2 Years Later

JOLT Launches its 4th Cohort

By Sue McGill, Co-Founder and ED of JOLT

I’ve been an entrepreneur and tech executive for over 20 years.  Since stepping into the role of ED of JOLT in July 2012, there has been an explosion of startups entering the ecosystem with the amassment of accelerators, new funding channels, and the current “bottoms-up” approach to innovation. Yet despite the chaos and rapid change the one constant that continues to drive JOLT’s success is the diversity and quality of our founders and network.

In the past 2 years we’ve invested in 17 startups that have raised $7.5M in financing, built a community of over 150+ founders, entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and a dozen plus world-class partners.  Even though our portfolio has grown to 23, and we’ve hit some important milestones we keep moving and resetting our model to remain relevant and differentiated.

Like all companies, building JOLT has involved a certain of degree pain – from developing a reputation in the market and attracting the best entrepreneurs to building the right support system and moving fast  – while keeping our brains in tact.

I often get asked what makes JOLT different from the 100+ other accelerators in the market – a question that my meandering mind almost always stumbles over because JOLT is many things… but ultimately – we’re in the business of funding startups that want and have the potential to succeed.

JOLT sits at the intersection of smart, creative and ambitious people who want to make an impact on the world and reshape the future, for good.  We have startups that are advancing innovations in data mining and analytics. Companies that are building work automation solutions where machine and human workforces collide.  Teams that are creating new classes of products to optimize our physical well-being, and entrepreneurs tackling broken systems, climate change, and sustainable living.  It’s this mix and collision of ideas that creates JOLT’s uniqueness (and magic).   And the one unifying trait the ties each company together is their passion and drive to take their ideas to the next level.

In the past 2+ years, I’ve become more intimately involved with fund raising and the fund raising process in Canada.  Having lived and worked in Silicon Valley I’ve witnessed and experienced first-hand the addiction to short-term returns.

At JOLT, we don’t expect every company to succeed.  If fact, there will be many failures. It takes 5 years to build a successful company, and the timeline is getting longer – an important reminder (against a backdrop of pessimism) that greatness doesn’t come quickly, or easily.

Even though our startups are still young and it’s too early to predict their future success, we continue to be impressed by the progress our entrepreneurs are making as they fight through the ugliness and tough times of building their companies from scratch.

As JOLT moves forward and welcomes its 4th cohort, I continue to think through a model that strikes a balance between the demands of short-term impact yet accommodates a longer-term trajectory.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, meet the 6 new companies to join JOLT.