Montréal Entrepreneurs Shine Brightly at SXSW
A few weeks ago, the biggest delegation of Québec technological and creative entrepreneurs ever assembled headed to Texas for a little gathering called South by Southwest (SXSW).
The annual yearly rendezvous — where tech and culture collide — is packed with conferences, trade shows, job fairs, meetups, parties and festival tracks that cover hot topics related to innovation.
Besides the bragging rights of being part of the global creative elite, what’s cool about SXSW is the possibility to benchmark your vision of the future with other top minds and tech evangelists from around the world.
Québec sent a delegation that was guided by a simple vision: to be the best, you must mingle with the best. Currently, the momentum couldn’t be more perfect. Québec and Montreal have had a record breaking year of (smart) job creation thank to a thriving entrepreneur ecosystem.
Montréal innovation is making headlines
Financial support and capital available to fund new ideas is flowing. We saw public money pouring to support Montréal’s position as a world-class artificial intelligence hub. Companies like Google and Microsoft followed the trend by buying local startups and investing in our local labs and AI scientists. Big acquisitions by tech giants sent the same message: homebrewed Montréal innovation is a hot export!
This positive entrepreneurial environment has had massive impact on confidence levels. More than ever, Montréal entrepreneurs are primed to succeed, travel and work with other global players.
The big highlights
Entrepreneurs from the greater Montréal area are playing on the global stage. Pablo Stevenson from Feedality showed audiences how his technology allows publishers to harvest audiences and resell them to advertisers, such as Facebook or Google. Questology face recognition demo gave attendees a glimpse of what the future of retail may look like. At the Sugar Shack (the Québec delegation headquarters), Sophie Paquette from Minority Media spoke about how her Montréal VR studio is using tech to give kids the confidence to learn and expand their perspectives.
AI: Montréal Hub
AI and deep learning were the hottest trends this year at SXSW. The head of the world’s largest AI applied lab (Montréal’s Element AI), Jean-François Gagné represented our city’s tremendous capacities in the field of machine learning.
Creativity is by far our greatest export. The triumph of Nicolas Ménard’s Wednesday with Goddard (winner of SXSW’s best animated short) and the popularity of Moment Factory’s session eloquently supported this status.
At the Neoshop Montréal pop-up shop showcasing innovative products designed in Montréal, attendees learned about the Nex Band (wristbands for the tech-heavy), Ora’s graphene headsets, SmartHalo navigational systems for bikes, and the Ombra (the ultimate running bra by OmSignal).
Charlotte Cardin’s sensual voice seduce the music lovers during an up close and personal performance at the Sugar Shack.
Guest post by Andres Restrepo.
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