This year’s Startupfest featured some amazing prizes and opportunities for founders. Hosting an in-person event after two years of being apart meant we had to shake things up for a Fresh Start. Many things changed, from matchmaking to talk formats to the venue itself. And while we didn’t change the on-site funding awards that have been a fixture of the event, we did award more money than ever before.
For the very first time since the festival was founded, we had three $100K investment prizes, with the addition of a $100K prize dedicated to Black entrepreneurs and leaders. We also saw the return of our Grandmother Judges, and Next AI searched for the next great startup to join their cohort.
Another first in Startupfest history, all three $100K investment prizes were won by female founders! Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner of BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, surprised us all by announcing the BDC will match all three of the $100K investment prize winnings to $200K each. An incredible way to end Startupfest 2022!
And the winners are:
$100K Best of the Fest Investment Prize
This prize was open to anyone in attendance, and is the original Startupfest award. Any startup that impressed our group of angel investors can pitch, and the winner is crowned Best of the Fest.
Winner: Magnestar Inc.
$100K Best of the Fest Prize Top 10 Finalists:
$100K Women in Tech Investment Prize
Brought to you by The Firehood, a $100K investment was available to any female-led startup in attendance.
$100K Women in Tech Prize Top 10 Finalists:
- AIM Colours
- Aluna Bouquets – Eternal Flowers
- FemTherapeutics Inc.
- Magnestar Inc.
- Ora Medical
- The Food Engineer
$100K Black Entrepreneurship Investment Prize
Winner: Ohh! Foods
$100K Black Entrepreneurship Top 10 Finalists:
- Ohh! Foods
- Solutions Ecotime Inc.
- Solutions Vaistat Inc.
Next AI: Top Startup Award
Next AI is Canada’s leading accelerator for AI-powered startups, through all stages of development and for any industries. The Next AI team listened to pitches from founders to award an exclusive venture spot in their 2023 cohort of Next AI – Montréal!
Winner: Yuko AI
The Grandmothers’ Choice Award
Our esteemed panel of Grandmother Judges have become a Startupfest favourite, and have an unbeatable track record. Open to any startup in attendance, startups from across the country tested their mettle with our Grandmothers. There’s no monetary award, but the bragging rights are undeniable.
Winner: Azimut Medical
In addition to judges, the audience gets a vote too. The top ten startups delivered a pitch on stage, and the audience voted for the best pitch using an online voting tool. When the crowds had spoken, there was tie and two startups prevailed as the Best Pitch winners.