TORONTO, ON, September 20, 2018 – Today 15 startups from the 2018 cohort of NextAI, a founder development and accelerator program devoted to the commercialization of artificial intelligence, showcased their ventures at second NextAI Venture Day. Over 200 investors, mentors, donors and partners came together at the Berkeley Church to hear diverse and dynamic pitches in fields of innovation that ranged from health care to agriculture to fintech.
The Top Venture prize was awarded to Feroot Privacy, a company helping global organizations comply with data privacy regulations such as GDPR. The award comes with a Titan V GPU, provided by technology partner and global hardware powerhouse NVIDIA as well as $5,000 in API credits on the Clarifai platform through supporter and Canadian entrepreneur, Matthew Zeiler, Founder and CEO of Clarifai. Feroot will also be granted automatic wildcard berth in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE currently underway
It was a banner day for Veronica Malinski, Co-Founder and CMO of Aerialytic who was chosen by her peers as Valedictorian for the graduating class and commented, “NextAI accelerated our venture growth and the personal development of myself and my co-founders. From day one in the program, we were surrounded by the most exceptional scientists, faculty, network and researchers, assessable whenever we needed. It is special to be part of a peer group of some of the top AI-focused entrepreneurs from around the world, all focused on the same thing - accelerating the growth of our businesses.”
Nearly 500 people applied to this year’s program, more than double the previous year. They claimed 45 spots on 18 teams and included significant increases from female founders and from founders holding a PhD. Fourty percent of all applicants came from outside Canada, from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Mexico and South Korea.
The day included a panel of technology exports who:
The interactive session was moderated by broadcast journalist and media executive, Jacqueline Milczarek, President, Jacqueline Milczarek Communications & National Content Solutions, and included:
Roland Memisevic, Co-Founder at Twenty Billion Neurons and Professor of Computer Science, MILA machine learning institute, University of Montreal.
Joseph Fung, CEO, Kiite.ai
Diego Maniloff, VP Technology Innovation, Unata
NextAI, which runs annually from February to September, is one of three programs delivered by NEXT Canada and was launched in January 2017 with $5.5 million in funding from partners including BDC Capital, Magna, RBC and Scotiabank. Since then, NEXT Canada has received funding from both the federal and Ontario provincial government to scale their AI programming in Ontario and Quebec. As part of the SCALE AI Supply Chain supercluster, NextAI has expanded to Montreal and will be delivering the inaugural cohort starting in February 2019 in partnership with HEC Montreal. NextAI is also supported by NEXT Canada’s national partners EY, Osler Harcourt & Hoskin LLP, and Power Corporation of Canada. Teams received up to $200,000 in seed financing to develop their technology, free workspace and hands-on instruction from award winning faculty from across North America.
This is NEXT Canada’s third program devoted to increasing Canadian prosperity by making a targeted investment in the development of young entrepreneurs. To date, over 300 entrepreneurs have participated in the Next 36 and Next Founders programs. NEXT Canada counts the founders of several AI and machine learning companies among its alumni, including Blue J Legal, Atomwise and Dessa
Applications for 2019 cohort of NextAI opened today. You can learn more about the program and apply for both Toronto and Montreal here: www.nextai.com
To learn more about NEXT Canada, visit www.nextcanada.com.
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About NEXT Canada
NEXT Canada is a national, non-profit organization that develops exceptional talent to create world-class ventures and propel technology adoption. Founded in 2010 as The Next 36 by a group of pioneering business leaders and academics, NEXT Canada is today a leader in the delivery of cutting-edge programming designed to foster lifelong entrepreneurship in three streams: NextAI, Next 36 and Next Founders. Our programs, delivered through meaningful partnerships between government and the private sector, strengthen the foundations of Canada’s current and future health and prosperity.
For additional information, contact:
Director, Marketing & Communications, NEXT Canada
(416) 399-5756 (cell)