Discover 5 success stories from Entrepreneur First, the global talent investors innovating in Canada
As Canada’s world-class technology sector continues to grow, rivaling Silicon Valley as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurial leadership, Entrepreneur First (EF) helps turn the country’s vast talent pool into future founders.
Since launching in Canada in 2020, EF six-month program based in Toronto has built more than 25 venture-backed companies by connecting individuals with its global network of advisors, investors, and most importantly, the co-founders of their dreams.
For those who believe their business has great potential for success, choosing the right co-founder will become the most important financial decision of their life. By manually screening candidates for their skills, ideas and potential, EF’s Founder Cohort is able to test these co-founder relationships and test ideas at a rapid pace and in a supported environment, bypassing challenges from a conventional route to start-up.
Having built a portfolio of companies with a combined value of over $10 billion and raised a $158 million Series C funding round from a global alliance of the biggest tech players including Patrick and John Collison (Stripe) and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn)—EF has cemented its integrity as the top choice when it comes to finding a co-founder and building a business from the ground up. But don’t just take our word for it, explore some of EF’s top Canadian startups to get a better idea of how this unique program can be the catalyst for your startup journey.
Co-founders Jenny Lemieux and Jonathan Binas have joined forces to launch a startup that has revolutionized the fruit supply chain by digitizing on-farm fruit production. Using a new spectral sensor and real-time computer vision, Vivid Machines is able to automate the understanding of fruit quantity and quality to manage growth and predict yield and provide means of early diagnosis of pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies.
“With my background in agriculture and growing up on a farm, as well as Jonathan’s experience at Mila building brain-inspired hardware to advance the state of the art in deep learning, we have this unique advantage of creating a global business that impacts all farmers,” says Lemieux.
Labeled a “superpower for customer success teams,” Glowstick, from co-founders Anwar Jeffrey and Masha Krol, provides customer success insights on the platform. Using AI, it surfaces leading indicators of growth opportunities and retention risks in customer conversations faster than CSMs would manually.
“Anwar and I are based in different cities and we probably wouldn’t have met without EF,” says Krol. “We met at the inaugural cohort in Toronto and, based on our shared values, have since attracted top talent in artificial intelligence and secured world-class investors, including renowned Professor Yosua Bengio.”
Despite changing market conditions, Metacommerce co-founders Ryan Watkins and Charles Ashby-Lepore were able to connect on their shared optimism for the future of web3 and the property economy. Their all-in-one app-based platform provides a suite of powerful no-code tools that make it easy for anyone to launch and manage their own NFT experiences.
“We launched our first private beta in October and have seen hundreds of creators enter our community looking to use our platform to design, create and sell NFTs, deploy effective smart contracts and track collectors without the need to hire a developer,” Watkins explained. “Together, we have since successfully broken down the walls of our mission to help digital communities grow better.”
This global carbon finance marketplace, co-founded by Rishabh Varshney, Tony Qu and Malcolm Cameron, provides working capital to farmers, landowners and project developers to align corporate buyers on reducing and removing emissions .
“I had recently sold my last business to RBC and was looking to rebuild,” says Varshney. “I joined EF to find a co-founder who was an expert in technical logistics, and not only did I understand that, but the program also helped me grow my team.”
Along with their team of developers and top advisors like Adam Grant, co-founders Sean Kortschot and Sam Daviau launched UpBeing, which measures emotion using behavioral data to improve the human experience. By automating the way you measure, understand and improve your habits, the platform helps users take the necessary steps to improve their mood and overall mental health.
“Not only did I find my co-founder, a world-class applied psychology and machine learning expert at Entrepreneur First, but the program was a critical catalyst for UpBeing’s oversubscribed pre-seed cycle led by f7 Bay Area ventures eg Facebook executives,” Daviau says.
EF spends thousands of hours evaluating and selecting top talent at six global locations, including Toronto, a first in North America.
Think you have what it takes to rank among the top talent in Canada? Applications for the next cohort of Entrepreneur First are open until August 14.
To learn more about the program and apply todayvisit joinef.com.