This job is about helping Canadian entrepreneurs launch, grow and scale world-beating companies in mobility and transportation, with a focus on AI-powered startups.
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is the one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS supports promising startups tackling key societal and industry challenges across Health, Cleantech, Fintech, Enterprise Software, Mobility, and Advanced Manufacturing. In addition to helping startups launch, grow and scale, the MaRS community is dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaboration, commercialization of discoveries and driving ideas to impact.
This role resides within the Venture Services group at MaRS. Venture Services works with over 1300 innovation-driven science and technology startups. Venture Services helps entrepreneurs commercialize innovations with high business growth potential in Canada and globally by facilitating access to the customer, talent, funding, marketing and stakeholder connections required to successfully scale their business.
About the position
Areas of responsibility:
- Support, advise and recruit venture companies to participate in the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) Toronto Regional Technology Development Site hosted by MaRS
- Co-create and execute on MaRS’ ecosystem strategy for mobility and transportation
- Co-create and execute on MaRS’ ecosystem strategy for AI adoption
MaRS hosts the Toronto regional technology site for AVIN, a program designed to reinforce Ontario’s position as a North American leader in transportation technology and infrastructure systems. Our program members work on products related to autonomous vehicles (AVs), connected vehicles (CVs), and intelligent transportation systems, all underpinned by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Solutions span autonomous vehicle perception and control systems, vehicle cybersecurity, electric vehicle infrastructure, real-time vehicle routing, automotive manufacturing defect prediction, and more.
MaRS also has many member companies outside of the transportation/mobility space that are innovating with AI techniques and learning how to profitably deploy off-the-shelf AI building blocks within their products. We want to accelerate this trend.
Your role deals with many challenging questions. How do we build sustainable competitive advantage for made-in-Canada companies working in transportation and mobility? How do we raise the capacity for AI deployment within MaRS’ client companies, be they startups or corporate partners? What technology, business and societal challenges must be overcome in these areas? In this role you will be a key player convening a broad variety of domain experts to work on practical solutions.
As a MaRS Advisor you will provide guidance and mentorship to venture companies on business strategy, product strategy, and day-to-day operations, helping to develop, finance and commercialize technologies, products and services relevant to the connected and autonomous vehicle market. You will aid startup and scale-up companies with connections to talent, customers, partner companies, domain experts and funding. The end goal: to scale these world-class Canadian innovations to global market success, creating home grown global competitors for the autonomous vehicle market.
You have a background and proven track record as a company founder, entrepreneur, senior team member or product owner in a high-growth (preferably venture-backed) business related to this role.
You are deeply familiar with the transportation industry, autonomous and connected vehicle products, intelligent transportation systems, and “smart city” concepts. You have worked with major players in this space. You are a strong connector of people and ideas in this sector globally.
You’re a technology enthusiast who loves being at the intersection of tech and business. You are passionate and savvy about how to build great businesses around about technology-based products. Know how to code? Bonus.
You understand at a hands-on level how to apply AI techniques to solving real-world problems, and the challenges and workflow involved in developing an AI-powered product. You’re able to see through the hype around “AI” to real business value.
You know how hard it is to achieve success in a startup and you’re passionate about the opportunity to help up-and-coming technology ventures succeed.
Smart, humble and dynamic, you have unfaltering positive energy and a drive to accelerate the growth of young entrepreneurial companies.
If you’re passionate about mobility and transportation and want to be part of a dynamic team driving startups in this space to global success, this is the role for you.
What you’ll be doing
- Provide advisory support to a portfolio of MaRS venture companies applying AI techniques to innovation in AVs, CVs and intelligent transportation systems.
- Maintain account plans for each client company, meet regularly for advisory sessions, and assist the companies in defining, prioritizing and achieving their strategic objectives.
- Work closely with the AVIN Program Manager to define and evolve the AVIN program
- Help AVIN startups define and drive their AVIN-related projects, connect with the most relevant partner companies, and make effective use of all AVIN resources
- Co-create and run AVIN workshops and other industry-specific events and education (meetups, workshops, panels, hackathons, best practices, etc.).
- Work with other MaRS staff to provide a full range of commercialization support
- Recruit and engage with corporate partners within industry and government
- Provide thought leadership to the Canadian and global mobility and transportation innovation community through blogs, publications/white papers (internal and external), speaking opportunities, event creation and participation.
- Keep abreast of industry and/or domain knowledge, including current events, breakthroughs, trends, regulatory issues and key contacts
- Engage, develop and maintain strong networks with individual and corporate contacts, research partners, professional service providers and other consultants, investors, agencies who can effectively assist with specific requirements such as product and business model development; business planning, financing and promotion.
- Promote and address the needs of our clients and promote the MaRS brand via conferences, speaking opportunities, and publication opportunities.
In this role, you will be working with…
- MaRS Discovery District staff at all levels
- Entrepreneurs at venture companies innovating in mobility/transportation and AI/ML
- Executives at large global enterprises (MaRS partners)
- Industry associations
- 3rd party firms that can help our venture companies, e.g. consultancies, product companies
- Government agencies and ministries – at all levels, federal, provincial and municipal
- Investment Community – from early stage investors to VCs and corporate investment arms
- 10+ years of relevant management or leadership roles in product development
- Entrepreneurship background either as a founder of a software-driven technology start-up or as a senior leader in a scaling technology company
- Direct work experience in transportation or mobility industry
- Practical knowledge of AI/ Machine learning and what it can be used for
- Experience using and/or developing machine learning-based and data-intensive products
- University-level degree in technology related field, an asset
- Excellent analytical and interpretive skills, conceptual thinker, able to solve complex problems
- Demonstrated passion for building businesses and the future of mobility, transportation and AI
Key Attributes for Success:
- Strong collaborator and convener with excellent interpersonal skills
- Strong communications skills – oral, written, and presentation
- Technical depth and desire to be hands-on with technology
- Ability to multi-task, comfortable working in a fast-paced, high energy environment
- Maturity and high level of personal integrity
- Highly developed organizational and process management skills
- Consummate professional, able to represent the organization in all circumstances
- Self-motivated and able to work independently or as a team member
- Personal accountability and commitment to achieving and exceeding goals and objectives