Invest Ottawa and the Accelerator Centre Put Two Decades of Collective Scale-up Success to Work and Launch Accelerator Program in Canada’s Capital

September 20, 2018 – Waterloo, Ontario: Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for Canada’s Capital, together with the Waterloo Accelerator Centre (AC), strategic partner and award-winning accelerator founded by His Excellency The Right David Johnston in 2006, today announced the official launch of The IO Accelerator, a new Invest Ottawa Accelerator program that leverages best practices from both organizations to rapidly accelerate the development, scale-up and commercial success of high-growth technology firms.

Employing a model of pan-Ontario collaboration and co-creation, Invest Ottawa and the AC have established a rigorous, milestone-based acceleration program that combines key elements of:

  • The AC’s award-winning business acceleration methodology which was ranked the #4 University-Linked Accelerator Program in the world by UBI Global following the assessment of more than 1,300 incubators and accelerators worldwide
  • Invest Ottawa’s venture development, market insight and analysis services, including its novel client lead generation offering which helps firms identify high potential prospects, create a targeted customer acquisition strategy; and accelerate time to revenue; and
  • Invest Ottawa’s global expansion and trade services that help companies go global, and gain traction in target international markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. As assessed by KPMG in 2018, the global expansion activities undertaken by Invest Ottawa over the last five years have contributed $684 Million to the provincial GDP and helped to create 3,030 direct jobs and 2,054 additional jobs.

Since the launch of the competitive application process in May 2018, Invest Ottawa has received more than 100 applications for this new accelerator program. Leveraging a robust adjudication process, a panel of expert evaluators assessed each submission based on criteria including: the value proposition of the firm; technology and product readiness level; product validation to date; and commitment of the founding team.

Following the model and methodologies from the AC’s signature offering, The Accelerator Program, the IO Accelerator addresses all key areas of business, including: product development and design; sales and marketing; accounting and finance; human resources and culture; public relations and communications; and legal frameworks (including IP).  In addition to collaborating on the creation of this program, Invest Ottawa and the AC have worked together on implementation, enabling the integration of dynamic ideas from both teams and participating founders.

The creation of the IO Accelerator represents the first step in a broader pan-Ontario strategic partnership with the AC.  Building on Invest Ottawa’s five-year strategic plan, the organizations are now exploring opportunities to help high-growth technology firms capitalize on the $3 trillion global govtech market.

“It is a pleasure to collaborate with the AC and bring our complementary expertise to bear on the entrepreneurs and firms we serve through The IO Accelerator,” said Michael Tremblay, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “By combining our strengths and resources, we can help firms scale faster and more sustainably, and achieve greater economic outcomes for each region and our province.  Our cooperation will enable more technology firms to get to revenue faster; create more high-value jobs; and generate greater wealth.  We are far more competitive together in the global economy.”

“We are delighted with the strategic collaboration established with Invest Ottawa, and the outcomes we have achieved to date,” said Paul Salvini, President and CEO of the AC.  “Since 2006, the AC has worked with more than 400 startups and produced 59 graduates. These include Canadian-grown, global powerhouse firms such as Kik, Axonify, Magnet Forensics, SSIMWAVE, Sortable, Clearpath Robotics, Alert Labs, and Intellijoint. These firms have created 2,500 jobs and have a combined valuation of more than $3 billion.  We are honoured to combine our award-winning methodology with the venture development and global expansion services of Invest Ottawa and increase our collective impact on the provincial economy.”

“I am delighted to see such a diverse mix of technology startups benefitting from the new IO Accelerator,” said Susan Richards, Chair of the Boards of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, and Co-Founder Numbercrunch and Givopoly.  “These founders are bringing disruptive technology innovations to market, and charting our economic future. I am thrilled to see eight women-led businesses among the initial firms selected. Inclusivity and diversity are proven multipliers to performance and economic growth.  As reinforced in our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Guideline, we are committed to making Ottawa the best city in the world to launch, grow and scale successful, globally-oriented and sustainable women-led firms.”

“The calibre of applications for our new accelerator program exceeded our expectations,” said Nick Quain, Vice-President of Venture Development at Invest Ottawa. “The combination of some of our brightest stars (previously incubated at Invest Ottawa), and a wave of new entrepreneurs has created an amazing first roster of companies.  We have 45 of the best scaling firms in the city.  And 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”.

The Growcer is among the first companies selected for the IO Accelerator.  Lauded by Fast Company as one of the top 12 world changing ideas in food in 2018, the firm empowers communities to take control of their food systems by enabling local food production. By manufacturing modular plug-and-play hydroponic systems in retrofitted shipping containers, each unit can produce more than four tonnes of produce annually in temperatures as cold as -52°C.

“Our team has worked closely with Invest Ottawa for the last two years on business development, customer and investment acquisition,” said Alida Burke, Co-Founder and COO of The Growcer. “We are excited to build on the business results we have achieved to date in North America, and leverage The IO Accelerator program to develop and implement new global strategies in target markets such as China.  The opportunity to leverage the expertise of top mentors and Invest Ottawa teams, is invaluable for us as we scale and strive to establish the next $100 million company in Ottawa.

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in the City of Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally-recognized, innovative and future-ready city, and the best place to learn, work, live, and play, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development and global expansion programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include: small business training; mentorship; acceleration for technology firms; foreign business and investment attraction; local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors; commercialization; and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life.  Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of startups, scale-ups and SMEs; helped firms to attract $322 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 6,350 jobs; and attracted $293 million in Foreign Direct Investment. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca

About the Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre, an award-winning startup accelerator headquartered at Waterloo’s David Johnston Research + Technology Park, is dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive companies.Through a suite of evidence-based programs, service offerings, and unique one-to-one mentorship model, the WAC gives startups the highest probability of long-term success. For additional information, please visit: http://acceleratorcentre.com/

For more information contact:
Tabatha Laverty
Accelerator Centre
Manager, Marketing and Communications
tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

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