Applying to Techstars Montréal AI 2020

Over the last two years, the Techstars Montréal AI accelerator became a core part of an ecosystem that has established itself as a leading international AI hub. Last December we wrapped up the second class with a Demo Day that gathered almost a thousand mentors, entrepreneurs, investors and startup enthusiasts.

With a bit of time to catch our breath, we now set our sights on the third year of the accelerator program. Sitting down with our friends at Real Ventures, our program partner, we reviewed how we’re doing so far, talked about the progress of the alumni companies, and established how to keep on improving what we do.

Looking for the next 10 leading AI startups

Techstars Montréal AI doesn’t focus on a given industry. AI isn’t an industry, it transforms industries. Nadav and his team are reducing the usage of pesticides in agriculture. Marina and Thomas enable women to take control of their fertility. Justin and Ben are bringing a radical improvement to how transit agencies operate bus routes. Mark, Sam and Jean-Benoit are transforming how legal research is done. These are just a few examples out of the 20 companies that went through Techstars Montréal AI in 2018 and 2019.

So if we’re not focusing on a given industry, what are we looking for? Startups that will benefit the most from our accelerator program fit the following criteria:

  1. AI is at the core of the product;
  2. They’re aiming at a well-defined problem for which AI brings a much better solution vs existing ones;
  3. They’re making broad adoption of AI easier, or build tools and infrastructure making the technical operations of AI startups easier;
  4. They’re lead by a team that gets amazing things done.

Team is the key criteria. When we meet, of course we’ll talk about how big your market is, look for signs of early customer demand, and ask questions about your AI model and your dataset. However, the most important component is the team making it happen.

When you join Techstars Montréal AI, you can expect us to dive deep into the nitty gritty of the business you’re building and work side-by-side to tackle the issues and challenges. This is how acceleration happen. This collaboration goes well beyond the 13 weeks of the accelerator program.

Here’s what some founders had to say about their experience …

How to connect with us

Applications are now open for our 2020 program starting in September. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your application, let’s start a conversation now! The easiest way to do so is by requesting office hours with us. During those office hours, you’ll get a 1:1 session of 20 minutes, either in person or virtually to talk about what your company is doing, present your team and hopefully leverage our experience of working with two cohorts of AI startups to tackle some of the challenges ahead.

Let’s meet in person!

We’ll be travelling to different cities over the next few months, starting with Europe visiting 5 cities in 10 days:

Additional information and preparation

Before or after meeting with us, check out our Toolkit where we’ve compiled some of our best resources to run a startup. Additionally, visit the application specific toolkit for answers to frequently asked questions about how it works and what we are looking for on an application.

Bien que le contenu du programme soit en anglais, plusieurs mentors et moi-même sommes francophones. L’accompagnement ainsi qu’une partie du mentorat peut donc se faire en français.

Techstars Montreal AI 2019

One of the most exciting parts of managing a Techstars program is meeting with founders from all over the world and listening as they share their excitement about what they are working on. That period is officially here as applications are now open for Techstars Montréal AI Accelerator, class of 2019. Real Ventures continues to be our partner in this program—mentoring, advising, and helping to open doors for entrepreneurs.

Over the last few years, Montreal has established itself as a leading international AI hub. It grew from more than a quarter century of deep research to become the home of major corporate AI labs as well as startups applying AI to reinvent industries. They are supported by a growing private and public funding ecosystem.

Montreal is attracting AI entrepreneurs from all over the world, and last year’s applications reflected that fact. The inaugural class of 2018 consisted of an impressive group of founders from the USA, UK, Israel, Chile, and, of course, various parts of Canada. This group received advice and help from incredible mentors who helped them think through their strategic vision and execute on it at an impressive pace. We wrapped up the 13-week program with a killer demo day and companies closing follow-on financing.

Looking ahead to 2019

We’re now looking for our second class of founders ready to take their startup through Techstars Montreal AI. AI is not an industry: it’s a technology that will profoundly influence and change all industries. Hence, what we look for in companies is not specific sectors of interest, but ideas with the potential to truly change a given industry.

More precisely, here’s our thinking when looking at applications:

  • First and foremost: We’re looking for startups going after a clearly identified pain—a problem worth solving.
  • Second: Is the AI model making predictions or decisions that solve this problem 10x better than existing solutions? In other words, we want to see AI at the core of the proposed solution.
  • Third: Does the company have access to a large, ideally proprietary, quality dataset to train a model that can make those predictions reliably? At the very least, does it show signs that it will?
  • Fourth:  Is there a solid tech co-founder who can push the AI model far enough until a larger technical team is hired?

One exception to the above is for companies selling products that make operating AI startups easier and more efficient. We didn’t have such a company in the 2018 class, but we see many unique needs to be fulfilled there.

How to get in touch with us

If you fit the description above, or know of founders that would benefit from Techstars, we want to hear from you! The most important step is to submit your application. There’s no special trick or warm intro hack to get to us—we carefully review and consider every single application we receive.

You can also come meet us in person. In the coming weeks we’ll be visiting Boston (Feb 27–Mar 1) and Toronto (Mar 12–13),  and we’ll be announcing additional cities soon. We’ll also be part of the World Summit AI in Montreal in April. If we can’t meet at one of those events, do not hesitate to request office hours! These meetings can be remote or in-person.

Bien que le contenu du programme soit en anglais, plusieurs mentors et moi-même sommes francophones. L’accompagnement ainsi qu’une partie du mentorat peut donc se faire en français.

Techstars Paris New Call for Applications Now Open!

After an intense and successful 2018 at of Techstars Paris with, 11 great startups coming from all around the world, I am pleased to announce that applications are now open for Techstars Paris Accelerator 2019.

Talented, ambitious teams solving issues for large markets have until May 12, 2019 to apply and get the unique opportunity to benefit from a strong network of mentors, investors, and experts to accelerate their businesses, while working closely with the Paris program’s six corporate partners: Accor Hotels, Air Liquide, GEFCO, Groupama, FDJ, and Total.

According to a 2018 report created in collaboration between Stripe,, and Techstars, France is currently attracting almost one quarter of all European seed investments. As the nation’s capital, Paris is reaping the rewards of this influx of capital and is becoming one of the most rapidly growing tech ecosystems in Europe.  As an epicenter of entrepreneurship in Europe, over 100 Techstars founders have chosen to develop their business in “The City of Light” and build the next generation of world-class companies there.

Techstars Paris is not vertical specific. As such, any startup leveraging the use of technology to transform entire industries is welcome. Examples of industries where our companies have focused include artificial intelligence, natural interfaces, blockchain, mobility, green industry, administrative software, customer experience, asset management, cybersecurity, IoT, and more.

Both Program Manager Enriqueta Gonzalez and I will be travelling all around Europe, to Riga, Warsaw, Barcelona, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Stockholm, Nantes, Montpellier, Toulouse, and more, in March and April to meet with promising startups at a variety of events across the region. Please also note that a digital Ask Me Anything session (webinar) will be held on 4 March at 5pm Paris time. If you have any question regarding Techstars Paris and the program, please register and join us.

Finally, this May we are partnering with VivaTechnology Paris, the world’s rendezvous for startups and leaders to celebrate innovation. Apply to our challenge to get a chance to be automatically selected for the first round of interviews!

Will you be the one to follow in the footsteps of our alumni, like Lovys, Wakeo, Zify, Louis, AZmed, CloudGuide, Groover, or Stockly?  Request office hours to learn more before applying, or if you’re ready, fill out your application now!

Applications Open for Q3 2019 Programs

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for our Q3 2019 mentorship-driven accelerators. From St. Paul to Singapore, from food and agriculture solutions to voice-powered technologies, we have 11 mentorship-driven accelerators around the globe and across a variety of industry verticals that are looking for the best entrepreneurs to join their 2019 programs.

In every Techstars accelerator, founders of 10 startups work side-by-side for three months to accelerate their businesses. Through our worldwide network of over 10,000 mentors, partners, investors, and founders, Techstars provides entrepreneurs access to the right contacts to advise, coach, inspire, and challenge these founders on a daily basis.

Over the past 11 years we’ve helped more than 1600 companies across dozens of countries realize their potential. We’re excited to continue our mission and select the next class of promising entrepreneurs to join our worldwide network in the following locations and verticals for Q3:

Check out our new companies page to learn more about our top 50 Techstars graduates, like SendGrid, PillPack, and ClassPass, and their current status and funding raised. View these founder stories from Techstars alumni to hear how each Techstars accelerator empowers entrepreneurs to #DoMoreFaster and move toward growth and success.

Think your startup is a good fit? Tell us more about your company by filling out our general interest form or start here to apply to our Q3 programs. Our managing directors and program staff look forward to meeting you.

Applications Open: Join the Worldwide Network

“Becoming part of Techstars on my third startup, it poured fuel on the fire, made everything go faster. I don’t care how many startups you’ve been in, you’re always learning, so it’s a discovery phase, and Techstars makes stuff happen.”

—Alexander Griffiths, CEO of SocialCrunch

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps  entrepreneurs succeed. Over the past 11, years more than 1,500 companies have participated in our mentorship-driven accelerator programs and have grown and raise over $5.5 billion in funding,. We’re continuing our mission and are sourcing the next  wave of promising entrepreneurs to join our worldwide network! Our managing directors and program staff look forward to to meeting your team and discovering your company’s potential.

Today, applications are open for multiple Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator programs,  around the world. Apply now to take the next step in your journey and join the Techstars Worldwide Network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders.

We are also excited to open applications for five new programs: Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator, Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator powered by Techstars, BSH Future Home Accelerator Powered by Techstars, Techstars Bangalore Accelerator, and Techstars Lisbon in partnership with Semapa Next.

In every Techstars program you’ll work alongside companies in your program who are similarly accelerating their businesses. We create an environment that is conducive to helping your startup every day by surrounding you with people who will mentor, inspire, and challenge you. Listen to stories about our founders from Techstars alumni companies like SendGrid, ClassPass, and DigitalOcean.

We will be announcing details for information sessions and online events where you can connect with Techstars founders leading innovative startups, as well as mentors who have the experience and proven track record to help you succeed. Be on the lookout for more details soon.

Applications are open today., You can choose from any of the following locations and verticals:

Start here to apply to Techstars. For tips and resources on the application process, check out our Application Toolkit.

Global Applications for the Techstars Worldwide Network are Now Open!

There’s an often-repeated stat that 90 percent of startups fail. Not sure the source is, but no doubt that it scares entrepreneurs. At Techstars, we see the reverse in our accelerator portfolio – 90 percent of our startups are active or have successfully exited. Which statistic reflects your business? If you’re ready to succeed, take the next step and apply now to the Techstars worldwide network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders.

At Techstars, we are on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed. Our mentorship-driven accelerator programs invest in founders to help them do more faster. Over the past 10 years we have helped over 1,274 companies grow and raise over $4.4 billion in funding, with a market cap of $11.4 billion. Now, we are excited to start the search for the next wave of companies to join our worldwide network!

We are reaching new regions and verticals around the world with our newest mentorship-driven accelerator programs. Applications are opening for five new programs:

Take the next step in your journey and apply to join the Techstars worldwide network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders.

This is more than a three month program, the Techstars worldwide network is for life. Listen to stories about our founders from Techstars alumni companies like SendGrid, ClassPass, and DigitalOcean.

Application deadline is April 8, 2018 for most programs. We will be announcing details for information sessions and online events where you can connect with Techstars founders and team, as well as mentors who have the experience and proven track record to help you succeed. Be on the lookout for more details soon!

When you apply, you can choose from any of the following locations and verticals:

For tips and resources on the application process, check out our Application Toolkit.

Applications are Open for the Second Class of SAP.iO Foundry, Powered by Techstars

We’re excited to announce that applications are open for the second SAP.iO Foundry, Powered by Techstars Accelerator!

Over the next 13 weeks, we’ll be scouting for 10 of the world’s most exciting AI and Machine Learning startups that are making waves in the SaaS world. Applications close on May 13th and the program will run from September 10th to December 4th in one of the world’s greatest cities: Berlin.

Our companies have benefited from investment, tailored mentorship, access to SAP APIs, access to SAP technologies, and opportunities for exposure to SAP’s 350,000 customers.

We are looking forward to meeting as many entrepreneurs, investors, and community leaders as possible from all over the world. We’ll be hosting a combination of office hours, events, and meetups in each of these cities. Check out our upcoming stops below and sign up:

If there are any cities you think we should visit, please let us know and make sure to check back regularly or sign up for our newsletter as we regularly add more cities and dates!

We’ll also be hosting webinars with the SAP.iO team, our mentors, and alumni companies to give you an overview of the program, tips on applying (Tip 1: Apply early) and to answer any of your burning questions.

Thank you and please help us spread the word by sharing this with your network (you can click to tweet here!)

Start your application ASAP or register for one of our events or office hours now!

Alexa: Set a Reminder for Application Deadline

Applications are now open for the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars. We’re excited to team up again with the Alexa Fund to run our second class and we are matching the growth in the space and opportunity by expanding this year’s program.

On top of up to 10 companies that we’ll be working with in Q3 2018 here in Seattle, we’ll also be selecting up to three international companies that will spend their time in both our London and Seattle offices. This will help us leverage the Alexa Fund’s recently announced $100MM in venture capital to support global investment opportunities.

Amazing First Year

We had a very successful inaugural class of the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars and the future of our alumni is bright. For example, Pulse Labs recently announced its first funding round, while others like Sensible Object, Play Impossible, Novel Effect, and Botnik have been covered in the likes of CNET, GeekWire, Mashable and WIRED for their innovation with voice. We’re excited about what’s ahead for all of them in the months to come.

What’s New in Voice Technology?

Voice technology has evolved considerably since we announced the program back in 2016. At the time, Alexa was available on three Amazon devices. Today, there is a whole family of Amazon Echo and Alexa devices,  and more than 50 Alexa-enabled products built by other device makers. Alexa is now truly everywhere… even within my own home, my family has grown from a household of two Echos to 10 (four of them with screens).

As Alexa has grown and evolved, so too have the enabling technologies that make the service possible. This, in turn, has created a whole new set of opportunities for startups.

In addition to domains such as connected home, entertainment and speech science, we see a number of new themes emerging that represent opportunity.


With the launch of Alexa for Business, there is also new opportunity for startups to help bring Alexa into the workplace. Twine was a part of our 2017 program and was an early launch partner for the Alexa for Business program. We now know what Alexa looks like in the home, but what about in a conference room, office lobby, or at your desk?

On the Go

Customers are increasingly taking Alexa with them on the go – whether that’s in their car, out on a run, with them on vacation – and companies are innovating to bring voice to wearables, mobile phones, connected fitness experiences and so much more. We can’t wait to see the next creative ideas startups will have for extending Alexa beyond the home.

Family-Focused Technology and Connected Play

Echo devices are designed for the whole family to use together. With the Verified Parental Consent functionality launched at the end of 2017, startups can now develop new voice experiences for the whole family to enjoy. Companies from our 2017 program like Play Impossible, Novel Effect, and Sensible Object are building new voice experiences for this segment.

Enabling Technologies and Developer Tools

As brands and businesses flock to Alexa in 2018, there’s an enormous opportunity for startups that can help make the transition to voice easier. Like Pulse Labs and Aspinity from our last program, we are interested in startups who bring the picks and shovels that enable products and services which incorporate voice in compelling new ways, following in the footsteps of Levi Strauss during the California Gold Rush.

We look forward to meeting the amazing startups that will join us for year two. Please join us over the next couple months in your city as the Alexa Accelerator team travels the world.

Upcoming Events: 

February 27: Seattle, WA 

March 6: San Francisco 

March 7: Los Angeles 

March 15: London 

March 19: Paris

March 25: Tel Aviv

March 27: Online AMA

April 2: New York 

April 3: Boston 

Five Global Techstars Programs Open Applications

Now Accepting Applications to Five Techstars Accelerator Programs Around the World

Techstars has opened applications for five more mentorship-driven accelerator programs in Berlin, New York City, Oslo, Paris and Toronto. Don’t miss your opportunity to grow your business– join the Techstars worldwide network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders. Take the next step and apply now.

The following programs are now accepting applications:  

Three Months, 1,500+ Mentors and a Network That Lasts a Lifetime

The Schedule:

  • Applications Open: February 19, 2018
  • Application Deadline: May 13, 2018
  • Programs Start: September 10, 2018
  • Demo Days: December 5, 2018

Applications are still open for 17 other Techstars global accelerator programs. See the full list here.

Have More Questions? Meet the People who Make it Happen.

Techstars managing directors want to meet you. They’re on the road hosting information sessions and office hours. Here’s a list of all the stops on the Techstars Roadshow where you can sign up for in-person meetings and interactive, online Q&A programming to learn more about specific programs.

Applying to Techstars: Tips from Our Managing Directors

Techstars’ managing directors devote their time to finding the best startups. Between office hours, roadshows and AMAs, they are available to answer your questions and tell you more about Techstars.

Can’t join them in person? Check out our FAQ and read on for insights from our managing directors on what they are looking for in applications from startups.

What to know before applying:

Our current application consists of three parts: basic information, team information, and program specific questions. You can only apply to one accelerator per term. In doing so, you will also be able to select a second choice. You may apply to another accelerator, and select another second choice, only if it’s in another term.

Do your research, learn more about each program and the team behind it, and check out who we’ve accepted in the past.

Don’t let your misperceptions stop you! Our managing directors set the record straight:

You are never too far along! Techstars can, and has, helped at all stages. It’s not just pre-product, pre-revenue companies.

“There isn’t a ‘minimum’ requirement. Each application is different. We look at a lot of things to make a decision. If you’re early or far along, if you’ve got customers or are pre-product, there are a lot of different kinds of companies that get into Techstars.”

About the team video:

“When we ask for your team video, we really want to know about your team. Who you are, how you met, how long you’ve worked together, why you’re awesome.”

We’re looking to hear your story. And don’t forget, show some personality and make it personal! This really is the most important element of the application. Keep it simple: be yourself, don’t read your pitch from a screen, and don’t work about a high quality production.

What about the demo video?

Like the team video, everyone agrees: this doesn’t need to be super polished. Instead: demo what you actually have, show us the product, give us a simple walkthrough!

As a guide: “a super crappy product demo with an ugly UI is 100x better than a marketing video.”

What else? Here is specific feedback, direct from our MDs.

About your team
We love the story of how you met, how long you’ve worked together, and how you work together. Show us your interpersonal relationships, why you want to solve this problem, and why you are uniquely qualified to do so!

On your location selection
Your first choice location will prioritize reading your application.

“The location you select will determine the network you’ll build. Make sure you pick a location that will give you the best opportunity to build the right network with the right mentors. There’s a decent chance you may wind up locating your company there for the long haul.” And, “If you’re planning to fundraise, choose a site that you think you’d have success fundraising in.

Company & Vision
“Make it brief, long rambling answers are never effective.” But think big, too: MD’s also want to see “A clear immediate goal and very big, encompassing long term goals of disrupting an industry.”

Team & Commitment
Make sure you really highlight what makes your team unique! As one MD says: “There are people who were born to do what they do. I really want to know that this is the thing you were put on earth to do and that with hard work and good luck, you can do it better than anyone else on the planet.”

From our MDs, “the more detail on this, the better,” but detail doesn’t have to mean metrics and raw numbers. We want to see the momentum you’ve gained, and what you’ve learned from your customers.

One guiding principle: Be honest!

Help us see where your money is going. And know that “You’ll need to have enough runway that with the money from Techstars, you can last until your next likely round of financing.”

Cap Table
Plain and simple: “We want to understand your cap table so we can help you.”

Help us see the full picture: Give any notes about team members that are no longer with the company but own > 5%.

And remember, like funding: Be honest!

Never say you don’t have any competition! As one MD says: “It’s either another company, and if it’s not, it’s email or a spreadsheet, or voicemail, or something else that people hack now to solve the problem they have that you’re solving.” And when you list it out, make sure to be specific.

Above all: “Having competitors is good. It gives you someone to go up against. You should know who they are and most importantly, how you are different and better than they are.”

We hope these tips from our MDs helped! If you have any further questions, reach out to our team at