Elevate Toronto promotes Canada as a world-class destination for startups

Elevate Toronto is the first tech-centred festival, running from Sept. 12 to 14, that will showcase Toronto’s booming technology scene, while promoting the city as a world class destination for innovation, startups, talent and investment.


Elevate Toronto, Canada’s Premier Technology Festival, will be held this week in Toronto.

Toronto’s tech industry is booming and to celebrate and showcase it, the city is partnering with a bunch of tech-related organizations for Elevate Toronto, a three-day festival from next Tuestady 12 to 14, 2017.

Elevate Toronto is founded on three core values: Diversity is our Strength, we Disrupt Together, and that It’s our Time. “While our focus is on innovation, these core values are deeply ingrained into the festival,” said Elevate Toronto CEO and co-founder, Razor Suleman. Below, Suleman explains how each value informs the tech festival’s focus and agenda.


“We believe that everyone has a different perspective, everyone has a voice to be heard, and everyone brings their own gifts. We’re not going to win in Canada by excluding half of the available talent pool required to build and scale global companies.”


“If you look at the US, the innovation ecosystem is on the west coast in Silicon Valley. The financial ecosystem is on the east coast in New York. We’re so fortunate that in Toronto, they’re all in the same place. We need to figure out how startups and corporate innovators collaborating together is going to create truly made-in-Canada solutions that scale globally.

“We’re really passionate about making this a community driven initiative. Elevate Toronto is up to 50 partners, and we’ll probably be closer to 100 by the festival launch.”


“It’s time to be proud of what’s happening in Canada. The next wave of technology is going to be determined by AI, FinTech, blockchain. Well, we’re global leaders in that. It’s early days, but we’re really well-positioned to ride the next wave. Now is the time to recruit talent into our startups so they can become scale-ups.”


The focus for Day 1 of Elevate Toronto is to showcase the city as the next global tech ecosystem, proving that Global Ideas Live Here. Taking over the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Day 1 will feature impressive keynotes, inspirational talks and curated high-value networking, followed by the Elevate Celebrate opening party.

Attendees will hear from speakers like Michele Romanow (CBC Dragon and Clearbanc co-founder), Mayor Tory, Julie Hanna (Kiva founder and CEO), Salim Ismail (Exo Works chairman and Singularity University founding executive director), and many more!


Where: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

When: 10:30am-5:30pm


Where: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

When: 5:30pm-7:30pm


Day 2 is when Elevate takes over the city of Toronto! Day 2 features Elevate Conference, 8 separate tracks across the city showcasing Toronto’s tech talent. Elevate attendees will choose one Elevate Conference track for the day and hunker down to receive insightful conversation from thought leaders on the cutting edge of tech.


Where: MaRS Discovery District

When: 9:00am-4:00pm

Elevate AI will explore Canada’s role in building the new wave of technology disrupting all industries, and the pervasive impact AI will have on humanity. Featuring speakers such as Geoffrey Hinton (UofT Emeritus Professor of Computer Science and Google Engineering Fellow), Yoshua Bengio (Element AI co-founder), and Candice Faktor (Faktory Ventures founder), Element AI will also ask how Toronto can produce and retain the talent necessary to build the world’s best AI ecosystem.


Where: Toronto Reference Library

When: 9:00am-4:00pm

In a new era of digital connection, patients are transitioning from passive healthcare recipients to active value-seeking consumers. Featuring speakers such as Melinda Richter (Head of Johnson & Johnson JLABS), and Bill Charnetski (Ontario’s Chief Health Innovation Strategist), Elevate Health will address the intersection of health technology and the patient.


Where: WeWork

When: 8:45am-5:00pm

The notion of work is transforming at an unprecedented pace and scale. Featuring speakers such as Ben Zifkin (Hubba founder and CEO), Kathryn Hume (Integrate.AI VP), and Jeremy Auger (D2L Chief Strategy Officer), Elevate the Workforce will investigate the rapid technological advancements affecting employers and employees alike.


Where: OneEleven

When: 9:00am-4:00pm

Taking place blocks from the heart of Canada’s Financial District, Elevate FinTech+BlockChain will provide a deep discussion on the emerging financial services innovation in Canada. Featuring speakers such as Leen Li (Wealthsimple CFO and GM) and Hamed Abbasi (Plooto co-founder and CEO), Elevate FinTech+Blockchain will also showcase companies collaborating with personal financial services and financial institutions.


Where: Artscape Daniels Spectrum

When: 9:00am-4:00pm

Elevate Design will lead a conversation about the importance and the breadth of design thinking in Canada. Featuring speakers such as Sara Diamond (OCAD University President), Les Mandelbaum (Founder & CEO UMBRA), and Brittney Kuczynski (Founding Director, Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards), Elevate Design will show how design allows companies to stay ahead of their customers and compete in a global marketplace.


Where: The House of VR

When: 9:00am-4:00pm

Presented by the CFC Media Lab in partnership with the House of VR, Elevate Immersive Media will present the latest data and insights on the state virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and immersive media technologies. Elevate Immersive Media will seek to answer these questions: when will immersive media tech hit the mainstream? How fast is the market growing? And will this emerging industry live up to the hype?


Where: Rangle.io office

When: 9:00am-4:00pm

Elevate Lean Innovation will focus on the shifting focus of corporations and enterprises to think like startups. Featuring speakers such as Farhan Thawar (Helpful co-founder & CTO) and Dave Dame (Scotiabank Digital Factory Agile Leader), Elevate Lean Innovation will teach you how you can reach your customers online and on mobile, at all times, enable creative teams to launch new innovations quickly, respond rapidly to competitors, and reduce costs significantly.


Where: Toronto Board of Trade

When: 9:00am-4:00pm

Elevate Growth will features Canada’s leading founders and executives sharing their unique experiences and lessons learned in creating some of the nation’s biggest startup successes. With speakers such as Anthony Lacavera (Globalive founder and chairman) and Melissa Nightingale (Raw Signal Group founding partner), topics covered include the mindset required for success, facing adversity, the type of leadership required for a fast changing world, as well as a wealth of actionable business advice for scale-up stage companies.


When: 8:00pm-11:30pm

After Elevate Conference comes to a close, King West Social maintains Elevate’s hold on Toronto! The city’s most innovative tech companies and startups will take over venues along King Street West to connect, have fun, and continue the conversation from Elevate Conference.

Maybe you want to join TribalScale and Crowdlinker at Brassai, Intelex at Early Mercy, or hang with Wattpad and the Upside Foundation at BrightLane. Maybe you want to sing karaoke with TWG and their live band(!) or play arcade games with Q4 Inc. Whatever your choice, your Elevate Toronto Festival pass will get you in the door to these events and many more.


Elevate Toronto Day 3 features a little bit of everything! NewCo takes over as the showcase of Toronto company culture, moving from King West to tech offices all across the city. Two important celebrations of Canadian tech then close out Elevate Toronto.


When: 9:00am-5:00pm

Continuing Elevate’s focus on showcasing Toronto’s tech ecosystem to the world, NewCo lets festival attendees visit companies of their choice throughout the city and learn about them first-hand from leaders and CEOs, right inside their offices.

Over 45 different companies will open their doors to Elevate Toronto attendees, including Airbnb, Element AI, FreshBooks, Google, Shopify, Wealthsimple, and League (see the full list here).

With your Elevate Toronto Festival pass, you have access to NewCo. But don’t delay in securing your tickets – many office spaces feature limited capacity, and will fill up quickly!