May 17th, 2019
As we narrowed down the list of FounderFuel applications for the 2019 cohort, we were looking for mission-driven entrepreneurs building innovative tech companies that will have large-scale positive impacts on society. Founders with deep domain expertise, sharp thinking, focus, and relentless execution. Both ambitious and humble. Planning the 12th cohort of FounderFuel in late 2018, our goal was to assure continuity. We have the benefit of hindsight, an established track record, and have now accelerated 94 companies. Of those, 27 have raised seed funding after the program, 11 have raised Series A and Series B rounds, and 9 have been acquired (see the complete list on our companies highlights page). We have already published what we learned in the recruitment process, but today we want to dig into what we look for in startups… and the final results of this year’s contest. FounderFuel is broad – we do not have a sector-specific thesis – it is horizontal by design. We take chances with B2C companies, hardware startups, unsexy industries with huge markets, companies before product-market fit and without revenue, scientists becoming founders, hackers becoming entrepreneurs. We search for applied AI, for companies creating data in industries and sectors where it is scarce, and for people using technology to solve important and tangible problems. We also specifically looked out for women founders. In our 2019 cohort, women co-founders represented 45% of our top 20 finalists and 37% of the final selection. With all that in mind, we are proud to present the FounderFuel 2019 cohort, a diverse and exciting crew of fantastic founders!
NameShouts by Naureen and Chaity: Helping people take the first step in every relationship – learning a new name.
Willful by Erin, Kevin and Matt: The future of estate planning – online wills made easy.
PowerTree by David and Mat: A platform that gives building operators and owners real-time access to their electrical infrastructure and key analytics.
Gravy by Ben, Josh and David: Personalizing the digital ordering experience for restaurants.
BoxKnight by Peter, Maya and Hasan: Same-day and scheduled deliveries from e-commerce merchants, picked up from storefronts and powered by the gig economy.
LiveScale by Virgile, Laurent and Geoffroy: Transforming online commerce into live shopping experiences for the mobile-first generation.
HALEO by Brad, Philippe and Quentin: A guide that enables people experiencing poor sleep and mental illness to feel better.
OSCP by Kazem and Yoann: Integrated precise and reliable motion sensing solution.
FounderFuel’s mission is still the same: to help founders realize the full potential of their companies by providing them with the guidance, stage-specific support and communities to help them rapidly grow. This is the same mission we have at Real Ventures, whether we invest at the pre-seed stage in Canadian startups selected for top-tier accelerators (wherever in the world), or by investing directly at the Seed stage or Series A.
The other key asset we have is the FounderFuel network of 100 mentors. It’s the perfect way for founders with a few years of experience (of success and failures) and senior executives (with the startup mindset) to start investing time in their ecosystem, pay it forward, keep the flywheel turning. Our goal this year was to have 50% new mentors, to invite founders and early employees from startups in Montréal, Toronto and all over Canada and the US, to care, join and believe.
We might have collectively hit 10,000 hours of mentoring and guiding, but we are always yearning to learn more, to experiment, and to get even better. FounderFuel has always been Real Ventures’ petri dish — fertile soil where we work to grow nascent ideas into blooming businesses. We have a couple of really interesting experiment ongoing. This will be the topic of our next post: what we have learned and continue to learn from other accelerators and incubators, and our belief in the power of conscious leadership.
One last thing: mark your calendars for FounderFuel Demo Day 2019! It’s coming on July 9th at New City Gas in Montréal, kicking off the Startupfest week-long bonanza.
For interviews with the FounderFuel management team (Sylvain Carle and Isaac Souweine), or to reach out to startup founders (as listed previously), please email Sarah Bezeau, program manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.