JOLT is a technology accelerator dedicated to building high-growth web and mobile companies that promise to transform the way consumers and enterprises interact with technologies.
With the wide availability of open-source tools and the global adoption of mobile and social technologies, the barriers for creating disruptive, innovative experiences have never been lower. Anyone with the spark of an idea and the willingness to work hard can build a company capable of changing the world we live in.
JOLT was created to capitalize on these new dynamics. It is an evolution of MaRS’ unique advisory and commercialization model – one that has been designed to ensure that Canadian startups remain adaptive and competitive in this “new world” where the fundamentals of any business can change overnight.
Each startup is assigned a lead advisor with significant company-building, creative design and advisory experience. Companies also gain access to a network of approximately 80 mentors with specific subject matter and sector expertise.
JOLT invests $50,000 in your company. In exchange, JOLT receives 9% equity in your company.
Fully equipped workspace at the MaRS Commons for the duration of the session. The MaRS Commons is a 5,500-square-foot space located on the second floor of the MaRS Heritage Building. The space has 75 co-working seats, four meeting rooms and a kitchen. It’s home to the MaRS Information Technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice, JOLT startups and dozens of entrepreneurs.
Free access to market intelligence from top research institutes such as IDC, Gartner and Frost & Sullivan.
Tailored discussions with industry and subject matter experts that uncover new ideas and approaches to commercializing mobile, social and global enterprises. For details, see Workshops & Speakers.
Educational sessions delivered by experts on topics such as defining your business model, crafting your pitch, creating the right IP strategy and more.
Product development support
Hands-on advice, tools and templates for building the best product from experts who have been in the product development trenches.
User experience & design guidance
Learn from the experts how to create the best user experience.
Access to follow-on investment
At the end of the accelerator period, Demo Day offers you the chance to pitch your story to some of the best angel and venture capital investors from Toronto and abroad.
- $60,000 in Microsoft Azure Credits
- $12,000 in SoftLayer Hosting Services
- $10,000 in PayPal Transaction Credits
- $6,000 in Rackspace Hosting Credits
- $5,000 in Public Relations Support from the Metzger PR Firm
- $3,000 in Human Resources Support from Premier Employer Services
- $1,000 in Amazon Web Services Credits
- And many more
Workspace photo gallery
Check out the JOLT digs, a 5,500-square-foot space with 75 co-working seats, four meeting rooms, a kitchen… and lots of brain power. It’s home to the MaRS Information Technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice, JOLT startups and dozens of entrepreneurs.
JOLT is exclusively focused on the IT, communications and entertainment (ICE) industries.
Specifically, we’re looking to accelerate high growth web and mobile startups that cross both the consumer and enterprise markets.
We’re not looking to invest in ‘ideas,’ but rather companies where the idea has graduated to a plan, with a core team that combines technology, creative and business expertise. Some development must be completed – for example, a proof of concept / prototype exists.
At this stage, startups are looking to refine the plan, validate their proposition and prepare for their first round of investment.
JOLT candidates must meet the following criteria:
- Reside in Canada, with focus on the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding Ontario region
- Have development, design or production skills and experience
- Have demonstrated superior execution skills and the passion, focus and perseverance to grow a successful business
- Preference will be given to companies with prior startup experience
At the end of the four-month program comes Demo Day, an unofficial kickoff for JOLT companies as they move on to join the MaRS ICE ecosystem. JOLT graduates will receive continued support from MaRS advisors, capital partners, market intelligence and more. The most successful JOLT entrepreneurs might even be asked to join the MaRS network of experienced mentors to advise startup companies that join future sessions of the JOLT program.
Do you give companies money?
If you are selected, JOLT invests $50,000 in your company (and also provides mentorship, space and a number of other great perks). In exchange, JOLT receives 9% equity in your company.
Why do you need stock in my company?
As shareholders of your company, we have a vested interest in making it succeed. Once we invest, we’ll work even harder to ensure you make it by helping refine your business plan, and connecting you with the right mentors and the best investors. Your success is ours too.
Do you provide workspace?
Yes. Companies accepted into JOLT work out of our 5,500-square-foot office located in the MaRS Commons. This cool, wireless-enabled space has 75 co-working seats, four meeting rooms and a pristine kitchen. It’s a great launchpad for the hottest tech startups.
If I get accepted to JOLT, do I have to work in the MaRS Commons?
Yes. All successful JOLT applicants have to work in the MaRS Commons for the duration of the program.
Do I have to be there for the entire four-month period?
Yes. All successful JOLT applicants have to work full-time out of the MaRS Commons space for the duration of the four-month program. But the time will fly. You’ll be so busy taking advantage of our mentorship, coaching, learning and networking programs, you won’t have time to miss your office (even if it happens to be the funkiest coffee shop on the block).
Where will we live in Toronto?
We don’t provide accommodations, so your home is your choice. The MaRS Commons is located right in the heart of downtown Toronto, surrounded by condos and urban neighborhoods, so you’ll have plenty of options.
Do I have to stay in Toronto when the program ends?
No, you can live wherever you want. That said, you might want to stick around to take advantage of all that MaRS has to offer. JOLT grads enjoy ongoing access to mentorship, advice and education, as well as the connections to customers, partners, talent and capital through the core service offerings of MaRS.
How do I apply to the JOLT program?
First, read about the types of companies JOLT supports and, if you fit the bill, complete our application form. You’ll hear from us during the selection period.
What kinds of companies can apply to JOLT?
JOLT focuses solely on Canadian-based, early-stage startups working in the IT, communications and entertainment (ICE) industries. Companies must be developing web or mobile innovations that enhance and transform the way people work or the way people are entertained. You’ll need to fill out the JOLT application form.
What stage does my company have to be at to apply to JOLT
We accept early-stage startups. That said, your company can’t be too “early stage.” If you’re still working out the pencil sketch on that napkin, you’ll need to refine it a bit more.
How will you protect my intellectual property if I apply?
We’re all startup founders too, so we know how critical your privacy is. We won’t show your application to anyone outside of the JOLT team and selection committee.
I’m a single founder. Will you accept my application to JOLT, or do you only look for teams?
You must be a team of two or more to apply to JOLT. We know that the most successful startups have well-rounded teams with a mix of business, technical and other necessary skills. The more bases your team covers, the better.
I’m not based in Canada. Can I still apply?
No. All applicants must reside in Canada, with focus on the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding Ontario region.
Do you help us get funding after JOLT ends?
We give you some seed capital to get you off the ground, but you’ll likely need more money to really fly. Near the end of the program, Graduation Day offers JOLT startups the chance to demo their products and companies to a panel of potential investors. But have no fear, we’ll help you refine your business plan and will coach you through your pitch strategy so you can really knock it out of the park.