MaRS launches TechStart! Consumer

A focused advisory program to boost digital media innovation

Toronto, July 12, 2010 – MaRS today launched a new commercialization program called TechStart! Consumer, following an open call for promising start-ups in the consumer digital media space. A total of 15 aspiring ventures have been chosen for the 16-week intensive boot camp program led by MaRS Advisors and subject matter experts from the industry.

The program was created in response to the growing demand of consumer-facing digital media companies seeking advisory services, mentorship and market connections from MaRS to help refine their business models and market penetration strategies. The TechStart! program combines advisory, peer-to-peer interactions and focused sector-specific education into one intensive, fast-paced program.

In the last year alone, MaRS’ client portfolio – the approximately 600 Ontario-based companies actively working with MaRS advisory services – has seen a 61% increase in digital media ventures. Today, digital media companies represent 50% of the broader information technologies practice area.

TechStart! Consumer is composed of 10 intensive advisory-driven sessions that cover a range of important business-building topics including: market assessment; user experience design; business modeling; consumer branding; and market launch.

“We hope that TechStart! Consumer will allow us to further our business model and refine our strategy,” says Kuhan Puvanesasingham, Co-founder of Price My Ride, one of the participating companies. “Not only will we be able to closely work with a broad group of seasoned MaRS advisors and experts, we’ll also be able to share our energy and enthusiasm amongst other participants.”

“The TechStart! Consumer program is the first of its kind in Ontario. Creating a meaningful experience for 15 companies is challenging, but the program has been designed to meet the considerable demand from entrepreneurs for this type of immersive learning experience, working closely with both advisors and other entrepreneurs,” says Krista Jones, the MaRS Practice Lead who is spearheading the program. “We have benchmarked a number of acceleration programs internationally in the design of TechStart!, and we believe that the program will help catalyze, scale-up and enrich our entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

In addition to launching TechStart! Consumer, MaRS is also renaming its ICT practice to ICE – Information technology, Communications & Entertainment – to better reflect the growth of consumer facing start-ups working with MaRS.

“Repositioning our practice name is the right response to a fast-changing marketplace,” says Jones. “It better reflects the types of clients we attract and work with today. ICE is just a more succinct, sharper and relevant way to describe our focus and expertise beyond traditional ICT to include consumer and entertainment-based ventures.”

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District ( is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and entertainment technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose businesses.

For information about TechStart! Consumer and future sessions, please contact:
Advisory Services

For more information about MaRS, please contact:
Linda Quattrin
Director, Communications
T. 416-673-8104