08 Jun Montreal Demo Days are Here Again
Demo Montréal 2016 is happening this coming Thursday, June 9th 2016,. Five startup accelerators are joining forces to showcase some of Montreal’s top early-stage startups. The event is a collaboration between Innocité, Concordia District 3, Founder Institute Montréal, ETS Centech and TandemLauch. Entrepreneurs will pitch their stories to investors, corporations, city representatives and media. FounderFuel was actively involved in making this collaboration happen in the first place and in coaching each startups for a couple of hours in pitch prep.
Let me go back in time a bit. Five years and one month ago, Montréal had exactly zero accelerator. One doesn’t need to be a math genius to know that multiplying anything with 0 will lead to… nothing. On June 2nd, 2011, Techcrunch and StartupNorth were getting the news out. Montreal would have its first startup accelerator: FounderFuel.
I volunteered to mentor from the earliest days. I had wished something like FounderFuel would have existed for the previous startups I had launched. As I got more interested in developing startup ecosystems, and bringing what I was learning to Montréal, I attended an Accelerator Rally in 2014. It was an opportunity to listen to an inspiring keynotes from David Brown (Managing Partner at Techstars). I still remember three striking questions he asked at that time: What is the population of Montréal? How many accelerator do you have here? Do you know we have three accelerators in Boulder for a population of 100,000 people?
As I was in the process of joining FounderFuel full-time as general manager, it occurred to me that our success would not be defined by how well we did within the confine of our own program. We could, and would, make an impact on a smaller scale. But we would make even greater progress by accelerating accelerators. Formalizing and scaling up Accelerator Fest was one step. Next up was reaching out to collaborate with existing efforts (at universities and with private programs). And help bootstrap a few more (Innocité, Hacking Health). 10 accelerators for 4 million people in this metro area seemed like a good start to answer David’s Brown question.
I am really glad to be on stage this week at Demo Montreal for this startup showcase. We had the chance to spend a few hours with all of the founders to refine their pitches, what we call the founder narrative. The crazy and cool thing is that none of those startups are from our own program at FounderFuel. Replicating what works seems like progress to me. You can’t have scale with scarce resources, you need lots of people working with lots of startups to grow an ecosystem.
FounderFuel will have it’s own Demo Day at the Olympia on July 12th. The timing wasn’t right for us to do it with everyone this time around. But we bootstrapped this mega day day idea with Innocité last year and we loved it. The 1000+ attendees were delighted too.
And so this week is the beginning of something bigger. Something that looks like the next chapter. This is a clear case of more is more. The total greater than the sums of the parts. Collaboration creates acceleration. Acceleration is powered by people networks. Together we are going further, we are raising the bar, we are building amazing, world-class startups. Small batches, handcrafted, in so many
microbreweries accelerators across town. Exhilarating, let’s drink to that!
Also published on Medium.