BetaKit 150 Speakers Will Highlight AI, Innovation and How Canada Can Beat Silicon Valley

June 20, 2017


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The BetaKit 150 tech conference takes place Thursday with a focus on Canadian innovation, Artificial Intelligence, and how Canada can distinguish itself from Silicon Valley.

Canada’s leading tech publication is hosting the BetaKit 150 conference in Toronto on Thursday with an all-star lineup of speakers who are at the forefront of innovation.

BetaKit editor-in-chief Douglas Soltys posted the agenda on Twitter yesterday, and the first two speakers will be emphasizing how Canada’s tech and innovation sectors can rise above Silicon Valley.

BetaKit 150 Speakers on How to Beat Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley veteran Vitaly Golomb of HP Tech Ventures will discuss “Technologies of the Future and How Canada Can Beat Silicon Valley” at BetaKit 150.

As the global investment leader of the corporate venture arm of Silicon Valley’s original startup, Golomb is a prestigious pioneer who has been involved with startups since he was a teenager. If anyone knows how Canada can beat Silicon Valley, it’s Golomb.

The next speaker, TechGirls Canada Founder Saadia Muzaffar, will be presenting on a similar topic to Golomb with her speech “The Future of Talent: Ambitions of Stepping Outside the Shadow of the Valley.”

As a force in Canada’s tech scene, Muzaffar has made TechGirls Canada the hub for Canadian women in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM).

Highlighting Canadian Innovation

In order to step outside the shadow of Silicon Valley, Canada will need to invest in its own future with a focus on attracting talent to boost even further its already vibrant tech and startup ecosystems.

And that’s what’s really at the heart of BetaKit 150 – “Celebrating the future of Canadian Innovation.”

Shopify COO and Canadian Angel Investor of the Year 2016 Harley Finkelstein will be collaborating with BetaKit’s Soltys (whom Cision named one of the top 7 Canadian tech journalists to follow) about “Building the Canadian Startup Ecosystem.”

Read More: Ottawa’s demand for tech talent surges as multinational brands continue to expand in Canada’s capital

Ottawa-based Shopify is seeing tremendous growth at the moment and BetaKit scored a big win when they booked Finkelstein.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Canada’s Future

The proliferation of Artificial Intelligence across industries is ushering in an age of rapid digital transformation and disruption. Old paradigms are being tossed aside and what was once thought impossible is becoming the everyday norm.

The Artificial Intelligence market is expected to reach $16 billion by the year 2022 and will continue to grow at a projected rate of 63% over the next five years.

As part of Canada’s investment into the future, research into AI will play a big role. That’s why BetaKit invited BioSymetrics CEO Shiva Amiri and Kaheer Suleman, CTO and Co-founder of Maluuba.

BioSymetrics is transforming the science of Massive Data analytics and machine learning for complex biomedical data types while Maluuba teaches machines to think, reason, and communicate, with an emphasis on making AI more curious.

Read More: Microsoft’s Acquisition of AI Startup Maluuba is like Hera’s Gift to Pandora

Other BetaKit 150 highlights will include “The New Models of Getting to Market” presented by Diagram Founder and CEO Francois Lafortune, Venture Capitalist Roger Chabra, and Sue Britton, CEO and Founder of Fin+Tech Growth Syndicate.

Lafortune, Chabra, and Britton have almost 60 years of combined experience working in their respective industries, and their insights should prove invaluable to the future of innovation in Canada.

PM Justin Trudeau on Canada’s Tech Industry

However, even as Canada moves to distinguish itself apart from Silicon Valley, the two locations are actually mutually beneficial to one another.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a Q&A, “Canada’s tech industry is doing great because of the connections to Silicon Valley, and I know that Canada is providing extra value and advantages to Silicon Valley and its diversity, its thinking, and its graduates.”

The Canadian head of state also added, “I want people to be able to choose Canada and know that if they do choose to build, to support, we will be there to support them.”

“There is a great ecosystem that they can draw on for employees, for growth, for capital…that’s sort of the goal I think we should have. I know that Canada can compete and succeed against any community, any country in the world. All people are looking for is an opportunity to demonstrate that.”

BetaKit 150 will run from 1-7PM on Thursday including the conference, networking, and refreshments.


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