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.



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!   

We Stuffed Up !

June 3, 2011 at 11:49 pm

It wasn’t malicious, it wasn’t intentional – sometimes we are just oblivious to our ignorance …

What are we talking about? We launched the FounderFuel website without a single women on the mentor pages. We did have eleven women on our list of female invitees, but we had only sent out two of those invites before the launch and neither of those had been able to sign up before we went live.

A Big Apology!

Why didn’t we send out all the 11 invites – blissful ignorance?

Why didn’t we think to chase up the female mentors we did send out – blissful ignorance?

Why are there only 11 invites – blissful ignorance?

We are blissfully ignorant no more – and a big thank you to the tweets and blogs of our “Montreal Girl Geeks” for calling us out!!

We will get the eleven invites out ASAP and hope that we are fortunate enough to have them all agree to give their time as mentors; and let’s hope other women mentors accept our genuine apology and we can get them involved too!

Think your team has what it takes?