ExtremeU: Facebook To Offer Product Strategy, Design Mentorship To Toronto Accelerator

Extreme Venture Partners, the Toronto and Palo Alto-based early-stage venture firm, today announced that it is launching a new-and-improved version of its accelerator program, Extreme University — also known as “ExtremeU”. Extreme Venture Partner’s accelerator program has been up and running since 2009 and is aimed at becoming a training ground and valuable ecosystem for Canadian startups targeting the social, mobile, and local spaces.

Extreme University graduates, like Locationary and Uken Games have gone on to raise millions in follow-on financing rounds. Jon Evans also recently wrote about Maide, a current ExtremeU participant that’s turning iPads everywhere into 3-D controllers.

Extreme University’s revamped model will consist of a 12-week program, in which five selected teams will share office space at the venture firm’s offices in Toronto, along with access to its network of founders, advisors, and developers. Extreme University will run two 12-week programs a year, each with five participating startups. What’s more, founders will also have the opportunity to participate in weekly personal sessions with experts and advisors, as well as work directly with key members of of some of the tech industry’s biggest companies.

Case in point: The accelerator is today announcing the first of its collaborating partners, which is none other than the social network of record, Facebook. Representatives from Facebook (which will include Elmer Sotto, FB’s head of growth in Canada, and his team) will work with startups to design and build socially-enhanced products in addition to offering product strategy and design mentorship, including educating founders on the best ways to leverage its Open Graph to create powerful distribution channels for their products.

Facebook reps will also enable startups to test new features on the platform and offer feedback on the tools startups create during the program before they’re launched to the public.

In addition to this awesome collaboration with Facebook, the startups chosen to participate in ExtremeU will receive $50,000 in funding. The venture firm will be taking an equity stake in the companies chosen to participate. While the exact level of equity taken has yet to be decided, it will likely be between 5 to 10 percent.

Among the mentors that will be sharing their wisdom with ExtremeU’s class of startups will be former Facebook VP (and the founder of Social+Capital Partnership) Chamath Palihapitiya as well as Albert Lai of Kontagent, Tomi Poutanen of Yahoo Answers, and more. You can check out the list of mentors here.

Extreme Venture Partners has forged (and is forging) some deep relationships with Facebook, Google, and other well-known tech companies that have significant presences in Canada. While Y Combinator, TechStars et al get a lot play in the media (and deservedly so), it’s nice to see our neighbors to the north building a valuable resource (and ecosystem) for early-stage companies — and encouraging them to stay in Canada and help to build Toronto into a vibrant tech community.

For more on Extreme Ventures, check ’em out at home here. Startups can apply to ExtremeU here.