Though 2018 has just begun, Startupfest is already hard at work preparing for Startupfest 2018 this coming July 10th-14th. And today the event has come out with three big announcements.
First off, the theme. Every year Starupfest chooses a theme to embody the spirit of that year’s festival. Last year was all about luck. This year is the eighth edition. And what do you get if you turn an eight on its side? Infinite possibilities.
“Time flies. I can’t believe it’s already been eight years, and ten that we’ve been running events in Montreal,” Phil Telio, the founder of Startupfest, told MTLinTECH. “Time seems to be going infinitely quicker by the day. I think what’s really interesting is the whole evolution of the ecosystem from where we were eight years ago to where we are today. The number of people working in technology, the state of technology, AI didn’t cross people’s minds. I’m astounded at the pace of change. I studied engineering, so you learn that things approach a limit. Things can only get so small so fast. Yet technology seems to be defying that in a big way. I’m always astounded by the new things going on.”
The second big announcement is that Startupfest is adding five new premium fests to this year’s lineup. The festival has been slowly introducing more premium fests over the past few years, with options like AcceleratorFest and ScaleupFest offering specific insight to different groups of attendees. This year there will be more specialized content than ever with the addition of CryptoFest, AIFest (presented by Element AI–this premium fest is returning from last year, but has been expanded to two days), SciFest (in collaboration with TandemLaunch), ArtFest (in collaboration with Raison d’Art), and CannabisFest (in collaboration with HelloMD).
“Startupfest has always been about early stage. What’s coming next, what’s on the cusp of breaking new ground. It’s rare that an opportunity comes along where a new market is created and all of a sudden it’s going to represent billions of dollars in a very short period of time. It’s a very rare set of circumstances.”
“We’ve been doing premium fests for a few years. And they’ve been focused on trying to attract particular groups of people that relate to the startup ecosystem. If you’re an accelerator, there’s AcceleratorFest, with information specific to you and how to run an accelerator. You’re an angel? We wanted to create an AngelFest so you can get the information you need to be an angel. So we created these Premium Fests originally to try to attract groups of people that really mesh well with the entrepreneur ecosystem and give them content relevant to them. What we tested last year with AI Fest was should we do vertical content? And I think it was a resounding yes. We ran AI Fest on a Saturday and it more than sold out. What we’re doing this year is, we’re still going to create specific content for different people, but there’s now also going to be content specific to a vertical. So if you’re interested in cryptocurrencies and run an accelerator, now there’s going to be two reasons to come, plus the third reason as always to mesh with the whole ecosystem at Startupfest.”
The timing of CannabisFest couldn’t be more perfect–assuming everything goes according to plan and cannabis is legalized throughout Canada this coming July.
“Our intent is, as always, to be an event about the business side of industry. We’re not about how to grow the stuff or roll the stuff, our interest is in the business opportunities in the industry. What kind of innovation can we expect? It’s already happening in places like California and Colorado, and we’re one of the first companies to legalize it nationally. Some people are going to find it odd, there’s definitely a stigma around it. But I have no doubt that in the days of prohibition and alcohol it was the same thing. And then once it was legalized, the opportunities for entrepreneurs began to enlarge. What’s vastly important for us to put across is, I know Startupfest is a fun, cheeky, laid back place to be, but CannabisFest is really about the business aspect of cannabis. It’s about the pharmaceutical applications, extraction technologies, things like that. It’s not going to be creating a big party around pot.”
And the third announcement? This year, continuing in the spirit of specialization, each Startupfest pass now includes a pass to one premium fest of your choice.
Register now for early bird pricing to get the premium fest of your choice. Space is limited, and priority goes to Startupfest ticket holders.