Turn your vision into reality
Validate your startup today through the Pre-Incubator
Establish your minimum viable product, validate your idea and secure customers with the DMZ’s Pre-Incubator Program. Plus, get a chance to secure an exclusive spot in the DMZ Incubator after graduation to receive $10K+ in entry grant funding, 18+ months of additional support and exciting perks.
The DMZ delivers results
$1.95Bin funding raised
4878jobs fostered in our
Establish your business
- Access to 12+ hours of curated on-demand content on 8+ topics
- Hands-on support, including 1:1 meetings with Experts-in-Residence, curated workshops, progress check-ins, and founder meetups
- $470K+ in perks from 80+ partners
- Exclusive invites to industry networking events and workshops
- Opportunity to gain accelerated acceptance into the DMZ Incubator to receive up to $10K+ in entry grant funding, 18+ months of additional support, funding, DMZ office space, and more!
- Startups with a Black founder receive an additional $5K grant
Startups with at least one Black or woman-identifying Co-Founder can receive additional support.
Questions? Get in touch with us
Am I eligible?
At a minimum, applicants must have:
- An idea dedicated to solving a compelling problem using innovative technology
- An early minimum-viable-product
- At least one dedicated full-time founder
- An in-house tech lead
- Potential to transition into the DMZ Incubator after graduation
How does DMZ's Pre-Incubator differ from Incubator?
The Pre-Incubator is a program to validate a business idea and secure first customers. At a minimum, founders should have an MVP. Startups have access to curated online learning material, a day-pass workspace at the DMZ’s head office in the heart of downtown Toronto, hands-on support, exclusive perks from 80+ partners valued at $470K+ and more. Startups in the Pre-Incubator will have the opportunity to gain accelerated acceptance into Incubator.
The DMZ Incubator is for startups ready to launch and grow their business — venture-backable pre-seed and seed-stage companies with a full-time founder, early traction and proven product-market fit. Startups receive up to $10K+ in entry grant funding, 18+ months of additional support and exciting perks. Startups do not need to participate in the bootcamp to be eligible.
Not sure what program is right for you? Check out our programming here.
How long is the program?
Startups need flexibility which is why Pre-Incubator is flexible in length. Applications and program intake occurs on a rolling basis, with new startups joining the program at the beginning of each month. Program length for each startup varies based on progress but typically lasts 4 to 6 months and includes a Training Phase and Execution Phase.
Startups that show commitment and growth may be offered a spot in Incubator, an 18-month program with intakes every 6 months. Eligibility is determined case by case.
What are the Training/Execution Phases?
On average, startups spend 4 to 6 months in our Pre-Incubator program and this encompasses both the Training and Execution Phases of the program.
In the Training Phase, startups undergo digital training with access to on-demand curated content. They also partake in 1:1 EiR sessions, 1:1 Program lead sessions, and board meetings. Startups are assessed before moving on to the Execution Phase. The Training Phase typically lasts 1-3 months.
The Execution Phase starts in December and June; it is the final 3-month period before the upcoming Incubator cohort where startups have the chance to scale and prove their eligibility for Incubator.
The Execution Phase begins with a board meeting where startups develop clear goals for the remainder of the program with the help of industry-leading experts.
Am I guaranteed a spot in the Execution Phase?
Startups participating in Pre-Incubator are not guaranteed a spot in the Execution Phase. A Program Lead works with startups to ensure startups set and reach reasonable and achievable goals in the Pre-Incubator program. The DMZ will determine if a startup is suitable for the Execution Phase based on factors such as founder coach-ability, commitment to the program and future business potential.
Am I guaranteed a spot in the Incubator program after graduation?
Startups participating in Pre-Incubator are not guaranteed a place in the Incubator program. During the Execution Phase, startups must undergo business and technical due diligence and meet eligibility criteria to join the Incubator.
What am I required to commit?
Startups participating in Pre-Incubator can expect to commit between 10-12 hours per month.
Breakdown per month may include:
- 6 hours for scheduled Friday Founder Meetups
- 3 hours for on-demand content to be completed based on a founder’s own schedule
- 2 hours for 1:1 calls with Experts-in-Residence
- 1 hour for 1:1 meetings with DMZ Program Leads
Startups may also be invited to optional exclusive events and workshops.
Are there membership fees?
There are no membership fees to join Pre-Incubator, but in exchange for this support, the DMZ asks companies selected for the Execution Phase for 2.5% equity in the form of options. The Pre-Incubator Execution Phase graduates that enter the DMZ Incubator program do not provide any additional equity for the Incubator’s 18 months of support.
Emily SmileyDirector, Programs & Corporate Collaborations
Justine ClarkPrograms Lead
Mohi SaniselSr. Programs Lead
Sherif El TawilSenior Director, Programs & Partnerships
Tina MbachuSr. Programs Lead
Take a look at the mentors that support our Pre-Incubator companies. To see all mentors, please visit our Experts in Residence page.
Anthony LauProduct, Sales
Hackim FarrellCybersecurity, Product
Jodi EchakowitzPublic Relations
Karen HoggCustomer Success
Melissa MalcolmHR Strategy
Through the Professional-in-Residence (PiR) program, DMZ founders have direct access to senior leadership at professional services organizations through pro-bono, one-on-one strategic consultation meetings. Any projects or work arising thereafter (at the founder's discretion) is offered at DMZ exclusive discounted rates.
Beyond our PiR network, startups can also access connections to DMZ's broader network of corporate partners.