Joining the Family

November 23, 2015 at 3:24 pm

 A few weeks ago, I was in my hometown, Nice, France for 3 weeks. I took some time to see good friends and family. This moment was a great time to take a step back from all the stuff I’d been doing earlier. To think.

When I came back to Montreal early October, I was looking for the next opportunity to jump on. I was focused on finding a job in Los Angeles with my girlfriend who was moving there permanently. I believed it was an interesting next move: to go live near what some people call the ‘Silicon Beach’. And well, it’s California – I was already sold. But then, Alex from Real Ventures, told me we should grab a beer to chat about something. I found out it was about Emma, the current Program Manager at FounderFuel. She was moving to a new adventure in 2016 and Sylvain was looking for someone to take over this crazy role.

When I learned this, I immediately thought it was an amazing opening, and I was very curious to learn more. Last summer I had been running the McGill X-1 Accelerator so I had the chance to work with some people from Real Ventures. And it was awesome. They were straightforward, and always spot on, it was tough love. Before that, I had worked on 2 startups and participated in the Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator at MIT, so I had been involved in startups from the get go. Full disclosure: I had applied to a FounderFuel cohort with a previous startup and did not get in. Even though we didn’t make it, we learned a ton in the process of applying to the program and the partners gave us great insights to move forward. These experiences taught me two important things: determination makes a real difference and that if you don’t ask, you just don’t get.

And today I’m very happy and honoured to join the team at Real Ventures, working as FounderFuel’s new Program Manager. I’m so thrilled to be part of such a vibrant community in Montreal, working from the Notman House. I’m definitely the rookie here, but you know what, that makes it such a great opportunity to learn from the best, and keep on making FounderFuel bigger and better! Surfing in Los Angeles can wait for now. I just started a few days ago and the people here made me feel at home straight away. I’m excited about what’s coming next for the program in 2016. And for now I’ll switch back to my other tabs to work with the rest of the team on the Mega Demo Day coming up soon! Hope to see you there!

Please say hi, and if you want to chat, I’d love to meet you. Tweet me @thibaudmarechal or send me an email.

– Thibaud

Edit creds: Thanks to Ella, Emma, Sylvain and Valentine for reading draft versions of this post.


Journée démo conjointe: FounderFuel et InnoCité

October 14, 2015 at 3:29 pm

On monte le volume à 11 pour notre journée démo du 2 décembre cette année! Deux accélérateurs, deux cohortes: FounderFuel et InnoCitéMTL. Sur scène, quelques-unes des meilleurs de la scène des startups de Montréal avec encore plus de capacité d’accueil en salle, le plus gros évènement du genre au Canada.

Si vous avez déjà participé à une de nos éditions par le passé, vous avez sûrement constaté que nous étions de plus en plus serrés au Rialto. Nous allons donc migrer vers le théâtre Olympia, ce qui va nous permettre de recevoir jusqu’à 1400 membres de la communauté à l’évènement.


Nous avons 7 compagnies à vous présenter pour FounderFuel, de la réalité virtuelle à l’éducation, en passant les APIs en l’intelligence artificielle. Cette journée sera aussi la dernière production de notre extraordinaire directrice de programme, Emma Williams. Vous pouvez en lire un peu plus sur son départ ici, et postuler pour prendre sa relève (tout un défi)!

Joignez-vous à l’équipe de FounderFuel et d’InnoCitéMTL, aux startups, aux investisseurs de la Silicon Valley, de New York, Boston, Toronto et Montréal, ainsi qu’à plusieurs élus municipaux et bien entendu, toute la communauté startup du Québec (et plus). Venez rencontrer les équipes et célébrer leur progression et leurs succès avec nous! C’est un évènement à ne pas manquer. Les billets sont maintenant disponibles, voir les informations ci-bas. Il y a trois types de billets, soit pour la partie InnoCitéMTL, pour FounderFuel ou pour les deux parties, assurez-vous de choisir la bonne option.

Horaire détaillé
13:30 – Ouverture des portes pour InnoCitéMTL
14:00 – Présentations Innocité, cohorte automne 2015
15:00 – Ouverture des portes pour FounderFuel
15:45 – FounderFuel Demo Day, cohorte automne 2015
17:30 – Coktail, 5 à 7
20:00 – Fermeture de la salle
22:00 – Party officiel (lieu à confirmer sous peu)

Si l’interface de sélection de billets ne fonctionne pas pour vous, lien direct est

Si vous nous visitez de l’extérieur de Montréal, nous allons offrir encore cette année plusieurs options avec notre partenaire Partage le Bus, détails très bientôt.

Que la flamme soit avec vous!
– L’équipe de FounderFuel.

Get ready for the biggest Demo Day yet!

October 14, 2015 at 10:44 am

This time around, Demo Day is bigger and better than ever before! On December 2nd, you’ll get not one but two Demo Days. FounderFuel and InnoCitéMTL are joining forces to showcase the best of the best in front of the biggest crowd we’ve ever gathered.

If you’ve attended our Demo Day’s in the past, you’ve probably felt them becoming increasingly cramped. So we’re moving on from the hallowed halls of the historic Rialto, to Olympia Theatre, which can accommodate 1400 community members.


This cohort, we have seven startups working in a wide range of fields, from VR to education. This demo day also happens to be the last for our superwoman program manager Emma Williams. You can read more about her leaving (and the position opening!) here

Join the FounderFuel and InnoCitéMTL Founders as well as investors from Silicon Valley, New York, Montreal & Toronto, various Canadian city officials and the startup community. Come out, meet the teams and celebrate their success with us! This is an event not to be missed. Tickets have officially opened – you can grab yours below. Keep in mind that there are 3 different tickets types  (InnoCitéMTL Demo Day, FounderFuel Demo Day, InnoCitéMTL + FounderFuel Demo Day) so make sure you select the one that fits you best. 

Here is the detailed schedule:
1:30PM – Doors Open for InnoCitéMTL Demo Day | Grab A Seat
2PM – Innocité Demo Day | Fall 2015 Pitches
3PM – Doors Open for FounderFuel Demo Day | Grab A Seat
3:45PM – FounderFuel Demo Day | Fall 2015 Pitches
5:30PM – “5 à 7” Drinks
10PM – Official After-Party TBD

Widget not working? You can grab your tickets here.

Coming from out of town? Stay tuned – Founders On A Bus is back and more will be announced soon! Stay tuned for more exciting news leading up to the big day.

The FounderFuel Crew 

“It’s Not Goodbye” – a see you later blog from our Program Manager Emma Williams

October 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I entered the startup world completely by accident. I’d never heard the word startup before, all I knew was that I was applying to a  job located about 100m from my front door (very convenient, I know). A few weeks later I found myself as one of the early employees at OOHLALA Mobile working as their Community Manager. It was there that I fell in love with this amazing, vibrant and diverse startup community that is developing in Montreal. Although I loved my job at OOHLALA and believed in what they were doing (and I still really do!), I wanted more, I wanted to be at the heart of this community. I wanted to help build it out, to help it thrive, to meet everyone I could and learn everything I could. I knew my ideal job would be at Real Ventures / FounderFuel, where I would get to interact with dozens of different companies and people daily. But of course they weren’t hiring so  I bided my time and then one day, there it was. FounderFuel was hiring a new Program Manager, this was my chance. I jumped at the opportunity.

And here I am, 4 Cohorts later and what a ride it’s been! I wish I could properly put this experience into words but if I tried, this post would be 10 pages long (and I don’t want to bore you). What I will say is that the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learnt, the experiences I’ve had, the companies I’ve had the pleasure of working with, everything has been over and above what I ever could have expected. I’ve worked with 30 companies over the last 4 Cohorts and it’s been incredibly satisfying and exhilarating. But as most startup founders, employees and mentors know, the startup bug isn’t a fictional thing, it’s real and it’s strong and it’s pulling me back in. I’m ready to dive back into playing a key role in the growth of a startup from an operational standpoint. Which company is still to be determined, all I can say is that I’m very excited about what the future holds and am looking forward to this next chapter. This decision has not come easy, or quickly, but it’s official. The Fall 2015 Cohort will be my last as Program Manager at FounderFuel.

And with that, Sylvain and I are on the hunt for someone who’s ready to step up to the challenge of becoming FounderFuel’s new Program Manager. We’re on the hunt for someone who’s crazy passionate about startups, innovation, entrepreneurship and wants to play a pivotal role in the Canadian ecosystem. Think you’re the perfect fit? Send me an e-mail (, I’d love to chat!

A few years ago I was just about to head home after a trip to visit family in Toronto. I gave my 3 year old cousin a hug and said goodbye. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “what do you mean goodbye? Am I never going to see you again?”. To avoid a tantrum, I quickly corrected myself and said, “no of course not! It’s not goodbye, I meant to say, I’ll see you later”. Her tears quickly disappeared and it got me thinking. She couldn’t have been more right, the word goodbye has so much finality to it, and I don’t plan on leaving this amazing startup community anytime soon. So, FounderFuel, this isn’t goodbye. This is see you later.

– Emma


Check out the job posting!

FounderFuel + Guru

August 31, 2015 at 11:48 am

There’s a dark side to entrepreneurship that’s often overlooked: a lack of emphasis placed on health.

We want to address this issue head on, so we’ll be working with a nutritionist during the Fall 2015 cohort (8 days away!) to ensure that our teams are taking care of their health as much as their startup. We’re also very excited to announce a new partnership with the team at Guru, who believe that energy should not come at the expense of health. Their energy drink is crafted with natural and organic ingredients. 


Four beneficial Guru ingredients and their health properties: 

Also known as purple coneflower, it is a popular herb present in western herbal medicine. Echinacea is an immune system stimulant often used during the first signs of a cold or flu. Thank you purple friend.

Ginseng is a popular herb that has been used throughout history as an energy and libido boost, however additional benefits of taking ginseng include memory improvement and weight loss.

Guarana is a creeping shrub native to the Amazon.
It contains twice as much caffeine as coffee and stimulates the heart and central nervous system. It’s also purported to increase mental alertness, long-term memory and stamina.

Green Tea Leaves
It’s known as a powerful anti-oxidant and has a beneficial effect against age-related degenerative diseases. We explained earlier on this blog how  natural occurring caffeine is extracted for a good 100 mg of energy.

See you soon! 
– The FounderFuel Crew 

facebook icon 2 twitter icon 2   3

Get a Referral!

June 17, 2015 at 9:53 am

Ever heard the infamous ‘foot in the door’ story?

An eager man sent one shoe to the company of his dreams. With it was a note that read, “now that I have my foot in the door, how about an interview?” 

get a refferal 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: one way to guarantee an interview (to ensure that your shoe – attached to your foot – gets through the door) is to get a referral! 

We leverage the greatness of our network during recruitment. At times, the strongest teams that we meet are introduced to us by alumni, mentors, and other community members. At other times, we meet future superstars by sifting through new applications. We look over every application – no matter who from. That way, we’re able to meet with entrepreneurs who haven’t made those connections yet (who may even be coming to us precisely to forge those relationships). 

Know someone that we do? Get in touch at
Have yet to get your foot in the door? Apply today.

Can’t wait to meet you! 


May 11, 2015 at 10:25 am



Thanks to everyone who came out to Demo Day last Thursday! We had a record number of people attend and will definitely need to move to a bigger venue for next time. Pictures and videos to come shortly :).

It’s always so awesome to see an entire community come together to celebrate each other and our combined success and growth. Like Sylvain said on stage, Montreal & Canada are where it’s at and people are really starting to take notice!

Finally, a BIG thank you to our Sponsors, without them we couldn’t make Demo Day happen! 

Itching to be up on that stage during our Fall 2015 Cohort? Apply now!

Behind the Scenes at FounderFuel: Sam Haffar

April 29, 2015 at 11:47 am

Sam Haffar, Principal at Real Ventures

Sam joined Real Ventures in August 2014 after spending 8 years in Silicon Valley helping build some of the fastest growing companies in their category; Chegg, Kno and Eat Club. After starting his first company while in University, Sam helped scale companies from 5 to 300+ employees and helped grow revenue from $0 to $100 million. This was all in the span of a few years after university. 

Today, Sam is a Principal at Real Ventures where he helps lead seed deals, connect companies to exceptional talent and prepare companies for success beyond their seed round. His most recent investments include Vanhawks and Breezy HR.

At FounderFuel, Sam helps drive the recruitment and selection process of new companies into the program. He helps teams define their product strategy, build their go to market, refine their pitch, connect with customers, and plan their round of funding after the program. A current FounderFuel team working closely with Sam describes him as having genuine insight, a ton of experience and willing to roll up his sleeves to help get the job done (whatever it may be).

When it comes to funding the next big idea, Sam looks for ambitious teams that are maniacally focused and are hardcore geeks in their fields. He’s incredibly excited about AI, Robotics, VR/AR, the Internet of things and how automation will shape our future, but also is a sucker for obvious ideas that fulfill a huge present day demand that haven’t been so obvious to everyone else.

When asking Sam what’s the most rewarding part of FounderFuel to him, he described watching the transformation of the teams from the day that they walk through the door for their interview as raw entrepreneurs with a good idea but with far more potential, to the day that they are on stage at Demo Day pitching like world-class entrepreneurs with a massive idea and the confidence and know how to make it happen.

He explained that the success of a team hinges on the people involved, their passion and vision, and their ability to clearly communicate goals and objectives.

If you think that this describes your team and you would like to find success with Sam’s help, apply to the FounderFuel program here!   

Founders On A Bus

April 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Interested in coming to Demo Day on May 7th but you’re based in Waterloo, Toronto and Ottawa and it seems like a bit of a trek? We’ve got the perfect option for you! Hop on a bus with some of your fellow Founders. 

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 1.27.30 PM

On May 7th, FounderFuel is inviting Founders on an epic bus ride to party, pitch judges and network with fellow Founders. The final destination is our Demo Day in Montreal! You’ll get to watch the companies from the Spring 2015 Cohort pitch and then network the evening away at our massive cocktail party (close to 1000 VC’s, Entrepreneurs, Community Members and Press attend).

This isn’t your Grade 3 field trip to the zoo. During the ride there will be lightning pitches with judges, Founder talks and a whole lot of geeking out. The top lightning pitch gets a guaranteed interview with FounderFuel for their Fall 2015 Cohort.

Hurry, seats are limited so RSVP quickly.

Register here.


Vanhawks: From door to door lawn care sales to the the highest funded Kickstarter campaign in Canada

April 14, 2015 at 2:34 pm

One of the Principals at Real Ventures, Sam Haffar, just launched a blog / podcast about successful people who have past stories of failure that made them what they are today.

Check out his first podcast featuring Ali Zahid, Co-Founder & COO at Vanhawks

Full post here.

Think your team has what it takes?