Ready to scale up your tech business?

VentureLabs is a ‘later stage accelerator’ focused on technology companies that are expanding and poised for growth. We have a series of resources and programs to help your company meet the market. Our companies often have a viable product and early stage market acceptance. Some may be earlier, especially if they are prototyping and some may be later stage companies that are ‘scaling’ in the marketplace.

SFU VentureLabs Scale Up Program 

The VentureLabs  Scale Up program provides support for Canadian growth ventures who are solving a compelling problem using innovative technology with a clear opportunity to grow and scale. We have mentors, programs, and partners whose goal is to help ventures develop to the point where their growth is  self-sustaining. Our company portfolio includes vertical market software, health tech, fintech, robotics, artificial intelligence, network hardware and software, internet platform companies, and more.

Venture Participation Levels

There are two different levels of participation in the program:

  • Virtual Member: EIR mentoring; You don’t need dedicated desks, but you may use working space on a drop-in basis from time to time, and occasional access to meeting space.
  • Full-time In-House Member: EIR mentoring; participant requires use of a dedicated work area in VL, and regular access to meeting space .

ScaleUp Services:

  • Executive in Residence / Your  VentureLabs Growth Coach – Your assigned Executive in Residence (EIR) will regularly review progress with you to help you achieve the milestones set for the business during the program’s duration. The EIR will also bring in experienced mentors from the Venture Labs mentor community to work with the participant as required.
  • Shared Access to VL Meeting Facilities:  All participants are also entitled to scheduled use of meeting rooms and phone rooms our facilities in Harbour Center. Meeting rooms are equipped with large monitors, speaker phones, and video conferencing equipment.

Assessment Criteria

The VentureLabs admissions panel looks at a number of factors to assess ventures for fit with the VentureLabs Scale Up program. Ultimately, we always want to be able to answer “yes” to the question “Can we help this company scale?” We look at the following areas:   

Team

Your company has at least one full time founder and plans to grow. Even better if you have a founding team working full time, including a team member focused on revenue development. Does your team have a demonstrated track record of building companies? Or domain expertise in the market you are tackling? Do you have a mix of technology and business skills?  If not, are you prepared to build your team to be ready to scale? We also look at the maturity of your team, industry experience and connections you have in place already. In short, we want to work with companies who have the talent and skills needed to scale . 

Business Concept and Traction

You have a clear business concept and your venture has developed an MVP, and has customers using it. Or if  you are commercializing deep tech or hardware, you’ve received government funding based on your solid business plan. Perhaps you’ve had a successful “friends and family” round or an accredited investor has put seed money into your business? Has a credible industry analyst raved about your idea? Basically, you can show that someone outside of your founding team thinks your product is a good idea. 

Innovation 

Are you bringing a new invention to market or using technology in a new way to solve a customer problem? Does your innovation include a compelling new business model or create a new market?  VentureLabs helps companies meet the unique challenges faced by technology innovators, such longer, riskier product development cycles found in healthcare and telecommunications or brand new technologies, and strategic selling, complex go-to-market-for-enterprise software, and we look for companies where this expertise will make the difference.  

Market Validation and a Plan to Grow

You’ve established product-market fit and have strong market validation. If you’re innovating in a SaaS market you’re in revenue,  if you’re bringing an invention to market you’re filing patents, and have lead customers; You have a services, product, or licensing business model which plans to employ multiple people and where business growth is a major objective.  And you have, or are working to, an investable cap table. 

Coachability

Your team is driven to not only take your business to the next level, you also want to take advantage of learning opportunities, including workshops, training, and building connections. You can’t wait to meet with your Executive in Residence and other experts who can help you grow. 

Community-Oriented

We are in this together. Companies that are part of the VentureLabs community contribute to each other’s success. We are looking not just for driven companies, but those who will participate in the VentureLabs community and those who want to give back by sharing their experiences, knowledge, and skills with other teams at VentureLabs. 

Application Process

SFU VentureLabs has a competitive admissions process. 

  1. Apply – Please complete the application form to submit your company’s information.
  2. Get short listed – The applications will be initially reviewed against the admission pre-requisites and approved for In-Person Venture Review,  or rejected. The applicant will be informed immediately by email.
  3. Tell us your story – The VentureLabs assessment team meets at least every two months to review the applications, and to select companies to join VentureLabs accelerator. Select startups will be invited to meet the assessment team to pitch their company and provide the necessary information for due diligence.
  4. Get accepted and get going – You will be notified if your company has been accepted into VentureLabs and how we can immediately start working together. Last step is setting benchmarks your Venture aims to achieve during the program, and then signoff  concluded with signoff Venture Labs and your CEO. 

We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and mutual respect, to embracing diversity and providing equal opportunities and access to programs.

Perhaps not a fit?

Not all companies that apply at VentureLabs are accepted. You may have an awesome idea that needs more refinement, or perhaps you haven’t validated your product in the market. Or you may be focused on innovation in a non-technology area. There are many programs that can fit your needs.

SFU VentureLabs is part of rich ecosystem dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation, and we are happy to refer you to SFU’s other programs:

  • Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection – SFU’s flagship program for early-stage ventures, offering support through incubation, mentorship, office space, and access to the university’s vast entrepreneurship community.
  • RADIUS SFU is focused on social innovation with programs including incubation support, social innovation lab expertise, capacity building, and connecting community to pave the way for transformative ideas to create systemic change

Plus, we’ve got partners across BC and Canada that could be a great fit based on where you are at in your entrepreneurship journey