a group of people sitting around a table

Introducing the inaugural winner of the NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition

Introducing the inaugural winner of the NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition

MNP is proud to congratulate Michael Collins, CEO of Periculum and the inaugural winner of the 2021 NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition. With a great group of finalists vying for the winning spot, Michael’s innovative and socially oriented business concept was the heads on favourite among our esteemed panel of investors.

“The caliber of companies that participated in our NextSteps Program this year were second to none — a true testament to the innovative tech ecosystem that we have in Canada,” said Massimo Iamello, Partner at MNP. “We had a diverse set of companies participate with representation from across the country and across industries. These companies were ready to scale internationally from day one; it was very difficult to select one winner.”

Periculum promises to be a game changer in the lending and risk analytics sector. The technology company harnesses machine learning and predictive analytics to create more accurate and comprehensive credit profiles for historically underserved markets in Canada and around the world.

Michael Collins is the Founder and CEO of Periculum. As a first generation Nigerian Canadian, and a former employee in the consumer banking sector, Michael has a firsthand perspective of the economic challenges that arise from having poor credit or a credit history that’s difficult to measure.

Through Periculum, Michael wants to create more opportunities for underbanked communities in Canada — as well as throughout markets in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. He hopes to use the mentorship and financial support he’s unlocked through the NextSteps prize to grow his business globally and eventually toward an initial public offering.

About the NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition

The BCF Ventures x MNP NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition is an exclusive program aimed at helping early-stage Canadian technology companies achieve their growth objectives through connections to strategic mentors and a well-suited investor.

With our program, BCF Ventures, MNP, our group of sponsors, and our global network of investors set out to do one thing: Deliver the resources and support entrepreneurs need to achieve their NextSteps.

For some, this may be getting their first round of funding to advance a capital-intensive project. For others, it may be commercialization or increasing inventory. We all committed to making sure our NextSteps winner found the right partners for sustainable growth — from initial investment and beyond.

“The NextSteps Program is a great addition to our start-up ecosystem, and we are well positioned to support and accelerate the growth of technology-based companies across Canada and beyond,” said Sergio A. Escobar, CEO at BCF Ventures. “We are delighted to be able to leverage this fruitful partnership in an attempt to offer participants of this program unfettered access to some of the industry’s brightest minds,” said Bonnie Chau, Portfolio Manager at BCF Ventures.

As part of the NextSteps Program, MNP and BCF Ventures presented our thirty-four participating companies with valuable guidance on the key pillars of their business, giving them the capacity to focus on their technology. We provided companies with targeted information about building bulletproof pitch decks, protecting intellectual property, and accessing financial resources through the Canadian government and large financial institutions.

A word of thanks to our finalists, investors, and sponsors

We also want to recognize the six amazing finalists who stood alongside winner Michael Collins on pitch day. Each entrepreneur built incredible business concepts, developed extremely innovative technologies, and represented themselves admirably:

  • Chloe Ryan | Acrylic Robotics
  • Louis-Philippe Noël |BioTwin
  • Joshua Montgomery, Matt Dobbs, and Graeme Smecher | t.0 technology
  • Ashish Agrawal | Eon Media
  • Jason Zhao | Local Key
  • Angela Wong, Dr. Leonard Levin, Oliver Wu Martinez, and Jeremy Zwaig | Remote Optical

The NextSteps Program and Pitch Competition would not have been possible without our esteemed global investor panel who faced the seemingly impossible task of evaluating each pitch: 

  • Matthew Gittleman, Blu Venture Investors (Virginia, USA)
  • Mano Kulasingam, Good News Ventures (Toronto, ON, Canada)
  • Marina Cortes, Hike Ventures (Toronto, ON, Canada & Tokyo, Japan)
  • Will Bricker, Hustle Fund (San Carlos, California, USA)

We’d also like to thank our amazing sponsors who provided the tools our companies need to succeed:

  • OVHCloud
  • Startup Canada
  • BCF Law

See you next year!

The past several months have been a whirlwind and it’s hard to believe our first NextSteps Program has already come to an end. As we say farewell to this year’s inspiring cohort of entrepreneurs and investors, we’re already looking forward to meeting a brand-new group of innovators and change makers.

About MNP & BCF Ventures

MNP is an entrepreneurial firm built for entrepreneurs. We are proud to support Canadian businesses and entrepreneurial business leaders. MNP is truly dedicated to Canada’ mid-market and understands the complex challenges and opportunities for technology companies starting their business journey. Through our focus on the Technology, Media & Telecommunications sector, we have provided dozens of Canadian entrepreneurs with the accounting, tax, and business consulting advisory they need to succeed and stand apart from the competition.

BCF Ventures is a pioneer in the Canadian investment scene and one of the first corporate venture capital funds to be launched by a law firm. BCF Ventures benefits from the expertise, resources, and insights of its parent law firm and invests jointly with other successful funds across North America and Europe.


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