Calgary’s startup community travels to Montreal for Startupfest

Forty members of Calgary’s startup community travelled to Montreal July 10 to 14, 2018 to connect with startup communities from across the globe and showcase Calgary’s tech ecosystem at Startupfest.

Startupfest brings together 7,000 of the world’s top startups, investors, speakers and community members for a fast-paced startup event with countless activities and unique opportunities to connect including Braindates, food trucks, boat shuttles and inflatable chairs. The conference was held on Parc de Dieppe on the peninsula across from Old Port Montreal.

 Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, Quebec's Minister for Small and Medium Businesses, Stéphane Billette, and the Founder of Startupfest, Philippe Telio, welcoming the Calgary startups to Startupfest.

Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, Quebec's Minister for Small and Medium Businesses, Stéphane Billette, and the Founder of Startupfest, Philippe Telio, welcoming the Calgary startups to Startupfest.

Prior to the opening party, the Calgary crew was welcomed to Montreal by the Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, Quebec's Minister for Small and Medium Businesses, Stéphane Billette, and the Founder of Startupfest, Philippe Telio.  

 The Calgary tent during happy hour sponsored by OKR Financial. Photo: Lynne Croker, OKR Financial

The Calgary tent during happy hour sponsored by OKR Financial.
Photo: Lynne Croker, OKR Financial

The Calgary tent was located within the Upper Tent Village and showcased 10 of Calgary’s top tech startups, as well as community members from organizations such as OKR Financial, Calgary Technologies Inc., and The A100.   

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Startupfest attendees were given multiple opportunities to pitch at tents such as the $100K Investment Prize tent, The EY “Granny Pitch” tent and the CBC Media Pitch tent. Three Calgary companies were selected to pitch on stage, including the BDO Best Onstage Pitch Competition.   

 Renta Tabata, Co-founder of ShareSmart, pitching at the BDO Best Onstage Pitch Competition

Renta Tabata, Co-founder of ShareSmart, pitching at the BDO Best Onstage Pitch Competition

ShareSmart was pre-selected to participate in the BDO Best Onstage Pitch Competition alongside companies from San Francisco and Toronto.

 Meaghan Nolan, Co-founder of Mikata Health, pitching at AIFest. Photo: Kenya Kondo, Alberta Enterprise Corporation

Meaghan Nolan, Co-founder of Mikata Health, pitching at AIFest.
Photo: Kenya Kondo, Alberta Enterprise Corporation

Mikata Health was selected to pitch on stage at AIFest, which coincided with Startupfest.

 Bobbie Racette, Founder and CEO at Virtual Gurus, pitching for the $100K Prize. Photo: Bobbie Racette, Virtual Gurus

Bobbie Racette, Founder and CEO at Virtual Gurus, pitching for the $100K Prize.
Photo: Bobbie Racette, Virtual Gurus

Conference attendees had the opportunity to pitch for the $100K pitch prize and Calgary startup Virtual Gurus was shortlisted as one of the top five companies. Virtual Gurus was also featured on CBC Montreal sharing her story and inspiring Indigenous youth to pursue business.

“Startupfest with the Startup Calgary crew was hands down one of the most fun business events I've been to. Being one of the startups to represent Calgary was an honour,” says Bobbie Racette, Founder and CEO at Virtual Gurus, “I think we showed them that Calgary has some amazing startup talent. It was such a fun atmosphere with great networking opportunities - not to mention how many smiles we seen during our Calgary Stampede breakfast.”

Interested in which companies won the various competition? Check out the Winners’ Circle here.

 Members of the Calgary crew flipping and serving pancakes sponsored by Calgary Stampede. L to R: Jonathan Chan (ShareSmart), Bobbie Racette (Virtual Gurus), Jenn Delconte (Startup Calgary), Dena Shlah (IGBA), Richelle Martin (Calgary Technologies Inc.)

Members of the Calgary crew flipping and serving pancakes sponsored by Calgary Stampede.
L to R: Jonathan Chan (ShareSmart), Bobbie Racette (Virtual Gurus), Jenn Delconte (Startup Calgary), Dena Shlah (IGBA), Richelle Martin (Calgary Technologies Inc.)

The startups made a name for Calgary, but we didn’t stop there. From the pancake breakfast sponsored by the Calgary Stampede to happy hour sponsored by OKR Financial, the Calgary crew became known for its high spirits, bright t-shirts and impromptu line dancing.

“Startupfest was one of the most valuable startup conferences I've attended,” says Andrew Browne, Co-founder and CEO at SmartTiks (TikTiks), “Startup Calgary's team provided tons of opportunities to gain exposure and connect with key industry experts and investors from around North America and beyond. Will definitely be back next year!”

 L to R: Doug Stevens (Advisor) and Claire Dixon (Neuraura)

L to R: Doug Stevens (Advisor) and Claire Dixon (Neuraura)

 L to R: Lynne Croker (OKR Financial) and Claire Bourgeois (ATB Financial)

L to R: Lynne Croker (OKR Financial) and Claire Bourgeois (ATB Financial)

Thank you to all of the companies and community members who made this experience a success! Want to see the photos? Check out our Facebook album here.


Huge thanks to our partners OKR Financial and Calgary Stampede for co-sponsoring this unique opportunity with us!