$100K Best of the Fest Investment Prize

The $100k Best of the Fest Investment Prize has always been the most coveted prize at Startupfest, where hundreds of founders pitch for the chance to be crowned "Best of the Fest". We bring together a fantastic team of angel investors to award one startup with a $100K investment in the form of a convertible note.
This year, the audience will also get to see the pitches of the top 10 “Best of the Fest” finalists while the judges deliberate on who’s walking away with not only a minimum $100K investment, but access to a network of strategic partners and, of course, the highly sought after Best of the Fest trophy and title.


Eligibility Criteria

This prize is open to ANY startup registered and at the event – There is no application process, no form to fill out and no video to submit. All you need to do is register for and attend Startupfest, and be ready to pitch to our esteemed Investor Judges.


The Process

Your goal is to get at least one Investor Judge to shortlist your startup during the first two days of the event.
  • Pitch your startup to the Investor Judges at the $100k Best of the Fest Investment Prize space in The Startupfest Village.
  • If you connect with a judge elsewhere onsite, you can ask to pitch to them on the spot! Connect with as many judges as possible; it only takes one to make the shortlist.
  • Judges will be wearing an Investor Judge badge and a green lanyard to pitch onsite. Avoid pitching in bathrooms, but anywhere else is fair game!
  • Your pitch needs to be no more than 1 minute but be prepared for questions from the Investor Judges.
The Shortlist Process
  • Each Investor Judge will submit their chosen startup to the shortlist by Thursday afternoon, July 11th. Shortlisted startups will be contacted by a Startupfest team member.
The Finalist Process
  • On Friday, July 12th, finalists will have 1 minute to pitch their companies on the main stage to the audience. This is followed by a 25-minute Q&A with the Investor Judges.
  • The winner of the $100k Best of the Fest Investment Prize will be announced at the closing ceremonies on Friday afternoon.


Prize Details

The Best of the Fest prize is an investment from up to 10 angel investors. Our default terms are based on an industry-standard SAFE agreement (for reference, please see this standard SAFE agreement) The winning startup will sign the SAFE agreement with each of the investors individually. The investors are willing to create a voting trust, if and when the SAFE agreement converts to equity.

Think these terms shouldn’t apply to you? Need a tweak? We can discuss that. While we adopt industry standard agreements for the sake of simplicity, the judges are willing to discuss alternate terms proposed by shortlisted startups during their meeting.

Meet our judges!

Gary Pudles

Gary A. Pudles, a prolific "serial entrepreneur," excels in optimizing organizational success while fostering enjoyment. As Founder and CEO of AnswerNet and co-founder of TextGen, SA Billing, Splendtastic, and Subout, Pudles has earned numerous accolades, including the SmartCEO Best-Run Companies award and "Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year." His leadership propelled AnswerNet to the 21st spot on the Inc. 500 list. Additionally, Pudles shares his expertise as an Entrepreneurship lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, emphasizing tailored approaches to enhance efficiency and profitability.

Heather Adelson

Ms. Adelson, with 30 years of investing experience, has made over 15 angel investments in the past 8 years, spanning various industries in Quebec's startup ecosystem. Armed with a Commerce degree from McGill, she leverages her expertise in finance, strategy, and business behavior in every deal she pursues. Continuously updating her knowledge, she attends trade conferences, reviews business plans, and engages with professional advisors to refine her analytical skills. Active on numerous boards, she extends her influence into both for-profit and non-profit sectors, while her philanthropic efforts have earned her several prestigious awards, recognizing her invaluable societal contributions.

Anne Martel

Anne Martel, a serial entrepreneur, co-founded Element AI, acquired by ServiceNow, overseeing key operational functions. With a background in medical device manufacturing, she holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. Engaged in Montreal's entrepreneurial scene, she serves as a spokesperson, investor, and board member for various organizations, including OSMO Foundation and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Foundation.

Cary Goldwax

With over 25 years of experience, Cary, now a seasoned Judge at the festival, has worn many hats including Angel Investor, C-Level Executive, Board Member, and Mentor in accelerator programs. Following the successful exit of Coradiant, a Web APM company he co-founded, Cary has spearheaded numerous prosperous ventures, currently serving as COO of IONODES, a company revolutionizing AI and cloud camera technology. With over $300 million in exits, Cary advocates for elevating Canada's tech presence globally, showcasing his commitment to fostering innovation and growth in the industry.

Steven Abrams

Steven Abrams is a Partner at BDC Capital, overseeing the IT Venture Fund and Women in Technology Venture Fund. With a background spanning investment banking and interactive advertising, he brings over two decades of experience to BDC since joining in 2001. Steven's expertise in corporate finance includes involvement in IPOs, M&A deals, and financing across various sectors. Based in Montreal, he actively engages with BDC portfolio companies nationwide and is involved in numerous tech and VC networks, holding an MBA from Cornell University and a Bachelor's in Mathematics and Computer Science from McGill University.

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