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Investor Reverse Pitch: A first of its kind for the Innovation Centre

Published: Monday, March 21st, 2022

When Roynat Capital | Scotiabank came to us with an unusual idea, we couldn't resist the opportunity it presented: they proposed an event that would flatten hierarchies and open up a new community dynamic. The Platform Calgary team leapt at the chance to support an event that would turn the tables and have investors and accelerators pitch to some of Calgary’s up-and-coming startups in a Reverse Pitch. 

What started as a small idea quickly became a reality, and we ultimately welcomed 120+ attendees into the Platform Innovation Centre to host this first-of-its kind event. 

Investors had five minutes to pitch their fund overview and investment focus. They also spoke to trends they’re excited about, their ‘superpower’ (value add for entrepreneurs beyond capital), and why they’re bullish on Calgary.

It’s not everyday investors are in the hot seat, but this event saw nine of them pitching to Calgary’s most promising startups, who got to sit back and absorb market expertise, portfolio strategies and investment processes.

A common theme in the investor pitches was confidence in Calgary’s growing startup sector and the increase in investment as sector knowledge and capacity continues to increase. 

The pitching investors represented the diversity of Calgary’s tech and investment ecosystem. Some great insights were shared during the event, and it gave an indication of what can happen when the community comes together and unexpected collisions are encouraged. Here are some highlights: 

Alison Sunstrum emphasised the wide disparity in funding for female and diverse entrepreneurs in spite of their success relative to the mainstream; an issue The51 is actively addressing.

Jacob Grainger from Plug and Play spoke about how they expedite startup growth through acceleration programs, connections to our open innovation ecosystem, and investments. 

InterGen’s Sandi Gilbert shared how energy industry experts like James Gray and Brian Felesky at the Canada West Foundation are channelling the lessons learnt in energy to the broader tech sector.

James Lochrie of Thin Air Labs pointed to the bench strength they provide founders and the support his team offers – giving their invested companies the latitude to manage their businesses.

Bryan Slauko said Metiquity is filling the funding gap between family and friends financing and meaningful revenue. They focus on a smaller number of companies so they can provide strategic guidance to help manage risk and accelerate growth.

Mark Starratt is proud of the way KASTx Ventures is supporting advances in medtech through a rapid expansion of their team. Their goal is to rapidly commercialise the best science into successful ventures that have a global health impact. 

Building healthy businesses with purpose, good people and predictable revenue is key to the success of Good Capital according to Dylan Cann.

Colin Kay pointed to the way that Blue Sky Equities is building on the legacy the Hunter Family created to invest in early stage companies utilising a passive approach with a focus on global B2B SaaS companies.

Irfhan Rawji is proud of Relay Ventures early-stage investing approach that helps companies attract follow-on capital.  Relay is focused on industries with the potential for growth, fuelled by the rapid adoption of technology. 

As Calgary’s home for Innovators, the Platform Innovation Centre is the central hub for the tech and innovation community. We are keen to facilitate events like this Investor Reverse Pitch as a way to try new things, make connections, and grow the strength and diversity of Calgary’s tech sector.  

 

Learn more about getting involved with the Platform Innovation Centre.

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