This story was updated following the pitchfest conclusion.
Invest Ottawa pulled a fast one on entrepreneurs at AccelerateOTT on Tuesday, revealing after six Ottawa startups had pitched for a $150,000 investment that the real pitchfest prize totalled $750,000 for two winning companies.
GoFor, an app for on-demand delivery of construction materials, walked away with a $400,000 investment commitment from Montreal-based Panache Ventures as well as $100,000 from Ottawa’s Capital Angel Network. CybernetIQ, an Ottawa-based cybersecurity firm, secured a $250,000 investment deal with Toronto’s MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. Though the prize didn’t come with cash commitments, RV rental marketplace developer RVezy drove away the people’s choice award winner.
The other three pitching companies – marketing education startup GenM, content creator platform developer BlackBox.Global and workplace food and supplies ordering app Hoppier – might not walk away empty handed either. Invest Ottawa vice-president of venture development Nick Quain told Techopia after the show that some of the VC funds and angel investors on the adjudication panel Tuesday also agreed to go through due diligence with a few of the other promising startups.
It was clear something extra was stirring as AccelerateOTT, Ottawa’s annual entrepreneurial conference, started to wrap up Tuesday evening from the National Arts Centre. After the aforementioned investors on the panel sequestered themselves to deliberate on the pitchfest winner, Quain returned to the stage with three oversized novelty cheques rather than the single $150,000 prize first promised from Panache Ventures.
Quain said that when investors get into a room with promising startups, excitement becomes contagious and deal amounts tend to rise.
“They knew, if we brought out the best companies, they’d get a good one,” he said.
The winning startups will now undertake due diligence with the investors to determine deal terms. To hear more about the differences between pitching on-stage and in the boardroom, read Techopia’s Straight Dope feature with Panache’s David Dufresne and Mistral Venture Parnters’ Code Cubitt.
For a pitch-by-pitch recap of the AccelerateOTT competition, check out @TechopiaOTT’s live coverage on Twitter.
AccelerateOTT was already making news before its pitchfest finale. With AccelerateOTT’s new downtown location at the National Arts Centre, the regional economic development agency announced it had sold the most tickets in the conference’s history.
Invest Ottawa also announced a partnership with the Ottawa Hospital to introduce a Smart Health Sandbox program to encourage the local hospital’s health-care professionals to collaborate with entrepreneurs in the region on commercializing new solutions to improve patient outcomes.
In the meantime, attendees were treated to panels and fireside chats with the likes of Ottawa-based serial entrepreneur Mike Weider, You.i TV CEO Jason Flick and Iversoft co-founder Vicki Iverson.