You have an idea for how artificial intelligence can solve a major problem.
You need the mentorship, tools and capital to turn your idea into reality.
You have come to the right place.
Applications open Fall 2017! Discover more and stay connected through our newsletter.Sign Up
NEXT Canada brings together industry, academia, government and entrepreneurs to celebrate the launch of its third program, NextAI.
We will start you with $50K and top-performing teams may qualify for up to an additional $150K
Global faculty and AI experts provide structured technical and business education
Leverage the latest tools from tech leaders like IBM, Google and Microsoft
Join a network of like-minded innovators and gain exposure to corporate mentors who can identify opportunities, provide access to large data sets and serve as first customers
Build out your idea, with dedicated office space in our AI Hub in downtown Toronto, surrounded by other AI innovators and the services you need
Get the services your idea needs from our business, legal and technology partners
You can't build a great business without the support of a community of other entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and advisors. The Next 36 is backed by over 300 of Canada's top business leaders, who are committed to making Canada more prosperous by supporting promising entrepreneurs like you. Throughout the program, you will have opportunities to meet people who could become clients, investors and connectors for your venture.
The relationships you build during the program last a lifetime. The Next 36 alumni stay in touch with their mentors, start new ventures with their peers, raise new rounds from investors, and develop lasting friendships. Our alumni community will become an important place to go for advice, support and feedback for new ideas.
Legal Advice from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP on topics including: intellectual property, term sheets, human resources and privacy law.
Cloud Hosting from Amazon Web Services (up to $15,000).
Professional services from EY, including help with accounting, finance, media and funding needs.
Work Space during the summer for select ventures, provided by the DMZ.
Software from Mathworks.
Cloud computing from Microsoft BizSpark (up to $10,000 monthly for 12 months).
Not only does Canada’s tech ecosystem consistently punch above its weight, we have government support from all levels and pioneering research funders to back up our efforts.
Toronto provides a hot spring of local talent, global experts, and top-tier researchers paired with a dedication to civic values that makes it the ideal city to live in while building your AI-enabled business.
NextAI is a global innovation hub for artificial intelligence related venture creation and technology commercialization. We identify talented teams with ambitious ideas and leverage Canada’s leadership position in AI to provide them with the capital, mentorship, education and network to disrupt industries.
NextAI teams have access to up to $200,000 in capital, world-renowned faculty and scientists, a network of Canada’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs, and access to cutting edge AI tools
Anyone who is passionate about solving a problem using AI should apply. We welcome applicants of all ages, from all countries, from any educational background. Impress us with your idea, your passion and your skills.
Applicants apply individually and are connected with other finalists to form teams and create their AI-based business idea. You don’t need a team or an idea. Bring us your industry expertise or technical proficiency and choose who you want to work with to move your idea to reality
Each member of your team must first apply as an Individual. Once all of you have progressed to the Finalist stage, you can complete your Team Application for consideration. You will be accepted to the program as a team.
Yes, everyone will apply as an individual. As a Finalist, you will virtually meet other individual applicants and will create a team out of that pool. Each team will need to include a technical member.
If you have expertise and a big idea in any other domain that can be solved with AI, you can get to know other Finalists and match up with someone technical who is equally passionate about building your idea in to reality.
No, all participants must be 100% committed to the program and their idea / venture.
You must be in Toronto for the summer portion of the program from May to September. We encourage all teams to also be in Toronto from February through April.
Each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, ventures that have secured private investment are not eligible. Groups that have received non-equity based funding in the form of grants, pitch competitions, etc., are eligible.
NextAI is a global leader in accelerating AI ventures and ideas. We provide all teams with:
- $50,000 CAD initial funding
- Up to an additional $150,000 CAD throughout the program for top performing teams incorporating a venture
- Technical training from leading AI experts
- Work with leading scientists and academics who will challenge your assumptions
- Resources from leading AI technical partners such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft
- Business training from award winning global faculty
- Resources from corporate sponsors including advisors with subject matter expertise relevant to the industry of your venture/idea
- Legal resources to incorporate your venture, help with Intellectual Property
- Work space as needed for the duration of the program
All Teams must commit to moving to the Greater Toronto Area for May 1, 2017 and complete the programming through September 2017 (exact date TBD). Teams are strongly encouraged to also be in Toronto from February 1 until end of April.
You will participate in technical curriculum and/or business and founder development curriculum throughout the entire program term. You are required to participate in person in Toronto for one full week of programming February 21-24 (inclusive). Additional programming between February and April will be offered virtually, including assignments, video lectures, and feedback sessions. Intensive academic programming for both the technical and business streams will be scheduled from May through August.
When you are not participating in NextAI training and development you will be working full-time on your AI idea/venture.
Participants must live in the Greater Toronto Area for summer portion of the program from May 1 until September. It is highly recommend that teams are also in Toronto during the February to April part of the program. We also recommend teams live together to save costs and facilitate full time work on their idea.
There is no cost to participate. However, Toronto is a metropolitan city. Expect $2500-3000/month per team for 8 months plus living expenses for the duration of the program.
Ajay Agrawal – Academic Director, NEXT Canada - Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Kyunghyun Cho - Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, New York University
Sanja Fidler - Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
Mara Lederman - Director, Research Resources and Centres Associate Professor of Strategic Management, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Graham Taylor – Academic Director, NextAI, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, University of Guelph and Azrieli Global Scholar, Learning in Machines & Brains (CIFAR)
Raquel Urtasun - Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision
NextAI was created for entrepreneurs and innovators interested in building ventures and commercializing ideas specific to the field of Artificial Intelligence. We focus on ideas that are pre-investment stage. We are similar to a traditional accelerator model in that we invest in teams and ideas.
Our other programs are focused on individual entrepreneurs. The Next 36 is primarily focused on undergraduate students with enormous potential. Next Founders focuses on developing founders of businesses that already have significant traction – revenue, funding, employees, etc
Our goal is to see you continue to build your business in Toronto and be an active participant in the NextAI network. We will continue to provide you with development and networking opportunities.
$50,000 for a SAFE with a $2mm CAP.
Up to an additional $150,000 no CAP, 20% discount to next round
Industry-specific funding awards will be granted with values of up to $150,000. Top VCs and investors from across North America are involved with NEXT Canada. There will be opportunities to secure funding from them as ventures develop throughout the program, and afterwards, as part of the NextAI network.
IP created during the NextAI belongs to the company that was created at the beginning of the program.
All IP used by the team within their venture has to either be owned by the venture or the company needs a license to use it.
Participation in the program by non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada is contingent on the applicant securing and maintaining appropriate valid legal immigration status in Canada at all times.
Options to consider to help with this process include:
2. International Experience Canada (IEC) programs may be an option for citizens of countries with bilateral agreements with Canada.
3. International Mobility Program. There are several other circumstances that might be relevant, including family and education. Applicants should consult an immigration professional for assistance.
Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program is intended to attract foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish new, high-growth businesses in Canada which will support innovation and job-creation. To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, entrepreneurs must be accepted into a program offered by a designated Canadian business incubator or accelerator.
Yes. NEXT Canada is a designated entity of the SUV program and will be considering international applicants to the NextAI 2018 cohort. You must be offered and accept placement in NextAI before the Start-up Visa application process can begin, however, there are several independent steps we recommend you commence prior to applying to NextAI (see below).
The biggest hurdles are often the language tests (scheduling and completing) and establishing required settlement funds. Potential applicants should check out these requirements before even applying to NextAI. If you do not meet the standard, we do not recommend applying. Those who do meet the requirements should begin collecting these pieces as soon as possible – even prior to NextAI application.
Each individual applicant to the startup visa program must complete individual requirements for approval by Canadian Immigration & Citizenship. Review the necessary requirements, and tips on how to get started on each, at the links below:
The eligibility requirements, including settlement funds and language proficiency: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/start-up/eligibility.asp
Medical exams, police clearance, travel history and processing times: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/start-up/next-steps.asp
No. At this time, NEXT Canada is processing applications through the Start-up Visa program exclusively for NextAI program participants. This is not available to applicants or participants of the Next 36 or Next Founders programs, which remain open strictly to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- Intend to reside in a province/territory other than Quebec.
- Have the support of a Canadian business entity, in the form of a Commitment Certificate (successful NextAI applicants will receive this.
- Meet/exceed the minimum language proficiency threshold set by the Minister for each of the four language skill areas.
- Have completed at least one year of post-secondary education.
- Have sufficient funds to economically establish themselves in Canada. Applicant must demonstrate that they have funds that are available, transferable and unencumbered by debts or other obligations. Amount of required funds is assessed according to the applicant’s family size.
- Have no more than five essential persons per business proposal.
• “Essential person”: foreign national considered by the designated entity to be essential to the business being established under the program.
• If the application for an essential person is refused for any reason, all other applications related to that commitment must also be refused.
- Applicant must hold 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all the shares of the corporation outstanding at the time the commitment is made.
- No persons or entities, other than qualified participants, hold 50% or more of the total amount of the voting rights attached to all the shares of the corporation outstanding at the time the commitment is made.
Complete a short online individual application highlighting your team and idea. There is also a video interview component that pre-existing teams can complete as a group.
Join NextAI and NEXT Canada leadership at the program launch in conjunction with the Rotman Creative Destruction Lab – Machine Learning Conference.
Participants arrive in Toronto, teams incorporate and initial funding of $50K per team is distributed.
Technical and business programming delivered, including platform training and access (Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc.). Mentors and scientists matched with teams.
Ventures present their progress to key stakeholders and additional funding of up to $150K is available.
Optional participation in founder development programming. Optional participation in founder development programming. See courses and faculty here
You’ll be invited to multiple networking events, where you will have the opportunity to meet investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders with the potential to transform your idea into a viable business.
Present your idea in front of investors, corporate stakeholders and AI domain experts
Join the growing NEXT Canada Alumni Community, attend events and pursue follow-on Funding Opportunities
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Solutions Architect Manager, NVIDIA
Director of Machine Learning, Kindred
Associate Professor, School of Computer Science at McGill University
Deep Learning Lead, Apple
Founder & CEO, Clarifai
Associate Professor - Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Data Science, New York University
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Academic Director, NextAI
Academic Director, NEXT Canada, Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship, Rotman School of Management
Founder, UDIO Ag Tech Inc.
Founder, Blue J Legal