Canadian Innovation Exchange (www.canadianinnovationexchange.com) taking place this year on December 1st, 2011 at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, is a cross-breed between a traditional VC Fair, a conference and a giant networking event. You can expect a mixed crowd of hungry company founders and entrepreneurs, jaded investors who have heard it all, benevolent government folks, some media and a variety of hanger-on service providers.
The purpose of the event and the reason you may want to be there is well captured in the organizers pronouncement:
“Every early-stage company needs exposure and not just in the customer space. Young companies need to establish a profile and promote themselves in the investment community and support industries as well. Even if you are not currently in an aggressive fundraising it is still a useful move to get your company on the radar screen. You are essentially laying down a foundation on which you can build in the future.”
At the heart of the event is, the so-called ‘CIX Top 20 competition’, which is essentially a public pitch contest by a number of pre-selected companies. The deadline for the CIX Top 20 applications is October 14 this year, so, you may want to go for it now before you miss it.
I participated in the first CIX event in 2008 and have managed to win CIX Top 20 for Kaben Wireless Silicon Inc (www.kabenwireless.com). You get a commemorative plaque plus some media exposure as well as the associated bragging rights.
The biggest value for your $495 registration is mostly the exposure and the contacts you establish as a result of your heavy networking. It is well worth the money.