Top Investors And Accelerators For Canadian Startup Owners


Top Accelerators & Investors for Canadian Startups and Small Business

Investments in technological innovation have changed how businesses operate as well as how people live. The emergence of new disruptive technologies — AI, machine learning, automation, blockchain — is forcing savvy Canadian business owners to seize a narrow window of opportunity to capitalize on the latest digital revolution and harness it for their ventures to thrive.


As modern businesses adapt to industry trends, and gradually become more dependent on technology, the demand for business accelerators and investors continues to climb. This trend shows no sign of slowing down, with one in three small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) planning to invest in software over the next 12 months. With a positive outlook in Canada’s technology sector (despite the downturn), and an expected 22.4% growth rate in the 2021 to 2024 period for investments in tech, it is vital for business owners seeking to accelerate their venture to be well-informed of the resources available to support them. Embarking in a new venture inevitably brings along new challenges, which is why founders seek external support from experts who already have the previous industry knowledge and experience to help new startups reach their fullest potential.


Upon reading this guide, you will be well informed on the startup ecosystem, and the necessary steps to grow your startup, taking a unique idea, along with the support from industry and innovation experts to a fully operational and lucrative company. There is no golden ticket to success when navigating the entrepreneurial journey. However, the sky’s the limit, and with the right mindset, resources, and support this is just the start to creating a meaningful impact on the world.




Table of Contents

Summary of Accelerators and Investors

Accelerator Programs

Investors




The differences between Investors and Accelerators

Although both accelerators and investors play a vital role in the development of a startup in Canada, especially in its early stages, there are key differences between the two. Imagine the incubation stage as a school where founders learn about building a company, before entering the real world where the company is on the market.



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What Accelerators Do For Canadian Startups & Small Businesses

Accelerators are programs that support developing companies/startups by providing them with a network of investors, access to government support, mentorship, and other guidance needed. Accelerator programs generally range from three to twelve months and are guided by industry professionals throughout the process. Companies entering accelerator programs are established, and have completed the incubation stage — building a minimum viable product (MVP). Accelerator programs focus on growth and expansion and tackle challenges in organizational structure, operations, financials, and business strategy. Essentially, accelerators provide advisory services for startups. Lastly, following completion, the company is pitched to an audience of Venture Capitalists (VCs) and investors to raise capital.


Some of the most highly regarded Accelerators that you may be familiar with include Y Combinator (YC), Techstars and 500 Startups. Although based in the United States, these accelerators regularly work with foreign-based companies and are available to Canadian businesses. Many top Accelerators back unicorns and successful companies such as Coinbase (YC), Airbnb (YC), Canva (500 Startups), Reddit (500 Startups), and Zipline (Techstars).




How Investors Help Businesses

Following the establishment of this method involves investors purchasing the company’s shares at a fixed price. Priced Equity investments are intangible assets, or securities, similar to investing in a government-issued bond or a tesla stock. Additionally, Priced Equity Round investments typically are made to later-stage startups (Series A+), which we will cover later. Startup founders seek advice from seasoned entrepreneurs and industry professionals through accelerators. Accelerators provide advisory services, but do not provide the necessary capital needed to execute the strategies for growth — which is where investors come in.



Typically, there are 3 popular methods of raising investment for startups:


1. Priced Equity Round

Price Equity round fundraising is the most common method of investment involving investors purchasing the company’s shares at a fixed price. Priced Equity investments are intangible assets, or securities, similar to investing in a government-issued bond or a tesla stock. Investors will determine a startup’s valuation — how much investors think a company is worth, then offer an investment — capital in exchange for shares in the company. The price per share is calculated on behalf of the valuation of the company. Priced Equity Round investments typically are made to later-stage startups (Series A+).


2. Convertible Debt

Convertible debt can later be converted from one asset type to another. For example, the initial investment amount may be converted into stock options, equity, or cash as time goes on. In this method of investment, an investment in a form of a loan is given to the start-up. Upon reaching the maturity date or end of term, the debt can be repaid in cash or stock options — shares of the company. Investors specializing in earlier phases, such as the seed stage, often invest using convertible debt as the startup’s financial performance continues to change.


3. Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE)

The SAFE was first introduced by the revolutionary technology accelerator and investor Y Combinator (YC) in late 2013. Since then, the SAFE has become a popular new choice for investors for early stage fundraising, offering two essential features important to startups — high-resolution fundraising and flexible one-document security.


A) High-resolution fundraising

Investors and founders are more transparent with what each side gives and receives in a transaction. This way, founders and single investors can close a deal as soon as both parties are ready to sign a formal agreement, instead of having to organize a simultaneous close with all investors.


B) Flexible one-document security

The SAFE does not have a set maturity date, eliminating the need to negotiate multiple terms such as interest rate and maturity date revisions. A SAFE can save founders and investors significant legal fees and reduces the time spent negotiating the terms of an investment. Time is money — literally. This way, the single term that requires negotiation is the valuation cap — the price ceiling imposed on the SAFE when it converts to stock ownership in the future.




Company Funding Stages

A Canadian startup’s funding stages include pre-seed, seed, series A, and series B, followed by the end goal of an initial public offering (IPO). Using the analogy of a seed, which will eventually grow into a tree, companies begin from an idea, or “seed” and strive to grow into a “tree”, representing a fully operational company.


Pre-Seed

Commonly referred to as the “bootstrapping stage," companies in the Pre-seed stage use their existing network, connections, and resources to begin operations. In this stage, pre-seed companies are conducting market research, developing marketing timelines for a product launch, and continuing to look at the feasibility of their product or service. Since the pre-seed stage is so early in the process, it is generally excluded from rounds of funding.


Potential investors in this stage include: family, close-friends, supporters, the entrepreneurs themselves and potential early-stage angel investors.


Seed

In the Seed stage, the startup begins its first official round of equity funding. During this stage, the startup receives funding that is allocated towards market research, product development and recruiting — initial steps of the company. Upon receiving seed funding, the startup is now able to finalize its target market, and determine its final product line-ups. The median seed round investment was $1 million in 2020. However, seed funding can vary significantly, ranging from $10,000 to up to $10 million for a startup.


Potential investors in this stage include: founders, friends, family, accelerators, Angel Investors, and (VCs) Venture Capitalists. Angel Investors are a main player in the seed stage, by expecting an equity stake in the startup in exchange for investment, or funding. Generally, Angel Investors lean towards funding startups that carry higher risks to succeed, hence their haloed-guardian classification in their name.


Series A

Upon reaching the Series A stage, the startup has completed product development and will now offer a preferred stock to potential investors. In the Series A stage, the startup receives mainly Venture Capital (VC) financing. Companies entering Series A fundings are expected to have a well-organized business model, long-term revenue streams, and strong strategies for growth. Series A rounds raise approximately $2 million to $100 million, with a median of $10 million especially for startups in the high tech space.


Potential Investors in this stage include: Traditional Venture Capital (VC) firms and Angel Investors. US-based firms include Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital Ventures and GV (Google Ventures). Canada-based firms include BDC Venture Capital, Omers Capital, and Timia Capital. Angel Investors may also invest in the Series A stage, but will have less influence compared to earlier stages as the startup is supported by more firms and investors. Typically there will first be an anchor investor, who will then help bring in additional investors.


An easy to understand Series A funding round is to imagine the startup cycle as a seed prospering into a tree. After the seed round, when the seed is planted in soil, the plant begins sprouting as it receives more water, sunlight and nutrients — Venture Capital funding needed to grow and develop the startup.


Series B+

Startups at the Series B+ stage have completed the product development stage, and are now looking to expand their market reach. Having already completed the Series A stage, Series B+ startups have successfully established a large user base, proving to investors that they have the capability to grow and meet increasing demand. Series B+ companies have high valuations ranging from $30 to $250 million, proving to investors that they are ready to reach the next level.


Types of potential Investors in the Series A stage remain in the Series B+ stage, since both stages engage in the same investment process. However, the difference between the two is that a new cohort of firms and investors will come in at the Series B stage, who are more specialized in later-stage investments.


Finally, in the Series C stage and later stages, the former startup, now a well-established company, looks for additional investments to help with research and development, expanding into new markets and acquiring other companies. The purpose of Series C stage funding is to scale the company quickly and efficiently, allowing it to reach new heights and hopefully IPO shortly after that.




Top Canadian Accelerator Programs:


The Founder Institute (Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto)

Founded in 2009, The Founder Institute is the world’s most proven network to turn ideas into fundable startups, and startups into global businesses. To date, the FI has helped launch over 6,000 companies across 200+ cities and six continents — with three locations in major Canadian cities. The FI’s accelerator program helps pre-seed entrepreneurs gain traction and funding by establishing a critical support network of local industry experts that are invested in their success, and by providing a structured and challenging business-building process that has helped FI alumni raise over $1.75 billion.

Stage: Pre-Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) (Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto)

With 12 locations globally and 3 locations in major Canadian cities, Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. With a portfolio of startups covering a diverse range of industries, CDL operates 20 streams — AG (Agricultural Tech), AI, Blockchain, Climate, Commerce, Computing, Digital Society, Energy, FinTech, Health, Manufacturing, Matter, Oceans, Prime, Risk Management, Space, Supply Chain, and Web3.

Stage: Seed Stage

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Expa (Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, London)

Providing more than just capital, Expa backed startups access a global community of founders, startup resources, funding, and personalized support from Expa network of operators, passionate founders will receive the necessary resources to build revolutionary, tech-enabled companies. Besides Expa Venture, Expa studio, a founding partner, works with visionary founders by providing additional hands-on guidance with branding and positioning, product design and development, and fundraising for future rounds.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Next Canada (Nationwide)

Next Canada is Canada’s strongest and most committed entrepreneurial network made up of 500+ top Canadian academics, industry experts, investors and founders. As a not-for-profit organization, Next Canada provides access to this powerful network at almost no cost to the entrepreneurs. Relying on the generous support of donors, corporate partners and government funding, Next Canada provides access and accelerates the next generation of entrepreneurs. With three programs — Next AI, Next 36 and Next Founders, Next Canada provides support to startups in various industries, with a focus in technology.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


TechStars - Canadian Regional Locations (Toronto, Montreal)

With regional locations in Canada, TechStars is a global firm that provides investment opportunities and accelerator programs for founders with great ideas. Since its launch in 2006, TechStars has invested in 3,000+ startups, and selects 500+ early stage startups annually. TechStars mission is to make innovation accessible to everyone and everywhere, by connecting startups, investors, corporations and cities to create a more sustainable world.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Technology - Various Applications




Top Quebec Accelerator Programs:


adMare BioInnovations

As Canada’s leading life sciences innovation center, adMare BioInnovations uses its scientific and commercial expertise, specialized R&D infrastructure, and seed capital to build strong life sciences companies, robust ecosystems, and industry-ready talent. Focusing on long-term sustainability, AdMare BioInnovations re-invests its returns back into Canadian industries.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: BioTech, Life Sciences


CEIM

The Center d'entreprises et d'innovation de Montréal (CEIM) is a major entrepreneurial ecosystem that has contributed to the development of more than 425 companies. Focusing on innovative technology, CEIM supports entrepreneurs pursuing innovative projects by providing them with a wide range of adapted services so that they can get started in the best conditions and ensure the viability of their projects over the long term.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Manufacturing Technologies, CleanTech, New media, Life Sciences


Centech

Centech is a world-class business incubator and accelerator based in Montreal, specializing in deeptech & MedTech companies with high growth potential. Since 2018, Centech has had its open innovation lab, Collision Lab, where large corporations are supported to integrate technology projects thanks to the agility of startups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Deeptech, medtech, manufacturing, telecoms and microelectronics


CEuMontreal

The Entrepreneurship Center of the University of Montreal (CEuMontreal) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop an entrepreneurial culture and innovation at the University of Montreal while providing concrete support to entrepreneurs. CEuMontreal opens its doors to students, graduates, employees, and researchers interested in the creation of science and technology enterprises.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Science and Technology


Campus des Technologies de la Santé (CTS)

Based in Montreal, Campus des Technologies de la Sante (CTS) is a growth accelerator specializing in innovative healthcare technologies and digital health. Responding to the particular challenges and individual needs, CTS-backed startups receive strategic coaching to secure financing, effective commercialization tools that will help them succeed across Canada and internationally, and an introduction to their dynamic ecosystem of key medical and business players.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Healthcare/HealthTech


Cycle Momentum

Cycle Momentum offers accelerator and open innovation programs bringing together an international community of entrepreneurs, investors and innovations. With 75+ accelerated companies to date and a mission to enable entrepreneurs, investors, and companies to find innovative solutions to humanity’s major ecological challenges, Cycle Momentum specializes in startups in cleantech and sustainability.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Clean Energy, CleanTech, Urban Tech, Water Technology, Green Chemistry, Agricultural Tech


Defi Montreal

Defi Montreal is Quebec’s largest community for accelerating high-growth innovative companies with 750 graduates since 2008 and more than 75 companies supported each year. Companies backed by Défi Montréal benefit from support from a large network of successful entrepreneurs, experts and investors who share their experience to transmit the skills and tools essential to financing, business development and growth.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


District 3

Based at Concordia University in Montreal, District 3 fosters and develops multidisciplinary startup teams that use emerging tech to create businesses with global impact by focusing on four core streams — bio, healthcare, high tech and social innovation. Harnessing The Power of 3: Innovation, Collaboration, Entrepreneurship, District 3 offers the most rigorous training, bridging the knowledge, skills, and resource gap between building a product and building a company.

Stage: Pre-seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Biotech, Agricultural Tech, MedTech, HealthTech, HighTech and Disruptive Technologies, Social Impact - Education, Environment, Health, Arts and Culture


Startup en Residence by Desjardins

Designed to guide early-stage, growth-driven companies, Desjardin’s startup en residence accelerator program invests and provides support for startups that have a positive socio-economic impact within Canada. By viewing disruptors as potential partners instead of competitors, Desjardins strives to bring capital, experience, and reach to take the best innovations and mainstream them faster. For its 2022 cohort, Desjardins is focusing on companies applying technology to financial, insurance, real estate, cybersecurity, data science and AI, healthcare, and risk management industries.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Fintech, Real Estate Technology, Data Science and AI, Insurance Technology, Cybersecurity, Risk Management Technology


La base entrepreneuriale at HEC Montréal

Affiliated with HEC Montreal, La base entrepreneuriale offers two incubation programs, EntrePrism and Parcours Rémi-Marcoux, as well as an acceleration program, the National Bank Accelerator. As HEC Montréal's digital innovation hub, La base entrepreneuriale takes an inclusive approach to help entrepreneurs develop their full potential as business leaders. To date, La base entrepreneuriale has supported 350+ startups of various industries and backgrounds.

Stage: Pre-seed, Seed

Industries: Various


Esplanade

Based in Montreal, Esplanade supports entrepreneurs who focus on innovations creating social and environmental impact in our world. Esplanade values the impact of entrepreneurs, who seek to scale through their entrepreneurial motivations tackling the world’s pressing issues as a solution for accelerating the socio-ecological transition. Ventures backed by Esplanade are placed in one of the following three streams — Food Systems, Environment and Climate Change and Community Health.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed Stage

Industries: Social Impact and the Environment Food Systems, Environment and Climate Change, Community Health


Tandem Launch

From 2010, Tandem Launch created over 30 ventures who in total raised over $250M in capital and are valued at over $500M. Bringing together industry leaders, inventors, founders and investors, Tandem Launch bridges the gap between an incubator and accelerator with it’s 12-24 month program. With its unique approach to building startups, Tandem Launch starts by identifying industry problems, then seeking technologies to solve them, allowing a team to assemble and build a company together.

Stage: Pre-Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Founder Fuel

Established in 2007, Founder Fuel is Canada’s leading accelerator providing a 4-month intensive program that helps founders in the tech industry develop the skill sets and mindsets to turn their vision into impactful and global companies. Founder fuel strives to support ventures with its four axes of action — Narrative, Networking, Execution, and Leadership, definitive mentorship opportunities, and its commitment to defining clear deliverables for growth. Having supported 100+ companies to date, Founder Fuel aspires to create the next generation of game-changing companies in tech.

Stage: Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications




Top Ontario Accelerator Programs:


Communitech

Started by a group of Waterloo-based entrepreneurs in 1997, Communitech strives to create a community to help ensure the future prosperity of Canada. Communitech is guided by a mission to help founders start, grow and succeed, offering a supportive network at every stage of the founder journey. Providing resources for startups, growing venues and at-scale companies to access talent, capital and sales, Communitech supports founders who create “Tech for Good”.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Accelerator Center

Based in the Waterloo region — Canada’s most robust and impactful tech business ecosystem, Accelerator Center provides customizable opportunities to bring unique innovations to the market. Bringing together a network for industry leaders, mentors, experts and investors, Accelerator center provides the vital incubator, accelerator and global growth programs for companies to scale in Canada and around the world.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Coralus, Formally SheEO

Launched in 2015 in Canada, and now also in the US, Australia, New Zealand and UK, Coralus, Formally SheEO embodies a visionary model that allows emerging innovations to differentiate themselves and grow. Coralus, formally SheEO ​​uses an ecosystem-based model dramatically improves outcomes for women and non-binary entrepreneurs. SheEO’s network embraces radical generosity, which is vital when creating a new model and to build a better world.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Art, Beauty, Technology, Education, Environment, Finance, Fashion, Health, Hospitality, Media, Food, Legal


VentureLAB

Based in Markham, ON, VentureLAB strives to support globally competitive tech companies that build-to-scale in Canada. By inspiring a new generation of global founders who choose Canada to scale IP-rich tech innovations, VentureLAB support venture that transform communities and establish a blueprint for a more sustainable and inclusive tech ecosystem.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - IP Innovations


Velocity

Founded and backed by The University of Waterloo — Canada’s most innovative and technology-oriented University, Velocity provides incubator and accelerator services for early-stage founders who are focusing on business and product development. With Velocity’s extensive community, successful track record, office support, labs and workshops, founders will receive training from experts who have built and sold startups, launched products, inked deals, and created IP.

Stage: Pre-Seed

Industries: Technology - Product, IP


York Entrepreneurship and Development Institute

York Entrepreneurship and Development Institute is a charitable organization with a mission to provide top-tier business education and mentorship to innovators from any industry to build and accelerate successful businesses and efficient not-for-profit organizations. Upon completion of the accelerator programs, founders will receive formal certification from YEDI, and the opportunity to pitch to investors, including YEDI’s own Venture Fund. Valuing supporting small businesses, resilient entrepreneurship, and social responsibility, YEDI seeks to attract ventures that will benefit Canadian society.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Various, Not-for-profit


DMZ

Located in the heart of Toronto at Toronto Metropolitan University (Formally Ryerson University), DMZ’s mission is to build a community of experts, influencers, entrepreneurs, advisors, and customers to fuel startup success and put more Canadian businesses on the market. DMZ offers five streams — Black Founders, Women Founders, Proptech, Supply AI, and Student Entrepreneurship, tailoring its resources to different groups of founders.

Stage: Pre-Seed

Industries: Various


Extreme Venture Partners (EVP)

Extreme Venture Partners offers a network of investors and mentors, supporting predominantly Toronto-based seed-stage startups. With world-class exits, EVP backs entrepreneurs that have become innovation success stories – resulting in acquisitions by some of the world’s most recognizable brands — Apple, Google, EA and Salesforce. EVP is committed to seeding the Next Generation of Canadian Entrepreneurs, by working with innovators who drive technological change, employment, and value.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications




Top Alberta Accelerator Programs:


Startup Edmonton

Since 2009, Startup Edmonton (A division of Innovate Edmonton) has supported founders to transform their ideas into some of Canada's most exciting and successful startup companies. With mentorship opportunities, programs, and community events, founders are supported every step of the way to build a product and grow their companies using an especially designed four stages of the programming process — Foundations, Pre-flight 1, Pre-flight 2, and Propel.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Platform Calgary

Platform Calgary accelerates Calgary's tech ecosystem by helping startups launch and grow at every step of their journey, from ideation through to scale. By providing core infrastructure, and supporting partners, Platform Calgary enhances the region's tech sector to create a more resourced, connected, and prominent presence in Canada. The Platform Innovation Center, located in Calgary’s East Village neighborhood, helps create connections for local innovators — driving new economic growth and job creation.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Nabi (Northern Alberta Business Incubator)

Started in St. Albert, a northern city of Alberta in 1989, NABI — Northern Alberta Business Incubator, NABI assists early-stage businesses to launch, grow and succeed by delivering a range of business supports, educational programs and mentorship opportunities. Promoting an ecosystem of innovation focused on growth, NABI offers initiatives for entrepreneurs to connect with regional, provincial, national, and international ecosystems, as well as to other business support organizations.


Fuse42 SDG Accelerator

Located in Edmonton Alberta Canada, Fuse42 works with are companies working to solve the big problems in the world Focusing on the The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the SDG Accelerator helps founders bring their brilliant ideas to market from market validation to investor readiness. Offering industry connections, events, classes, networking opportunities and shared workspaces, Fuse42’s along with its team, helps startups reach their fullest potential to create long-term impact.

Stage: Pre-Seed

Industries: Sustainability and Environment - Various Applications


150 Startups

Each year, student founders from all 26 of Alberta’s publicly funded colleges, universities and polytechnics come to participate in 150 Startups, a multi-year Alberta-wide initiative designed to build a more resilient economy and expand Alberta’s entrepreneurial capacity. From formation to market validation to growth, 150 Startups supports 150 post-secondary students to ideate and take the initial steps towards becoming an entrepreneur.

Stage: Pre-Seed

Industries: Various, focus on student entrepreneurship


M - Tech Innovations

M-Tech Innovations is a technology incubator and venture capital investment firm in Calgary. With the mission to contribute to the development of the high-tech industry in Canada, with a focus on Calgary, M - Tech innovations offer opportunities for founders of innovative tech startups to collaborate with public and private sector agencies, mentorship opportunities, funding, and workspaces.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: High Tech - Various Applications




Top British Columbia Accelerator Programs:


Innovate BC

Representing the Government of British Columbia in BC’s Innovation Ecosystem, Innovate BC is a crown corporation that offers business coaching, hiring grants, and funding opportunities for research, pilots, commercialization, and scaling. With the mission to grow BC’s technology sector and foster innovation, Innovate BC works with founders to promote BC internationally as a preferred place to invest and do business with its programs, events, and resources.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


New Ventures BC

Since 2001, New Ventures BC (NVBC) has supported it’s mandate of develop entrepreneurship and innovation in B.C.’s startup technology sector by offering education, mentorship, networking, cash prizes, grant funding, and recognition opportunities. NVBC also offers a mentored, Distance Venture Acceleration Program training for founders working virtually. NVBC ‘s flagship event, the New Ventures BC Competition, the largest and longest-running tech startup competition in BC, offering education, coaching and awarding $250,000 in prizes.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


SFU VentureLabs

Based in Simon Fraser University (SFU), SFU VentureLabs accelerates science, technology, and innovation driven companies that have winning value propositions and strong potential to scale up. SFU VentureLabs operates four tailored training and accelerator programs, each with different end goals and processes to fit different venture's needs at different stages of growth.


Launch Academy

Launch Academy is Western Canada’s leading technology incubator and accelerator. Launch Academy offers three tailored startup programs that caters towards different groups of founders: Maple (Canada’s Startup Visa), Launchpad (Incubation and Acceleration), and Launch Your Startup (Introductory Course). To date, Launch Academy incubated 6000 founders from over 100+ countries.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications




List of US accelerator programs:


Y Combinator (YC) - Mountain View, CA

Started in 2005, Y Combinator (YC) is an American-based startup accelerator that serves driven founders internationally. YC provides the necessary industry expertise, connections and training programs to support founders throughout the life of their company. To date, YC has invested in nearly 3,000 companies including some of the most well-known unicorns such as Airbnb, DoorDash, Stripe, Dropbox, and Coinbase.

Stage: Pre-Seed, Seed

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


AngelPad - San Francisco, CA and New York, NY

AngelPad is a seed-stage technology accelerator program based in New York, NY, and San Francisco, CA. Since 2010 Angel has launched 150+ companies and has collectively raised over $2.2 Billion in funding. AngelPad differentiates itself from other accelerators with its commitment to and awesome companies with founders we like to work with and spend three very intense months with them, instead of scaling and taking on more and more companies.

Stage: Seed

Industries: Technology - SaaS, Marketplaces, Core Technology, Advertising, API, Mobile, Healthcare, AI, Data, B2B, B2C



TechStars - Boulder, CO

Started in 2006, TechStars is a VC firm that invests in ambitious tech startups from around the world. TechStars’ mission is to make innovation accessible to everyone and everywhere by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to create a more sustainable and inclusive world. TechStars selects 500 startups globally each year to take part in its accelerator program, providing hands-on mentorship opportunities and access to the Techstars network for life.

Stage: Seed, Series A+

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


500 StartUps (Accelerator Program) - San Francisco, CA

500 Startups is a division of 500 Global, an international venture capital firm with $2.8 billion+ in AUM, investing in early founders building fast-growing technology companies. The seed accelerator was launched in 2010, and uses a founder first approach to ensure founders are supported every step of the way. 500 Global has invested in some of the most highly-sought after companies such as Canva, Udemy and The RealReal.

Stage: Seed

Industries: Technology - Various applications


Google Launchpad Accelerator - Mountain View, CA

The Google Launchpad Accelerator acceleration program for growth-stage startups from emerging markets in technology. Each program focuses on a different region, so all founders can access the program. Offered exclusively for Canadian business owners, Google for Startups Accelerator Canada offers a three-month accelerator program based in the Kitchener-Waterloo region for Seed to Series A Canadian technology startups. The accelerator is designed to bring the best of Google's products, people and technology to startups that leverage machine learning and AI.

Stage: Seed, Series A

Industries: Technology - AI, ML



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List of Canadian-Based Investors:


BDC Venture Capital

BDC Venture Capital is Canada’s largest and most active venture capital investor. BDC’s investment approach, expertise and diverse network helps Canadian technology innovators build world-class companies. For more than three decades, BDC Venture Capital has been the powerhouse behind some of Canada’s most innovative companies. Currently, BDC Venture Capital operates the following funds: Deep Tech Ventures, Women in Technology, Industrial Innovation, Clean Energy and Growth Ventures.

Investment Stage: Seed, Series A

Industries: CleanTech, Clean Energy, Industrial, DeepTech


Real Ventures

Based in Montreal, QC, Real Ventures is Canada’s leading early-stage VC focusing on serving innovators and helping them build successful, global companies. Started in 2007, Real Ventures has dedicated itself to the Canadian startup ecosystem, believing that a founder-focused approach is the way to accelerating growth and creating impact. Real Ventures currently has $325 Million AUM across the firm's five funds, and has an active portfolio of 100+ companies including Mejuri, Sonder and Plum.

Investment Stage: Seed, Series A

Industries: Technology - Various Applications


Timia Capital

Based in Vancouver, BC, Timia Capital provides flexible growth capital to technology startups with recurring revenue between $2 - 20 million. With a team of industry experts, past entrepreneurs and angel investors in the Finance and Technology industries, Timia Capital has the necessary connections, expertise and resources for founders with a passion for technology and value creation. Timia Capital serves startups based in Canada and the United States, and has achieved 27 successful early exits and 52 portfolio companies to date.

Investment Stage: Seed, Series A

Industries: Technology - Various Applications