Highlights from the 2019 NextAI Application Webinar
About the NextAI Program
NextAI is an accelerator and founder development program for early or idea stage AI-enabled startups. It is delivered in two of Canada’s AI powerhouses: Montréal and Toronto. NextAI is for exceptional teams and individuals from around the world who are commercializing AI research and want to build global companies.
Each Fall, we sit down with the alumni of the most recent cohort for the annual NextAI 2019 Application Webinar. This year we chatted with NextAI alumni, Omar Padierna and Veronica Malinski, Co-founders of Aerialytic and Hassan Murad, Co-founder of Intuitive Inc. about their program experiences, discussed the Start-up Visa Program, and provided some application related tips and tricks to make the process seamless for you.
- As the NextAI program accepts applicants from all around the world, learn about Our value proposition as well as Omar’s journey from Mexico and Hassan’s journey from Dubai
- Two of the most valuable features of the NextAI program is the academic portion where you will have access to the best Faculty in the AI scene and the choice to work in one of two AI hubs; our Montreal or Toronto offices
Application Process & Eligibility
- Hear from Veronica and Hassan as they give you some tips on how to make your application stronger
- Find out who is eligible to apply to the program and make sure to look over the key dates for the NextAI program so that you don’t miss out!
- Learn about Canada’s Start-up Visa Program and hear about Omar’s experience
- Unfortunately there are things NEXT can’t control with the program so make sure to check out our FAQs for more information about the program
Final Words of Advice
Frequently Asked Questions
Application Process & Eligibility
Q: How quickly do the personal applications get revised and answered? I.e. how much time is available for team formation and application?
A: Some finalists have heard back in as little as two days after submitting their application. We try and process the applications as soon as possible so you can get into the second stage of the application and start to connect with the other finalists.
Q: With the Feb-Sept commitment period, can a 3rd year undergrad student who is already into machine learning participate?
A: If you can commit 100% of your time between Feb. — Sept. for the program you would be eligible. If you are still completing your undergrad our Next 36 program may be a better fit.
Q: Is there any open statistics of how many individuals or teams applied to the last cohort and how many were finally accepted?
A: The statistics are not public, but it is fair to say approximately 10 to 1 last year.
Q: Are there particular themes that are NextAI favourites? like climate change vs. increased fossil fuel production?
A: No, NextAI is industry and program agnostic. We welcome entrepreneurs with all types of industry backgrounds to apply.
Q: NextAI faculty seems very academic…wonder if there are also startup veterans in your program like from Shopify?
A: NEXT has a network of 400+ business leaders, startup founders and entrepreneurs, not just academic experts. You can find a full listing of who’s involved here.
Q: Are companies located outside Toronto or Montreal eligible?
A: Good question! NextAI recruits internationally so you would definitely be eligible. However, you do need to make a commitment to be in Toronto or Montreal for the duration of the program (from Feb. — Sept.)
Q: If I understand well, I can apply as a solo founder, biz stream, and then get the chance to team up with a tech person before the team application on Dec. 2nd?
Q: So is it imperative to have a technical co-founder in each team to apply?
A: Yes, you must have someone with technical expertise on your team.
Q: If the team applications are video-based, do teams generally come together geographically to submit that application, or can different team members submit their applications remotely and separately from each other?
A: Yes, teams can do the video interview as a group or have one individual be spokesperson.
Q: If we are a 18+ month old startup, do we really have to add new co-founders from the finalist group to continue in the NextAI program?
A: if you have a pre-existing team you can all apply as individuals and then submit your team application later without adding any other co-founders (unless you’d like to further build out your team).
Q: How many companies have received more than $50K, the Initial funding in past few years?
A: Virtually all of the ventures received the initial 50K and most of those who achieved some form of traction received additional funding. However, with the second round of funding it can come in a large range (between 10K to 150K).
Q: Is it fair to assume that the initial funding provided by NEXT can be used by the founders to pay for relocation and living expenses?
A: Within reason. It is understandable that those relocating will need to defray these costs and ultimately how funding is spent is up to the founders. That said, each dollar spent on cost of living takes away from money that could be invested into the business. It is traction and milestones met that will also unlock the additional funding — up to 150K.
Q: My question is about a Federal Development Agency of Southern Ontario. As far as I understand a significant portion of a 50K investment comes from them and they want the company to be incorporated and operated in Southern Ontario. Does that mean that Montreal-based teams will not receive the full 50K in the investment from NEXT AI?
A: Montreal teams will still receive $50,000 in initial funding, with terms to be defined. You can find more info on funding in our FAQs at www.nextai.com or email us at infoMTL@nextai.com.
Q: What are the conditions to receive the second and the biggest tranche of around $45,000? For the idea validation — the studies should be completed and the idea is validated OR the the idea validation study plan written and approved.
The same question for a Deep Machine Leaning model. Do we have to build and approve the model OR we have to approve the plan on how we are going to build the model.
A: Good question and tricky to answer. Some problems are more complicated to solve and some businesses take longer to reach market validation (ex. if hardware is involved). We have had instances where the idea is fully validated and others where there is simply a plan for how it will be validated. If this is the case, it is helpful not only to have a path, but committed interest from potential customers.