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East Coasters Head To Startup Festival

This morning, 50 East Coast entrepreneurs from new and established start-ups left Fredericton for the Montreal International Startup Festival. The Festival brings together early-stage founders with successful innovators and investors looking for the next big thing.

The bus trip to the Festival, provided free to entrepreneurs, is organized and sponsored by the Pond-Deshpande Centre at UNB, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and the Government of New Brunswick.  Other busses and trains filled with entrepreneurs are destined to the Festival from New York, Toronto, Quebec City and Ottawa.

“Montreal has emerged as an active startup community and the festival is a major event,” says Karina LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Pond-Desphande Centre. “We are a connector so we wanted to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to collide and make connections with potential partners and other people that can help grow their businesses.”

Connecting with investors at the Startup Festival is a big part the opportunity for East Coast entrepreneurs, said LeBlanc. “Companies that are a bit further along in their journey will have the opportunity to build relationships with the investment community in Montreal,” she said.

For a new company like Fredericton-based Resson Technologies, developers of remote security devices, the Startup Festival is a chance to boost growth and get a firsthand look at what’s happening in the North American startup scene.

“We’re only in our third month of operations so there is nowhere else in the world I’d rather be than this festival,” said Co-Founder Peter Goggin. “We can meet with like-minded people and potential customers and investors. It is a whole ecosystem of people willing to help.”

Lisa Hrabluk, founder of Saint John’s Wicked Ideas, a journalism-based collaborative platform, said the festival is all about the network.  “As startups in the region, we have to seize on every opportunity to expand our network outside the Maritimes. We need to create new contacts and build new relationships.”

Hrabluk will also be doing demos of her company’s product in the festival’s Atlantic Canada Tent. Organized by Volta, the Atlantic Canada Tent will feature several other East Coast startups including TheRounds, InterviewRocket, FundMetric, draftCAM, topLog and CinderellaSew.

Allan Gates (@AllanGates1) is a co-founder of Bonfire , a marketing and communications firm that works frequently with East Coast startups. He’s on the bus and will post a few more stories on the East Coast Contingent at the International Startup Festival.