Global Startup Weekend Montreal - Artificial Intelligence

    Friday, November 23 - 25, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Global Startup Weekend Montreal - Artificial Intelligence

Friday, November 23 - 25, 2018

Friday, November 23 - 25, 2018
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Maison Notman House
51 Sherbrooke St W
Montreal, Quebec H2X 1X2

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Bringing Artificial Intelligence to Business!

Introducing the second Montreal Startup Weekend Artificial Intelligence edition to the Montreal ecosystem! Montreal Startup Weekend AI (SWAI) will take place between November 23rd-25th at the Notman House. This is the second SW that will be part of a bigger Global initiative in which teams from France, UK, Ireland, Hong-Kong, India, Mexico and Peru will also be hosting SWs in their country! 

Tickets & Registration: 

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Global SWAI 

For any questions or sponsorship opportunities, email

******La Version Française çi-dessous*****


Startup Weekend is a 54-hour competition designed to provide an amazing experiential learning opportunity for AI enthusiasts, developers, designers, and business-minded individuals to come together to create a business. The weekend event is centered on ACTION, INNOVATION, and EDUCATION.

Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekend will culminate on Sunday night with demo presentations to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and AI experts. 

Who you'll meet at Startup Weekend

We’re drawing in a diverse crowd of attendees this weekend, with backgrounds in: 
  • AI Enthusiasts (Masters, Ph.D students)
  • Technical (developers, designers) and
  • Business (marketers, entrepreneurs)
What you'll get out of the event
  • Education: learning by doing and hands-on experience.
  • Co-Founder Dating: create relationships that last long past the weekend.
  • Have Fun: meant to be fun and entertaining so enjoy it.
  • Solve local problems with your ideas.
  • Build Your Network: meet high quality and driven entrepreneurs - like you! 
  • Learn new skills.
  • Learn How to Launch a Business (and Actually Do It!): the epitome of Lean Startup Methodology. 
  • Mentorship: interact with the movers and shakers in your community.
  • Get Access to Valuable Startup Resources.
You’ll be immersed in the ideal environment for startup magic to happen. Surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at your disposal, you’ll take giant leaps toward creating a business, becoming a founder, and connecting with the right people and resources. In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. 

Why Artificial Intelligence? 

With major investment from both the government and the tech companies, Montreal is in a good position to become a world leader in AI as it is home to the biggest group of deep learning researchers in the world. It’s time to dive into AI now, but not many people know how to use it, let alone implement it in their products. We’re bringing together great mentors to help you step it up. The chance to learn and to build the next AI-enterprise is an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the next emerging technology! 

Montreal is taking part of the Global Startup Weekend AI (GSWAI) that connects entrepreneurs, organizing teams, and startup communities around the world. Countries like France, UK, Ireland, Hong-Kong, India, Mexico and Peru have already joined GSWAI and we are proud that Montreal is now a participating city!

What are you waiting for? Take part in this vibrant community!



To reach out to organizers, send an email to

-----------VERSION EN FRANÇAIS-----------

Nous sommes ravis d'annoncer la 2ème édition du Startup Weekend Montréal en Intelligence Artificielle du 23 au 25 Novembre à Maison Notman! 

À Propos

Startup Weekend est une compétition durant 54 heures qui vise à fournir une occasion d'apprentissage expérientiel autant pour les entrepreneurs techniques qu’aux entrepreneurs non-techniques. L'événement est axé sur l'ACTION, l'INNOVATION et l'ÉDUCATION.

Commençant par des pitchs Vendredi en soirée, et continuant avec du testing, du développement de modèle d'affaires, et de la création d'un prototype de base, Startup Weekend se terminera Dimanche soir avec des présentations de démonstration à un panel des entrepreneurs locaux, et des experts en intelligence artificielle.

Qui est-ce que vous rencontrerez au Startup Weekend?

Pour ce week-end, nous pigeont dans une foule diversifiée de participants:
  • Dans le domaine d'Intelligence Artificielle (étudiants en maîtrise et doctorat)
  • Travail technique (développeurs, programmeurs, designers)
  • Affaires, (marketing, entrepreneurs)
Qu'est-ce que vous gagnerez de l'événement ?
  • De l’éducation: un apprentissage riche par la pratique et l'expérience pratique.
  • Des rencontres de Co-Fondateurs: créer des relations qui durent même après le week-end.
  • Du plaisir: l’évènement est amusant et divertissant, donc profitez-en!
  • Résolution de problèmes locaux par vos idées.
  • Construction de votre réseau: rencontrez des entrepreneurs pleins de vie et d’inspirations - des gens comme vous!
  • Apprentissage de nouvelles compétences.
  • Le Savoir-Faire pour créer une entreprise (et le faire réellement!):  La quintessence de la Méthodologie du Lean Startup.
  • Le mentorat: interagissez avec des personnes influentes dans votre communauté.
  • Obtention d’accès à de précieuses ressources de démarrage.
Pourquoi l’intelligence artificielle (IA)?

IA est la prochaine technologie émergente, mais pas beaucoup de gens savent comment l'utiliser, et encore moins le mettre en œuvre dans leurs produits. Nous rassemblons d'excellents mentors pour vous aider à comprendre l’utilisation d’IA. Saisissez l’opportunité d'apprendre et de construire la prochaine entreprise d'IA. 

Cette édition de Startup Weekend fait parti du Global Startup Weekend AI (GSWAI), qui apporte la connexion nécessaire avec les entrepreneurs, les organisateurs, et les communautés startup autour du monde. Plusieurs pays comme la France, Royaume-Uni, Irlande, Hong-Kong, Inde, Mexique, Pérou sont déjà impliqués au GSWAI et on est très content que Montréal est maintenant une ville participante!


Pour communiquer avec les organisateurs, envoyez-nous un courriel au


Friday November 23rd

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday November 24th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Design Thinking Workshop
IBM Innovation and Design Thinking consultants will be spending the morning helping you flush out your idea and prep for the next step in your product creation

12:00 pm
Data Workshop with Prof. Ruths
Prof. Derek Ruths from McGill University will be sharing his insights on how to apply technical methods to business and social challenges

12:30 pm

1:00 pm
Hacking + Customer Validation
Take the time before meeting our mentors to start building out your business and product ideas, and going out to the community to validate those ideas

3:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday November 25th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Pitch Workshop
Learn from John Stokes, Partner at Real Ventures, the art of the pitch!

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Pitch Coach Meetings
Our mentors from the VC and accelerator community will be stopping by to help all the team tighten up their demos and pitches for the big night!

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:30 pm

4:30 pm
Demo Day Doors Open

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:15 pm
Judging & Awards

7:30 pm
Time to celebrate a job well done!!


Thomas Park
Vice President, Operations and Strategy

Thomas Park is Vice President, Operations and Strategy, BDC Capital. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of operational management and strategic planning for BDC Capital.Previously, Thomas was Program Officer while on sabbatical from McKinsey & Company with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he supported the leadership team in developing and executing their family planning initiative. Prior to this, he served as Senior Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company. While there, he worked extensively in Francophone and Anglophone Africa, Indonesia, and Pakistan, particularly on public health system transformation strategies and operations. He previously worked at the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and the International Criminal Court. He began his career as an associate focusing on international and corporate financial transaction, and mergers and acquisitions, at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.He currently sits on McGill University’s Global Health Programs International Advisory Board as well as on the board of governors of the Presbyterian College of Montreal, the Loyola High School Foundation, and the Banff Forum. He is also an alum of the Governor General’s Leadership Conference. Tom was recognized as one of Canada’s outstanding young leaders in the Top 40 Under 40 in 2017.

Event Judges

Sergio A. Escobar
Managing Director at The Founder Institute

Sergio has a diversified investment portfolio of companies ranging from Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Wearables, EdTech, Productivity Softwares, eCommerce, MarketPlaces, FinTech to Consumer Apps. Sergio is a tech entrepreneur having experience with Aerospace, eCommerce and Mobile Payment startups. Deeply involved in the international entrepreneurial scene through his involvement as for entrepreneurial programs such as Startup Chile, Startup Peru, Startup Bootcamp FinTech London, MsB Tunisia, Kuwait National Fund, Techstars Startup Programs, Founder Institute, World Bank 'Tech Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean', and Creative Destruction Lab in Artificial Intelligence.

Negar Rostamzadeh
Research Scientist

Negar Rostamzadeh is a Research Scientist at Element AI and her main areas of interest are computer vision and multimodal learning. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Trento in 2017, and has spent more than 2 years at MILA (Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms) during her Ph.D.  Negar has worked as a research intern at the Multimedia and Vision lab at the Queen Mary University of London and in the Research and Machine Intelligence group at Google. She has been involved in many initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion in the field. Some of these include organizing the first Women in Deep Learning (WiDL) workshop in 2016, co-organizing the Women in Machine Learning (WiML) workshop at NIPS in 2016, the Women in Computer Vision (WiCV) workshop at CVPR in 2017, and the Women in Deep Learning workshop at MILA’s deep learning summer school in 2017.

Coaches and Mentors

Maher Ayari
Business Development Associate

Maher has been running accelerators for the last 3 years. First as the Program Manager of the McGill X-1 Accelerator where he developed the program for the most promising McGill-startups. He mentored 15+ early stage startups to help them bring their products to market. He later joined Real Ventures and was part of FounderFuel, Canada’s leading Venture Accelerator, to help early stage startups grow to venture-backed companies. He followed the progress of 7 startups and got exposure to the challenges and best-practices of building a tech company. To work more hands-on with startups, he recently joined the Techstars Montréal AI program as the Business Development Associate.

Kjell Kolstad
Director of Partnerships

Kjell joined Element AI in October 2018 as Director of Partnerships, Corporate Development. Kjell has 25 years of international experience spanning business development, product management, product marketing and strategic alliances. Kjell's experience covers broadcast media and sports industry, cloud, telecom, smartphone and mobile app development ecosystems as well as travel and transportation.

Anastasia Artemova
Project Manager

Anastasia leads development of strategic "proof of concept" projects at Element AI. Anastasia's experience spans across design, marketing, branding, project management and product management. She specializes in developing go-to-market strategies for early stage product opportunities. Anastasia's experience includes launching products for finance, real estate, automotive, retail/ecommerce, entertainment and video game industries.

Jan Christopher Arp
Managing Partner

Jan is a fintech evangelist, passionate about improving society through finance and technology. He founded FormFintech that supports or has formed over 100 fintech startups. Prior to this, he worked as Head of Finance at District 3, helping 20 early stage teams raise more than $15 million, and was Head of Finance at, helping it from incorporation to Series A. He also worked as a consultant for billion dollar infrastructure projects on behalf of banks. He holds an MBA from HEC, a finance degree from Ottawa University, and passed II levels of the CFA.

Jerome Solis
Solution Strategist

Jerome joined Element AI as an AI Solutions Strategist in its Manufacturing team. Jerome holds an engineering degree in physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering. He has experiences working in business development and product management for tech and consulting start-ups with a focus on renewable energy and transportation for the North American and European market.

Laviva Mahar
Investment Analyst

Prior to joining Luge Capital, Laviva was an Analyst at Ferst Capital Partners (FCP), a fintech focused investment firm and startup foundry. At FCP, she spent her time helping build portfolio companies and supporting their fundraising processes and operations, finding new investment opportunities and developing the firm’s brand in the fintech community. Laviva is also a VC advisor at Front Row Ventures. She was an associate at Founder Institute Montreal and part of the Product Hunt Montreal team. Laviva was also selected to be on the Global Women in FinTech Powerlist. Laviva holds a BCom degree with double majors in Economics and Finance from McGill University. 

Marko Jelavic

Marko is an Associate with Ferst Capital Partners (FCP), an investment firm providing strategic capital and support to early-stage FinTech startups. He works closely with FCP’s portfolio companies and supports the firm’s investment strategy across Canada. Marko has experience in venture capital and startup operation across the financial, technology and health industries. Marko holds an M.B.A. from HEC Paris and a B.Sc. from McGill University.

Usama Mostafa
Senior Manager, Data Science/Business Intelligence

Usama joined Bell Canada in 2016 as a Senior Manager in Long-Term Planning where he was in charge of forecasting customer demand and capacity planning before accepting the role of leading Bell Business Markets’ first Data Science initiatives. Currently, Usama leads a diverse team of talented developers that are paving the way for new initiates by developing software to transform operations and streamline the flow of information. Usama has also held various analytical roles in the aviation, lighting and pharmaceutical industries. His expertise also includes cultivating strong cohesive teams, computer programming, data analysis as well as UX and design.

Harrison Goldstein
Data Scientist & Music Entrepreneur

Harrison joined Bell Canada as a data scientist specializing in performance management. With passions for statistical analytics and increasing process efficiency, Harrison is an excellent model for entrepreneurship and innovation, frequently adapting and applying his expertise to new industries. Prior to embarking on his technical journey, Harrison has had a successful track record in the music business. Most notably, he has worked in artist development at Crush Music, booked thousands of artists including Ed Sheeran, Green Day, and Metallica at the world’s foremost nightclub in NYC, and coordinated touring logistics for a number of high profile clients.

Wassim Yakoub
Data Scientist

Wassim is a technology enthusiast who is passionate about the limitless potential that Artificial Intelligence brings.  He holds two MSc degrees in Software Engineering and E-Commerce. Joining Bell Canada as a data scientist in the Business Intelligence division, his work is primarily focused on software development and process transformation for service provisioning. Prior to Bell, Wassim worked as a consultant in digital media as a marketing analytics expert, servicing clients across several industries to help them thrive online. He is motivated by complex scenarios and is eager to apply his knowledge for mentorship opportunities and to problems worth solving.

Karine Pierre
Robotic Process Automation Business Analyst

Karine Pierre is a Robotic Process Automation Business Analyst.  A Bachelors Graduate of HEC, she also holds a DESS in management. She has been with the company since 1999. She was also a Channel Manager for Bell Canada's External Sales Channel for over 10 years.

Karim Yacout
Operational Research Analyst

Karim joined Bell Canada in 2017 as an Operational Research Analyst. He is currently working closely with the Business Transformation Team to provide process optimization and efficiency using Robotic Process Automation. Graduated from Polytechnique Monteal as an Industrial Engineer, his passions and experiences include the application of machine learning techniques in the domain of fault diagnosis and prognosis, as well as data analytics and process optimization.

Nancy Abergel
Senior Manager, Program Management

Nancy manages the service assurance transformation program at Bell Business Markets. She holds a law degree from Université de Sherbrooke as well as certifications in marketing, project management and change management. Nancy has made her way from being a lawyer to delivering business value through strategic re-engineering of the way that we do business. Her objective is to achieve optimization and measurable improvements in stakeholder and customer satisfaction by crossing IT solutions, AI, processes and people. She has also held various roles related to business analysis, training prioritization, strategic planning and project management. Nancy is passionate about the changes that she brings forth and particularly passionate about people. She also gets her fix out of motivating people through her side profession in the fitness industry for over 20 years. Acting as a mentor in various contexts, Nancy feels privileged to provide insight on fresh new ideas.

Vincent Cote
Business Transformation Consultant

Vincent is a Business Transformation Consultant in the IoT practice at IBM Services. A mechanical engineer by trade, he's passionate about solving operational problems in diverse industries using the latest technologies like IoT, AI, blockchain and more. 

Diana Cheptene
Senior Digital Strategy Consultant

Diana creates technology-powered experiences at the intersection of strategy, design, and technology. In her consulting work, she focusing on leveraging AI to help clients understand their customers, design compelling experiences and deliver them with agility. She engages executive teams across industries and domains to gain buy-in and re-align organizations with new ways of working.

Jean-François Connolly
Entrepreneurship Research Advisor

With an interest in all aspects of machine learning, from algorithm development to product marketing, Jean-François Connolly has gained over 12 years’ experience through his studies (MScA in applied mathematics, PhD in face recognition) and work experience (natural language processing, ad tech). He oversees entrepreneurship at IVADO.

Ricardo Machado
Senior Software Engineer at District M

Experience in software development since 2003 as architect, team leader, engineer and programmer.

Adrian Pike
CMO at District m

Experienced CMO with a proven history of working in tech. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Monetization (SEM), Sales, Management, Software as a Service (SaaS), and Direct Marketing.

Jennifer Yim
Product Lead

Jennifer Yim is a Product Lead on the Applied Research team at Borealis AI. She studied Electrical Engineering at Caltech, then went on to work as a Program Manager at Microsoft in Seattle. During her time at Microsoft, Jennifer worked on various products, including the language model for Windows Phone, Continuum and Windows web services.

Khimya Khetarpal
Ph.D. at Reasoning and Learning Lab and Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms (MILA)

Khimya is a Ph.D. student advised by Prof. Doina Precup in the Reasoning and Learning Lab and  Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms (MILA) at McGill University. Prior to this, Khimya was working in the Perceptual Computing space on Object Recognition at Intel Corporation, with application to self-driving cars. Khimya completed her Masters in the Electrical & Computer Engineering department at the University of Florida, Gainesville.  Her research interests span reinforcement learning (RL), computer vision and robotics. She is interested in designing Artificial Intelligent (AI) agents that learn generalized temporal abstractions across both action and perception for lifelong learning. Besides, She is fond of robotics and enjoys spending time mentoring younger students outside of research. Khimya strongly believes it is important to encourage more underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM, especially women.

Eirene Seiredaki
Director, Research Partnerships

Dr. Eirene Seiradaki heads up Research Partnerships across Borealis AI’s network of labs. In her role, Eirene develops outreach strategies and drives collaborative research initiatives between Borealis AI and leading academic institutions worldwide. Eirene’s vision of building world-class industrial research teams in Canada has helped propel the momentum behind Borealis AI’s rapid growth across the country. Her aim is to facilitate state-of-the-art research in machine intelligence by creating opportunities for scientists graduating from Canadian universities to remain and work in the country. During her tenure at Borealis AI, Eirene has established partnerships with research institutions, such as the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, McGill, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Vector Institute, MILA, Amii, MIT, Washington State University, and more. She works closely with researchers from these institutes to create the right environment for this vision to become a reality. Eirene holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and an M.A. from Princeton University. Prior to joining Borealis AI, she did research and taught a wide range of courses at both schools. Inspired by her doctoral research in Classical Economics, which focused on the dynamics of exchange and its implications in social institutions, relations and alliances, Eirene is passionate about meaningful exchanges and partnerships between universities and industry as a means to more efficiently address the challenges that both sides face.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Global Startup Weekend Montreal - Artificial Intelligence team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.



Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Montreal is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Amir
  • Devona
  • Michelle
  • Amy


Michelle Yu
Strategy Analyst

Analyst at BDC Capitial, and a McGill graduate in Finance and International Management, she is excited about bringing passionate individuals and organizations together around innovation and technology. She has previously organized a TechStars Startup Weekend and is excited to be back again this year!

Event Staff

Michelle Shi
Business Analyst

Michelle has experience in project management and business analysis across multiple industries. Currently, she supports digital transformation projects on Bell’s operations, which impact Canada’s biggest enterprises. In the past, she’s worked with companies such as Universal Music, Connect&GO, and Coca-Cola. Michelle has also led many personal entrepreneurial projects in her spare time and holds a BCom degree from McGill University with concentrations in information systems, marketing, and finance.

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