FRV Student Entrepreneur Prize

This year, we’re introducing a new prize to the lineup, for student entrepreneurs. This is a $50,000 investment under FRV's standard safe note, (subject to standard legal due diligence). Pitch your vision at new heights with this prize taking over the elevator with 360 degree views of Montreal. Front Row Ventures (FRV) is Canada’s leading university-focused and student-operated VC firm with a presence on 20+ university campuses across Canada. They are early-stage and industry-agnostic investors backing high impact student entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds and ambitious technology-enabled ideas, and we’re thrilled to be introducing this opportunity to the 2023 lineup.


Eligibility Criteria


This prize is open to attendees of Startupfest working on a startup with at least one co-founder currently enrolled at a Canadian university or that has graduated no longer than 6 months ago. The company must also be incorporated in Canada.

NOTE: There will be wildcard spots available on site, but we recommend pre-registration to guarantee a time slot. REGISTER HERE. 


The Process

Where to Pitch?

Join the FRV ventures team in the tower elevator on July 12 and 13 from 12-5pm. 


Our 2023 Judges

Kyle Jackson


Kyle is the Ontario Director of Investments at Front Row Ventures, Canada’s first student-focused VC fund investing at the pre-seed stage agnostically across the tech ecosystem. As Director, Kyle is responsible for maintaining fund operations and capital deployment in the Province of Ontario, and managing a team of sixteen associates as they source Canada’s future tech talent.

Kyle is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Bioengineering and holds a prestigious CIHR Vanier Scholarship at McMaster University. His research explores the applications of bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) as a therapeutic strategy to target disease-driving bacteria associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Throughout his studies, Kyle has been extensively involved in the Life Sciences start-up ecosystem in Hamilton, Ontario, and currently advises several early-stage biotech companies on their strategic operations. Kyle is also a Venture Fellow at HaloHealth, one of Canada’s largest angel networks dedicated to investing in healthcare companies, and has worked as a Scientific Consultant at Bloom Burton & Co.

Frédéric Bastien


Fred is a technology investor, serial entrepreneur and people leader with extensive international experience, and is passionate about innovation and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs. His successful track record spans the entire AI, SaaS and mobile internet space, both within startups as well as large corporations. He is the recipient of the 2014 E&Y Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award for Quebec.

Besides investing as an angel in a growing portoflio of pre-seed/seed tech startups, Fred is the co-founder and managing partner of Amiral Ventures, a new venture capital fund focused on Enterprise Tech scale-up companies.

Prior to Amiral, Frédéric co-founded Mnubo, and as its CEO led the company to become the dominant player in the Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things space, formed commercial partnerships with AT&T, Google, Amazon, Samsung and Microsoft, and spearheaded its 9-digit acquisition by Aspen Technology (AZPN), one of NASDAQ’s best performing tech companies.

Frederic sits on several Board of Directors, including Hilo, an Hydro-Quebec subsidiary focused on the smart energy transition, and ENCQOR, Canada's 5G Corridor project. He was the founding president of the Technopolys movement to promote the Quebec technology sector, is a Creative Destruction Lab Fellow and NextAI mentor, contributes to several incubators, and serves as advisor and mentor to a dozen local startups and VC funds.

He is known for his involvement in various industry initiatives and standard bodies, and is a frequent speaker and thought leader in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics.

Felicity Meyer


Felicity is the Cleantech Investment Manager at BoxOne Ventures, a Montreal based early-stage VC, and a recent alum of Front Row Ventures’ Quebec Investment Team. During her time at FRV, Felicity served as a Fonds de recherche du Québec Grad2VC Fellow, where she worked to strengthen the ties between academic research and the VC ecosystem.

As a Master’s student in McGill University's Department of Bioresource Engineering, Felicity investigated the environmental impact of residential construction in Montreal to provide actionable support towards sustainable development. Before returning to grad school, she was the first scientific hire at two pre-seed startups and Lab Operations Manager for Boston’s fastest growing biotech accelerator. Felicity also holds a B.S. in Chemistry and B.S. in Physics from Simmons University.

Emmanuelle Coppinger


Emmanuelle is passionate about new technologies and the ability of startups to improve society. She mentors and sits on the advisory boards of different early-stage startups. She is the managing partner of Front Row Ventures, Canada’s leading university focused VC firm with a presence in more than 20 campuses across Canada.

Emmanuelle is a community leader. She built the Canadian chapter and has been the Ambassador for Canada of Women in AI (WAI), a non-profit do-tank whose mission is to increase female representation and participation in AI. She helped build Next AI Montreal, an early stage AI-focused accelerator, as the Director of Ventures, mainly in charge of the startups recruitment, portfolio management, founders growth as well as investors and mentors relationships.

Before that, she founded a travel accessories brand that she ran for 8 years and a non-profit to help promote blood platelets donation towards students. She holds an MBA from ESSEC Business School (Paris) and started her career in auditing in France, followed by 3 years in investment banking in Australia.

As managing partner of Front Row Ventures, she practices her demonstrated passion for venture backing, mentoring, and community building. Emmanuelle’s vision for FRV is to make it THE foundational platform supporting the next generation of tech talent in Canada.

Alex Shee


Alex is an executive at Sama that leads Corporate Development and Strategy. He works on helping grow Sama’s business and positive impact model. His role encompasses Corporate Development, Go-To-Market strategy and ESG+Impact. He is also General Manager for Canada.

At Sama, Alex works directly with the CEO and Board to push forward company strategy. Paramount amongst that was the rapid growth of the company from 2500 to 4500 over a 2 year period and a $70M Series Bwith tier 1 investors such as CDPQ, First Ascent Capital, Hyundai Salesforce Ventures, Ridge Ventures, Rubio Ventures, amongst others.

He is recognized as a go-to-market leader with a proven track record of developing successful strategies, taking incisive decisions and delivering high revenue growth. He was previously the Head of Partnerships and Corporate Development at Element AI (exited to ServiceNow | NYSE: NOW). As one of the company’s first hires, he was integral to the company’s rapid growth in Asia, having helped establish offices in Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo. He also contributed to the company’s partnerships with Microsoft, Nvidia, Intel and Amazon, the creation of a $45M global AI Alliance fund to accelerate open AI innovation with Hyundai, SKT and Hanwha and establishment of a joint venture with Takano in Japan. In 2019, he led the team that raised Element AI’s C$200M Series B and concluded a global go-to-market partnership with McKinsey & Co. He was also the host of Element AI’s #1 rated podcast “The AI Element” which explores the biggest issues and toughest questions in artificial intelligence.

He has also been a mentor at FounderFuel, TechStars, NextAI, Innocité, 2Degrés and Hacking Health Accelerator programs, coaching over forty startups. He is on the board of directors of NovaLex pro bono legal clinic, Pro Bono Quebec, SKEMA Canada and Stamped Technologies. He is also a Limited Partner in Front Row Ventures.

Alex was recently selected as one of the top 4 business development and sales leaders in tech by Floodgates in their Annual Anchor List, 2021 “Power Player” by The Peak and was selected as one of 125 global Expert of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (OECD).

An adventurer at heart, Alex enjoys taking on big challenges (like climbing to the 17,600 ft. Mt. Everest base camp) and brings this same drive to amplifying Sama’s impact on people’s lives around the world.

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