In the decade since Startupfest first launched, we’ve accomplished many things. This community of over 30,000 startups, investors, accelerators, and ecosystem leaders from around the globe has been our family.
Three weeks ago we made the difficult—but absolutely necessary—decision to cancel Startupfest 2020. We’re glad we did; the wisdom of that decision has become more obvious with each day and headline.
We’re also missing you terribly. This would have been our collective 10th birthday, and we were really looking forward to celebrating it with you. But it’s clear that in-person gatherings of all kinds, and the industries that rely on person-to-person interaction, are going to change forever.
What we do know is that survival favours the most adaptive. And that in times of crisis, triage and rapid response matter most.
With that in mind, here’s how we’re adapting.
All events stand atop three pillars. If startups are rocketships, then events provide the guidance, crew, and fuel
- The navigation is content: Lessons learned from experts, helping you to make wiser decisions faster based on the experience of others.
- The fuel is resources: Things the startup can use, like money, staff, and tools.
- The crew is networking: Ultimately, humans build and run companies. Whether you’re after a co-founder, an advisor, or a new hire, the crew is the most important piece.
This trifecta has always been part of our planning. And we’ve tried to do it in unique and unexpected ways: Content from founders who worked at the coal face and have dirt under their fingernails, with a willingness to share uncomfortable truths. Dozens of meaningful prizes that help the best founders grow. And amazing interactions, whether through engineered meetings, AMA sessions, or just lineups for food trucks.
But in a time where countless entrepreneurs from around the globe are facing tremendous uncertainty, we know that what you need right now is fuel. So we want to connect our global community to the resources, opportunities, and lifelines it needs to survive, and even thrive, in this crisis.
Today we’re introducing Startupfest 10X—Pitch From Home (#PFH). In 2019, we awarded $1.6M in prizes and investments in three days onsite. This year, we’ll bring those same prizes and opportunities—and many more—directly to you, wherever you may be Hustling In Place.
Triage, then adapt
Adapting is great. But in crises, we need triage. Startups facing this crisis fall into one of three groups:
Hibernate: Hibernation-state companies need access to support, resources, and advice for how to weather the storm, surviving to fight another day.
Pivot: Companies that can pivot their business model to the new realities through a change in product, market, or go-to-market method need business model innovation assistance and easy ways to test new assumptions.
Accelerate: Some counter-cyclical industries (Internet, videoconferencing, delivery, connected health, remote learning, virtual child care, and so on) are strong investments with rapid growth. Investors want to put money in, and these startups need to finance expansion not only for profit, but to deliver essential tools and services in times of need.
Each of these groups requires a different set of tools. We’re working with ecosystem of partners and sponsors from Canada and beyond to tackle all three groups, offering them:
Investment or cash grants: This will include opportunities like the Startupfest $100k investment prizes, and no-strings-attached cash infusions.
Corporate partnerships: Corporate partners will outline problem statements, with paid proof-of-concepts for the best solutions.
Accelerator placements: Our network of Accelerator programs around the globe will offer fast-tracked placement into their programs, which can include investment, office space, resources, and more.
How it’ll work
Each of these opportunities will live online, and startups will be able to pitch. Requirements will vary for each prize, but will include basic company information, as well as written or video pitches.
The time frame will be short, because we want to get these resources to our community fast. And we’ll continuously add more on a rolling basis. Because our mission, which has guided us for the last decade, remains unchanged: Make more, better startups faster.
We know that many companies of all sizes are struggling to adjust to the new normal. If you want to get involved and help a generation of startups weather the storm, and emerge from it smarter, more agile, and more resilient—get in touch.