My first International Startup Festival in Montreal!
I attended the 2015 edition of the International Startup Festival just a few weeks ago and I had such a great time! The festival features startups from all over the world who want to connect and look for funding.
The ticket costs US$799 which can be a bit high if you just want to check it out without being part of a startup but the quality of the festival makes up for it when I compare conferences happening in town that only last 1-2 days. There is also the option of possibly getting free admission for your team with the help of patrons, one very cool feature!
So here's my recap of the week/end!
The festival kicked off on Wednesday July 15th with an opening party. It was a great way to pick up the pass in advance and get a preview of the site.
I wasn't expecting much other than to grab a drink and walk around but I ended up meeting A LOT of people at once. Everyone was in a good mood and networking without trying!
I definitely recommend attending the opening party in the future if your goal is to promote your startup in a more natural way. About 90% of the people I met were from that evening.
Festival / Keynotes
The next two days went by quite fast with a loaded schedule from morning to evening. They always started with a delicious breakfast offered by FreshMint, a startup I covered in the Montreal Test Lab section.
The keynote portion featured an array of fantastic and motivational speakers. I loved the AM schedule which consisted of fast 20min talks making it just long enough to keep people engaged while waking up.
The PM speakers were more technical and about learning specific skills so the length would then switch to 40min in 2 different tents.
I also really liked the pitch sessions where startups would get the chance to tell us what they did in a few minutes!
In between AM and PM sessions, FreshMint offered a yummy PWYC bbq lunch. Food trucks were also on-site with different options that could cater to everyone.
On top of the official Closing party, Breather invited everyone over on Friday evening. As if the open bar wasn't enough, they collaborated with Farine who took care of the food (including the best meatball sandwich in the world) and Dispatch who kept people up with coffee and dessert.
Would I go next year?
If I have a startup idea to promote, 100% yes. It's a no brainer especially if you are from Montreal and need visibility.
And even if I don't have a business, I will go back if I can because there's not one bad thing I can say about it. Good job to the team!
[Actually, real bathrooms would be great but hey... ;) ]