Photo Credit: Evan Smogor
MNP is proud to congratulate Michael Collins, CEO of Periculum and the inaugural winner of the 2021 NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition. With a great group of finalists vying for the winning spot, Michael’s innovative and socially oriented business concept was the heads on favourite among our esteemed panel of investors.
About the NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition
The BCF Ventures x MNP NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition is an exclusive program aimed at helping early-stage Canadian technology companies achieve their growth objectives through connections to strategic mentors and a well-suited investor.
With our program, BCF Ventures, MNP, our group of sponsors, and our global network of investors set out to do one thing: Deliver the resources and support entrepreneurs need to achieve their NextSteps.
For some, this may be getting their first round of funding to advance a capital-intensive project. For others, it may be commercialization or increasing inventory. We all committed to making sure our NextSteps winner found the right partners for sustainable growth — from initial investment and beyond.
As part of the NextSteps Program, MNP and BCF Ventures presented our thirty-four participating companies with valuable guidance on the key pillars of their business – giving them the capacity to focus on their technology. We provided companies with targeted information about building bulletproof pitch decks, protecting intellectual property, and accessing financial resources through the Canadian government and large financial institutions.
“The caliber of companies that participated in our NextSteps Program this year were second to none – a true testament to the innovative tech ecosystem that we have in Canada,” said Massimo Iamello, Partner at MNP. “We had a diverse set of companies participate with representation from across the country and across industries. These companies were ready to scale internationally from day one; it was very difficult to select one winner.”
“The NextSteps Program is a great addition to our startup ecosystem, and we are well positioned to support and accelerate the growth of technology-based companies across Canada and beyond,” said Sergio A. Escobar, CEO at BCF Ventures. “We are delighted to be able to leverage this fruitful partnership in an attempt to offer participants of this program unfettered access to some of the industry’s brightest minds,” said Bonnie Chau, Portfolio Manager at BCF Ventures.
About Michael Collins and Periculum
Periculum promises to be a game changer in the lending and risk analytics sector. The technology company harnesses machine learning and predictive analytics to create more accurate and comprehensive credit profiles for historically underserved markets in Canada and around the world.
Michael Collins is the Founder and CEO of Periculum. As a first generation Nigerian Canadian, and a former employee in the consumer banking sector, Michael has a firsthand perspective of the economic challenges that arise from having poor credit or a credit history that’s difficult to measure.
Through Periculum, Michael wants to create more opportunities for underbanked communities in Canada — as well as throughout markets in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. He hopes to use the mentorship and financial support he’s unlocked through the NextSteps prize to grow his business globally and eventually toward an initial public offering.
A word of thanks to our finalists, investors, and sponsors
Standing alongside Michael Collins on pitch day were the six amazing finalists who were selected by a selection committee. Each entrepreneur built incredible business concepts, developed extremely innovative technologies, and represented themselves admirably:
- Chloe Ryan | Acrylic Robotics
- Louis-Philippe Noël | BioTwin
- Joshua Montgomery, Matt Dobbs, and Graeme Smecher |t.0 technology
- Ashish Agrawal | Eon Media
- Jason Zhao | Local Key
- Angela Wong, Dr. Leonard Levin, Oliver Wu Martinez, and Jeremy Zwaig | Remote Optical
The NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition would not have been possible without our esteemed global investor panel who faced the seemingly impossible task of evaluating each pitch:
- Marina Cortes, Hike Ventures (Ontario, Canada & Tokyo, Japan)
- Matthew Gittleman, Blu Venture Investors (Virginia, USA)
- Mano Kulasingam, Good News Ventures (Ontario, Canada)
- Will Bricker, Hustle Fund (California, USA)
We’d also like to thank our sponsors who provided the tools our companies need to succeed:
- OVHcloud, a French cloud computing company, and one of the largest hosting providers in the world. Special thanks to Amy Pollard for having sponsored the big prizes of our program.
- Startup Canada, Canada’s leading entrepreneurship organization connecting founders to their local startup ecosystems. Special thanks to Kayla Isabelle for having promoted our program from coast to coast.
- BCF Law, a Canadian business law-firm, and the corporate arm of the BCF Ventures fund. Special thanks to Julien Lacheré from the Intellectual Property team for the support.
See you next year!
The past several months have been a whirlwind and it’s hard to believe our first NextSteps Program has already come to an end. As we say farewell to this year’s inspiring cohort of entrepreneurs and investors, we’re already looking forward to meeting a brand-new group of innovators and change makers.
Think you have a game-changing technology business that could use a boost to achieve its NextSteps?
>> Click here to begin the application process
About MNP & BCF Ventures
MNP is an entrepreneurial firm built for entrepreneurs. We are proud to support Canadian businesses and entrepreneurial business leaders. MNP is truly dedicated to Canada’ mid-market and understands
the complex challenges and opportunities for technology companies starting their business journey. Through our focus on the Technology, Media & Telecommunications sector, we have provided dozens of Canadian entrepreneurs with the accounting, tax, and business consulting advisory they need to succeed and stand apart from the competition.
BCF Ventures is a pioneer in the Canadian investment scene and one of the first corporate venture capital funds to be launched by a law firm. BCF Ventures benefits from the expertise, resources, and insights of its parent law firm and invests jointly with other successful funds across North America and Europe.