Instead of the ending the six-month residence in the program with the traditional demo day, the program will now treat its startups to “Centre Stage” on September 18, likely in Kitchener-Waterloo, and Series 401 two months later in Toronto. The latter event will coincide with the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX), at the MaRS Discover District, where over 120 angels and venture capitalists are expected to attend.
Meanwhile, Centre Stage is expected to play the role of a traditional demo day, complete with seven-minute pitches. The event will also showcase startups from previous cohorts, with two-minute updates. They’re also inviting companies from other accelerators to take part in the event.
On the new dual-event format, Hyperdrive managing director Doug Cooper said, “we realized we don’t get all the investors here in Kitchener-Waterloo, and if you were here as an investor you’d know the company long before demo day.”
“On the company side, they want to get in front of a bunch of investors that are ready to invest,” said Cooper. “On the flip side the investors really want a curated list of companies because they don’t want to talk to a bunch of companies who are really early for them. In that sense we bring together the two correct ingredients.”
Cooper said that uniting the companies in one central place is the “right step” in creating a strong network for Canadian entrepreneurs.
“We have a strong local network, that’s one of the things that’s unique to Kitchener-Waterloo is you have so many tech companies. Toronto has a challenge doing the same thing because it’s a much bigger market and you have a lot more companies,” said Cooper. “ It’s harder for them to find one another.”