Toronto’s tech community converged on the city in September for Elevate Tech Festival, a collection of educational tracks, panel discussions, startup pitches, networking events and keynote speeches from prominent figures in the tech community.
The Role of Tech in Sustainability
Al Gore, former US Vice President and Founder and Chairman of The Climate Reality Project, delivered encouraging words of optimism by acknowledging the contribution and efforts of Canada’s tech community toward protecting our planet.
The Climate Reality Project boasts a network of over 5 million activists, all trained to spread awareness about the reality of the current climate crisis. The organization works toward finding a global solution to the climate crisis and triggering the action necessary to implement change.
Gore also sat with Alphabet Inc.’s Chairman and Technical Advisor, Eric Schmidt, to discuss how Canada can improve its level of action towards the sustainability revolution.
Al Gore and Eric Schmidt discussing how technology can drive positive global change. A sustainability revolution is possible and would have “the magnitude of industrial revolution and speed of digital revolution”. Canada has to be part of this. #ElevateTechFest pic.twitter.com/YScbjzpS8k
— George Poulakidas (@George_P_) September 26, 2018
Schmidt was appreciative of the volume of tech talent coming out of Canada and recognized how Canadians have been instrumental to Google’s growth over the years.
He also addressed worries over data privacy issues, stemming from Google parent company Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs program and its connection to the City of Toronto, stating that there is no cause for concern.
Canada’s Tech Scene is Booming
In another fireside-style chat, Shopify Founder and CEO Tobi Lütke shared the stage with Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains. They discussed the recently released Digital Industries Economic Strategy Table, chaired by Lütke himself.
The two Canadian tech icons also expressed their desire to see Canadian tech companies at the forefront of developing technology that is rooted in the values of our national heritage, such as diversity.
Lütke stated that he aspires for Canada to seem like a time machine when visitors arrive in our country for the first time because of our level of innovation. His optimism was prevalent, saying that Canada is ‘not far behind’ in the global tech industry.
Minister @NavdeepSBains and Shopify CEO @tobi Lütke say “all hands on deck” as digital industries report drops https://t.co/RtS8VjeAWv #ElevateTechFest #Elevate2018 #CDNpoli pic.twitter.com/EWgkUlAOep
— BetaKit (@BetaKit) September 25, 2018
The Future Looks Bright
The festival had a solid representation of youth in technology by partnering with The Knowledge Society (TKS), a Toronto-based innovation program for students aged 13 to 17.
TKS student and developer Ananya Chadha shared her aspirations for the future of brain-computing interfacing and how it can affect humanity.
— Izzy Piyale-Sheard (Lighthouse Labs) 👨💻 (@izzydoesizzy) September 25, 2018
Diversity and Inclusion Are Here To Stay
Elevate’s CEO & Co-Founder Razor Suleman sat with CEO & Founder of location-based social and dating app Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd, to discuss her ambition to create platforms that empower women.
The Bumble CEO also expressed her satisfaction with Canada’s protection of women’s rights saying “It’s so feminist. I think I should move here someday.”.
So inspiring to hear from @WhitWolfeHerd at #ElevateTechFest this morning. Whitney is a business leader who has incredible success by building her business & user experience closely aligned with the mission to empower women 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/mFrm2mcJ09
— Nora Bieberstein (@NoraVBieber) September 25, 2018
Elevate King West Recap
As the Official Tech Sponsor of Elevate Tech Festival, we were excited to host Crowdlinker’s Casino Royale as part of Elevate King West, a party crawl spanning the entire King West area of Toronto.
Crowdlinker was honoured to host Toronto’s top tech startups and enterprises for an epic night of music, food and games. Congratulations to Steve Kisic, for winning a pair of tickets to the Opening Night performance of Casino Royale in Concert, courtesy of the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts!
We were excited to have our client, and cutting-edge Virtual Reality company BRIOVR (owned by SpinVFX) join the festivities by demonstrating their amazing VR experiences to our guests.
Overall, the festival was a big success for the tech community in Toronto and we hope to see the festival grow every year. It’s worth noting that Elevate is run almost entirely by volunteers who share a passion for tech and are willing to sacrifice their time away from their own startups to help the industry thrive in Toronto.
Thank you to Razor Suleman, Ruth Buder, Patrick Colquhoun, Andrew Budd, Josh Lilien and everyone else on the Elevate team who helped Crowdlinker make the most of our participation in the festival.
What’s In Store for Elevate 2019?
We’ve caught wind that Elevate Tech Fest 2019 could possibly be hosting a music festival and/or an e-Sports gaming tournament, and will feature a keynote by Astronaut Chris Hadfield. Register here to get your tickets for Elevate Tech Fest 2019!