As the Toronto tech festival Collision Conference heats up this week seven new early-stage local startups will launch into the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor for the Founder Institute Waterloo Spring 2020 Launch event followed by a #BlackLivesMatter in Tech panel starting at 7pm on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
The Founder Institute is the world’s largest startup accelerator and has been a pioneer in trying to eliminate systemic racism in tech, using a proprietary racially unbiased acceptance process, which is why the current Waterloo cohort is over 77% visible minority.
Following the pitches will be a special #BlackLivesMatter in Tech panel discussion drawing awareness to racial inequality and the role technology plays in fighting racism in 2020, and beyond.
The diverse Black Lives Matter in Tech panel includes local black business leaders like Kithio Mwanzia the former President of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and now Network Manager of the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI). Mwanzia explains, “innovation is described as the ability to see change as an opportunity and not a threat, and recent events have demonstrated how we define ourselves by our own actions and choices. We can distinguish ourselves when our actions and choices are grounded in diversity, equal rights, justice and inclusion, and by doing so, we define who we are as individuals, industry and as Canadians.”
Collision attendees, founders, angels, venture capitalists, media, mentors, students and anyone interested in Toronto-Waterloo startups are invited to attend and connect.
7pm EST - Pitches
8pm EST - Panel
9pm EST - Close
The Founder Institute Waterloo Spring 2020 program has been especially rigorous pivoting to address COVID-19. The graduation will showcase the latest Waterloo cohort where you can watch pitch presentations from entrepreneurs building the next generation of great tech companies.
Fairly AI is one of the startups graduating, co-founded by David Van Bruwaene and Fion Lee Madan, which is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) audit platform that tests for implicit bias in tech like racial discrimination in AI scripts.
“When you look at a data scientist team there is a lack of diversity, in terms of gender and race, and no matter how smart we are we still have our unconscious bias,” explains Lee Madan. Fairly.ai is a great example of the need to support new startups and especially those solving humanities largest problems like racism, COVID-19 and our strained food supply chain.
- Code of Course - An online learning platform where capable kids (6-16 years) can upload video tutorials to educate their STEM peers.
- Fairly AI - A software-as-a-service AI audit platform which provides quality assurance for AI bias and compliance.
- Rench Tech - Find a mobile mechanic, mechanic shop, tire facility, body shop, all with a few clicks.
- Rivvi - A daily-pay platform providing employees with all of their earned wages on a daily basis and the tools to help them better understand and manage their finances.
- Ryksha - A chain-of-custody secure delivery service for documents and evidence to help professionals in various industries be more productive.
- SI-HAN TECH - Their intelligent adaptive learning tool Career Check helps Gen Z and Millennials identify skills needed in the job market to get hired.
- Untangle Money - Helps women become comfortable with financial matters so that they will invest more money earlier.
Renowned Canadian startup investor Sunil Sharma, the Founder Institute Toronto Director, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto and Collision Conference co-host, shared that “we often hear about the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor but this the perhaps the first and best example of the corridor in actual practise as we're the only tech accelerator operating in both cities.”
Partners for the four-month pre-seed accelerator included law firm Gowling WLG, accounting firm BDO, coworking space Workhaus, Google Developers and Rebels of Design.
The Founder Institute is coordinated by dozens of volunteer mentors and local leaders like Sunil Sharma (Toronto Director), Jordan Jocius (Waterloo Director), Investor-in-Residence Robert Whiteside (Founding Partner & Director, Treemark Capital), Product-Developer-in-Residence Sean Yo and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ryan Micheletti.
In the Founder Institute's pre-seed accelerator program, early-stage entrepreneurs and teams build their business alongside a critical support network of local startup experts that share equity in their success, and through a structured and challenging business-building process that has helped alumni raise over $1 billion.
After Graduation, the new Founder Institute Waterloo startups launch with a fast-growing company that has been fully validated by experienced startup founders, with access to the Founder Institute's global network and post-graduate support programs to continue building their business.
Leaders of the world’s fastest-growing startups have used the Founder Institute to raise funding, get into seed-accelerators, generate traction, recruit a team, build a product, transition from employee to entrepreneur, and more. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 200 cities and 90 countries, the Founder Institute’s mission is to empower talented and motivated entrepreneurs to build companies that will create one million new jobs.
The next Founder Institute Toronto-Waterloo program starts September 15, 2020.
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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $1 billion in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.
See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey.