Former Judge of International Startup Festival Awards Wins Top Honours, Raises $500K in 48 Hours

Serial entrepreneur, investor and mentor Jason Bailey was awarded $85,000 for winning the International Startup Festival’s startup award. The previous founder of several successful startups and the GrowLab accelerator program, Bailey received a base award of $80,000, $5,000 worth of service from design and branding specialist Daniel Arsenault, one year of free access to the Faskin-Martineau Startup Program and six months free rent and services from the Quo Vadis Communoloft.   

Bailey, a judge at the Startup Fest’s Elevator World Tour event in February, told a crowd Friday that he was able to raise seed funding from several fellow investors during the festival.

“Having come into this festival with nothing, with nobody knowing my story, I’ve been able to tell it here and through the process of doing that, raised half a million dollars in literally two days,” said Bailey. “That is a phenomenal thing to happen.”

SEE ALSO: GrowLab’s Jason Bailey on Angel Investing

Bailey’s new startup called has been in stealth mode up to now. It provides a game leader board that increases player engagement while generating revenue for independent game developers. During his acceptance speech he said he was able to secure $100,000 from 500 Startups’ Dave McClure, $85,000 in total from Startup Fest, he’s eligible for a $150,000 convertible note from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), as well as commitments from LX Ventures’ Mike Edwards and former Hootsuite cofounder Dario Meli. Not bad for 48 hours.



Startup Fest’s Phil Telio said the panel of 13 investor judges selected Bailey because he’s a seasoned entrepreneur who recognized the value of the prize beyond the money.

“We chose Jason because he gave the best pitch bar none. He’s obviously a seasoned entrepreneur that we know is a good investment,” Telio told Techvibes. “At the end of the day he gave the best presentation and he was the guy who we felt could inspire other startups to be at that level.”

The two other finalists selected were Snoobe, and Sobersmart. Snoobe Mobile is a service currently in beta stage that helps users choose the best wireless plan to fit their needs. Sobersmart is a company that offers a portable, reusable & rechargeable breathalyzer device and an accompanying app.

Sobersmart and Snoobe were both made honourary selections by the “Grandmother Judges Panel,” a popular group returning for the second year in a row at the Startup Fest. A third startup, Trinity, was made the grandmothers’ third selection.  Telio said that the lineup of entrepreneurs looking to pitch the grandmothers was a testament to that fact that they can identify fundable businesses. “The grandmothers see what qualified investors see,” he said.

Six other startups made the shortlist for the top startup award, including Greengar, Cloudbill, Freak’n Genius, Redro, Privatis and Outpost.Travel.

When asked about selecting a former Startup Fest event judge as the winner, Telio said was just like any other ambitious company. “If the question is ‘why are you choosing somebody that’s so successful,’ well, because we’re investors, we want to invest in the right person and were also looking to invest in someone that will succeed.”

Also of note was Waterloo-based monetized gaming startup WillPwn4Food, who won the Onstage Pitching Competition.

The third annual Startup Fest runs until Saturday evening and welcomed in an expected 1,500 patrons since Wednesday night. It featured keynote speakers such as Indiegogo’s Danae Ringelmann, 500 Startups’ Dave McClure, Altimeter Group’s Susan Etlinger and many more, as well as elevator pitches, tent expos, workshops and conferences.