Ottawa’s homegrown innovation conference is putting up a pretty purse for its annual pitchfest this year.
AccelerateOTT announced late Monday that it has secured a $150,000 cash prize for its pitchfest at this year’s event, slated for June 11 at the National Arts Centre. Organizer Invest Ottawa said in a statement that the seed funding, provided by early stage investor Panache Ventures, is the largest-such prize ever provided for a local pitchfest.
"Ottawa's startup ecosystem is on fire, so it was an easy commitment for Panache Ventures to make knowing some of the Canada’s top startups are located there," said the fund’s partner, David Dufresne, in a statement.
Nick Quain, Invest Ottawa’s vice-president of venture development, noted that the exposure alone of winning the sizeable investment will make a “serious difference” for an early stage firm.
Startups in Ottawa and eastern Ontario interested in taking the stage at AccelerateOTT will need to qualify at one of two “pitch-ins” held April 4 at Bayview Yards and May 7 at a Tech Tuesday event in Kanata. In order to apply, tech firms must have seen revenue growth of at least 50 per cent in the past year and plan to seek additional venture capital in the next 18 months.
In total, five to seven startups will have the chance to pitch at the conference.
The AccelerateOTT website notes that winning the pitchfest does not guarantee funding, as Panache Ventures will conduct due diligence and negotiations with the winning startup after the event.