Launched in 2011, Startupfest welcomed over 15,000 of the world’s leading founders and investors to Montreal. Each year, thousands of people have gathered to chart the course of tech entrepreneurship as we’ve transformed Montreal’s iconic Old Port in unexpected ways that encourage genuine connections.
What others are saying
“Startupfest is legit! It has so many elements of a music festival, but it’s for startups! Hopefully there are a couple of people in the audience that want to come and work at Reddit.”
Alexis Ohanian, Reddit
“I was here and pitched Onavo, my company, we picked up one of the top prizes and later we get picked up by Facebook. It’s awesome.”
Guy Rosen, Facebook
“Absolutely love the space, love the people! So much energy, so much momentum behind Canadian startups. Everyone thinks they can take over the world. There’s so much optimism, there’s so much excitement! It’s just absolutely beautiful here!”
Tobias Lutke, Shopify
“I’ve been to plenty music festivals in my day, and while they’re pretty fun, my mind was thoroughly blown last week when my Intuit Canada colleagues and I attended Phil Telio’s Startup Fest, in Montreal. Certainly there are tremendous differences between a music fest and something like a startup fest, but never have I been to an event with so much positive energy, valuable knowledge sharing, and great camaraderie between all attendees. It was simply awesome.”
After two years of virtual meetings, we’re so over webinars. We crave genuine human connection, hustle, and learning. Guided by the principle "less talking heads, more heads talking", we introduced many new and surprising ways to interact and connect. From our faculty of mentors guiding young entrepreneurs, to our unique matchmaking algorithm, 2022 was filled with genuine meetings with new and old friends.
Startupfest 2021: Growth Week
A 3-morning deep-dive into scaling for growth, Growth Week laid out clear steps on how to take your growth-stage startup to the next level, from some of the startup world’s best thinkers. Each day included a workshop on a vital aspect of startup growth—product, funding, and hiring—followed by a candid conversation with founders who’ve crossed the Series A chasm themselves. There was also open office hours sessions with investors and networking between founders, funders, and ecosystem players.
We planned and delivered the first hybrid event in Montréal—one of the first in the world—in July 2020: Startupfest 10X – Imagining a 10X future: Looking at the past to help inform the future.
While Startupfest’s 10th birthday looked a little different than we’d planned, we’re thrilled to have gathered the startup community from around the globe for two incredible days nonetheless. We featured Startupfest alumni, some of our most popular prizes and pitch opportunities, and a few special guests–broadcasting live from Old Montreal, our home for the past ten years.
9 lives: The importance of resilience and second chances, which was in many ways a form of foreshadowing 2020.
We brought the best of the Fest together on one stage, for the ultimate best pitch competition. Startupfest VF winner and finalists from the Grandmother’s Choice Award, $100K investment prize and the Women in Technology investment prize took the stage and pitched for the Audience Choice Award.
Infinite possibilities: Anything is possible when you set your mind to it and build the team to make it happen.
So true to our theme, we introduced the Inclusion Initiative in 2018. Anyone can be an entrepreneur. But not everyone has the same opportunity to turn their ideas into reality. A thousand tickets were made available to entrepreneurs who are often less represented and unable to participate in events. The campaign supported women in tech, created opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs, and connected entrepreneurs from remote and underrepresented regions of Canada.
Luck: Many things are out of your control, but by recognizing and seizing opportunities you can create your own luck.
Our speakers took us behind the curtain to see the role luck played in their startups. They showed us that half the emperor’s clothes are pure chance. But they also revealed that ingenuity and adaptivity that are the cornerstones of making your own luck, and ultimately, building a fortune.
Startup Firsts: Exploring the importance and risks of being first and doing things for the first time.
We touched on where innovations come from, and the changes that help the new to flourish. We saw tactics for staying ahead, and for getting others to embrace your vision. We heared about the early days of today’s household names. We explored Firsts.
Masters and models: Reinventing industries by mastering, and reinventing, business models.
Startups need to master business, funding, and growth models—and then figure out how to rethink them. We unboxed some of the world’s greatest business models, and looked deep within them to understand how they upended entire industries. And we heared from those who’ve mastered entrepreneurship enough to know when to follow the rules—and when to change the game entirely.
Startups and the city: The density of cities provide many opportunities.
Entrepreneurs don’t start out to create vibrant cities. They just want to build successful businesses. But as an inevitable side effect of creating great companies, they become an essential catalyst of healthy growing cities.
Startup Stories: Articulating a story is key to success.
Every great company has a story, and every startup has a story. Stories make us who we are, and we wanted to weave together something exceptional: We invited every Startupfest go-er to to join us in creating a story. A collaborative story.
Startups that matter: The importance of having an impact.
Startups & LOL: A focus on combining work and pleasure with a festival vibe. When it all began.