Program Highlights 


Accellerate Silicon Valley Immersion

We help small women-led Canadian startups grow and thrive by connecting them with Silicon Valley investment, advice, and expertise.

Twice a year, we select 10-15 women in leadership or technical roles from small Canadian startups for an immersive program with successful (and mostly female) Silicon Valley investors, founders, experts, and mentors.

In a few jam-packed days, selected participants pitch to real investors, get feedback on their company, attend talks and workshops with industry experts, learn from Silicon Valley startups, meet in 1:1 sessions with investors, experts, and potential mentors, and share meals with new-found Canadian and US friends. Connecting women with women to acellerate Canadian businesses.

New this year: AccellerateU - selected female Canadian University students who are planning or have already launched their own startups. Successful student applicants will be included in all program events as observers; but will not present pitches or be matched individually with investors or mentors.

Applications are reviewed by a Selection Committee, and all decisions are final.

Startup criteria: have real revenue (under $1M), customers, or products that are in pilot, production, or shipping phase.

*Women includes: cis, trans, femme/feminine-identifying gender, queer, and non-binary folks.

Past Session Topics

  • How to Market your Startup to Investors by Allie Klun, Sierra Ventures

  • Panel: Inside the Mind of a VC

  • Founder's Journeys - Successes & Learnings featuring founders in Silicon Valley

  • Promoting your Business through Stellar Storytelling by Lindsay Riddell - Hotwire

  • Leadership Workshop with Joanna Bloor

  • Five things We did at Tesla to Build Culture by Beth Davies, HR Reimagined

  • Design Thinking - Tips & Tricks for Creating Better Products & Services by Meghan Ede

  • Startups pitch to a group of local investors, followed by 1:1 meetings for individual feedback and advice

  • How to Think About your Company from the Customer Point of View presented by Karen Hayward, Chief Outsiders

  • Understanding When & How to Build A Meaningful Relationship with Partners Critical to your Business with Linda Campbell, Director for Ecosystems, Business Development, Strategic Alliances, ITRON

  • Building a Company for Successful Exit Lunch Roundtable, hosted by Mona Sabet, Tribal Venture

  • Managing yourself through the 0 to 1 with Nikhyl Singhal, Chief Product Officer, Credit Karma

  • Podcasting 101: “Developing Your #1 Content Platform” with Julia Scott

  • Talent Acquisition & Hiring Tips for Startups, with Andi Vanetta Smith and Amanda Mitchell, Vanetta Partners

  • How to Think About your Company from the Customer Point of View with Karen Hayward, CMO, Chief Outsiders

  • Practical tips for building a developer community on your technology platform with Linda Campbell, Director for Ecosystems, Business Development, Strategic Alliances, ITRON

  • International Expansion Roundtable with by Reena Krishnan

  • Julie Castro Abrams, Founder & CEO at How Women Lead

  • Investor & Mentor Sessions

Past Speakers

Securing Your First Enterprise Customer

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May Habib, CEO & Founder @ Qordoba

Qordoba is a Strings Intelligence Platform that enables product teams to create compelling user experiences. It is the only machine-learning based solution which extracts text from strings in source code and makes it easy to manage product copy. Companies like Postmates, VISA and Marriott use Qordoba to rapidly optimize and release new copy across product, marketing and customer support.

Heather Kernahan

Heather Kernahan, President North America @ Hotwire

A global marketing tech expert & business leader, Heather has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, Thrive Global, BizWomen, PR Week and AdWeek. Named one of B2B News Network 2015 B2B Top Influencers, Heather's work spans tech startups to industry leaders.

Michele Perras

Michele Perras, Chief Operating Officer @ Alice

Michele was previously the General Manager at Pivotal (global cloud-native development and PCF platform), where she lead the team across the Accenture Pivotal Business Group on strategy, GTM, training, delivery and customer success.

Anna Pickren

Anna Pickren, Director of Partnerships @ Alice

Alice is a free digital platform that makes smart, instance connections between business owners and the resources they need to accelerate sustainable growth and global impact. Alice is open to all founders and prioritizes access for women and other underrepresented business owners.

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Trish Costello, CEO & Founder @ Portfolia

Portfolia is a global entrepreneurial investing platform designed for women, and Managing Director of Portfolia Funds.  Trish is internationally recognized for her pioneering work in preparing venture capital investment partners, through the prestigious Kauffman Fellows Program, where she was the founding CEO and CEO Emeritus. Costello played a leading role nationally in increasing equity investments in women’s businesses and in funding initiatives supporting high-growth women entrepreneurs.

Bulbul Gupta

Bulbul Gupta, Board Chair @ Upaya Social Ventures

Upaya Social Ventures does seed-stage equity investing in social businesses in India. Bulbul is a long-time leader in the impact investing space, supporting some of the first deals and partnerships when the term was first coined 10 years ago out of Microfinance. Bulbul was an outside policy advisor on Hillary Clinton's campaign, advises family offices on social innovation investment strategies, and is co-founding a think tank using Augmented Intelligence for good - Socos Labs. She is also an angel investor in US-based founders for now, especially women of color and immigrant founders.


Annette Poliwka, Zero Waste & Corporate Responsibility Consultant, Angel Investor

An international expert in waste reduction, recycling, and plastic pollution, Annette has 15+ years of experience in the environmental field, working for nonprofit, government, and private sectors. She's an angel investor with Portfolia and Pipeline Angels, and is on the board of Tending Inc.

Annette studied Communications, Business, and Environmental Science at Fairfield & Georgetown Universities, as well as the University of San Francisco .