This week, the CEO in charge of grilling the teams on their pitches was Daniel MacDonald, founder and CEO of Filter Butler (formerly known as Green Life Water). Daniel’s experience with business development having founded two companies while finishing his BCom Degree in Finance from McGill, was the basis for his advice to the X-1 startups.
Our next speaker on Monday morning was Alex Nemeroff, co-Founder and head of design and UX at Dynamo, an award-winning Montreal based digital design studio. Alex’s eye for captivating, intuitive design, inspired his discussion on the importance of design sprints in the UX development process. Creating a UX that is both aesthetically resonant, yet as simple and intuitive as possible is quite a challenging task, thus, Alex’s advice on identifying UX risks and addressing through design sprints was quite eye-opening.
On Tuesday, we were joined by Sylvain Carle, general manager of Founder Fuel, which is often recognized as one of Canada’s leading accelerator programs for startups preparing for seed funding. As our startups near the end of the X-1 Accelerator program, a big decision as to what they want to do next is on the horizon.
Having worked with hundreds of startups to guide their progression into the “real world”, Sylvain provided our startups with insight that would be essential in the weeks to come.
On Wednesday, we were very fortunate to be visited by Michèle Boisvert, Executive Vice-President, Business Outreach of La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Her meeting with the teams was to discuss how the CDPQ can support entrepreneurship and young startups progress towards success. Her engaging discussion with the teams was truly a foundation for further dialogue on how communities can support new businesses.
Wednesday was a particularly exciting day because after the visit from Michele Boisvert, our teams got the chance to pack up their stuff and head to Le Salon 1861 to experience a day in a co-working space. Le Salon 1861 is a converted church in the Griffintown area of Montreal which aims to provide space working space to young startups with particular focus on social enterprises.
At Le Salon 1861, the teams met once again with Professor Nii Addy of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill. Professor Addy led a workshop with the teams to help each founder better understand how they can further integrate their values with their startup business model and be truly passionate about their ventures.
On Thursday, we welcomed Daniel Rodic, co-founder of Exact Media, to lead a discussion on product-market fit, a crucial area of startup development prior to launch. Daniel’s company, Exact Media is a disruptor in the direct mail industry by providing specially targeted samples to consumers who are already buying products online.
Daniel’s extensive experience in the business world, and experience working with startups through organizations such as the Next36, alongside his expertise generated through Exact Media, were the basis of the excellent guidance he provided to our teams.
Friday was a special day of fun for the X-1 teams as well as the Dobson team. With our brand new team t-shirts and beautiful clear skies above, everyone headed outside for an impromptu pizza picnic. Nothing like some time in the sun to refresh the startup building senses!