Startupfest’s ResolveTO event strives for the offbeat


Update: Startupfest has decided to offer readers a 2-for-1 deal. Anyone who buys an early-bird ticket to Startupfest before December 1st will automatically receive a ticket to ResolveTO completely free. 


Phil Telio and Startupfest’s new foray into Toronto with January’s ResolveTO event is striving to be truly different. And given the ubiquitous nature of startup events, statements like these tend to be tough to follow up on. Telio thinks he can do it.

It’s the first time the Startupfest brand will leave its home comfort of Montreal in the summer to produce a large-scale, three-day event. While Startupfest has hosted several Elevator World Tour stops in Toronto, Paris, Shanghai and Tel-Aviv, ResolveTO will be a first of sorts.

Today the organization released new details on the upcoming event, which will seek to combine the trademark startup energy of the flagship Montreal event with enterprise/corporate thinking. Essentially, Startupfest wants its event to bring together startups and corporations where patrons walk out the door with actual, tangible partnerships.

“It’s not enough to put them in a room and come and listen to content on a stage,” Telio told MTLinTECH Tuesday. “We’re making sure every corporation at the event has a compelling reason to be working with startups. They need to articulate it, attach an offering to it and tell these startups what they expect.”

As a result, he said, startups at the event will know real contracts with tangible number values are on the table. For example, Highline Beta, a new co-creation company based out of Toronto, is offering a minimum investment of $25,000 if startups can prove to them at ResolveTO that they can work with Highline’s corporate clients.

“This isn’t in-kind services or any vague award. You’re winning something specific. The idea is at the end of the event all these people running zones get up on stage and announce their winners,” added Telio.

ResolveTO will also offer “speed dating” zones, or lounge zones where corporate innovators can invite startups to collaborate with them. Each of the 15 zones will host experts and offer a compelling contest, prize, or initiative for the most innovative startups in attendance.

And Startupfest’s usual $100,000 prize, the main attraction every summer in Montreal, will be awarded out at ResolveTO to one startup. In October Telio told MTLinTECH that the prize value could kick up to a couple hundred thousand with more sponsors.

There’s more though. Just in the last 24 hours, Startupfest launched new partnerships with Intuit and Rogers.

The City of Toronto, meanwhile, is a financial sponsor of the event. That’s because the city approached Telio after this summer’s Startupfest to produce an event unique to Toronto. “They were impressed with what we were doing and they wanted Toronto to have a large-scale, shiny event,” said Telio.

The event will include content from both startup veterans, and enterprise leaders, with a winter village showcasing relevant themes in the industry. A Startup track will focus on scaling, acquisition, and enterprise partnerships, while an Enterprise track will explore how companies should use a startup mindset, innovation, and self-disruption to survive and thrive in today’s high-change business environment.

ResolveTO will be held at 505 Richmond Street West; Startups, corporates, and service providers can apply for a speed dating zone, or demo table, in the winter.

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