Million Dollar Startup 2020, a pitch competition like no other

On September 15, Finance Montreal and the Canada FinTech Forum presented Million Dollar Startup. Traditionally offered as part of the Forum, the pitch competition had to be reinvented in a form adapted to the health measures taken to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. This is how the Million Dollar Startup podcast series was born.

Over the course of 6 episodes, listeners take a behind-the-scenes look at an investment round as 20 startups vie for a US $ 1 million investment by Portag3 Ventures, one of the show's partners. Investissement Québec, Fasken and KPMG in Quebec are also among the initiative’s invaluable partners.

Produced and presented by John Siracusa, the podcast series lifts the veil of how investment rounds unfold and how venture capitalists think and make their decisions. Using the founding principles of the competition, Million Dollar Startup version 2020 was open to startups from here and elsewhere and had several elimination stages.
Among the applications, twenty startups were selected to enter the competition. Based in Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe, they operate in different fields, from wealth management to insurance to artificial intelligence.

In addition to benefiting from visibility, the twenty successful founders were able to pitch their technology to reputable investors representing large firms such as Portag3 Ventures, Framework Venture Partners, Luge Capital and Nyca Partners. After the first two elimination rounds, 14 startups left the adventure.

The 6 remaining teams had the chance to receive high-level coaching from renowned fintech entrepreneurs, at the head of successful startups: Rachel Carpenter (CEO of Intrinio), Nicky Goulimis (Co-founder and Head of operations at Nova Credit), Stuart Sopp (CEO of Current), Rashmi Melgiri (Co-founder), Dan Rosen (CEO of D1g1t) and Nathan Richardson (Executive VP of Red Ventures).

Ils ont l’épineuse tâche de délibérer entre les 3 startups qui sont parvenues à se hisser en finale après 3 rondes d’élimination.  After the mentors, the podcast series features seasoned judges: Stéphanie Choo (Partner, Head of Investments at Portag3 Ventures), Peter Misek (Founding Partner of Framework Ventures Partners), Hans Morris (Managing Partner at Nyca Partners), Nigel Morris (Co-founder and Managing Partner of QED Investors), David Nault (Managing Partner of Luge Capital) and Benoit Girard (Senior Director of Investments, Venture Capital, at Investissement Québec). They have the thorny task of deliberating between the 3 startups that managed to reach the final after 3 elimination rounds.

After the fourth and final elimination round, only one startup founder was declared the winner. Who is the 2020 Million Dollar Startup? Listen to the entire podcast series, available on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and iHeart Radio, to find out!

Listen to the MDS Podcast

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