.

Returning this year among the premium events is the BDC Women in Technology Boot Camp. Hosted by BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund and the Thrive Venture Fund, this half-day event looks to connect women founders and leaders of technology companies with the resources they need to grow their businesses.

The event is designed for high-tech companies with at least one woman as a founder or leader. Startupfest promises the event will connect pre-seed and seed-stage tech startups with peers, investors, and organizations to help with scaling up.

FundFest, presented by Pender Ventures in collaboration with RBCx, KRB Law, and BNC, is a half-day conference for venture capital investors. FundFest looks at raising funds, deploying capital and delivering returns. Panels and keynotes will touch on all three areas, with speakers representing both the venture capital investor and fund investor viewpoint, and providing perspectives relevant to Canadian VC and the broader North American context.

OceanFest is an opportunity to explore a fast growing technology space that is forecasted to grow fivefold by 2035.

In partnership with MAIN, AcceleratorFest is back for a 10th edition as a forum for discussions on best practices and challenges faced by those running acceleration programs. AcceleratorFest offers a specialized, premium event, designed for the directors, program managers, and community managers who drive acceleration programs across the globe. The program is only open to the directors, managing directors, and community managers of accelerator programs.

Innovators can also immerse themselves in OceanFest, an opportunity to explore a fast growing technology space that is forecasted to grow fivefold by 2035, to an overall value of $220 billion. Investors will discuss how and why to invest in the ocean, along with the opportunities the sector has to offer.

Stay tuned for more Startupfest announcements

That’s not all that is taking place at Startupfest this year. Attendees can expect more speakers, innovative approaches to speaker content and, of course, numerous prizes and opportunities for startups across Canada. You’ll be able to find all the forthcoming startupfest announcements right here, as BetaKit is proud to announce it is now a Startupfest media partner.

What role is BetaKit playing at Startupfest this year? You’ll have to stay tuned. For now, use this BetaKit-supplied 15 percent discount code for your Startupfest tickets so we can see you in Montreal!

Image courtesy of Startupfest.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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