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Lazaridis ScaleUp

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Lazaridis Institute?
    Housed in the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, the Lazaridis Institute combines scholarly research, real-world market analysis, and industry best practices to identify obstacles to global competitiveness and optimize the management of high-growth technology companies.
  • What is Lazaridis ScaleUp?
    Lazaridis ScaleUp is a late-stage accelerator that helps high-potential, fast-growing Canadian tech companies scale and compete globally. We provide founders and their teams the expert support they need to achieve global success. The program combines highly focused multi-day workshops led by industry leaders with twelve months of personalized, one-on-one expert mentoring.
  • What makes Lazaridis ScaleUp different from other accelerators?
    Lazaridis ScaleUp is a growth-stage accelerator. We are national and accept a broad range of tech companies. Thirty-four per cent of alumni companies have a woman founder or co-founder; nearly half of our mentors are women. ScaleUp is designed for companies with revenues from $2-million to $30-million ARR. We are not a residential program. Founders and their exec teams meet virtually about once a month and the entire cohort gathers for program weekends in-person in different cities across North America throughout the year. The biggest difference between Lazaridis ScaleUp and other accelerators is the quality and experience of our expert mentors, people who have architected and led the successes of companies like Apple, Shopify, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and many more.
  • How does my company benefit from participating in the program?
    You benefit through mentorship, program workshops and peer networks. Recent research shows that people with mentors perform better and experience more work-life satisfaction. The hard part is finding the right mentor and establishing a relationship — that’s where we come in. We connect you to people with the experience and expertise to guide you during the times you need them most. Each company receives customizable mentor hours during the program year. In addition to acting as mentors, members of our expert network facilitate intensive workshops throughout the program year. As we come out of COVID, these workshops follow a hybrid model. We aim to schedule three in-person sessions, each lasting two days. Locations for the in-person sessions are TBA, but generally take place from Toronto to Vancouver, New York to Palo Alto. During program sessions, companies work through current issues with their executive teams under the guidance of functional area experts, VCs and business leaders.
  • Which companies have gone through the program?
    You can check out all ScaleUp companies here.
  • What types of tech companies apply?
    Lazaridis ScaleUp works with tech and tech-enabled companies from a wide range of sectors, from hardware to software, medical devices to biotech, agtech to entertainment, and retail to energy.
  • What criteria do you use to choose companies?
    We’re looking for Canadian companies with high potential to be global category leaders. Cohort companies have met or exceeded the following criteria: Headquartered in Canada Trailing twelve month annual revenue of $2-million to $30-million Rapid revenue growth (>50%/year) Sufficient capital to fund fast growth Potential to be global category leader
  • My company doesn’t meet all of your criteria. Should I still apply?
    Companies must be headquartered in Canada and you must have a team: non-Canadian companies and one-person operations will not be considered. The selection panel is looking for a valid indicator of traction in the market — usually revenue and/or investment. If your company is close to our revenue cut off, and/or has attracted significant investment, it doesn’t hurt to apply. We provide feedback to every applicant company and, if you don’t qualify this year, we will let you know what you need to do to be successful next year.
  • What is the selection process like?
    The application is online, and we keep it as short as possible. Applications typically open early June and close in August. We aim to finish our initial assessment by the end of August, after which we announce 20+ shortlisted companies. Shortlisted companies sign up for a date and time to pitch to the selection panel and answer questions via videoconference. The selection takes place over two or three days. Our selection panel is made up of Canadian and U.S. VCs and serial entrepreneurs. We announce the companies selected for Lazaridis ScaleUp in the Fall. Programming typically begins in November.
  • How much does the program cost?
    We do not charge fees or take equity. All program costs, including workshops, mentorship, and food during program retreats are covered by the Lazaridis Institute. Companies are responsible for getting to and from the weekend workshop retreats and their stay — we cover the rest.
  • Will you provide my company with funding?
    While we don’t provide funding, we have introduced companies to funders and helped them achieve their round. Our goal is to ensure you’re well prepared for your next round of funding.
  • What happens during an in-person session?
    Program retreats generally cover two days and two evenings and are held in different cities across North America. For two days, members of our expert network run workshops, facilitate interactive sessions and participate in panel discussions. We host speaker and networking receptions, breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Throughout it all, cohort companies work through current challenges with the guidance of experts and the support of their peers.
  • Who are your mentors?
    Our mentors are people who have played key roles in globally successful companies. Mentors come from Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Mentors are chosen for their expertise, but must also have the ability to support founders and their teams with excellent analytical and communication skills, energy, compassion and humour. Each mentor is carefully vetted and carefully matched with cohort company executives.
  • How can I find out more about your program?
    Start by emailing us at We'll set up a one-on-one with a member of our team so you can ask us anything.
  • Who from my company can attend virtual sessions? Who attends the in-person sessions?
    Participation in virtual sessions is not limited. Founders and CEOs are encouraged to attend as many sessions as possible. Topics are announced in advance; some will be more appropriate for product people (engineers; product managers and product marketers), others will benefit finance execs or HR professionals, etc. Up to three members of the company’s executive team are welcome to attend in-person sessions. We strongly recommend the CEO attend every in-person session. The other exec team members in attendance may vary according to the session topics.
  • How does my company get matched with a mentor?
    Our Chief Mentors, Geoff and Brandon, will interview you at length to understand your needs, priorities and preferences. You are then matched with a Lead Mentor, someone who understands your industry, and who will help you to decide which challenges to address first. Your Lead Mentor will work with Geoff and Brandon to match you with specialists and subject matter experts who best fit your needs and style of working.
  • How often do you run the program?
    The program is offered on an annual basis to a small group of Canadian companies who complete a highly competitive selection process.
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