Forty startups – some new to the Invest Ottawa brand, some familiar names – will join the economic development agency’s new accelerator program, touted as a more focused approach to scaling the city’s high-potential tech firms.
Invest Ottawa says it received nearly 100 applications for its first formal accelerator, which included a more competitive application process than the organization’s previous entrepreneurship programming. The review process considered the founding team’s commitment, the startup’s value proposition, its tech readiness level and product validation to date.
Most of the 40 accepted startups will call the Bayview Yards incubator space their home for the next 12-18 months as they run through milestone-based programming with a team of specialists. Some firms with office space of their own won’t be hosted in the physical incubator.
Some startups already calling Invest Ottawa home remain on board through the transition, including ChangeJar, MasterpieceVR, Welbi and Desk Nibbles. Firms connected to the L-Spark accelerator, such as Noibu and Transparent Kitchen, are also among the cohort.
Aydin Mirzaee, the cofounder of Fluidware, is accelerating his new firm Fellow Insights through the program though it remains in stealth mode. Invest Ottawa CEO Mike Tremblay gave a few clues about Fellow Insights in a recent presentation to the city’s finance and economic development committee, calling it an artificial intelligence-based solution to help managers provide coaching and feedback to employees.
University of Ottawa professor Andrew Pelling – known for growing an apple on an ear in his highly-experimentive lab – has two startups in the accelerator. In an extension of the apple-ear experiment, Spiderwort aims to regrow human body parts with biomaterials, while Incuvers is a new firm developing a versatile, modular incubator purported to fit any scientific purpose.
“The combination of some of our brightest stars (previously incubated at Invest Ottawa), and a wave of new entrepreneurs has created an amazing first cohort of companies. We have 40 of the best early-stage firms in the city participating in this new accelerator program,” said Invest Ottawa’s vice-president of venture development Nick Quain in a statement.
‘With targeted programming, top mentors and access to specialized entrepreneurship resources, we are really going to turn up the heat and show the world that Ottawa’s tech ecosystem is at the forefront of innovation.”
Invest Ottawa’s first accelerator cohort