Elevate Day One: Highlights and Reactions
After months of preparing for all of the city-wide festivities, Elevate's first day is officially over! For the uninitiated, Elevate is a must-attend destination for tech leaders, investors, and creators. The multi-day event features some of the most inspiring keynotes in the industry along with topical content streams, experiential programming and to top it off, epic social events. This year Elevate speakers include the likes of Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe-Herd, Loblaws CEO Galen Weston, Al Gore and more.
That being said, let's dive into what happened on the Main Stage at Elevate during Day One. Here we go!
Elevate kicked off by discussing the inspiring topic of 'How Canada Wins' with notable Canadian founder and CEO Tobi Lütke of Shopify and Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains. The discussion spanned from detailing a new program from Shopify in conjunction with York University where you earn a Computer Science degree by actually working at companies to Navdeep Bains sharing how the federal government is working to bring high speed Internet to rural areas. Oh, and then they opened with TSX with Elevate co-founders and 100 NextGen youth effectively making it the biggest TSX opening in Canada - ever!
Next up, Elevate co-founder Razor Suleman had a fireside-style chat with Bumble CEO and Founder Whitney Wolfe-Herd. The former cofounder of Tinder discussed the mistreatment she faced following her exit from the company and why she decided to swipe right on the female-empowered solution we now know as Bumble. Whitney further discussed how we can engineer technology to promote equality, respect, and accountability online and her ambition to take her mission offline to impact government legislation!
After that, up to bat was Square's CFO, Sarah Friar, one of the most influential leaders in fintech today joined by BNN Bloomberg anchor Amanda Lang. Sarah talked about the changing landscape of the financial system, the shift to omnichannel, whether it’s a side hustle or Walmart and why she's a passionate advocate for cashless future.
Galen Weston, fourth-generation family leader of George Weston Limited and Loblaws, gave a quick 15 minute keynote on the challenges and exciting opportunities for that modern retail provides to help Canadians live better lives everyday through digital advancements.
Next up was Ananya Chadha who spoke about her efforts to determine out how tech can be implanted into human brains, and what that means for humanity. Oh yeah, and she's only 16 years old!
After that we went 'Back to School' with acclaimed artist and producer, Wyclef Jean. Wyclef caught us up on some of his latest projects, including disrupting music with a hiphop guitar, how music and technology can come together for a better future along with discovering new talent and a few of his new projects. All capped off with an incredible rap which you can hear for yourself linked below!
Next the spotlight was on 'Bold Brands' featuring with Julie Rice, Chief Brand Officer of WeWork and Cofounder of SoulCycle and Lydia Dishman, Reporter of Fast Company. Julie delved into how “bold brands” build and foster communities of not only customers but people. She also touched on the importance of trusting yourself as a new entrepreneur.
Moving on, we learned about Building $1 Billion Companies with industry heavy-hitters Michelle Zatlyn, Cofounder & COO of Cloudflare and Ted Livingston, Founder & CEO, Kik. Ted was refreshingly candid about moving on from the consumer game and instead focusing on new territory - crypto. Plus, his love for Kitchener-Waterloo, which he suggests rebrands as 'Co-op Valley' as it's student base is such a hot commodity.
Time for ElevateR Pitch Finals! These pitches welcomed AI companies to compete for the attention of international media, investors and global tech leaders alike. 16 finalists from across Canada competed March-madness style to get down to the final 2: Aifred Health and Elucid Labs. In the end, Elucid Labs, a MedTech company that develops augmented intelligence imaging solution for early detection and diagnosis of skin cancer, won out to be dubbed Canada's most promising AI company. Plus, Daisy Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence to help you solve optimization questions to increase business revenue, won not only People's Choice but a whopping $5 million investment from Espresso Capital.
As we neared the end of the day, former Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt talked about the importance of being on the cusp of another industrial revolution, this time a digital one - especially in Canada.
The final speaker of the day was none other than former Vice President of the United States and renowned environmentalist, Al Gore. He spoke passionately about the sustainable revolution and how we can innovate to effectively make the world a better place. Unsurprisingly, his talk alongside Eric Schmidt was met with a standing ovation.
Now you're all caught up on Day One, stay tuned to find out all of the exciting and innovative tracks from Elevate Day 2!