Last month, 35,000 attendees from over 140 countries flocked to Toronto for Collision Conference, which returned to an in-person format for the first time since 2019. With the announcement of over $250 million in business investments and expansions, along with the creation of 800 jobs, new partnerships, and multiple startup pitch competitions, York Region’s #YRtech Pavilion was a big draw for those that came to check out the ‘Olympics of Tech’ in North America.
The #YRtech Pavilion brought together our nine municipalities, business and innovation partners including York University, Seneca, Kingbridge Centre, ventureLAB, Treefrog Accelerator, and others to showcase the collective strength of York Region’s tech ecosystem.
Here’s our highlights from this massive three-day tech conference and we’ll be honest, our team was so busy at our own pavilion that we didn’t get to see much else of Collision!
York Angels RADARxCOLLISION Pitch Sessions Draw Large Crowds Each Day
One of the most popular events at the #YRtech Pavilion, bringing in big crowds every day, was the York Angels RADARxCOLLISION Pitch Sessions. This event was broken out into unique themes each day, with Canadian Startups, Women Founders, and International Startups having the opportunity to take the stage.
Each day four startups had seven minutes to pitch to a panel of judges from York Angels on the merits of their tech and future vision for the growth of their company. Conference attendees in the audience also had the unique opportunity to become judges themselves by casting a vote using PitchScore, which contributed to a fan vote winner being announced at the end of each session; along with a judges panel winner.
WOMEN FOUNDERS DAY
The @YorkAngels RADARxCOLLISION Pitch a sessions are about to start. @marc_saltzman giving the judges their instructions. Come watch Women Founders Day sessions now on the #YRtech stage at #CollisionConf! pic.twitter.com/uWovgRJELm— York Link | York Region Economic Development (@YorkLink) June 22, 2022
INTERNATIONAL STARTUPS DAY
BIG crowd in the #YRtech Pavilion for the International Pitch Sessions! Third on the stage is Smart Engage.— York Link | York Region Economic Development (@YorkLink) June 23, 2022
Remember you can participate in the @YorkAngels pitch sessions by voting in the fan vote via PitchScore. See if you and the judges think alike! #CollisionConf pic.twitter.com/sIPNxcQZzl
Speaking on the importance of the sessions Executive Director of York Angel Investors Katie Salem said, “Ensuring Canada’s best and brightest minds grow their businesses here, rather than scaling them abroad, requires quality mentorship, ongoing funding opportunities and a fertile tech sector in which to flourish. York Region and their partners understand this as well as anyone in the country.”
Congratulations to all the York Angels RADARxCOLLISION Pitch Session winners!
Canadian Startup Day saw MyLaminin take the top spot according to the judges panel and Tabiat take the audience fan vote. There were four strong pitches from female founders on day 2, which saw MetaFold 3D take the judges top spot and VoxCell BioInnovation take the crown in the fan vote. On the last day, four startups from four different countries took the stage with CarScanner walking away victorious in the judges panel vote and SmartTerm winning the fan vote on International Startups Day!
DAY 1 WINNER: MYLAMININ
Congratulations @myLaminin on winning Day 1 of the RADARxCOLLISION Pitch Sessions for Canadian Startup Day! 👏👏👏— York Angel Investors (@YorkAngels) June 21, 2022
The fun has only just begun - we’re back tomorrow at 11 AM for Women Founders Day 🙌
Thanks for hosting us @YorkLink, we are having a great time at #CollisionConf https://t.co/tJ3JILs9Xi
DAY 2 WINNER: METAFOLD 3D
Big thank you to our amazing panellists, Catherine Lovrics, Jennifer Renda, Alim Bhayani, and Duncan Jones! They had the tough job of picking our winner, @Metafold3D, from the four pitches seen at the RADARxCOLLISION Pitch Session - Women Founders Day. #CollisionConf @YorkLink pic.twitter.com/fpyKpJyjs8— York Angel Investors (@YorkAngels) June 22, 2022
DAY 3 WINNER: CARSCANNER
Join us in giving Car Scanner a big round of applause for winning our third and final RADARxCOLLISION Pitch Competition!— York Angel Investors (@YorkAngels) June 23, 2022
They have won $13,000 in professional services from our amazing prize sponsors, @suvservices and @BDO_Canada 🎉
Thanks for hosting us @YorkLink #YRTech pic.twitter.com/ol442Zg4uS
The winners of the judges panel each received more than $10,000 in professional services from a variety of sponsors and moved on to the next phase of the York Angels investment process. It’ll be exciting to see the impact these companies and their technology has in a few years!
York Region Hosts Multiple Major Tech Announcements on its Pavilion Stage
Day one was a busy one when it came to announcements on the #YRtech stage. The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville brought Frank Stronach, Founder of leading global auto parts manufacturer Magna International, on stage to talk about the future of SARIT EV (Safe Affordable Reliable Innovative Transport Electric Vehicles) and announce its global headquarters and manufacturing facility will be in Stouffville.
Later in the day, Swedish Headquartered global engineering design company, Syntronic, announced their expansion into Markham where they’ve opened their first design centre in the GTA. Silicon Valley headquartered intelligent systems data distributor Astera Labs also announced the opening of a new R&D design center in Markham; focused on advancing connectivity solutions for Machine Learning and AI infrastructure. Both Syntronic and Astera Labs are currently hiring positions at their York Region-based offices.
Other announcements from day 1 included:
- Richmond Hill, OCAD University, and eCampus Ontario established a new Centre for Local Innovation & Collaboration (CLIC) to support entrepreneurs and startups
- York University’s YSpace announced their expansion into Georgina and East Gwillimbury with a new physical location to support local entrepreneurs and startups
Day two at Collision brought another eventful day of announcements with the largest being that LGC is relocating to Vaughan, which will bring 400 high-skilled jobs into York Region by 2024. Additional announcements included:
- Newmarket-based Treefrog Accelerator had a fireside chat announcing that they are now York Region’s first global startup VISA accredited accelerator
- ventureLAB promoted their initiative for supporting women tech founders, Tech Undivided.
- The City of Vaughan, Mackenzie Health, York University and ventureLAB gave an update on the future of the Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct (VHCP) a first-of-its-kind initiative supporting the development of Vaughan into a world-class healthcare location
- The Town of Aurora, health tech company Skinopathy, and accredited engineering testing facility MegaLab Group, highlighted innovation in Aurora and what makes their companies thrive there
- ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative, Canada’s only hardware-focused lab and incubator announced its next cohort of companies
On the final day, Seneca’s innovation and entrepreneurship incubator HELIX announced the launch of their new HERizons program, which received $2 million in federal funding, and aims to assist women scale up their career skills. Additionally, King Township, Kingbridge Centre, and Seneca gave an update on their entrepreneurship and innovation collaboration.
Collision Attendees Discover the Benefits of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy
As a signature event on the #YRtech Stage, York Region Economic Development brought in representatives from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and talent recruitment company, Path to Canada, to provide information on how companies can attract and bring international talent into their businesses through the Canada Global Skills Strategy. If York Region-based companies are interested in exploring the program further, our economic development team is a designated referral partner for this program.
The Atari Pong Coffee Table Turns Canadian Tech Experts and Friends into Foes for an EPIC Rematch
One last highlight was the Atari Pong Coffee Tables, from Markham-based UNIS Technologies, which saw exciting competitive matchups between attendees; including a long-awaited rematch between two tech titans from TV, radio, and social media: Marc Saltzman and Amber Mac. Marc pulled out a stunning victory to even the series at one each after Amber claimed victory in their first matchup at Collision 2019.
HOLY SMOKES👀 @marc_saltzman pulled off the upset and beat defending champion @ambermac! They’ve already agreed to a rematch to break the tie at #CollisionConf 2023!— York Link | York Region Economic Development (@YorkLink) June 22, 2022
Thanks to these great Canadian🇨🇦 tech icons for coming to the #YRtech Pavilion. pic.twitter.com/XdAw9ibu6w
Art Comes to Life in the #YRTech Pavilion
One of the unique elements to the #YRtech Pavilion was watching a large mural come to life over the three days at Collision. GTA-based Artist, Blaze Wiradharma, painted a beautiful image tying together York Region landmarks while intertwining tech-related elements to create a signature and original piece. It was a crowd favourite, bringing people back to the pavilion each day to see his progress and we made sure to capture it all on camera. Enjoy the time-lapse below of this art coming to life!
One Final Thank You
As we close out our coverage of Collision 2022, we’d like to extend one final thank you to all of our municipalities, business and innovation partners, our Emcee Marc Saltzman, and the vendors who helped us put together and capture all the action in the #YRtech Pavilion.
It truly was a successful showcase of the #YRtech ecosystem and our collective strength as Canada’s second largest tech hub!