Twenty of Canada’s most innovative startups are getting a boost this year from the World Cup of venture capital – literally.

The inaugural Startup World Cup, organized by San Jose, Calif.-based Fenox Venture Capital, will be hosting its Canadian regional component this week as part of the 10th annual Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) event in Toronto on Oct. 17 and 18.

Its goal: To identify the best startup among this year’s CIX Top 20 to represent Canada at next year’s May 18, 2018 Startup World Cup Grand Finale event in San Francisco, where 30 startups from across the world will compete for the chance to win $1 million USD in investment.

The CIX Top 20, chosen by a committee made up of tech industry experts and investors across Canada, had previously been announced on Sept. 7 and run the digital transformation gamut, from a Vancouver-based 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering firm to a Toronto-based AI-driven enterprise solution developer. In alphabetical order, they are:

Now in its 10th year, CIX bills itself as Canada’s largest innovation investment conference, aimed at fostering collaboration between tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists through networking opportunities, keynotes, and panel discussions, with organizers expecting more than 750 investors, executives, and other peers at this year’s conference.

According to CIX executive director Lauren Linton, its CIX Top 20 program received a “record number” – exact figures weren’t given, but CIX said it was in the hundreds – of applications this year, many of them early-stage companies with less than $100,000 in revenue.

Startup World Cup aims to pursue a similar goal on a global scale, with Fenox organizing 30 regional events across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia in order to find the best startups from around the world to compete at the above-mentioned Startup World Cup Grand Finale.

In Canada’s case, each CIX Top 20 inductee’s CEO will give a presentation showcasing their story and digital innovation at CIX Summit, where they will be evaluated by a panel of secret judges. The finalist will be awarded the Startup World Cup for Canada, in addition to representing our country at the Grand Finale.

“Through this global event, CIX Summit will be giving the Canadian startups exposure and access to some of the top VCs and tech entrepreneurs in the world, creating funding and partnership opportunities,” CIX organizers said in a Sept. 29 statement.

World Cup or not, the inductees are already in good company: Past CIX Top 20 alumni include Axonify, Frank & Oak, Igloo, Influitive, Kobo, League, ScribbleLive, Thalmic Labs, Vidyard, Wattpad, and Wealthsimple.

For more information on the CIX Summit, check out the conference’s website.



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