JOLT, a new accelerator where creativity, culture and execution drive innovation

I’m extremely excited to announce today the launch of JOLT, a Toronto-based startup accelerator for entrepreneurs who know how to adapt, have the tenacity to lead their ideas across the finish line time and time again, and aspire to solve real problems.

JOLT headquarters: MaRS Commons

Founded: April 2011


Twitter: @joltco / #JOLTco

Co-founder & Executive Director: Susan McGill

Today, markets and businesses are no longer driven merely by efficiency, but also creativity and innovation. Anyone with a spark of an idea and the willingness to work hard can build a company capable of disrupting the world we live in. Both our economy and our culture are changing with surprising velocity, leaving vulnerable any business that is settled and standing still. In order to remain relevant, organizations must keep moving.

At JOLT, we’re embracing this new world and approaching change head-on. We’re focused on building companies that are primed to be adaptable and preparing entrepreneurs to lead this new breed of organization.

Creative partners

JOLT is based largely on the idea that creativity is the backbone required to advance companies and industries. As such, JOLT was built and operates in conjunction with MaRS and a number of creative thinkers: the Global Accelerator Network, Postmedia Network Inc., CFC Media Lab, Jet Cooper, The Working Group and Media Profile.

For a long time, the typical founding team of a technology-based startup comprised an engineer and a business expert. However, in this hyper-competitive world, creative talent is becoming increasingly important, particularly in startups. In fact, great creative design has become a proven differentiator among many early-stage companies.

Our partnerships with CFC Media Lab, Jet Cooper and The Working Group add this layer of interactive and creative design expertise to the acceleration process – an element that we believe is critical to both innovation and startups that are looking to raise capital and achieve early market validation.

What else do we offer?

Beyond the seed capital and the cool place to work for 16 weeks, JOLT startups receive a number of great perks, including design and product support, education, the opportunity to pitch to investors for follow-on funding and, most importantly, mentorship. We know that innovation can’t happen in a vacuum!

Supported by a diverse network of entrepreneurs, business experts, creative thinkers, designers, technologists, product builders and investors, JOLT offers startups access to over 70+ savvy mentors who tell it like it is, giving candid advice on the ups and downs of running a startup.

This is an exciting moment for MaRS and the Toronto startup ecosystem. I’d like to thank everybody – our investors, partners, mentors and the MaRS team – who stepped up and helped make JOLT happen.

There’s an explosion of opportunity in the market – at JOLT, we aim to take full advantage of it.

For more information, check out the JOLT website: Applications open April 30, 2012 and close May 30, 2012. The summer cohort will move into the Commons and begin the program July 9.

Stay tuned for news about the first JOLT cohort!