Invest Ottawa Hosts One of Canada’s Largest Pitch Competitions with $750,000 in Seed Investment Awarded at AccelerateOTT 2019

Posted in Blog, News, Press Releases
Jun 12, 2019

Accelerate OTT Pitchfest

Surprise Fivefold Boost in Prize Value Demonstrates Investor Confidence in the High Calibre and Commercial Potential of Ottawa’s Tech Firms

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – June 12, 2019 – Invest Ottawa, the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, today announced one of Canada’s largest pitch competitions with $750,000 in seed investment awarded to the winners of the AccelerateOTT Pitchfest.

The Pitchfest finale was hosted at Invest Ottawa’s flagship entrepreneurship conference AccelerateOTT yesterday at the National Arts Centre. Six outstanding Ottawa tech startups were chosen as finalists to pitch before an expert panel of judges and a live audience 600 conference participants including local entrepreneurs, industry leaders, tech developers, investors, and media.

GoFor Industries and CybernetIQ, two of Ottawa’s most promising tech startups, took home the $750,000 in seed investment contributed by Panache Ventures, MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) and Capital Angels Network. 

  • GoFor Industries, a tech firm that delivers last minute, last mile delivery for the construction industry, received a total of $500,000 contributed by Panache Ventures ($400,000) and the Capital Angels Network ($100,000); and
  • CybernetIQ, a company that offers a single solution for cybersecurity visualization, security, orchestration, automation and response, received $250,000 contributed by MaRS IAF.

GoFor and CybernetIQ were among six finalists shortlisted from 15 outstanding technology firms across Ottawa and Eastern Ontario who had competed in two qualifying rounds over the last three months. Other finalists included Blackbox Global, GenM, Hoppier and RVezy.

The audience assembled at AccelerateOTT was surprised and delighted by the five-fold boost in the prize value. In March 2019, Panache Ventures, Canada’s most active seed stage venture capital fund, committed $150,000 cash to a winner-takes-all prize.

In March 2019, David Dufresne, Partner at Panache Ventures said: “Ottawa’s startup ecosystem is on fire, so it was an easy commitment for Panache Ventures to make, knowing some of Canada’s top startups are located there. Having been involved with AccelerateOTT last year, we know it is the pinnacle entrepreneurial event for us to be part of. We’re pumped; this pitchfest is going to be a blast.”

Impressed by the quality of Ottawa’s tech firms, Panache Ventures increased its investment for the AccelerateOTT Pitchfest, and MaRS IAF and the Capital Angel Network decided to join in and capitalize on the promising growth potential of GoFor and CybernetIQ.

“Funding is always a difficult path for entrepreneurs, and our hope was this pitch competition would help clear some of the hurdles on that path,” said Nick Quain, Vice President of Venture Development, Invest Ottawa. “We are thrilled for GoFor and CybernetIQ. It’s also clear all four other Pitchfest companies are of significant interest to these investors as well. I think the ultimate investment committed to all six of these firms will go up substantially from here.”

In addition to the two seed investment commitments in GoFor and CybernetIQ, both Panache Ventures and MaRS IAF indicated their intention to begin due diligence with a few other companies who pitched, beyond their respective commitments to date.

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in the City of Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally-recognized, innovative and future-ready city, and the best place to learn, work, live, and play, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development and global expansion programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training; mentorship; acceleration for technology firms; foreign business and investment attraction; local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors; commercialization; and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life.  Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of startups, scale-ups and SMEs, helped firms to attract more than $565 million in capital, contributed to the creation of more than 7,670 jobs, and attracted more than $446 million in domestic and foreign direct investment. For additional information, please visit:

 About Panache Ventures

Panache Ventures is Canada’s most active seed-stage venture capital fund, and is led by a team of experienced operators, with a strong angel investor track record, years of institutional VC experience and a strong network in Canada, in Silicon Valley and worldwide. The fund has a founders-first philosophy, a commitment to diversity and strategically co-invests with smart angel investors and seed stage funds. For additional information, please visit:

About MaRS IAF

The MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) helps build and strengthen Ontario-based businesses in the cleantech, ICT, and life sciences & healthcare sectors. Funded by the Province of Ontario, the IAF program is managed by MaRS and delivered through the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.

About Capital Angels Network

Founded in 2009, the Capital Angel Network (CAN) has been investing in startups in the National Capital Region for almost a decade. Since its inception, CAN members have invested over $20 million into more than 60 early-stage companies. This funding has also leveraged over $100M in additional investment through government grants, syndication with other angel groups and ventures.

About AccelerateOTT

Entering its seventh year, AccelerateOTT rallies hundreds of founders, innovators, industry veterans, investors, tech giants, and a host of entrepreneurial partners from Canada’s Capital Region, across Canada and around the world. This one-day entrepreneurship conference hosted by Invest Ottawa strives to equip, connect and create new opportunities for founders, entrepreneurs, startups, scaling firms, SMEs and their partners, helping to catalyze their growth.

AccelerateOTT 2019 aims to address key opportunities and challenges facing the startup and scale-up community and provide actionable guidance for entrepreneurs. It helps to facilitate relevant investor, customer and market connections, and other concrete business opportunities. The inaugural AccelerateOTT Pitchfest directly supports these goals.  For additional information, please visit:

For more information, please contact:

Lucy Lai

Senior Marketing and Communications Strategist, Venture Development

Invest Ottawa

[email protected]


Winners of PitchFest holding giant cheques. GoFor wins PitchFest at AccelerateOTT 2019, held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on June 11, 2019. Photo by David Kawai for Invest Ottawa.

GoFor wins PitchFest at AccelerateOTT 2019, held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on June 11, 2019. Photo by David Kawai for Invest Ottawa.

Two men shaking hands while holding a giant cheque.

CybernetIQ wins PitchFest at AccelerateOTT, held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on June 11, 2019. Photo by David Kawai for Invest Ottawa.

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