Frequently asked questions.
You have questions, we have answers.
From the application process to how you can get involved with the DMZ, here are the answers to your questions.
Can anyone apply?
The DMZ offers programs to founders at any stage of growth: from early-stage founders in the ideation phase to seed-stage startups. While we focus on tech-based startups, the DMZ is sector-agnostic. Check out our Portfolio to get a sense of our world-class roster of companies. We welcome only the most innovative, high-potential companies that can benefit from our resources and extended network. As a rule, we strive to foster a collaborative space and build a highly engaged community that represents a rich variety of sectors and industries.
Can I apply if I’m not from Canada?
Yes, you can still apply for our programs if you are not from Canada! Our programs can accommodate founders who work remotely. That being said, you are encouraged to visit our HQ in Toronto to take full advantage of program offerings.
Does it matter how old I am?
No - generally, age does not matter when it comes to starting a company. You can become an entrepreneur at any time, all you need is an innovative idea. Bring your passion and commitment to execute on that idea, and we’ll help you with the rest.
How do I apply?
You can get started on your application here.
What services and opportunities does the DMZ provide?
DMZ gives founders access to the resources and connections needed to build a world-class startup, including access to capital, coaching, customers, office space, and the best community in the world. We take a tailored approach to each startup's unique needs, whether that be support with fundraising, intros to customers, accessing specialized mentors, setting up legal processes, and much more. Check out our Programs page to learn more about our offerings for specific programs.
Once accepted to the DMZ, what is expected of me as a member?
We expect DMZ members to be active and engaged, through attendance at regular progress check-ins and mandatory mentorship and planning sessions. We also expect DMZ members to attend relevant events and workshops and share knowledge with fellow members. Members must also agree to the terms outlined in the DMZ’s terms and conditions, provided upon acceptance.
Once accepted, how long can I be a part of the DMZ?
Your membership in the DMZ depends on the program you’re in – for example, our flagship Incubator is 18 months long. Once a part of the DMZ, you always remain a member whether as an active company or in our ever-growing roster of alumni.
Does the DMZ take equity from startups?
Upon a startup's acceptance into our Incubator, DMZ takes a 2.5% equity stake in common shares from startups in exchange for programming. Startups who join the Pre-Incubator program will be asked for 2.5% equity in the form of options after 3 months in the program. Pre-Incubator graduates who are later accepted into the Incubator program do not provide additional equity. Any and all returns on this equity go back to Toronto Metropolitan University, a charitable organization, to support future DMZ operations. The DMZ looks for exceptional founders to support on their journey to build, grow, and scale high-calibre tech companies. Having an equity stake in companies further reinforces the DMZ’s commitment to helping founders see long-term success.
What is the success rate of DMZ startups?
We monitor the progress of our startups after they exit the DMZ and on average, 65 to 70 per cent of them are successful. We define success as startups that have been acquired maintain growth after graduating from the DMZ.
How is the DMZ funded?
The DMZ, as part of Toronto Metropolitan University, is a not-for-profit organization. We receive funding from Toronto Metropolitan University, government grants and corporate partnerships. The DMZ uses an equity-based model, meaning that the DMZ takes a 2.5% equity stake from startups in exchange for programming. For the Pre-Incubator, the DMZ takes equity in the form of options. For the Incubator, the DMZ takes equity in the form of common shares. Pre-Incubator graduates that enter the DMZ Incubator program do not provide any additional equity. Any returns on this equity go back to Toronto Metropolitan University, a charitable organization, to support future DMZ operations.
What is DMZ Ventures and what is its relationship to the DMZ?
DMZ Ventures (DMZV) is a for-profit entity established and owned by Toronto Metropolitan University and is affiliated with and based at the DMZ. DMZV is the vehicle through which DMZ is able to hold equity from Incubator companies that join the DMZ. DMZV was formally Ryerson Futures Inc. Visit DMZV's website to learn more.