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DMZ hosts exclusive Insiders Event for tech community, showcasing high-potential early-stage startups

A total of $65,000 CAD in funding was awarded to DMZ Incubator startups Chexy and Formaloo

TORONTO, ONTARIO, June 27, 2023 – On Monday, June 26, Toronto Metropolitan University’s DMZ hosted the highly anticipated Insiders Event at the incubator’s headquarters in downtown Toronto. The exclusive showcase featured a handpicked selection of innovative startups from DMZ’s portfolio, giving attendees the opportunity to hear how they are transforming their respective industries. 

The nine participating startups had the opportunity to pitch their high-potential tech solutions to an invite-only gathering of esteemed investors, corporate leaders and DMZ’s global partners for a chance to secure a $50,000 grant. During the event, DMZ opted to add a second prize of $15,000 for the runner-up.

Hailing from across industries including proptech, fintech, adtech, healthtech to cloud computing, data analytics and more, the nine DMZ startups represented pre-seed and seed-stage innovation, specializing in B2B, B2C, enterprise tech, and SaaS solutions. 

Pitch participants included: Liza Akhveldziani, Co-Founder and CEO of Chexy; Eve Staszczyszyn, Co-Founder of Compass; Hudhaifah Zahid, CEO and Co-Founder of EconommiMarc Sykes, Head of Product at Datz Solutions; Farokh Shahabi, Co-Founder and CEO of Formaloo; James Faulkner, Founder and CEO of Sitemax; Ayodele Pompey, CEO of SmartTerm; Leonard Ivey, Co-Founder of Softdrive; and, Audrey Bond, Founder and CEO of Vaultt.

Liza Akhveldzian of Chexy was named the winner of DMZ Insiders, taking home the grand prize of $50,000. As Canada’s first payments platform that enables tenants to earn rewards through consistent on-time rent payments, Chexy was recognized for its trailblazing solution that empowers Canadian renters to achieve their financial goals sooner. The Chexy team, who recently announced a $1.3M pre-seed funding round, will use the funds to continue to improve their customer experience and expand their landlord offerings. 

“We have been building Chexy for over a year and a half and in the market truly for four months — the stakes are high, especially in the current economic climate, and undiluted funds like these will help us add value, scale and continue to differentiate ourselves from others in the market,” said Liza Akhveldzian, Co-Founder and CEO of Chexy. “DMZ has always been helpful in connecting startups with the necessary resources and networks to move the needle for growth — and we’re grateful to be a part of the community.”

Following Chexy’s win, a surprise second award was distributed to Farokh Shahabi, Co-Founder and CEO of Formaloo. A customer data platform that helps businesses gather and analyze customer data cross-platforms, Formaloo provides brands and companies with digestible and actionable insights into their business and customers. The startup was awarded a bonus $15,000 prize that the Formaloo team will use to support their continued expansion with the new release of Formaloo 3.0.

“DMZ has evolved into the global benchmark for incubators around the world for a variety of reasons, but our community will always be considered the backbone of our success, said Abdullah Snobar, the Executive Director of DMZ and CEO of DMZ Ventures. “I can’t think of a better way to kick off Collision week than bringing together our closest partners – both locally and globally – to showcase what our startups are capable of. While $65,000 of funding was awarded, our Insiders events are primarily designed to connect the community and drive ecosystem growth.”

The pitch competition served as the highlight of the Insiders Event, which also included an esteemed lineup of industry leaders, including David Walmsley, Editor in Chief of the Globe and Mail, as well as Abdullah Snobar, the Executive Director of DMZ and CEO of DMZ Ventures. 

DMZ’s Insiders Event set the stage for a dynamic week of Collision, North America’s largest growing tech conference that brings together the brightest minds in technology and media. 

In DMZ’s largest presence at Collision to date, the world-leading incubator will unite the most fearless and diverse visionaries in the global startup ecosystem on the Collision floor (booth E281).

Startups globally have longed to be named the next “tech unicorn” over the last decade, but in the midst of a challenging economy for tech companies, DMZ’s theme at Collision this year is centred around why founders need to build camel startups to endure a rocky climate and play the long game for success. 

As DMZ marks 2023 as the “year of the camel,” attendees to the DMZ booth can expect to see various startup showcases, a networking lounge for one-on-one interactions, as well as opportunities to engage with respected corporate and VC leaders. Moreover, guests will have access to unique activities, including the opportunity to capture a photo-op with DMZ’s giant camel, test their luck with a cash grab machine, and partake in a giveaway to win exciting prizes.

To learn more about DMZ’s presence at Collision, head to

For founders looking to level–up their startups, visit  


Media Contact
Luvy Hardy, DMZ

About DMZ
DMZ is a world-leading startup incubator based at Toronto Metropolitan University that equips the next generation of tech entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build, launch, and scale highly impactful startups. By providing connections to customers, coaching, capital, and a community, DMZ’s customized approach helps innovators reach the next milestone in their entrepreneurial journey – whatever that might be. Through its award-winning programming, DMZ has helped more than 800 startups raise $2.5 billion in capital and create 5000+ jobs. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada with globally-accessible programming, DMZ has a widely-recognized international presence with offices in Vietnam, India, and the U.S., and partnerships across North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

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