Day 5: Show & Tell

February 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Today is Show & Tell.

It’s the initial opportunity for each of our teams to showcase their product. The purpose of the exercise is to explore what’s critical to each business, to discuss the elements that make each idea big and to choose the right metrics to generate excitement.

We keep the companies within our cohort under wraps until Demo Day. For that reason, the following tips on how to create and execute the perfect pitch are being relayed to you at a high level. We hope you enjoy…

Frame your pitch around the question: if your company died tomorrow, who would care and why?
Describe why you’ll succeed now (time sensitivity is key).
Relate your one real insight – even though everything else is ancillary.
Describe what’s going to happen to the world as a result of your business.
Reference at a high level the way in which your company is taking advantage of a shift in the world.
Articulate why it is that you believe (aside from a gut feeling) that people need your product.  
Has your product turned something dumb into something smart? Explain how.
Be prepared to say, with confidence, that what you’re providing is necessary for reasons X, Y and Z.
Focus on your piece of the market, be specific about your place in that piece, then clearly describe how you’ve gotten there.
Meet your audience in the middle: not dumbed down, not at too high of a level.
Frame your product from two points of view: your consumers and your industry’s.
Don’t oversell; don’t overhype.
Don’t make your audience have to leap.
Never omit a mention of your competition.
Exclude anything un-impactful.

We can’t wait for what’s to come! Continue following the journey here:  

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Day 4: Alumni Meet-up!

February 12, 2015 at 7:10 pm


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The room is silent as our Alumni Meet-up panel kicks off.

Ty Danco (Director at Techstars Boston), Thiago Da Costa (CEO at Lagoa) and Lee Silverstone (CEO at GymTrack) make up our panel on fundraising and acquisitions. The conversation quickly evolves into a candid discussion about all things startups.

Ty, Thiago and Lee touch on choosing investors wisely, the importance of delegation, what they would have done differently, the surprises involved in growing a business and even tips on maintaining personal relationships through the stresses of scaling a business.

While tonight is an amazing opportunity for our newest cohort to soak up open and honest advice, it’s also about much more. Tonight is a manifestation of one of the most important aspects of the FounderFuel program. We pride ourselves on the networks that we make available to each team that walks through our doors. This event is meant to introduce the newest additions of the FounderFuel family to an amazing network: our Alumni! 

Stay tuned for news on Show & Tell tomorrow!  

Day 3: Why You, Why Now?

February 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm

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The hallways are empty as the teams prep for Show & Tell this Friday.

Today’s talk on establishing objectives in order to formulate the perfect pitch began with the question:  “why you, why now?”

This is why teams are working on describing their unique value in the space they want to dominate. Once the teams can articulate why them and why now, they’re well on their way to creating goals and objectives that will get them there as soon as possible. With these objectives, they can pitch their vision. After all, you pitch what you want to become. 

Goal-setting tips overheard today:
“Don’t set (non-investment related) goals over 12 months from now – for startups, these are science fiction.”
“Know what you don’t know, then find support.”
“Sometimes you have to suspend all disbelief.”
“Anchor everything on your long term value proposition.”
“Constantly re-prioritize.”
“Find a work/life balance (it IS possible).”
“Use your sounding board.”
“Get acquainted with what you have to offer and how you can optimize it.”

 Stay tuned for details on Show & Tell and, as always, you can find out about all things FounderFuel here:

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Day 1: Welcoming the Spring 2015 Teams!

February 9, 2015 at 4:37 pm

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“It’s not a program – it’s a process.”

Today is the first day of a 12-week process. The 7 startups within the 7th cohort have arrived and moved in. Following introductions over lunch, the teams jumped right into elevator pitches and value propositions.

We’re pumped for the rest of this jam-packed week! A schedule of talks, meet-ups and meals has been created in the hopes of acquainting this cohort with the fast-paced nature of FounderFuel. These events will be a chance to connect each of the seven teams to all networks now available to them: the FounderFuel/Real Ventures team, Alumni, Mentors and Partners.

Check out some of the snippets overheard today:
“We’ve been waiting for this for months.”
“Those that do the best at FounderFuel are those that are looking for other people to help them.”
“So none of you have gotten it right today, but that’s okay, that’s why you’re here.”
“Perspective comes from two things: (1) periodically disconnecting from your business to focus on the concept of business itself, and (2) constant, unambiguous feedback.”

 We’ve only just begun the process of fostering greatness, and we’ll be keeping you up-to date every step of the way.

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7 Startups for our 7th Cohort

February 6, 2015 at 4:10 pm

“Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.” 
- William Peterson

FounderFuel is gearing up to welcome its Spring 2015 cohort on Monday, February 9th. 7 companies will comprise our 7th batch of startups. This time around, we’re trying something new.

After a deep-dive re-evaluating the past 6 cohorts, we’ve altered the structure of the program in order to capitalize on our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses. We want to more accurately reflect our purpose: to offer an in-depth and mentor-driven acceleration of your startup.

This is why this cohort will see a refocusing of the program, oriented even more towards the specific needs of the entrepreneur, and towards providing them with what will satisfy those needs. We want to have a higher impact upon the outcome and success of each startup embarking on this journey with us.

Stay tuned for more changes to come.

To remain up-to-date on the progress of FounderFuel and the 7 companies within its 7th cohort, follow us here:

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Vote for Vanhawks as Accelerator Graduate of the Year!!

January 6, 2015 at 10:21 am

Startup Awards

The finalists for the 2014 Canadian Startup Awards have just been announced and our very own Vanhawks (Spring 2014) has been nominated as Accelerator Graduate of the Year! 

Vanhawks’s mission is to make connected bikes for the urban commuter to encourage bike rides for greener and less congested cities with the best experience possible. The Vanhawks Valour, is the first Bluetooth connected bike built from carbon fibre, giving riders safety,comfort and insight for every ride. 

Vanhawks came into the FounderFuel program with a big idea and were in the early stages of manufacturing their prototype. They then went one to raise the most amount of money in crowdfunding in Canada through Kickstarter which was 820k, have attracted major media attention, made key hires and have a lot more exciting news on the way!  2015 is going to be a big year for Vanhawks! Let’s start it off right by helping them win Accelerator Graduate of the Year! 

Vote here!  

And help us spread the word!

Meet the Fall 2014 Cohort

December 10, 2014 at 10:45 am


Elevator World Tour + FounderFuel

December 9, 2014 at 9:40 am


Next January 21st, one hundred of the most promising startups will be pitching a panel of investors and experts, hoping to secure fame and funding. But this isn’t your ordinary startup contest, because each entrepreneur has only the time it takes to ride the elevator at the Eiffel Tower to convince judges they’re the best. 

The Elevator World Tour™ Paris, will have the best startups delivering their elevator pitches — in the actual elevator of the Eiffel Tower — as they compete for several prizes including, a guaranteed spot in the FounderFuel Spring 2015 Cohort! 

“We’re thrilled that the first European stop on the Elevator World Tour is in one of the most exciting cities in the world, in the most iconic building in the world,” said Philippe Telio, the event’s founder. Jerome Masurel, co-founder and CEO of 50 Partners adds, “Holding the event at the Eiffel Tower is a reminder that some of the most ambitious projects were built by engineers and entrepreneurs, and that the world’s greatest companies start with a great vision and unstoppable founders.”

The contest is part of a worldwide startup contest known as the Elevator World Tour that runs literal elevator pitches in some of the world’s most iconic buildings. Other stops on the tour have included Toronto’s CN tower and the Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv, with upcoming events being planned in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Berlin, and Santiago.

The Elevator World Tour Paris is being organized by the International Startup Festival and the French accelerator, 50 Partners and is being hosted by the Société d’Explotation de la Tour Eiffel.

See you in Paris!



Check out the Fall 2014 Demo Day Pitches (VIDEO)

December 8, 2014 at 10:04 am

Post-Demo Day and onto the real world

December 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Well, that’s a wrap folks! After the production of Demo Day on Tuesday, FounderFuel’s 6th cohort has come to a close. That mean’s it’s time for the latest additions to the #FFMob to head out into the real world and we’re so excited to see what they’ll do! It’s been 3 months of grueling work and endless pitch prep but it certainly paid off at Demo Day. Rave reviews were heard all around the packed Rialto Theatre and the latest cohort is all set to take that success and run with it. The real world will be very different from the nurturing walls of Notman House, but armed with the mentors and network they gained during the cohort, we’re convinced that the most mature FounderFuel class will achieve nothing short of victory!


Want a closer look at the teams? Here’s a full list of the Fall 2014 cohort:


Brownie Points 




RedTree Robotics

Seamless Planet

Selective Few

Were you unable to make it to Demo Day and are wondering what kind of magic happened in the Rialto Theatre? You can catch the entire show again here, or stay tuned to our blog where we’ll be sharing the individual pitches of the cohort.

Think your team has what it takes?