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Flexible education, designed for you and your venture and delivered by world-class faculty and business leaders.
Build relationships with investors, business leaders, media, and a peer network of founders facing the same challenges as you.
Gain opportunities to pitch to investors and network with top entrepreneurs and potential customers.
Receive advice and venture guidance from Canada's top entrepreneurs and subject matter experts.
Get complimentary services from our partners, including cloud hosting, legal and work space.
Along with introductions to investors, Next Founders ventures are eligible for up to 30K in non-dilutive grant funding.
This course provides an introduction to applied economics in the context of innovation and strategy that is relevant to entrepreneurship and early stage ventures. We workshop each venture and address questions such as: How can the 'lean' approach to startups be applied to your venture? Why might markets that are subject to increasing returns be likely to exhibit 'extreme competition' and what are the implications for your venture? How might your venture employ 'judo strategy' to exploit the normally advantageous size of large competitors? How might your venture be able to exploit the well-known 'innovator's dilemma' to compete with established competitors? To what extent are clever strategic tactics congruent with overall welfare for humankind? We will explore such questions through the lens of economic theory, apply the concepts in the context of case analyses, and discuss implications for corporate strategy.
This course offers an introduction to the political economy of international business. The motivation for the course is to explore the nonmarket strategies employed by firms to compete in international trade. Nonmarket strategy involves political, legal and economic efforts by firms to reshape the rules of competition. With the 'visible hand' of governments very much evident in today's global economy, nonmarket strategy plays a key role in supporting a firm's market strategy. The course surveys topics in international trade with an eye to the nonmarket challenges that firms confront in 'going global.' The course looks at issues ranging from protectionism to obligations under the World Trade Organization and the growing number of preferential trade agreements that often extend more stringent rules than the multilateral system.
The objective of this course is to accelerate your progress in the program and expose you to the process of experimentation at the business, strategic and ecosystem level. We will start by taking the perspective of your potential early-adopters: is their current behaviour consistent with your assumptions about how your product or service can deliver value to them? Will your offering be compelling enough for them to change their behaviour? We will learn how to formulate testable and precise hypotheses, and experiments to test them. Next, we will discuss how different types of experimentation can ultimately help you scale your venture, and how you can develop a robust entrepreneurial strategy to maximize learning. From the theory we will then turn to the phenomena, and focus on two technologies that lower the cost of experimentation in the economy, opening new opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs: crowdfunding and the Bitcoin blockchain.
This course will examine the elements of digital strategy for entrepreneurs. Its focus will be on how to understand your competition, how to build on network effects, what the differences between a platform, disruptive, competitive and collaborative strategy are and when they should be used. It will also present the economics of app pricing; how to price an app, pricing options and innovations, freemium and two-sided markets.
This course explores how to collect, analyze, and present market intelligence. The purpose of the course is to prepare you to conduct proof-of-concept studies and to undertake effective experiments. We will cover five topics: (1) study design, (2) segmentation, (3) experiments, (4) interpreting correlations, and (5) communicating data. The underlying objective is to understand your target customers and assess whether their interests and behaviour are consistent with assumptions behind your business model.
This class examines the elements of financing a startup, focusing on technology-based startup ventures, and the early stages of company development. It addresses key questions which challenge all entrepreneurs: how much money can and should be raised; when should it be raised and from whom; what is a reasonable valuation of the company; and how funding should be structured. The course is primarily aimed to prepare students for these decisions as entrepreneurs but also examines issues from the perspective of venture capitalists, so that students can learn to effectively pitch their financing strategy to VC and Angel investors.
This course focuses on the challenging and important economic issues associated with recognizing, growing and valuing new ventures. The course explores the analytical techniques needed to recognize emerging business opportunities; understand the various financing choices; apply valuation methodologies; develop a marketable business plan; manage growth in a rapidly evolving environment; and successfully monetize the value of a business. Students will develop a framework within which to analyze whether a business idea is worth pursuing and a methodology to enable them to apply financial economic principles in ways that add to the value of an entrepreneurial undertaking.
Machine learning (ML) is a paradigm shift across many sectors because it proposes the automatic construction of artificially intelligent systems that are human-like in ability to perform and adapt. It has already made well-publicized breakthroughs in transforming massive amounts of unstructured data into commercially-relevant products and services. Accordingly, the major internet giants have made recent acquisitions and investments in this space as they expand their capacity in AI. A recent study by Bloomberg Beta estimated over 2,500 startup companies also working in AI and ML.
This course will begin by introducing the core principles of machine learning. It will then focus on Deep Learning: techniques that learn multiple layers of representation. It will review core approaches for supervised learning: deep neural networks, backpropagation, and optimization methods. It will also review unsupervised learning techniques, including recent advances in deep generative models.
A central challenge in automated visual reasoning is that of untangling the many factors of variation that explain an image or video: both nuisance factors (e.g. lighting, scale, camera angle) and variables of interest (e.g. person or object identity). Historically, practitioners relied on an engineered feature extraction pipeline, usually containing multiple stages of processing combined with simple machine learning techniques. Recently, Deep Learning methods have transformed the field producing winning entries to myriad competitions as well as industrial applications.
This course will review the foundations of Deep Learning applied to vision including contemporary convolutional network architectures. Leading experts in the field will discuss the most relevant application areas, including object detection, structured prediction, large-scale classification and hardware acceleration, video, multi-modal and multi-task learning, and regression methods for localization. The course will also highlight the most frequently used practical development libraries and tools.
Applications of Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems are everywhere: web search, translation services, and recommender systems, are only a few examples. Understanding language is not just the core to so many products and services, it is a critical component of building strong AI systems. NLP is one area which has been deeply affected by the recent advances in Deep Learning. This course will review NLP fundamentals as well as cutting-edge models fueled by DL. Topics include word embeddings, recurrent neural network models, encoder-decoder architectures, attention models, architectures with external memories, and multimodal learning, including image and video captioning systems.
This course explores practical aspects of Machine Learning in industrial settings. It will explore the interaction between software and hardware, specifically Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and other hardware accelerators which have been critical to scaling up ML. It will cover best practices for ML developers, such as model search, debugging, and visualization. Short and long-term ethics and implications of strong AI will form a key discussion point. Machine Learning Systems have a larger system-level complexity than traditional software-based systems and thus have the potential to incur massive ongoing maintenance costs. The course will also explore the challenges and best practices of building and deploying large-scale ML systems.
Mara does empirical research in the areas of Industrial Organization and Organizational Economics. At a broad level, Mara studies how companies compete and how they organize themselves for competitive advantage. She is best known for her research on loyalty programs and vertical integration. Much of her work has been focused on the airline industry and she is recognized as an expert in this area. Her work has been published in the American Economic Review, the RAND Journal of Economics and the Review of Economics and Statistics, among others. On the teaching side, Mara delivers courses on strategy, data analytics, and business problem-solving in Rotman’s MBA and Executive Education programs.
Joelle Pineau is a William Dawson Scholar and Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at McGill University. Dr. Pineau’s research focuses on developing new models and algorithms that allow computers to learn to make good decisions in complex real-world domains, even in circumstances where there is incomplete or incorrect information. She also works on applying these algorithms to problems in robotics and health care. Dr. Pineau is a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists in the Royal Society of Canada.
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).
Next Founders is a program that accelerates the growth of Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, access to capital, and unparalleled founder development. We want to help scale both the founder and their business. It is one of three programs delivered by NEXT Canada, which launched in 2010 and is now supported nationally by over 300 entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Our model is all about founder development. After an intense Immersion Week, optional programming is delivered throughout the summer. This is customized education taught by some of the world's top faculty and most successful entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes. You will also be exposed to an extraordinary community of investors and peers.
At Next Founders, we believe that by fast-tracking the development of Canada's most talented innovators, we will help create industry changing businesses and grow Canada's long-term prosperity.
There is no cost to participate in Next Founders, which is delivered by NEXT Canada, a charity supported through the generosity of Canadian business leaders, entrepreneurs and government partners.
Yes. Next Founders ventures are eligible for up to 30K in non-dilutive grant funding. To be considered, ventures must have raised private, matching funding between September 1, 2016 and September 1, 2017.
No. Next Founders takes no equity in your venture.
Financial support to assist with transportation to Toronto for classes and in some instances accommodation is available for eligible founders travelling from outside Ontario. Financial need will be assessed on a case-by-case basis – to learn more, contact Alexandra at email@example.com
In many cases, Next Founders is able to provide you with workspace in downtown Toronto for the duration of the program through one of our community partners.
The program runs from early May to mid-August and consists of a Founder Immersion Week in mid to late May which includes foundational courses tailored to your business, plus events and optional workshops. Optional programming is spread out over the remainder of the summer and you are encouraged to attend as much as you are able. Next Founders charges no tuition and takes no equity in your venture.
When you apply, we will ask you what you and your venture need most. We have a vast network and are often able to customize content to the needs of our founders.
While no formal mentorship is provided, you will have plenty of opportunities to build relationships with the business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors you meet at Next Founders events. You will also be provided direct access to dozens of advisors and subject matter experts in areas ranging from branding to intellectual property to venture finance.
No. These courses are not designed for remote participation. Direct contact with faculty, guest speakers and interaction with other participants is a key part of the program.
As an individual. We want your venture to succeed but our focus is on accelerating the entrepreneur. Multiple co-founders from the same venture may apply if they will benefit from the program and can add value. All applicants will be evaluated individually.
Yes. You will have to demonstrate in your application that you are an entrepreneur with a high growth / high margin venture who will be a valuable addition to Next Founders community.
Yes. While Next Founders is designed for those without formal business education, the right founder with a business degree will find the tailored curriculum invaluable.
The program is open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those in the process of immigrating to Canada. If you are in the process of applying for Permanent Resident status, we will accept a notarized statement to this effect. If you intend to provide a notarized statement, please email Alexandra at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of completing the first stage of the application.
No. All applicants will be assessed based on the potential of the applicant and his or her venture. In previous years, many of the participants had raised a significant seed round, crowdfunding campaign or were earning revenue.
Answer a few short questions about yourself, your venture and what makes you tick. The application also includes a short video interview.
Introduce your startup and learn about Next Founders from alumni entrepreneurs and NEXT Canada staff.
Finalists may be invited to an interview (online, or in-person in Toronto).
Meet the Next Founders leadership, mentors, advisors and your peers in the cohort. Make connections that will last a lifetime with peers facing similar challenges.
The summer schedule includes a Founder Immersion Week in late-May and optional programming and events that will be instrumental in helping your business scale rapidly. Guest faculty and entrepreneurs come in from across North America to work with you.
You will attend masters-level classes from our award winning faculty and entrepreneurs. To help you manage your calendar, an Immersion Week of 15-20 hours of programming will be scheduled, after which it is up to you to decide what classes, workshops and events add the most value to you and your venture. Sessions will be held at the University of Toronto campus, and typically run Thursdays and Fridays. The more you put into this opportunity the more you will get out of it!
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 make a big impact on your venture.
Select ventures will pitch in front of investors and business leaders who get a sneak peak of your startup before Venture Day. This is a great chance to get feedback and start a relationship with investors interested in helping grow your company.
The program culminates with a showcase of Next Founders and Next 36 ventures. Hundreds of investors and business leaders attend, and hundreds more watch online.
Although the program has finished, you are forever part of the alumni community. We hold special events for alumni, where you can network with your peers and entrepreneurs from other years.
Artificial intelligence algorithms are being taught to generate art, human voices, and even fiction stories all on their own—why not give them a shot at building new ways to treat...
When Jessica Ching (Next Founders, 2016) was a student at OCAD, she remembers having a conversation with girlfriends about going to get pap tests – or why many them had not. Even though Canadian...
Asked what inspired her to launch Far + Wide Collective, a marketplace for jewelry, accessories and home décor made by women in emerging and post-conflict countries, Hedvig Alexander begins talking...
At the latest HealthTO meetup, Optimity CEO Jane Wang shared tips and tricks for closing the toughest sales deals, even when your customer says “no.” Wang started her talk by sharing...
Smaller than a baseball, the many-sided timelapse camera captures months of HD footage on one charge, and makes editing and sharing easy. “The dimension of time is obviously very valuable but...
No one embodies that message more than Jessica Ching, a designer-turned-entrepreneur who's changing the face of women's health. That idea was the current that fed the University of Waterloo...
Today NEXT Canada, a national non-profit delivering programs to accelerate the growth of the country's most promising innovators, announced the launch of the 2017 Next Founders program, which...
NEXT Canada, a program dedicated to accelerating the growth of young entrepreneurs in Canada, is seeking applications to fill 20 spots for the Next Founders 2017 cohort. NEXT Canada is looking...
After learning a friend had become a hugely influential on social media but had no interest in expending the energy to find marketers to leverage her personal brand, Adam Rivietz and Bryan Gold...
Benjamin Alarie, Next Founders alumni and Founder of Blue J Legal, says he wants to create the equivalent of a racing video game for the legal profession – an ultra-realistic simulation that...
This BNN The Disruptors episode explores the artificial intelligence landscape in Canada, featuring an interview with NextAI Academic Director Graham Taylor, as well as pitches from alumni...
Artificial intelligence is getting more than its share of proponents and detractors. But the underlying question for many lay persons is what exactly is AI? Next Founders alumni Abraham...
Today NextAI announced major partnerships with several leading Canadian companies to help fund and support the program and its participants. NextAI is a global innovation program for artificial...
Next Founders alumni Benjamin Alarie was startled to learn, two years ago, that the school’s computer science students planned to “disrupt” his lucrative, centuries-old profession with...
A technology and innovation supercluster anchored in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor would spark Canadian innovation, attract talent and capital from around the world and turbocharge economic growth...
Blue J Legal is putting Canadian tax law under the AI microscope, improving research speed and the accuracy for forecast decisions.
Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb breakdown two key White House reports in Harvard Business Review
Tech North: Building Canada’s First Technology Supercluster is about Canada’s opportunity to build Toronto-Waterloo in to one of the world’s top technology superclusters. This report finds...
Prof. Ajay Agrawal draws parallels between the internet wave of the 90's and the arrival of artificial intelligence in the mainstream economy.
Congratulations to our seven alumni, four guest speakers and two Next 36 Mentors who made this impressive list!
On August 16th 2016, the 2016 cohort of The Next 36 and The Next Founders gathered in front of over 300 mentors, advisors, business leaders, and investors, to deliver their final pitches at...
One of the hardest expenses to manage for a young startup? Rent money. A clean, cheap office was what entrepreneurs Gimmy Chu and Jessica Ching were both searching for when they turned to Craigslist...
The Next 36, Canada's premier program for promising young entrepreneurs, has rebranded to NEXT Canada, a move that represents the organization's expanding scope. At the helm of that expansion will...
A year after brothers Tyler and Braden Handley launched a Kickstarter campaign for two-week tattoo company inkbox — raising $275,661 from 7,644 backers — the company has officially announced the...
Two Small Fish Ventures, a fund that focuses on supporting Toronto and Waterloo-based early stage internet companies, has made an investment in Toronto-based #paid. Two Small Fish was founded by...
There are many initiatives regularly popping up meant to connect startups to enterprise — from the creation of incubators by large enterprises, to enterprises making their mark in the spaces where...
(TORONTO, June 2, 2016) - The Next 36, Canada's premier program for promising young entrepreneurs, is pleased to announce that it has appointed respected business leaders Anthony Lacavera and John...
Inconvenience and lack of time are common reasons that people forego essential medical screenings. That’s about to change. Bloomberg’s Pamela Ritchie talks to Eve Medical CEO Jessica Ching, who...
As artificial intelligence increasingly embeds itself into our day-to-day lives, Benjamin Alarie realized he faced two choices: he could clutch his chalk as a law professor for the next 30 years, or he could embrace change and commercialize a product or service using this exciting tech. He chose the latter, founding Blue J Legal using technology spun out of the University of Toronto. Blue J Legal is a legal testing company that uses machine learning to provide answers for professionals in the grey areas of tax law. Their flagship product, Tax Foresight, predicts trial outcomes by sifting through all case files, legal documents and decisions to create a mock judgement and a more accurate assessment of cases.Read more
People don’t like being sold to, but #paid is striving to change the way brands interact with consumers. As the world’s leading marketing and influencer collaboration platform, #paid connects brands to social media content creators to help brands gain customers through online organic recommendations. #paid’s automated marketplace helps marketers find influencers, collaborate easily, approve content and track analytics, while influencers get paid to do what they love: share great content with their engaged followers. Since founding in 2013, #paid has worked with brand giants including AirBnB, adidas, Pepsi, Microsoft, and Corona to create engaging, honest, and authentic influencer content.Read more
Fed up with the permanence of tattoos, brothers Tyler and Braden Handley set out to develop a tattoo that wouldn't leave them regretting the decision 30 years later. The result is inkbox: a temporary tattoo that’s applied by customers at home in just 15 minutes. The 100% organic fruit-based formula dyes the top layer of skin, giving the look and feel of a real tattoo and fades naturally as the skin exfoliates. Customers can choose from 300+ pre-made designs and order from anywhere in the world. Inkbox brings the beauty and artistry of tattooing to those who fear the price, pain and commitment of a permanent tattoo.Read more
Co-founded by Xavier Peich, SmartHalo turns any bike into a smart bike with a minimalist interface that lets users focus on what matters most: the road. SmartHalo installs on the handlebar and pairs with a smartphone to provide turn-by-turn navigation, automatic fitness tracking and protection against thieves with its integrated alarm system. After an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign, SmartHalo has grown to become a team of 15+ and has been featured in TIME Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Wired, Gizmodo and more.Read more
Marie Chevrier is the Founder of Sampler, a Software as a Service that helps Consumer Package Good companies manage and measure the digital distribution of promotional offers like product samples and coupons. Sampler's clients include brands like Living Proof, CocoaVia and Hyland's Homeopathy. With a marketing degree from the University of Ottawa Marie started her career in advertising at J. Walter Thompson here in Toronto where she focused on the Tim Hortons business. While marketing was always a passion of hers It will have been her interest in technology that landed her a role as an Entrepreneur In Residence for Rocket Internet. There she had the opportunity to consult on two New York City based startups and eventually become a co-founder of DropGifts. Since its launch in October 2013, Sampler has helped Marie combine her love for marketing and technology and she'll say that it's been quite the ride. Sampler just recently closed a seed round of one Million dollars and has already worked with over 60 CPG brands across North America.Read more
Jessica Ching is the co-founder and CEO of Eve Medical. Jessica is passionate about improving healthcare by bridging the gap between medical technology and patient experience. She invented HerSwab, a device to improve access to cervical cancer screening, and has taken it successfully from an early research concept to commercial launch. Jessica is a recipient of the Martin Walmsley Fellowship for Technological Entrepreneurship, and is focused on making great products with impact for their users. Prior to founding Eve, she designed health and consumer products for Herman Miller, Umbra, and Telus. She is a graduate of the industrial design program at OCADU and studied Political Science and International Development at McGill University.Read more
Founder and CEO, Hubba
Founder and Executive Chair, Just Energy Group
Director of Operations, Shopify Toronto
General Partner, Real Ventures
Co-Founder and CEO, Wave
Associate Director, BDC Capital
CEO and Co-Founder, Busbud
Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management, Sloan School of Management
SVP Strategy and Corporate Development, Wave
President, NEXT Canada