(Note: on a une version en français de cet article)
Building on a group of 30 amazing alumni (2018, 2019, and 2020), we’re now looking for the next group of 10 world-class AI startups to join our accelerator program starting in September. Read on for more info about the type of companies we’re looking for as well as upcoming events where you can meet us.
Link to application page:
What’s an “AI startup” nowadays?
One thing that changed since we first started this program with our friends at Real Ventures is that a startup using AI in some way or another in its product is no longer something special. So what are we looking for? Startups that come to Techstars Montréal AI fall into 3 core themes:
The first one is Core AI startups solving a problem in a given industry using a product that has an AI model at its core. Remove that model and the value of the product is gone.
The second is startups democratizing AI by making it easier for non-experts to solve their own problems using AI. They lower the level of technical expertise required to apply AI.
Finally, startups building AI infrastructure and tools that address the unique challenges faced when designing, training, deploying, and running data pipelines and AI models at scale.
What about selection criteria?
We don’t have many hard criteria but let’s see a couple questions we often get:
Does my startup need to be based in Canada? Absolutely not. This will be our 4th cohort already and a large number of our alumni came from outside Canada, most of them from Europe. However, if you’re gonna come do an accelerator in Montréal, expansion into the North American market should be on your short term horizon … and Montréal is a great city to do that.
Are you focusing on a given industry? No. Companies that have gone through Techstars Montréal are applying AI in a very diverse set of industries. We like it that way. That being said, I do have a sweet spot for constructive uses of AI. Tell me how your software lifts humanity rather than eats the world.
I don’t have revenue yet, is that a problem? No. Revenue is great, no doubt about it but it’s not a requirement. We do however want to see an early version of your product. Ideally, that early version has faced reality with one or two early customers and you’re now iterating towards real sales. More than specific sales/traction metrics, I want to see momentum. What we really look for is a team that is showing sustained progress from one conversation to the other. This is why you should open an application as soon as possible, get the conversation started now.
What if I’m a solo founder? Do you have a core team around you? Are they incentivized to stick along for the ride? To me, a solo founder with a strong, committed team around her can be just as good, if not better, than a group of 3 or 4 equal co-founders.
- March 30th: Inside a Techstars Accelerator
An exclusive half-day event where you can learn what it’s like to go through a Techstars accelerator and talk directly with program staff and our leadership team.
- April 12th: Startupfest 2021: Growth Week
Startupfest, Canada’s original startup event, returns with Growth Week (April 12–14), a can’t-miss event for fast-growing startups, featuring some of the world’s best product, hiring, and fundraising experts. We’ll be doing investor office hours on the 12th.
- Techstars Meet & Greet
Meet with accelerator teams and partners, learn more about the programs, and attend sessions on fundraising, growth, technology & more.