This will mark the 11th cohort of the Montreal program, which has accelerated over 80 companies over the past six years and is backed by Real Ventures, the most active seed stage venture capital firm in Canada. FounderFuel alumni have raised over $100 million in financing from top firms such as Spark, Accomplice, Accel, and Y Combinator and include companies Crew, Sonder, and Oohlala.
Much has changed in the world of accelerators in the past five years. Y Combinator, TechStars, and 500 Startups have all grown considerably and now regularly take in Canadian startups. Corporates have taken a more active role, incubators and non-dilutive funding sources have exploded, and the sheer number of programs has multiplied to the extent that there are now more numerous and more stable support structures for early stage companies.
But amidst all this change, FounderFuel has retained the format it started with six years ago.
“The approach is very consistent with last year and years past, which is to say we’re still looking for all sorts of different technology companies in all sorts of different industries and verticals,” Isaac Souweine, General manager of FounderFuel and Partner at Real Ventures told MTLinTECH. “But we’re still especially interested in companies that are using AI because of Real Ventures’ focus and the strength of the Montreal AI ecosystem. So I would say it’s roughly in line with how we’ve done it in years past. We’re looking for the same size cohort of seven to eight companies, we’re investing a similar amount of money, the program will be the same three month program driven by mentors and finishing in a Demo Day. We’re staying the course because the model has worked so well in the past.”
This year’s 2018 edition will run from April to July and culminate with Canada’s largest Demo Day. The program will, as in past years, be hosted at the historic Notman House, Montreal’s technology and startup hub.
“The structure will be similar. Which is to say intensive engagement with mentors and then presentations from leading entrepreneurs and leading experts from Montreal and beyond. We try to change who those people are each year to keep it fresh and include new voices and connect with new people. So the specific ideas, topics, and people will change every year, but the structure of how we present it will be consistent with past years.”
The 3-month long intensive, mentor-driven program helps fledgling companies refine their story, expand their network and rapidly accelerate their output.
“Real Ventures is now a co-investor in Techstars Toronto and are very closely involved in running that program, which is happening right now. We benefit from that in many ways, and one is learning how they run their accelerator. So we’ll be taking a few tips and tricks we’ve learned from watching up close their process and bring those into FounderFuel when appropriate.”
Companies driving innovation across all verticals and technology stacks are welcome to apply. It should be noted, however, that given Montreal’s strength as a global AI hub, as well as Real Ventures’ investment thesis, means special interest will be given to companies that are using artificial intelligence.
FounderFuel is using AngelList to accept applications this year. Interested parties can create a startup profile here.
“Now’s the time. We’re still interviewing companies and we’re always looking to meet new ones. They have a few more days to get their application in before it closes.”
Applications are due by March 11th, 2018.