Invest Ottawa Unveils the IO Venture Path

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 23, 2021

Unveiling the IO Venture Path for every business milestone, and those times in between. IO Ignition, IO Flex, IO Accelerator, IO ScaleUp
The optimized portfolio will help Ottawa’s startups and scaleups shorten their path to success

June 24, 2021 Ottawa, ON – Today, Invest Ottawa unveiled the IO Venture Path, an optimized portfolio of programs designed to help startups and scaleups shorten their path to success and as a result, help create jobs and wealth for the city of Ottawa.

The IO Venture Path includes Invest Ottawa’s existing venture programs including IO Ignition (previously known as the Pre-Accelerator), IO Accelerator and IO ScaleUp, as well as a new addition to the portfolio, IO Flex.

IO Flex was designed and added to address the needs of startups who would be better served by being able to access business resources at a self-directed pace. “We saw a gap where many promising companies were graduating from what is now IO Ignition, but they didn’t have the traction required for the IO Accelerator,” said Michelle Younes, Director of Venture Programs. “IO Flex is the result of listening to our clients and adapting our offerings to better serve their needs.”

The portfolio has also been given a new brand, IO Venture Path, which reflects Invest Ottawa’s commitment to delivering business programs that address the needs of tech companies at every stage of their growth path.

“Entrepreneurship is not a linear journey,” said Nick Quain, Vice President of Venture Development. “Our aim is to support Ottawa’s startup founders throughout their journey, and these changes will enable us to ride shotgun for founders whenever they need us along the way.”

The IO Venture Path portfolio includes the following programs:

  • IO Ignition (previously known as the IO Pre-Accelerator), a highly successful 10-week bootcamp created for entrepreneurs in the ideation stage of a startup
  • IO Flex, a new program designed to provide companies with access to business resources at a self-directed pace
  • IO Accelerator, an intensive program helping early-stage startups fast track to product-market fit
  • IO ScaleUp, designed to help high growth tech companies go global and reach $100 million

Under the IO Venture Path, IO Ignition is the new name for the highly successful IO Pre-Accelerator, one of the busiest cohort-based startup programs in Ottawa. This new brand better reflects the program design, acting as a starting point from which entrepreneurs work to ignite and solidify their innovative ideas.

The IO Accelerator, a cornerstone in the Venture Path portfolio, also saw changes. Going forward, the program will focus on helping companies address four key areas: solidifying their governance framework, stabilizing their product performance, finding product-market fit and accelerating growth. These priorities will act as “phase gates” for companies to follow as they move through the program, towards eventual graduation.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2018, the IO Venture Path portfolio of programs has supported 711 Ottawa startups and scaleups. $519 million in non-diluted and VC investments have been raised and more than 2,200 knowledge-based jobs created to fuel the growth of these companies and Ottawa’s economy.
  • Since 2018, Invest Ottawa has continuously augmented its venture programming to respond to the needs of the companies, including:
    • In 2018, the IO Accelerator was restructured to adopt a more structured and intensive programming.
    • In 2018, IO Ignition (then known as the Pre-Accelerator) was created to address the needs of ideation-stage startups. Since then, 11 cohorts have been hosted and more than 200 startups supported.
    • In 2019, IO ScaleUp was launched to help high-growth tech firms increase their potential to become $100 million-plus companies.

About IO Venture Path

The IO Venture Path is a portfolio of Invest Ottawa’s venture programs designed to help Ottawa’s startups and scaleups shorten their path to success. The IO Venture Path includes four programs:  IO Ignition (previously known as the Pre-Accelerator), IO Flex, IO Accelerator and IO ScaleUp, each designed to serve tech companies’ unique needs at different growth stages. The portfolio provides business resources including advisory services, peer groups, workshops, exclusive events and more at little to no cost to qualifying companies, thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, FedDev Ontario, RBC, Logan Katz and MDK Law.

To learn more about Venture Path programs, visit

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 Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent 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. Invest Ottawa is also the founder and manager of Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $666 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 9,714 jobs; and attracted $862 million in domestic and foreign investment.

For additional information, please visit

Media Contact
Lucy Lai
Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa
[email protected]

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