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The ultimate startup guide: DMZ’s 5 tips for thriving at Collision

Startup 101

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The ultimate startup guide: DMZ’s 5 tips for thriving at Collision

The air in the city is electric with anticipation for Collision, Toronto’s tech scene is about to transform into a vibrant epicentre of innovation and possibility! We couldn’t be more thrilled for the global startup ecosystem to make its way to the city we proudly call home. As longtime Collision-enthusiasts, we’re sharing our insider tips on how to thrive at the 3-day conference. 

From June 26-29, the city will be buzzing with excitement as the world’s brightest minds come together for a week to network, share big ideas and dive into cutting-edge technologies.

Picture this: 40,000+ attendees, 1250+ journalists, 250+ partners and 950+ investors coming together under one roof to reimagine the global tech industry. And the fun doesn’t end there; industry experts tackling the biggest challenges facing our industry today will take the stage to share their insights on navigating uncertainty. 

Amidst all this buzz, DMZ is also gearing up for its most prominent presence at Collision to date. This year, we’re uniting the most fearless and diverse visionaries in the global startup ecosystem to mark the year of the camel startup.

At the fastest-growing tech conference in North America, the opportunities are endless. To help you make the most of your time at Collision, we’ve compiled a handy guide with our top tips for startups. Read on for a download of our top startup tips to get the most out of the week. 

Create a plan of attack

Your time is valuable. Before attending any event, it’s crucial to do your research and plan ahead. When planning your schedule, start by reviewing the various sessions and identifying the ones that best align with your needs.  

You can build a personal event schedule on the Collision app by tapping the  ‘Schedule’ tab at the bottom of the app. Tap the calendar icon to any must-see sessions to add to your own personal schedule. 

Don’t forget to explore the multiple stages and booths across Enercare Centre, including DMZ’s booth (booth E281). Swing by to connect with angels and VCs in the ecosystem and check out our dedicated DMZ stage and startup showcase, win prizes and much more! If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of a certain 6-foot-tall animal hanging around our space.  

For additional insights, check out Collision’s essential guide, which provides registration information, venue details and travel suggestions. 

Set clear objectives 

Given the scale of Collision, it’s important to define your objectives beforehand. Upon doing your research and planning your schedule, set intentions and determine what you want to achieve from the conference. 

A clear goal could sound something like this, “I will lock in 5 meetings with CEOs who could benefit from my solution and follow up with my pitch deck before July 1.” Put it in writing and commit to it!

Utilize the power of networking 

With over 40,000 attendees and 2,000 startups, Collision offers immense networking opportunities. Be sure to make a list of speakers and entrepreneurs you want to connect with to maximize your time. 

We suggest taking full advantage of this opportunity by checking out the alpha and beta startup sections, actively engaging with thought-provoking speakers and attending educational masterclasses and Q&As. 

Not to mention, DMZ’s booth will feature its very own networking lounge for 1:1 meetings with investors, startups and industry leaders. 

Don’t skip out on workshops 

 

Make the most of Collision by participating in expert-led workshops. Here are a few sessions that might pique your interest:

  • Metaverse: The road to a trillion-dollar industry

    • Julie and Alan Smithson (Metaverse)
      • Hosted by DMZ – 4:30 PM, June 27th
  • The power of community for your brand

    • Chelsee Pettit (aaniin)
      • Hosted by DMZ – 2:00 PM, June 28th
        * The first 15 attendees will win a limited edited Tkaranto t-shirt from Chelsee’s brand, aaniin!
  • Startup Legal Essentials

    • Allan Goodman (Goodmans)
      • Hosted by DMZ – 3:00 PM, June 28th
  • Is venture capital right for you?

    • Phil Joseph (Rep Matters)
      • Hosted by Rep Matters, at DMZ’s booth – 11:30 AM, June 29th
  • Founder Fireside: Torys and Meroxa

    • Konata Lake (Torys) and DeVaris Brown (Meroxa)
      • Hosted by DMZ – 11:00 AM, June 29th

Oftentimes smaller-knit and more intimate, these sessions will provide valuable insights while giving you a real opportunity to engage with speakers. For more information on the exciting sessions taking place at DMZ’s booth, check out our full schedule here!

Don’t be afraid to tell your story

Collision will attract over 1,250 journalists from prestigious publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Betakit, The Peak, The Globe and Mail and many more! Leverage this opportunity by putting your startup front and centre. Media at the event will be wearing a slightly different badge than regular attendees, keep your eyes peeled and don’t be shy to approach them and spark up a conversation. 

Remember to wear your startup swag, bring business cards and have your Linkedin QR code and Collision app on hand so you’re ready to connect. 

By following these five tips, you’ll be well-prepared to maximize your Collision experience. We can’t wait to see you there! 

To find out more information about DMZ and our presence at Collision, visit dmz.to/collision 

Mining a recession: how tech startups can strike gold

The reality is, being a startup founder is no longer sexy. Today’s economic climate is dramatically shifting across industries — especially in tech — from layoffs and inflation to rising interest rates and a looming recession.

We all know a recession produces a range of negative impacts. However, it also presents opportunities to revolutionize and transform for those who look. The key is to be resilient, adaptable, and innovative through changing market conditions. Think Microsoft, Airbnb, Slack, and Zoom, all hugely successful companies that started during recessions. There is no question that new problems will arise, but with that, new industries, products and services will come to life — and for an entrepreneur, that’s gold.

For a long time, a startup’s ultimate goal was to achieve unicorn status, characterized by rapid growth and high valuations. In today’s climate, operating with this mindset isn’t realistic nor sustainable — inflated company evaluations do no favours to startups, especially on the heels of a recession. Instead, companies need to embody the camel, a future-orientated animal that conserves its resources to endure harsh conditions and adapt to any environment. This concept was originally coined by venture capitalist Alex Lazarow, who encourages startups to focus on building resilience and flexibility to survive and prosper long-term.

Want to strike business gold? Here’s how to embrace the camel mindset to set your company up for long-term success.


Be bullish.

Problem: Startup originality is rare. As the number of tech businesses grows, it is increasingly more work for startups to differentiate from the competition and offer truly innovative products, services and value. A more saturated market means increased competition for funding, customers and talent, leading some companies to replicate already successful business models.

Opportunity: With a recession comes new consumer needs and new problems. Now is the time to be proactive and address these needs. Stand out to investors and tap into new customer segments with a unique offering.

  1. Look for untapped needs: Be more obsessed with the problem than the solution. Identify problems that still need to be addressed or solved effectively. Unique problems = unique solutions.
  2. Seek out diverse perspectives: Look beyond your industry and sector; connect with people with varied backgrounds and experiences to gain fresh insight.
  3. Experiment: Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and experiment with different approaches.


Optimize your human capital.

Problem: Layoffs and financial insecurity may hit your company – a recession is the time to feed the winners and cut those who are underperforming. It’s easy for team members to feel discouraged and disconnected from a company’s mission. Your company is your community; nurturing your culture in challenging times is more important than ever.

Opportunity:

  1. Prioritize honest communication: Be transparent about your startup’s position; open communication is vital to trust. Involve all levels in finding solutions to create a shared sense of purpose and belonging.
  2. Recalibrate your team: Build the right data systems, structure and practice to improve quality assurance, program execution, and team communications. This also means a smarter team to help deliver what is needed now.
  3. Remove silos: Encourage cross-functional collaboration and create opportunities to connect through events, lunches, team-building exercises, etc. Measure success and failure as a collective.
  4. Show appreciation: Recognize and reward your team for their contributions. Boosting morale is key to culture, motivation, and productivity.


Get scrappy.

Problem: Funding has always been challenging to secure as a founder, especially with the recent boom of tech startups. Throw economic uncertainties into the mix, and you have a recipe for dry capital as investors like Venture Capitalists (VCs) and Angels become more risk-averse to investing in new startups.

Opportunity: Finesse your business strategy and get scrappy.

  1. Focus on your competitive edge: Execute a clear, well-defined value proposition that demonstrates your startup’s advantage in the market.
  2. Showcase your adaptability and leadership: Investors are interested in companies that can adapt to a changing economic environment. Highlight your leadership skills, from navigating the recession to making smart business decisions.
  3. Build relationships with investors: Establish relationships before seeking funding to understand their criteria better and increase your startup’s visibility.
  4. Consider alternative financing options: Now, many financing options are available for startups with lower barriers to entry and greater flexibility. These include crowdfunding, grants, revenue-based financing, debt financing, and incubator and accelerator programs like the DMZ.

Facing a recession as an entrepreneur can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Join a startup incubator like the DMZ and participate in a community of diverse startups, mentors, and industry experts. Access resources like office space, funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities to refine your business with expert guidance.

Check out how the DMZ can help propel your business forward, even in the most challenging times here.

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