International Startup Festival and FounderFuel Team Up For Demo Day, Accelerator Rally

The International Startup Festival and the FounderFuel accelerator program have announced plans to work together on two events next month during what will be a jam-packed four days in Montreal.

Demo Day, FounderFuel’s major showcase that routinely attracts over 800 investors and media, will be held in conjunction with the Startup Fest on July 11. The two events are regarded as the biggest in Montreal’s technology scene.

Meanwhile a new event geared towards accelerator program managers, Accelerator Rally, will be held on July 10, the opening day of the four-day Startup Fest.

FounderFuel’s Ian Jeffrey and Startup Fest founder Phil Telio both emphasized the importance of leaving Montreal’s imprint on the startup map.

“Its one of the things that drives me the most and both parties would be crazy not to work together,” says Jeffrey, the program’s general manager. “We both have a massive impact on the startup community in Montreal.”

Timing has served both parties well this summer. FounderFuel produces two cohorts every year of roughly eight startups, with its two Demo Days typically falling in the fall and summer. The choice to team up with Startup Fest was easy given the two organizations’ past connection in supporting such causes as Notman House. Not coincidentally, ticket proceeds from Demo Day will go towards ongoing renovations at Notman House, the creative co-working space in downtown Montreal.

For Telio the two organizations are tied to the common goal of promoting entrepreneurship in Montreal, but through two different angles. “Obviously they do it first and foremost through the angle of investment and we do it through creating an event and educating entrepreneurs, but there’s a lot of overlap,” he told Techvibes. “We have a shared ambition and a shared interest in the community and we work together on as many levels as we can.”

Free shuttle buses will link Demo Day with the Startup Fest grounds in the historic Old Port. Demo Day is being held at the 900-seat Theatre Rialto in the Mile End neighbourhood.

Accelerator Rally, meanwhile, will be a gathering of accelerator program managers and directors from across the globe. Jeffrey will be hosting the event and said the motivation behind creating the event was the need to share best practices. Too often program managers are working within silos, with no one to turn to.

“One of the challenges I face is that we all run our programs individually and no one really knows what everyone else does,” he said. “So we were saying lets bring some of the best programs out there together to Montreal and lets all learn from each other.”

Accelerators have served as a relatively contentious topic lately, after the Financial Post claimed that the 104 incubators and accelerators in Canada are failing to produce the next home-run hitters. There’s too many accelerators, opined the Post, questioning whether the accelerator model is “broken”.

Former Real Ventures Partner and current CDO at FreshBooks Mark MacLeod responded in his blog, arguing that the purpose of an accelerator is not to produce the next Facebook. Rather, it’s to “help investors and mentors identify, nurture, and develop talent.”

Accelerator Rally then comes at an interesting time given the recent coverage, and should serve as a welcomed forum for discussion. Industry heavyweights like Paul Singh of 500 Startups and Eugene Chung of TechStars NYC will deliver keynote talks while panel and breakout discussions will cover such topics as sustainability and management.

Making the full transition to the Startup Fest, Accelerator Rally will wrap up with the “Startup Fest Opening Party” that evening.

Telio said the combined appeal of the Startup Fest, Demo Day and Accelerator Rally only serve to bring together intelligent minds. “It’s really just a question of leveraging everybody, leveraging our strengths and our contacts and to bring a great crew of people to the city.”