At The Next Founders, we believe that by fast-tracking the development of Canada's most talented young innovators, we will help create industry changing businesses and grow Canada's long-term prosperity.
The Next Founders is designed to support and nurture the founders of massively scalable, high margin ventures who want to grow their company while growing as an entrepreneur.
Over three months, we provide tailored education taught by some of the world's top faculty and entrepreneurs, in combination with access to an extraordinary community of investors and entrepreneurs.
The Next Founders is for:
Over 50 hours of advanced-level education, designed for you and your venture.
Receive personal advice and venture guidance from Canada's top entrepreneurs and subject matter experts.
Build life-long relationships with Canada’s brightest entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and our alumni.
Get complimentary services from our partners, including the possibility of free work space.
Pitch opportunities with investors and networking with top entrepreneurs and potential customers.
We recognize that a founder's time is his/her most precious resource and have designed a program with you in mind. We've brought together the best of the academic and business worlds in a focused program that will improve your strategic decision-making and increase your capacity for success.
The Next Founders provides 50+ hours of masters-level education taught by award winning faculty from schools including the Rotman School of Management, Harvard Business School, MIT and Ivey. The courses will provide you with a strong foundation in startup strategy and tactics, and expose you to new ways of thinking about problems and opportunities.
Karl Martin and Foteini Agrafioti joined The Next Founders as co-founders of Nymi (formerly Bionym), an early-stage start-up that was developing a new biometric authentication solution based on Foteini's research. They planned to embed the technology into devices such as cellphones, but securing hardware partners was a challenge.
While participating in Rotman's Creative Destruction Labs (CDL), and later, The Next Founders, they pivoted and started exploring manufacturing their own wearable technology. Advisors from both The Next 36 and CDL suggested they validate the market demand, which they did successfully through a crowdfunding campaign for their new product, the Nymi wristband. The campaign led to sales of over 5,900 devices and media features in the Economist, Wired, TechCrunch and The Verge.
Nymi has since closed a $14M Series A round of funding from investors that include Relay Ventures, Export Development Canada and Mastercard. They have pre-sold over 10K Nymis, moved into an 8,500 square foot office in downtown Toronto and has a rapidly growing team of 40+ employees. Soon, with their help, we will finally be able to say goodbye to passwords, pins and keys.Meet another Alumni ▸
Jason Greenspan is the co-Founder and CEO of WHOOSH!, the next generation, specific purpose cleaning brand. It leverages the latest advancements in formula development with great design to create innovative, superior, powerful and less toxic cleaning products. WHOOSH! Screen Shine not only cleans all your screens & devices, but makes them shine like new while resisting fingerprints.
With over $1M annual sales and a who's-who of customers that include: Apple, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart and Staples Canada, the sky is the limit for this venture with over 500,000 screens cleaned to date.Meet another Alumni ▸
Michael Helander spent 10 years at The University of Toronto, completing his PhD in 2012. While writing thesis he realized that the innovations that took years of his life to research would amount to little more than a stack of paper if he didn’t do something. So in the hardest decision of his life; he abandoned the academic career he sacrificed so much for, to run a startup that was supposed to be just a check mark on a CV.
Now, three years later OTI Lumionics is developing an entirely new platform for simplified low-cost manufacturing of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), with the goal of making OLED technology accessible to new applications and markets. After completing Rotman’s Creative Destruction Lab, OTI has launched Aerelight, the world's first consumer-ready OLED lamp, has a team of 13 and new 3,300 sq. ft. office production space.Meet another Alumni ▸
Jessica and Evan are the innovators behind Eve Medical, a medical device company that is dedicated to improving women's health. Their first product HerSwab is a device that helps women to self-collect samples at home to screen for HPV (the virus that causes cervical cancer) and other sexually transmitted infections. They aim to cost-effectively improve health outcomes by making products that are accessible and patient-friendly.
Eve Medical is running a pilot with the Slovenian National Cancer Screening Agency, and is CE (European Conformity) marked in Europe; with Health Canada approval expected early 2015. They closed a $750K financing round in November 2014.Meet another Alumni ▸
You have a great idea and early traction. Now you need people who can refine your model, fund your business and be your customers. The Next 36 is supported by over 250 of Canada's top business leaders who are committed to making Canada more prosperous by supporting promising entrepreneurs like you.
You will be invited to a number of intimate events to meet potential clients, investors, and like-minded entrepreneurs. There will also be pitch opportunities with top VCs and angel investors. By the end of the program you will have a larger and more diverse network — one that is committed to you and your business. As part of the Next 36 alumni community you will have many opportunities to engage, learn and mentor other young entrepreneurs.
Christian Catalini is a Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Christian’s main areas of interest are in the economics of innovation, entrepreneurship and scientific productivity.
In The Next Founders program, Christian teaches a course on the Economics of Crowdfunding. The objective is to accelerate your progress in the program from the early stages of ideation and team formation, to the formation of a consistent and robust business strategy. We will start by taking the perception of your early adopters: is their current behaviour consistent with your assumptions about how your product or service can deliver value to them? We will see how different types of experimentation (business, strategic, and ecosystem) can ultimately help you scale your venture.
Christian holds a PhD from the University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management), and MSc (summa cum laude) in Economics and Management of New Technologies from Bocconi University, Milan. In 2009-10 he was a visiting student at Harvard University. He has presented research at a variety of institutions including Harvard University, MIT, Yale University, London Business School, UC Berkeley, the US Treasury. He also organized the first US roundtable on equity crowdfunding at MIT, with representatives from the US Treasury and the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House, along with numerous angel investors and VCs in May 2014.Meet another Professor ▸
Joshua Gans is a Professor of Strategic Management and holder of the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He teaches the Digital Marketing Strategy course in The Next Founders program and is also heavily involved with Rotman Creative Destruction Labs.
When taking this course, you will examine the elements of digital strategy for entrepreneurs. Its focus will be on how to understand your competition, how to build on network effects, what the differences are between platform, disruptive, competitive and collaborative strategy is and when they should be used. It will also present the economics of app pricing; how to price an app, pricing options and innovations, freemium and two-sided markets.
Prior to 2011, he was a professor at the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales. Joshua holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and an honors degree in economics from the University of Queensland. He has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, RAND Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Public Economics, and the Journal of Regulatory Economics. He also contributes regularly to his blog, Digitopoly.Meet another Professor ▸
Apply online before March 3rd. You will need to provide information about yourself, your co-founders and your venture in a short written application and video interview.Start Your Application
You'll be invited to multiple networking events, where you will have the opportunity to meet investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders with the potential to make a big impact on your venture.
You will pitch in front of investors and business leaders who get a sneak peak of your startup before Venture Day. This is a great chance to get feedback and start a relationship with investors interested in helping grow your company.
Although the program's done, you are forever part of the alumni community. We hold special events for alumni, where you can network with your peers and entrepreneurs from other years.
Introduce your startup and learn about The Next Founders from alumni entrepreneurs and Next 36 staff.Sign Up
Finalists may be invited to an interview (online, or in-person in Toronto).
You will attend over 50 of masters-level classes from our award winning faculty. To help you manage your calendar, required classes will be scheduled over four 2-3 day blocks. Optional classes and workshops will be held periodically. Classes will be held at the University of Toronto campus, and typically run Thursdays and Fridays.
The program culminates with a showcase of The Next Founders and The Next 36 ventures. Hundreds of investors and business leaders attend, and hundreds more watch online.Watch last year's webcast
The program runs from early May to mid-August and consists of a series of required courses, tailored to your business, plus events and optional workshops. Classes are clustered so that required programming is scheduled over four blocks of 2-3 days. The Next Founders charges no tuition and takes no equity in your venture.
While no formal mentorship is provided, you will have many opportunities to build relationships with the business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors you meet at The Next Founders events. You will also be provided direct access to dozens of subject matter experts in areas ranging from branding to intellectual property to venture finance. The Next Founders alumni have found the peer-to-peer mentorship and collegiality of The Next Founders and The Next 36 entrepreneurs particularly valuable.
No. These courses are not designed for remote participation. Direct contact with faculty and integration with The Next 36 entrepreneurs are key tenets of The Next Founders program.
As an individual. However, multiple co-founders from the same venture may apply if they will benefit from the program and can add value. All applicants will be evaluated individually.
Yes. You will have to demonstrate in your application that you are an entrepreneur with a high growth / high margin venture who will be a valuable addition to The Next Founders community.
Yes. While The Next Founders is designed for those without formal business education, the right founder with a business degree will find the tailored curriculum invaluable. Exemptions from certain courses may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The program is open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those in the process of immigrating to Canada. If you are in the process of applying for Permanent Resident status, we will accept a notarized statement to this effect. If you intend to provide a notarized statement, please email Melissa at [email protected] in advance of completing the first stage of the application.
No. All applicants will be assessed based on the potential of the applicant and his or her venture.
There is no cost to participate in The Next Founders, which is delivered by The Next 36, a charity supported through the generosity of Canadian business leaders, entrepreneurs and government partners. Alumni will be encouraged to give back to the community through their time, expertise and financial support as they are able.
Financial support to assist with transportation to Toronto for classes and in some instances accommodation is available for eligible founders travelling from more than 3 hours outside of Toronto. Financial need will be assessed on a case-by-case basis – to learn more, contact Melissa Kendrick at [email protected]
In many cases, The Next Founders is able to provide you with workspace for the duration of the program through one of our community partners.
No. The Next Founders takes no equity in your venture.
The objective of this course is to accelerate your progress in the program from the early stages of ideation and team formation, to the formation of a consistent and robust business strategy. We will start by taking the perspective of your potential early-adopters: is their current behaviour consistent with your assumptions about how your product or service can deliver value to them? Will your offering be compelling enough for them to change their behaviour? We will learn how to formulate testable and precise hypotheses, and use qualitative and quantitative methods to test them. We will see how different types of experimentation (business, strategic, and ecosystem) can ultimately help you scale your venture.
This course focuses on the challenging and important economic issues associated with recognizing, growing and valuing new ventures. The course explores the analytical techniques needed to recognize emerging business opportunities; understand the various financing choices; apply valuation methodologies; develop a marketable business plan; manage growth in a rapidly evolving environment; and successfully monetize the value of a business. Students will develop a framework within which to analyze whether a business idea is worth pursuing and a methodology to enable them to apply financial economic principles in ways that add to the value of an entrepreneurial undertaking.
This course offers the building blocks necessary to maintain and facilitate an innovation culture in the new venture. Often new ventures lose focus on the need for continuous innovation after an initial idea is defined. However, truly successful organizations keep innovation at the center of their strategic focus. This course will first explore the importance of customer insight and understanding in building an innovative firm. Second, the opportunity to include the customer in the innovation process itself will be explored. Third, established methodologies that have been shown to meet innovation goals will be examined. Application in a new venture context will be debated and tested. Finally, case studies of successful ventures that have built an innovation culture are discussed. Best practices for cultivating innovation in an organization as it grows will be identified.
This course offers an introduction to the political economy of international business. The motivation for the course is to explore the nonmarket strategies employed by firms to compete in international trade. Nonmarket strategy involves political, legal and economic efforts by firms to reshape the rules of competition. With the 'visible hand' of governments very much evident in today's global economy, nonmarket strategy plays a key role in supporting a firm's market strategy. The course surveys topics in international trade with an eye to the nonmarket challenges that firms confront in 'going global.' The course looks at issues ranging from protectionism to obligations under the World Trade Organization and the growing number of preferential trade agreements that often extend more stringent rules than the multilateral system.
This class examines the elements of financing a start-up, focusing on technology-based start-up ventures, and the early stages of company development. It addresses key questions which challenge all entrepreneurs: how much money can and should be raised; when should it be raised and from whom; what is a reasonable valuation of the company; and how funding should be structured. The course is primarily aimed to prepare students for these decisions as entrepreneurs but also examines issues from the perspective of venture capitalists, so that students can learn to effectively pitch their financing strategy to VC and Angel investors.
This course will examine the elements of digital strategy for entrepreneurs. Its focus will be on how to understand your competition, how to build on network effects, what the differences between a platform, disruptive, competitive and collaborative strategy are and when they should be used. It will also present the economics of app pricing; how to price an app, pricing options and innovations, freemium and two-sided markets.
This course provides an introduction to applied economics in the context of innovation and strategy that is relevant to entrepreneurship and The Next 36 ventures. We workshop each venture and address questions such as: How can the 'lean' approach to start-ups be applied to Next 36 ventures? Why might markets that are subject to increasing returns be likely to exhibit 'extreme competition' and what are the implications for Next 36 ventures? How might Next 36 ventures employ 'judo strategy' to exploit the normally advantageous size of large competitors? How might Next 36 ventures be able to exploit the well-known 'innovator's dilemma' to compete with established competitors? To what extent are clever strategic tactics congruent with overall welfare for humankind? We will explore such questions through the lens of economic theory, apply the concepts in the context of case analyses, and discuss implications for corporate strategy.
Thank you for choosing to apply to The Next Founders. First, we'd like to get your name and email. Next, you will continue on to the full form, but we will also send you an email with a link to it in case you prefer to complete it at another time.