What is the McGill X-1 Accelerator?
Hosted by the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, the McGill X-1 Accelerator is an intensive 10-week online summer program designed to accelerate early traction McGill startups towards investment readiness and launch.
This summer program is designed to inspire and empower McGill’s most promising startups by connecting you to McGill’s entrepreneurship network. The program offers a wealth of learning opportunities as you engage with top caliber faculty experts and experienced industry mentors. By the end of the program, you will have greater clarity of your target market and customers, as well as the business acumen to effectively sell your vision to investors.
Your team will benefit from:
- up to $15,000 in funding
- participate in weekly online workshops on key entrepreneurial themes, while working through the crucial steps needed to launch your business
- support through weekly one-on-one mentorship meetings to help your startup continually develop and apply concepts as they relate to your firm
Who should apply?
This program is for McGill founders with startups that demonstrate early traction with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and early customers and/or revenue.
- You are a McGill University student, faculty member, staff member or alumni.
- You have a great team, with at least one technical co-founder, and can build your business upon a technology, science, or idea that is significantly or radically disruptive.
- Your startup should have the potential for exponential growth to eventually serve global markets.
- You do not need to have raised a significant amount of funding yet but will be using the summer months to accelerate the growth of your company towards a round of significant funding in the fall.
A commitment towards working on your startup throughout the summer and full team participation on all workshops and mentoring sessions is expected between June 1 and August 6, 2021.
Applications are now closed.
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Marie Josée Lamothe
Marie-Josée Lamothe has over 25 years of experience in the competitive digital and consumer products world (Google, L’Oréal, Procter&Gamble, Clairol). She is best noted for her expertise Global Product Management and Omni-Channel Branding. Marie-Josée is the Academic Director of the McGill Dobson Centre For Entrepreneurship, a Professor of Practice at McGill University (Desautels Business Faculty) and is the President of Tandem International, an advisory firm specialized in omni-channel retailing and branding. She also sits on several boards among which Alimentation Couche-Tard and Lightspeed.
Marie-Josée has been awarded the Desautels Achievement award by McGill University, which recognizes individuals who serve as role models for students in their education, career, and philanthropic contributions. She also received an Honoree diploma from the University of Montreal for he contribution to our society. She was recognized among Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the Financial Post and Canada’s Marketers of the Year by Strategy magazine. Forbes Magazine and Social Media Magazine (US) recognized her among Top Marketing Minds to Follow on social media in North America and Canadian Business magazine nominated her among Canada’s 40 Global Leaders.
Dax Dasilva is the creative mind behind Lightspeed, Never Apart, and Age of Union. Founded in 2005, Lightspeed develops a cloud commerce platform used by retail and restaurant customers in over a hundred countries. The company’s mission is to bring cities and communities to life by powering independent business.
Lightspeed employs over 1000 staff located in eight cities and has raised $292M USD from Accel Partners, iNovia Capital, Investissement Québec and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The company went public in March 2019 on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol LSPD, becoming one of Canada’s top 10 technology IPOs
In 2015 Dasilva also founded Never Apart, a cultural non-profit determined to bring about positive social change and unity through original programming with global reach and impact. Housed in Lightspeed’s former offices, Never Apart cultivates a diverse following and has welcomed thousands into its 12,000-square-foot space.
Helping entrepreneurs become leaders in their communities through Lightspeed’s technology and elevating artists through his work at Never Apart are fundamental to Dasilva’s philosophy. He fosters cultures of innovation, promotes diverse leadership, and values different viewpoints.
Dasilva’s debut book released in May 2019, Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker, brings leadership, spirituality and environmental guardianship together with themes of identity, diversity, cultural expression, and individual empowerment to ignite the impactful changemakers that the world needs now.
Dino Di Palma
Dino Di Palma, most recently served as President, Strategic Partners & Global Accounts at Avaya. In this role, Dino was responsible for direct, channel and partner sales in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. He also had responsibility for the company’s go to market strategy across the entire portfolio of cloud and premise based software and hardware solutions serving enterprise, government agencies, channel partners, SIs, SPs and small and medium businesses.
Prior to joining Avaya, Dino was Chief Revenue Officer at Broadsoft, leading the company’s global sales operations. Dino was responsible for global sales, operations, professional services and partner initiatives. Broadsoft was acquired by Cisco late 2017 for $1.9B. He has also held leadership positions overseeing global sales and business development, customer service and support, and manufacturing operations at Benu Networks (CEO) and Acme Packet (COO & member of the founding team), prior to its acquisition by Oracle in 2013 for $2.1B. Dino is also a member of the G20 Ventures and board chair of one of the G20 Portfolio companies (Emissary). G20 Ventures provides early traction capital for East Coast enterprise tech start ups.
Entrepreneur and sales specialist, Claude Macdonald is the founding president of Talentuum. Over the last 26 years he has trained more than 30,000 managers across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia through his work with such organisations as Institute National d’Optique, Magna International, Bell Mobility, Axis Lighting, Pharmascience, Roche Diagnostics, Nordex Acciona & Dachser logistics. Claude is a certified business coach (Registered Corporate Coach), a certified Professional from the ROI Institute (CRP), and is also a faculty member of the McGill Executive Institute. His areas of expertise are sales leadership, sales management & B2B consultative selling and Negotiations.
Lesley Ross is General Partner, at Enjoy The Work, a San Francisco-based startup advisory firm founded in 2014 by Jonathan Lowenhar. With 16+ years experience spanning management, sales and marketing, operations, and analytics, Lesley has spent time working for nonprofits and for-profits, agency and in-house, Fortune 100s, and startups. Tapping into her expertise in data-informed operations, she founded Quantified Ardor in 2016 and developed a proprietary methodology to advise growing startups around the world on data-driven decision making.
She has also spent the last 6 years as an advisor while holding multiple COO positions for startups at various stages. She is a mentor with Google Launchpad, Endeavor, 500 Startups, plus several VCs and accelerators in San Francisco, London, and Mexico City and most recently was an Expert in Residence at First Round Capital, advising their portfolio companies on operations and analytics.
Rob Lalonde brings over 25 years of executive management and advisory experience to lead go-to-market, growth acceleration, and entry into new markets for startups and early-stage companies. Rob has held executive positions in multiple, successful high tech companies and startups. He possesses a unique and multi-disciplined set of skills having held positions in Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and CEO and board positions. Rob has completed MBA studies at York University's Schulich School of Business and holds a degree in computer science from Laurentian University.
I love the early stage journey, particularly uncovering the magical intersection between what the market wants and how to sell it. There are so many open questions, different stakeholders, shifting variables – it’s like a game of chess where the right moves lead to rising revenues and happy customers.
I’ve had the good fortune of wearing many hats in my startup life from business development, to product management to sales. For the last 10+ years, I’ve built and led go-to-market teams for 3 organizations, Jive which went public in 2011, Origami Logic was acquired by Intuit, and TripActions, still a public company valued at over $5B at last check.
Building startups has fed my ambitions for years, and I joined Enjoy The Work so that I could impact not just one startup, but rather a portfolio of them across the globe.
Elton is a partner in the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the leading technology law firm in Silicon Valley. He specializes in public and private corporate finance and corporate law and governance. Elton also has considerable expertise in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and venture capital, and serves as outside general counsel and trusted advisor to his clients. He has considerable expertise with companies in the healthcare vertical and with cross-border transactions in Asia. Elton serves as co-editor of The Life Sciences Report, a newsletter on the life sciences industry published by the firm. He received an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, in 1996.
Marco Frate, CPA, CA is president and founder of Serene Accounting, a cloud-based CPA firm out of Montreal. An entrepreneur himself, Marco has worked with many start-ups and continues to support the startup ecosystem. With his firsthand experience founding a startup, combined with his academic background, Marco provides guidance in all accounting and tax matters facing entrepreneurs as they navigate the startup landscape.
Prior to starting Serene Accounting, Marco began his career with a national audit firm and later moved to manage an accounting department for a multinational mining giant. Marco holds degrees from both McGill University and Concordia’s John Molson School of Business.
With over 15 years in the banking and finance industry, David Shemesh has helped hundreds of companies grow their businesses by providing sound advice and financing to support their growth projects. David is not your typical banker. Clients often refer to him as a “catalyst”. He is an engaged and active business partner, who fosters meaningful network connections which help propel his clients throughout their growth strategy. For nearly 6 years, David has worked at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), whose mission is to help Canadian entrepreneurs grow through financing and consulting. He currently works as a Senior Account Manager specializing in the Technology Sector an industry that he is passionate about.
Anastasiya Babiy is a Senior Manager with more than 12 years of experience providing audit services to multinational clients featuring high growth, restructuring and complex transactions in technology, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical sectors.
Anastasiya has a strong knowledge of US GAAP and IFRS, Canadian and SEC reporting matters and has an extensive experience with global integrated audits, as well as IPOs (US and Canadian), private placements and carve out experience. She works closely with the clients to understand their challenges and proposes solutions adapted to their situation and industry. She supports organizations in preparation of the financial statements and regulatory filings and accounting for complex transactions including business combinations, consolidation, new standards implementation, SOX compliance, IPOs readiness, and securities offerings in Canada and the US.
Anastasiya joined PwC Montreal in 2018.
Anastasiya holds a Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy from McGill University. She became a chartered professional accountant (CPA, CA) in 2010.
Jean-Nicolas Delage is Partner at Fasken and is the co-leader of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications group and specializes in intellectual property strategy for rapidly growing technological clients. Jean-Nicolas often helps clients with intellectual property matters during commercial transactions, including licensing, cooperation agreements, due diligence investigations, etc. He participates in implementing patent pools in the wake of new standards adopted by standard-setting bodies and advises clients on intellectual property issues that raise the standardization process. He also contributes to developing intellectual property management strategies and policies for grant agencies and businesses forming part of a research consortium that includes the government, businesses, universities and government research centres.
Jessika-Kina spent 5+ years in financial services, designing and delivering corporate innovation programs, leveraging methodologies such as Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile. She recently joined Bonjour Startup Montreal to focus on bringing corporates and start-ups together, from program design to commercial collaborations and across industries.
She also co-founded the Young Women at BDC Network, leading an executive team, and achieving Diversity & Inclusion impact objectives. Beyond her career, Jessika-Kina has traveled to nearly 40 countries to enrich her mind and expand her horizons. She has studied and worked abroad in the United Kingdom and Sweden. Also an artist at heart, she turned her art practice into a small business, selling her paintings and prints online. She holds a Bachelor of Political Science and Communication Studies from McGill University.
Sahar Ansary has assisted hundreds of small to large-sized organizations across Canada with SR&ED and E-business tax credit programs for over eight years and has led work on over $50M in related claims. She specializes in identifying and optimizing the technical and financial aspects of various funding programs, maximizing overall tax credits, and managing major accounts. Sahar has significant experience in the aerospace, medical device, and software industries.
Sahar also co-founded Fundica.com, a successful online platform intelligently identifying government and other funding for entrepreneurs, where she led product development from ideation to launch. Sahar attended McGill University and Concordia University, where she received her Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering, respectively. She is also a member of the Order of Engineers of Quebec.
Kika is the program manager for the McGill X-1 Accelerator. Prior to joining the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, she was Director, Learning Solutions and Leadership Development at the McGill Executive Institute for 8 years, where she led over 250 learning and development projects for managers and executives of Canadian and International companies. Her interest lies in helping businesses become more strategic and in empowering people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve new heights.
What are the benefits of joining the McGill X-1 Accelerator?
- Funding of $5000 will be available for each equity-holding co-founder (up to a maximum of $15,000) based on milestones achieved.
- World-class mentorship and resources to develop your skills and accelerate your startup towards investment readiness and launch.
- Pitch to investors at the McGill Dobson International Startup Tour.
What are you looking for?
- We are looking for exceptional McGill founders with startups that demonstrate early traction with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and early customers and/or revenue.
- We are in search of startups that can build their business upon a technology, science, or idea that will give them a significant or radically disruptive advantage compared to their peers. Your startup should have the potential for exponential growth to eventually serve global markets.
- You have a great team with at least one technical co-founder and a full-time commitment towards working on your startup for the summer between June 1 and August 6, 2021.
- You do not have to have raised a significant amount of funding yet but will be using the summer months to accelerate the growth of your company towards a round of significant funding in the Fall.
Do you take any equity?
No. The McGill X-1 resources and milestone funding money is granted with no equity attached.
How many people can be on my team?
Teams are made up of one or more members including at least one founder.
Do all of my team members have to be current McGill students?
- We are primarily focused on accelerating McGill’s abilities and practical skills for entrepreneurship. At least one participating founder should have a McGill affiliation (student, alumni, faculty, or staff).
How many teams will you accept for the McGill X-1?
We expect to select 10-12 teams for the 2021 cohort. The McGill X-1 organizing team has full discretion over the number of teams selected. All decisions are final.
What is required of my team once I am in the accelerator?
- We are looking for McGill startup teams that are able to work on their startup full-time from June 1 to August 6, 2021.
- Team members are expected to engage in all the McGill X-1 Accelerator's activities and actively share learnings with other founders in the program where possible.
X-1 team payments will only be paid to registered companies with bank accounts in Canadian funds with no exceptions within a timeframe of 6 months from the start of the program (December 1st, 2021).
If your company is not registered please visit https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/cs06939.html for help.
Stipends cannot be issued to registered pre-existing registered companies that that are not related to your startup.
Have questions about the program? Contact x-1accelerator.mgmt [at] mcgill.ca.
Thank you to our program sponsor!