The Funding Report: Issue: #41
April 17, 2012
In association with: 

Demonstrating drive and hunger key for successful startups, says Extreme Startups mentor

 

Extreme Startups, a new tech accelerator program in Toronto, is gearing up to select its next cohort of startups, but in order to make the cut and become eligible to receive up to $200,000 in funding, applicants will have to successfully showcase their entrepreneurial savvy.

 

"For this second cohort, we are basing the selection criteria more on the team and the entrepreneurs-can they move fast, and how savvy are they in terms of the hustle and making opportunities happen for themselves," Andy Yang, the program's Chief Innovation Hunter and a former venture capitalist at the BlackBerry Partners Fund, said in an interview.

 

"It's really that drive and hunger that we're looking for."

 

Photo courtesy of Extreme Startups

Extreme Startups is an evolution and rebranding of Extreme University, a Toronto-based program that offered three startups a year up to $50,000 in seed funding, personal mentorship sessions, and shared resources and office space.

 

The new program can support 10 companies a year, thanks to funding provided by some of Canada's top investors, including the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Extreme Venture Partners, OMERS Ventures, Relay Ventures and Rho Canada Ventures.

 

"There's also a difference in the quality and the number of mentors that are supporting the program. We have mentors from all Canada and the United States that have been successful entrepreneurs," Mr. Yang said, while adding that the program also provides resources such as mentoring and networking events to companies that cannot participate in the accelerator program.

 

Extreme Startup's impressive roster of mentors, which includes Alistair Mitchell of RIM, Sara Haider of Twitter and Tomi Poutanen of Yahoo!, is a definite selling point for the accelerator.

 

Selected applicants for the Extreme Startups program go through a 12-week accelerator cycle leading up to a demo day where they showcase their projects to investors and potential industry partners, and of course they become eligible to receive up to $200,000 in funding through the program.

 

The program will accept 10 startups in 2012, divided into two cohorts of five firms. The first cohort was selected on March 15, but the names of the selected startups will be kept under wraps until a first demo day on June 19.

 

Extreme Startups did not release the exact number of applications it received for its first cohort, but Mr. Yang said the five chosen startups represented the top one per cent.

 

"We're probably going to open up [the next round of] applications during the summer ... and then we anticipate a cohort start date in late August, early September," Mr. Yang said.

 

The selection criteria for the second cohort will be more focused on the teams and the entrepreneurs.

 

"We're looking for a history of demonstrated success, of building things. If they are a technical company we'd like to see demos, or if they started previous companies, what happened to those companies, what were the lifecycles, what were some of the learnings? And then a heavy emphasis on technical founders being able to build and create products within a short," Mr. Yang said.

 

Teri Kirk, CEO of The Funding Portal and an expert in funding opportunities for business, says that demonstrating past success is crucial for any funding application, be it for an accelerator program or government funding.

 

 "Funders don't just invest in a product, they invest in a team who can commercialize a product, and a proven track record is an important consideration. Funding applications are not a time for false modesty. Cite your relevant successes, and any external recognition or awards. You have to stand out from the pack," Ms. Kirk said.

 

"Public funders are investing taxpayer funds. Like investors, they need to pick winners: winning ideas, winning technologies and winning teams." 

 

Ms. Kirk also suggested providing specific examples to back up your statements.

 

"Give practical examples backed up by numbers and data. Don't say, 'We have important industry partnerships in place.' Say, 'We have four industry partners. Our to-market partner, Y, will distribute our product into its international customer market of 2.2 million purchasers.'"

 

Other than receiving mentorship and seed funding, firms that have graduated from accelerator programs also have improved chances of attracting government funding, Mr. Yang added. 

 

"It's definitely an advantage because they would have gone through a private capital cycle first. Usually access to public funds is done via matching of private capital, and so we would provide that initial private capital that government can match."

 

Marielle Piché, former Executive Director of the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and now Chair of The Funding Portal's team of public funding experts, agrees that accelerators can be beneficial for businesses seeking government funds.

 

"It is hard to learn entrepreneurship at school. Accelerators provide the practical skills training specifically designed for leaders within early-stage companies. Funders recognize that entrepreneurs who have accelerator experience under their belt are, in general, better trained than those who do not," Ms. Piché said.

 

"Graduating from a recognized accelerator program can be the element that sets an application apart."

Weekly Digest

  • Upcoming event: The Funding Portal CEO Teri Kirk will mentor participants at the upcoming OCE Discovery 12 convention
  • New program under Agri-Flexibility: The governments of Canada and Quebec announced an investment of $1.7M over 2012-2014 to implement the new special Food Safety and Quality Support Program. The program will help food processing firms acquire the necessary tools and skills for improving the safety and quality of their food and to access national and international markets more easily.
  • New accelerator in Waterloo: The Communitech Hub is preparing to launch a $30M startup accelerator program called Hyperdrive with plans to invest as much as $700k in each participating company. 

Must Reads

The Funding Report 

 

Week of April 7-13
Federal/provincial support: $87,637,354

 

Sectors

Provinces

 

Academic

Biopterre - Bioproducts Development Centre 

Amount: $680,850, non-repayable
Location: La Pocatière, QC
Program: Business and Regional Growth

Funding Objective: Equipment

 

Seven universities in Southern Ontario 

Amount: $20,000,000, non-repayable
Location: Toronto, ON

Program: Prosperity Initiative

Funding Objective: Cloud computing infrastructure

 

Centre national en electrochimie et en technologies environnementales Inc. (CNETE) 

Amount: $376,625, non-repayable

Location: Shawinigan, QC

Program: Business and Regional Growth program

Funding Objective: Research

 

Aerospace and defence

Integran Technologies Inc. 

Amount: $399,386, repayable

Location: Mississauga, ON

Program: Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative

Funding Objective: Project capital

 

Agriculture

SC&W Solutions Ltd. 

Amount: $297,775, federal and provincial

Location: Bairdsville, NB

Programs: ACOA's Business Development Program, provincial

Funding Objective: Expansion

 

Art and culture

6 artistic and literary projects (French)
Amount: $56,000, provincial
Location: Montérégie sector, QC
Program: Programme pour les arts et les lettres de la Montérégie Est
Funding Objective: Project capital

 

Atlantic Poultry Research Institute (APRI) 

Amount: $600,000, non-repayable

Location: Truro, NS

Program: Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP)

Funding Objective: Research

 

Community initiatives

Old Massett Village Council 

Amount: $158,000, non-repayable

Location: Old Massett, BC

Program: Skills Link

Funding Objective: Skills development

 

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation 

Amount: $63,000, non-repayable

Location: Prince Albert, SK

Program: Skills Link

Funding Objective: Skills development

 

18 community organizations 

Amount: $2,100,000, non-repayable

Location: NS

Program: Youth Employment Strategy (YES) and the Youth Awareness program

Funding Objective: Skills development

 

Optimist Club of Brandon 

Amount: $234,000, non-repayable

Location: Brandon, MB

Program: Skills Link

Funding Objective: Skills development

 

Terrace and District Community Services Society 

Amount: $205,000, non-repayable

Location: Terrace, BC

Programs: Skills Link, Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Funding Objective: Skills development

 

Skills Manitoba 

Amount: $184,000, non-repayable

Location: Winnipeg, MB

Program: Youth Awareness initiative

Funding Objective: Skills development

 

Town and Port of Churchill 

Amount: $25,000,000

Location: Tisdale, SK

Programs: Transport Canada, Western Economic Development

Funding Objective: Community diversification

 

Resnet Inc. 

Amount: $55,000, non-repayable

Location: Edmundston, NB

Program: Skills Link

Funding Objective: Skills development

 

North Cariboo Multi-Centre project 

Amount: $4,000,000, provincial

Location: Quesnel, BC

Program: provincial

Funding Objective: New recreation centre

 

Construction and manufactured products

Les Ateliers CFI Métal inc. (French)
Amount: $200,385, provincial
Location: Carleton-sur-Mer, QC
Programs: Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation; Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire
Funding Objective: Expansion

 

Novo Plastics Inc. 

Amount: $975,000, repayable

Location: Markham, ON

Program: Prosperity Initiative

Funding Objective: Equipment

 

Manufacture Technosub Inc., MBI Manufacture, Arma Fab, and Mecanicad Inc., Centre technologique des residus industriels 

Amount: $4,183,435, (a portion is repayable)

Location: Rouyn-Noranda, QC

Programs: Business and Regional Growth, Community Diversification

Funding Objective: Productivity, skills development

 

Roy Metal Products Inc. 

Amount: $240,000, repayable

Location: Saint-François-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud, QC

Programs: Temporary Initiative for the Strengthening of Quebec's Forest Economies

Funding Objective: Equipment

 

Les Bois G.L.A. inc. (French) 

Amount: $120,000, provincial

Location: Barraute, QC

Program: Provincial

Funding Objective: Equipment

 

Food and beverage

Poissonnerie du Havre ltée (French)
Amount: $31,700, provincial
Location: Hâvre-Saint-Pierre, QC
Program: Programme d'appui financier au développement du secteur des pêches et de l'aquaculture commerciales
Funding Objective: Modernization

 

Quality Meat Packers Limited 

Amount: $3,000,000, non-repayable

Location: Toronto, ON

Program: Slaughter Improvement Program

Funding Objective: Modernization

 

Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products Inc. 

Amount: $2,500,000, repayable

Location: Portage la Prairie, MB

Program: Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP)

Funding Objective: Increase production

 

Covered Bridge Potato Chip Co. Inc. 

Amount: $342,000, provincial and federal

Location: Waterville, NB

Programs: Provincial, ACOA's Business Development Program

Funding Objective: Equipment, productivity

 

Health

Centre hospitalier universitaire Mère-Enfant de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justin, Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal (French)
Amount: $10,895,600, provincial
Location: Montréal, QC
Program: Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
Funding Objective: Research

 

Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec (French)
Amount: $398,000, provincial
Location: Québec, QC
Program: Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
Funding Objective: Research

 

IT and technology

Manyeta Informatique (French) 

Amount: $221,598, provincial

Location: Laval, QC

Program: Provincial

Funding Objective: Research

 

Tourism

2015 Canada Winter Games 

Amount: $10,120,000, provincial

Location: Prince George, BC

Program: Provincial

Funding Objective: Project capital

Thank you

 

The Funding Portal thanks you for reading its weekly newsletter. Make sure to visit TheFundingPortal.com to Find It, Apply for It, Score It and Advance It.
  
Please note that the newsletter is also available in French and can be obtained by requesting the French version at communications@TheFundingPortal.com.  
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Demonstrating drive and hunger key for successful startups
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