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Innovation Guelph’s brand new Quantum Drive investment readiness program is designed to help get early-stage ventures to the next level. Successful participants will learn about different kinds of investment, work with a financial specialist to get their finances and paperwork in order, and learn about how investors conduct due diligence. Pitch coaching and story-telling will be a big focus. There will also be ample time to network with other founders and to learn from the experts and people who have been in similar situations before. 

Designed by Innovation Guelph experts and privately funded by a generous Innovation Guelph Startup Program alum, this program was created to provide early-stage entrepreneurs with the resources they need to propel their businesses forward. If you are a founder of a startup that needs capital to buy a critical piece of equipment, file a patent, build a prototype – or anything else that will allow you to unlock the potential of your business, this program might be for you. 

The program will include group workshops, networking sessions, panels and 1:1 sessions that will teach entrepreneurs how to prepare for investment, speak confidently, pitch effectively to investors, and be ready for the tough questions the due diligence process will bring. This 5-month program ends with an exciting culminating event, where participants will pitch their company to a panel of investors for cash prizes, low-interest loans and/or investment, along with feedback and new connections.

* There are mandatory in-person program components all participants will need to adhere to.
* Not all companies are guaranteed an investment.

When submitting an application, it is important that the value proposition is clearly articulated and that you demonstrate how this training and investment will affect your company’s growth. * Not all companies that apply will be accepted into the program. Priority will be given to established but still early-stage businesses, with NEED, TIMING and IMPACT being most heavily weighted in our selection process. 

About the Program – FAQs

If you want to know more about the Quantum Drive investment readiness program, keep reading!

Does where I live matter?

Company founders must be willing to travel to Guelph for all in-person group workshops and the pitch event. The 1:1 mentorship sessions and some workshops and networking opportunities will be offered virtually (i.e. Zoom, Google Meets, Teams, etc.). While the Pitch Event will be an in-person, live event, we may decide to have a hybrid audience; all founders will be expected to be in Guelph for that event.

When are applications due? Are there any other important dates?

Application Process Opens April 27, 2023
Application Process Closes May 12, 2023, at Midnight

Decisions Will Be Made Public on May 26, 2023
Group Sessions, Panels and Training: June 1 – September 6th, 2023
Pitch Event (end of program): Thursday, September 7, 2023 (4-8PM)

When will you let me know if I’ve been selected to participate?

Once applications have closed, Innovation Guelph staff and the appointed selection committee will review all applications to ensure mandatory fields are completed, and requirements are met. A team of investors will review and select their top 10 picks approximately one week after applications have closed.

An Innovation Guelph representative will notify finalists by Friday, May 26. Companies that have not been selected will also be notified at that time.

 What’s included in the program?

All participants in the Quantum Drive program will receive bundled (fully funded) mentorship and consultancy work with Innovation Guelph’s financial readiness experts and a pitch professional. In addition, they will have an opportunity to meet 1:1 with the co-founder and lead investor/funder of the program for 30-minute check-ins from time to time, as schedules allow.

Additionally, all group workshops, panel discussions, and founder networking attendance is mandatory.

NOTE: Pitch Coaching and Story Telling sessions include practical experience, group work, and individual 1:1 advice/mentorship. Active engagement (both in-person and online) will be required.

Timetable of all class activity.

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How will you select the finalists?

Potential participants will fill out an application expressing their interest in participating in the Quantum Drive program with detailed company information, need and use for funding and reasons why they should be selected for this pilot program. The selection committee will evaluate applications according to a scoring rubric and additional guidelines (i.e. commitment to attending workshops, incorporation, perceived impact, etc.). The top 25 applications will be shown to a small selection of Angel Investors and other industry experts who will make the final decisions based on investor interest and perceived impact of potential investment.

How many finalists will you select?

We will select 8 – 10 companies to participate in the first cohort of Quantum Drive.

How will my information be used?

Your application will be shared with the selection committee, Innovation Guelph staff and assigned mentors, and a small group of Angel Investors and/or VCs and sponsors, who will review the information to determine the finalists. They are all bound by a non-disclosure agreement as part of their engagement with IG. 

Selected participants may be celebrated through social media and Innovation Guelph’s website. Photos may be taken during workshops and used for promotional purposes only. The final Pitch Event will be recorded, and portions of the event may be shared post-event on the Innovation Guelph YouTube channel and linked to social media as promotional footage. No private and confidential information will be shared outside program participants without written consent.

What should I expect on a pitch day?

Each pitch time slot is 7 minutes and includes two parts:

(1) Your presentation (5 minutes)

(2) Questions from the investor panel (2 minutes)

The pitch event is a culminating celebration at the end of the program. It will include the investor judging panel, a small crowd of investors, staff, mentors, and participant friends and family members. Program participants will be invited to watch the entire event and will be encouraged to support and cheer on other participants. Light beverages and snacks will be provided.

It is important that you practice your pitches and stay within your allotted time, as there will be a hard stop when your time is up. Post-event, participants are welcome to connect with the judging panel if interest or support from them is offered and/or contact information is exchanged. There will be time at the beginning and end of the event to network with those in the room.

How does the investment/prize-winning work at the pitch event?

There is no ceiling or floor on the number of participants who will receive funding from the investors. Participant success will depend on the quality of their pitch and the assessment of each individual investor. The investment type offered may vary between SAFE, equity, loan and/or grant and will be determined by financial situation, stage, and investor risk threshold. There is no obligation to accept any deals offered, and not all participants are guaranteed a “deal”. We recommend that both parties’ financial and legal teams review any equity offer made after the event (and/or after due diligence) before signing.

How much can I ask for?

It is strongly recommended that you only ask for what you need, and it is important to clearly communicate what it will be used for and what the impact will be. While the investors have not put a cap on what they will consider lending/investing, the recommended range is $5,000 to $50,000 CAD. *Should you require >$50,000, you are welcome to make a case for it.