I've got asked quite often about the startup industry in Montreal: people have ideas, but don't have the technical skills to make it happen or just don't know where to start. I have a good network of technical resources, but when it comes to find a co-founder, we are talking about a totally different need. I thought I could help my connections, by trying to make a list of where they can start their research to find their next business partner.
I usually joke about the fact that I could have one to three meetups per evening when I'm talking about the technical scene in Montreal: it's also a good city for startups. Here is a list of some meetups that happen, mostly on a monthly basis, in our lovely city:
- Montréal NEWTECH is probably one of the bigger meetup I know in Montreal, and it's all about technology, and startups;
- Startup Grind will have their first event in Montreal in a couple of days. As the name let you know, it's also all about startups, and the lead is one of my friends, Rami Sayar;
- Startup Breakfast Club Montreal is a nice way to start your day: they usually have one presentation, followed by a networking session. They would certainly give you time to pitch your startup idea;
- Montreal Entrepreneurs is a newly group to give the opportunity to entrepreneurs to network, and share their experience;
- MTL Startup Talent, from what I know, is more of an organization than a user group, but they organized meetups, as hackathons too.
We are lucky in Montreal as we have many meetups, but we also have great events where entrepreneurs can go, share their ideas, learn more about the startup ecosystem, and find a partner.
- International Startup Festival is probably the biggest event we have related to startup in Montreal, and I can tell you it's awesome as I was there on the first edition, one year ago;
- Startup Weekends are held all over the world, and we are lucky to have one in Montreal too;
- Lean Startup Machine Montreal is a workshop where attendees learn more about lean principles, and validate their ideas.
I would say that if you have to know one place related to startups in Montreal, it's Notman House. In the café, you'll find freelancers, entrepreneurs, people looking for ideas, people building on ideas, people who would like to find a co-founder... There are also many events as user groups happening there. It's as well the home of FounderFuel, a startup accelerator, so it could be a good way to connect to startups that are participating in this program, or have a discussion with the lead of this program as they have a lot more contacts in the startup world than me.
I would also say that coop spaces in Montreal are good places to find interesting people: Station C, ECTO... Actually, people ask me quite often after co-working spaces in Montreal, so I'm trying to find them all to create a list here.
Go where they go
At the end, the idea is to go where they go, and not restrain yourself to startups events or groups: you never know when, and where you'll find someone who will have the same enthusiast then you for your idea. Your project is about creating a website, why not go to HTML5mtl or JS Montreal? You plan to have a mobile product, and would need someone able to create mobile application: think about CocoaHeads Montréal for iOS, GDG Montreal Android or Microsoft Métro Montréal (French site) for Windows Phone/8. We have many user groups in Montreal like those: Ruby (French site) or Python Montreal, Communauté .NET Montréal (French site)... This is a good place to find technical people: who knows, you may find the person who is looking for a new opportunity!
I know this list isn't complete, so I invite you to let me know in the comment section if I'm missing any meetups, events, or anything that would be useful for someone looking for their next partner... I hope this list will be handy, and please, let me know if you are building a new product: I'm always eager to know what the great minds in Montreal are working on!