Montreal-based FounderFuel, one of Canada’s leading startup accelerator programs, announced a new plan this week to provide access to free work space at Rocketspace or Plug Snd Play in SF and Silicon Valley for three teams for each of its cohorts for three months. The deal applies retroactively, too, meaning FounderFuel and partners the Canadian Technology Accelerator and the Consulate General of Canada will be sending 9 teams from its existing three cohorts of graduating startups down California way.
The Silicon Valley pilgrimage is already a standard part of many a Canadian startup’s growth pattern: scouting out talent, connections and most importantly, funding in San Francisco and the surrounding area is almost de rigeur, especially considering the relative shyness Canadian VCs have when it comes to investing in very early stage startups. The program from this partnership will do a lot to help make that journey easier for companies who want to also continue building and iterating on product with small teams while seeking out relationships and opportunities south of the border.
The CTA chooses which of the three graduated companies per cohort will join its program, which also offers access to the C100, a group of Canadian expat entrepreneurs which lives and operates in the Bay area. Work space is fully paid for, and the government sponsored agency also sets up additional networking opportunities. The program is aimed at startups who have a shipping product and want to build partnerships, acquire customers, get funding and potentially set up a U.S. base of operations, so it makes perfect sense that they would partner with an accelerator like FounderFuel, whose entire mission is essentially to bring a company to that point.
This is a great partnership for FounderFuel, which already offers access to some of the highest amounts of early-stage funding for cohort companies. I spoke briefly with FounderFuel General Manager Ian Jeffrey last night, and he said he believes this will be a huge incentive for new applicants hoping to come on board with upcoming cohorts. Hopefully we’ll see more arrangements like this that provide soft landings to companies who would benefit greatly from checking out first-hand how things are done on both sides of the border.