With the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in full swing, celebrity gawkers swarmed the city for a glimpse of Tinseltown’s brightest.
But move over, Jake Gyllenhaal. In our world, tech investors and startups are the real celebrities.
MaRS recently rolled out the blue carpet for the C100 Venture North Interactive Conference, bringing a select group of Silicon Valley investors to the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor to promote our innovation ecosystem and to showcase some of Canada’s most promising startups. The Globe and Mail surely noticed the influx of tech’s elite, with a recent piece on how TIFF is a lure for Sillicon Valley cash.
In the spirit of TIFF and all things Hollywood, we’ve rounded up a list of some celebrities who love our Canadian startups.
Among Ashton Kutcher’s long list of investments in tech startups are Airbnb, Spotify and Foursquare. Not bad, Kelso. In 2013, Kutcher invested in Toronto-based InteraXon, maker of the Muse brain-sensing headband. According to a recent interview with InteraXon CEO Ariel Garten, Kutcher said “yes on the spot” to investing in the wearable technology. Actors including Richard Kind and RJ Mitte have also been spotted with Muse.
While Gwyneth Paltrow’s online newsletter, Goop, often gets flack for its pricey features—a $90 plain white T-shirt, anyone?—you can’t undermine the website’s massive popularity. In 2012, Wondereur was listed as one of Gwyneth’s favourite websites for exploring and purchasing contemporary art. Speaking of lifestyle websites, Ivanka Trump’s online magazine recently featured Think Dirty, an app that shows potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products to test beauty products.
Supermodel Tyra Banks is an investor in cinemagraph startup Flixel. Not only did she invest in the company, which creates moving “living images,” the technology is featured on her show, “America’s Next Top Model.” Tyra was quoted saying that her first experience with cinemagraphs “gave me chills.” You can enjoy a slew of Tyra’s cinemagraphs on Flixel’s website.
Everybody likes a good pair of sweatpants, including Los Angeles’ top stars. Toronto company REBUS originally manufactured a line of denim and only threw in sweatpants as an add-on. When the luxury loungewear took off, the company refocused and has seen great success since with LAZYPANTS, which are designed and manufactured in Canada. You can catch a glimpse of the many stars spotted in LAZYPANTS on the company’s website.
Canadian Olympic medallist and triathlete Simon Whitfield spent years competing on a bike, so it only makes sense that he would invest in Vanhawks’ Valour smart bike. The Toronto-based company’s high-tech bike connects to a user’s smartphone to provide navigation, among its many features. In a post on his investment company’s website, Simon described what excited him about the bike: “Bikes have been a major part of my life for so long that I know when ideas around them are legit. And Vanhawks nailed it. It’s as though they’d walked inside my brain and picked out everything I want in a dynamic commuter bike.”
Want to find your startup’s next investor? The C100 is inviting 20 Canadian startups to join its 48 hours in the Valley program. The selected startups will get access to the C100’s extensive network in Silicon Valley, including mentorship by entrepreneurs and introductions to investors. Nominations close September 25.