Downtown Toronto was the epicentre of all things start-up in late June. Thirty-five hundred people convened at Collision Conference, one of the largest tech innovation gatherings in the world.
Hundreds of exhibitors and speakers filled the Enercare Centre, including CEOs of some of the world’s largest tech giants. Fifteen hundred start-ups hailed from 130 countries.
The Edge, A Leader’s Magazine interviewed three presenters at Collision — a small sample of the diversity of talent and ingenuity of attendees and speakers.
World Fund, Europe’s biggest climate tech venture capital fund, is investing US$370M on advancements across varying sectors, including energy, transport, agriculture, and manufacturing. Two of the founding partners, Danijel Višević and Daria Saharova, spoke about some of the innovation in the pipeline that could help the planet.
Danijel Višević and Daria Saharova. Photos courtesy of World Fund.
“We’ve received more than 1,000 applications, each whose impact can at least save 100 megatons of CO2 per year,” said Višević.
Their portfolio includes Juicy Marbles, the world’s first ever plant-based filet mignon steak, one of many steps to curtail the problem of cattle-caused carbon output; Space Forge, a program to create microchips in space more affordably and with less energy. World Fund also has Freshflow, an artificial intelligence method to measure food waste and save unsold produce in supermarkets.
Meanwhile, Naborino was part of Collision’s “Alpha” program for early-stage start-ups. Naborino is an app that connects local communities by helping neighbours combine their purchasing power to get better prices on a variety of products and services. Dan Flatt, CEO, said the idea began as a Facebook group to connect the neighbours in his building, which, during the pandemic, became a lifeline for many who needed help. With many stores closed, it saved them money to consolidate online shopping deliveries.
Dan Flatt. Photo courtesy of Dave Gordon.
“At Collision, we met many potential partners that are a great fit for our business model, including local consumer brands, residential building management software, and community organizations,” said Flatt.
Another start-up, Sorbet, co-founded by Veetahl Eilat Raichel, is a platform that helps employees cash out their paid time off (PTO). According to the company, there’s US$272B worth of unused PTO with only about three-quarters of days used. The leftover time stays on the debt ledger of companies, usually given out when the employee is terminated — but with interest. With Sorbet’s technology, employers buy unused vacation time, giving the employee the cash value on a prepaid card. Eilat Raichel said millions of dollars have been doled out thus far.
Veetahl Eilat Raichel. Photo courtesy of Sorbet.
“With working at home, people had a hard time wrapping their heads around what it means to be off… It used to be that our lives were very clear — When you step into the office, you are on; you step out of the office, you were off,” she said.
She added how front-line workers can’t always take time off, especially during work shortages. “You don’t want them to take time off because you need working hands, but you do because the implications financially are damaging.”
Dave Gordon | Associate Editor