Google-backed Pre-accelerator NEXT Program to Hit Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto

NEXT, a five-week program designed for evolving startups to gain access to mentors, angels, and methodologies to fast-track them to product-market-fit, is coming to Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto.

In Montreal, the pre-accelerator program will be launched by Real Ventures, FounderFuel, and Blakes Law Firm. The program has backing from Startup Weekend, Google for Entrepreneurs, and TechStars. In Toronto, NEXT will be hosted at TWG offices and MaRS Commons.

NEXT is described by organizers as “one of the world’s most effective experiential entrepreneurship curriculum … customized and packaged into an intensive pre-accelerator course” that takes three hours per week.

“There was a big gap in the Montreal ecosystem for companies just getting started. By partnering and aligning the efforts with Montreal-based Founder Fuel tech accelerator, we make sure our graduates get more chances to be accepted and receive funding and acceleration just after graduation. NEXT Montreal will be truly benefiting the whole community”, Sergio A. Escobar, NEXT Montreal Program Director.

“We are big believers in having startups build things people want. NEXT Toronto is a program dedicated to making this happen,” says Nathan Monk, a senior strategist at MaRS.

NEXT launches in Calgary on Wednesday, March 19 and launches in Toronto on Friday, March 21. In Montreal, it launches on March 17. Applications for all three programs are still being accepted.

“Toronto’s startup ecosystem is firmly on the global map and Startup Weekend has played an important role in helping to expose and train the next generation of startup founders,” noted Chris Eben, Partner, The Working Group. “NEXT is the logical evolution, leveraging the experience and knowledge base of Toronto’s entrepreneurial community along with lean startup practitioners who really understand how to do customer development.”

Teams who finish the NEXT program successfully will be eligible for NEXT First Look Forum Event, which is a post-program global showcase event aimed at generating exposure for the strongest graduates to accelerators, early stage investors, and media.