August 24th, 2020
It’s amazing how quickly September is now suddenly at our doorstep, our 13th FounderFuel program has zoomed by in a flash. Since June 1st, we have re-imagined FounderFuel from the ground up with 100% virtual programming that included fixed, flex and free time blocks to foster the development of critical skills for our founders. From Conscious Leadership training, to specialized business acumen sessions, to candid real-life talks from alumni founders; we have challenged our founders to proclaim their purpose, articulate their vision, sharpen their bets for product-market fit, methodically scale their market traction, and accelerate their ambitions with focused yet iterative product development.
The work is hard yet rewarding. The rollercoaster is real. It has been magical to witness the powerful vulnerability, transparency and trust built amongst our founders over digital platforms in such a short period of time. We could not be more proud to see FounderFuel unfold as it has during this pandemic – it has far exceeded the expectations of the founders and team alike.
In recent weeks, it’s been a frenzy of pitch preparation. At Real Ventures, the pitch goes beyond an entertaining story, it’s the roadmap to a business. It is the key to onboarding collaborators, getting them to Care, Believe and Join the company’s adventure. Our 8 CEOs have been iterating their stories tirelessly with the help of mentors and Real Ventures partners. They’re excited to showcase and share their journeys with you at our upcoming Demo Day on September 9th (4-7pm). Join us by registering here!
As with all great communities, it takes a village to infuse profoundly rich teachings and grow founders and their businesses. Since FounderFuel’s inception in 2011, alongside our rich mentor network, our benefactors have played an essential role in transforming 100+ companies into some of the world’s best such as Sonder, Mejuri, BenchSci and XpertSea. From office hours to mentorship sessions, they have generously shared specialized advice and access to their extensive networks to rapidly progress founders. And for many FounderFuel graduates, our sponsors have become trusted mentors and lifelong allies, a testament to their contribution to our thriving ecosystem.
We would like to introduce you to our devoted sponsors, a foundational pillar of support behind this year’s program. They remained steadfast in their commitment to accelerating founders all while managing the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 in their own organizations. Eight incredible companies, fuelled by passionate individuals, without whom FounderFuel 2020 would just not have been possible.
Most have been supporters for years, others recently joined to further strengthen our existing entrepreneurial support arsenal with new areas of expertise, approaches and viewpoints. Our gratitude to this year’s remarkable group of loyal institutions goes beyond words.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to our eight inspiring partners for your unwavering support and especially for your abilities to accelerate our startups!
We look forward to working with you toward the culmination of FounderFuel 2020 at Demo Day on September 9th. And to any founder who is hesitant about getting specialized advice tailored to your startup reality, we strongly recommend getting in touch with the individuals listed below. They live to help you grow faster. They want to help you avoid many of the costly mistakes that early founders make. They can highlight fast lanes that you may not know even exist. We learn from them continuously and so do our founders.
Introducing our Incredible Collaborators:
Amazon Web Services has become a crucial partner for thousands of startups around the world, including many in the Real Ventures and FounderFuel portfolio. Amazon’s work with Canadian startups is newly under the leadership of Mark Smith. We are excited to partner with him to deepen their engagement in the Montreal and Canadian startup ecosystem.
BDO provides personalized accounting and tax services to emerging companies, with a focus on building long-term relationships. Led by Matt Harrison, BDO’s National Emerging Technology leader, BDO has been a stalwart partner to FounderFuel and Real Ventures since their inception, and a positive force within the startup ecosystem for over a decade.
BFL Canada is the largest employee-owned and operated commercial insurance broker and consulting firm in Canada. With 13 offices across the country they have a strong track record of helping SMBs manage risk and enhance employee benefits. Our partnership with BFL is led by Valérie Flechette, Alan Rabey and Mathieu Levesque who are on a mission to help business owners navigate the complex world of insurance in the innovation ecosystem.
EY helps companies from the seed stage to expansion with a range of accounting and strategic services. Our work with EY is supported by Nassim Bennacer, who has been an engaged and connected member of the startup ecosystem for years, and by Alex Susma and Michael Blume (tax) whose teams work hand-in-hand with some of Montreal and Canada’s best-known startups.
Fasken has been helping entrepreneurs scale their business by providing legal expertise and programs tailored to their needs for nearly twenty years. Christian Jacques and Jean-Nicolas Delage have both been long-time supporters of Founderfuel and both have an extensive track record of supporting startups and building community in Montreal and beyond.
Microsoft has become an important part of Montreal’s startup community as an employer, investor, aquirerer, and cloud provider. We are thrilled to be deepening our ties with them in partnership with Adam Nanjee, the energetic new leader of Microsoft for Startups in Canada, as well as his excellent team including the always helpful Sarah Muma.
RBC is committed to serving young, fast growing businesses in the technology sector. With projects such as Borealis AI and RBC Reach, they have also become key actors in the Canadian startup community. RBC’s partnership with FounderFuel is led by Anne No Delaide’s commercial banking group, which includes community steward Julien Levesque. With their innovative Beyond Banking platform, RBC is committed to helping startup founders build, grow and scale with the right financial products at every step of the way.
Silicon Valley Bank For 35 years, SVB has helped innovative companies and their investors move bold ideas forward, fast. SVB provides targeted financial services and expertise through its offices in innovation centers around the world. With commercial, international and private banking services, SVB helps address the unique needs of innovators. Our partnership with SVB is led by Laith Shukri, with support from Sheila Solby. Laith is particularly passionate about using his background to help founders scale their ideas by fostering connections between Canada’s upcoming game-changers and the most influential peers, organizations and programs in Canada’s innovation ecosystem.