Infiniti Launches a Startup Lab in Toronto
Nissan’s upscale auto brand Infiniti is putting down startup roots in Canada with a new accelerator designed to help spur the growth of companies that focus on internet-of-things and smart city technology. The new Infiniti Lab follows the model of the debut Lab launched by the carmaker in Hong Kong in 2015, and is the first Lab in North America, as well as Canada’s first carmaker-backed startup accelerator.
Infiniti is teaming up with Multiplicity to get the Toronto Lab up and running, and selected Toronto because of its strong startup culture, according to the company. Multiplicity is a non-profit based in the city that offers education and mentorship services to startups and entrepreneurs. It’s a good way to get boots not he ground in a new market, tapping into someone already plugged into the local scene that can help direct Infiniti’s resources to help the automaker best achieve its goal of spotting and fostering talent.
Already, Infinity Lab has completed two cohorts of startups via its Hong Kong accelerator, and it’s hoping to keep up the pace with its new Toronto location. It’s open to companies who are very early, prior to even accepting seed funding, who are looking at solving problems related to connected devices and smart cities. The participants in the Toronto program, which is open for applications now, will undergo a 30-day program in Mutiplicity’s coworking space, and then they’ll have a pitch day presenting to investors including Techstars, OMERS Ventures, TELUS Ventures and the City of Toronto. A winner will then be selected and fast-tracked to the more intensive three-month program in Hong Kong.