MaRS has announced the creation of JOLT, a new technology accelerator dedicated to building high-growth web and mobile companies that promise to transform the way consumers and enterprises connect, work and play. Housed in the MaRS Commons, JOLT will select up to 15 high-potential startups annually, providing them with space, seed financing and mentorship, as well as access to partners and some of the top angel and venture capital investors in the industry. The goal of the program is to accelerate market validation and, in turn, help these companies secure the capital and talent necessary to scale efficiently.
“Five years ago, MaRS set out to build a platform upon which the next generation of technology companies could scale,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District. “JOLT is a key component of this platform, serving the needs of entrepreneurs in the exploding IT, communications and entertainment space by giving them the tools, capital and advice required for success, and fostering tomorrow’s growth economy.”
To help support and guide startups to market entry, JOLT has attracted more than 70 experienced entrepreneurs and executives from many of Canada’s leading startups, and venture capital, technology and entertainment companies, including:
- Polar Mobile
- Virgin Gaming
“We are very excited to act as a partner in JOLT,” said JOLT investor Jonathan Straus. “A mentor-based incubator enables entrepreneurs to benefit from the experience of those who have been there before. This guidance is invaluable in the challenging period of starting a business and can mitigate some of the risk for early-stage investors.”
JOLT is collaborating with a number of key partners who will actively commit their time, expertise and services to help JOLT companies become market leaders, including:
- CFC Media Lab, a unique training and creative production think-tank for emerging new media developers
- JET Cooper, a leading user design and experience agency
By combining their expertise in the creative arts and design with MaRS’ business-building experience, JOLT will be a unique Canadian technology accelerator.
The program has also partnered with:
- The Working Group, a top web and mobile development shop in Toronto
- Media Profile, one of Canada’s most successful public relations firms
- Global Accelerator Network, an international alliance of organizations that operate accelerator programs, championed by TechStars
- Postmedia Network Inc., the largest publisher of English daily newspapers in Canada
“Postmedia Network is proud to support innovation in the digital space and help mentor the best and brightest on their path to future success,” said Paul Godfrey, President and CEO, Postmedia Network. “We are pleased to work with MaRS Discovery District and JOLT to accelerate great ideas in this country.”
Susan McGill will act as the Executive Director of JOLT. A builder of technology companies and brands, Sue has advised and been actively involved in over 200 startups in the emerging technology space, with hands-on experience at DWL (acquired by IBM), MySpace and JUICE Mobile. She has also worked as an executive at RIM, Yahoo! and CanWest.
“A focus on creative, design and technology elements is critical to the success of these emerging companies,” said McGill. “Our partners’ expertise in these areas, coupled with the guidance of our influential and experienced business mentors, will assist companies as they progress through the JOLT program, helping them to define, grow and launch disruptive, high-growth businesses.”
JOLT will announce the call for applications shortly.