MONTREAL, April 1, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Agorize, the leading platform for hackathons and open innovation challenges, has announced that it has raised $20 million from four European investors: Creadev, Sofiouest, Iris Capital and Capnamic Ventures. This fundraising round will allow Agorize to accelerate its development in Canada and meet growing demand from client organizations for hackathons and open innovation solutions. This second round brings the total the startup has raised since it was founded in 2011 to $25 million.
Agorize meets the need for transformation and agility faced by large organizations, which, in order to adapt to increasingly fast-paced innovation cycles, must move their culture forward and attract talented individuals and innovative partners.
Via its online platform, the company enables its clients to launch hackathons and innovation challenges to engage their own employees and external innovators from the Agorize community in the process of tackling their strategic issues.
A unique model featuring an online hackathon platform linked to five million students, developers and startups
Agorize has a considerable lead in today's market thanks to a hackathon platform that allows its clients to launch, manage and share innovation challenges with an active community of five million innovators based in 185 countries (students, developers, designers, startups, and more).
These two pillars (the platform and the community) of Agorize's offering will be further strengthened through R&D investment in its platform and a mass recruitment campaign for its global network of innovators.
Making hackathons more inclusive and more accessible
In 2018, 247 hackathons took place in Canada out of the 5,636 organized worldwide. It is the world's fifth-keenest adopter of these innovation marathons, after the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. Only 24% of hackathon participants are women, and 81% of hackathons take place over a period of 24 to 48 hours.
Thanks to its online platform and its three-to-five-month format, Agorize makes hackathons accessible to as many people as possible. Innovators from all backgrounds – regardless of whether they are developers – can take part in the challenges put forward by Agorize's clients by participating remotely. The client company chooses the best projects online before inviting the most promising teams to pitch to its senior management.
This innovative approach to hackathons has allowed diverse teams to showcase their talents to big groups – and 41% of the participants that these hackathons attract are women. More than 60,000 people have been recruited or have founded their own startup following the 500 hackathons organized by Agorize.
"There are a lot of preconceived ideas about hackathons. Most people think that they can only be used to resolve technological problems and that they are only open to developers. In reality, today's hackathons are used to find solutions to the wide variety of challenges that organizations may face. As a female entrepreneur at the head of a startup, I'm very proud to see that 41% of users of our platform are women and that it is the most diverse teams that have the best chance of making it through to the final," explains Aurélie Wen, Managing Director at Agorize Canada.
In addition, Agorize's clients estimate that they innovate five to ten times faster with its platform compared to traditional approaches thanks to the hundreds of innovative projects submitted during hackathons, which can bring together anything up to several thousand online participants.
Investments to accelerate its development in Canada
For two years, Aurélie Wen has been putting teams in place, opening offices in Montreal and Toronto. The hackathon and open innovation platform is now in high demand in Ontario, Quebec, and the United States, and the company, which has been profitable for several years, now takes 12% of its turnover in North America. This new funding round will allow Agorize to invest in growing its teams locally, and the company's aim is for the North American market to account for 25% of its income by 2021.
The solution has already been adopted by renowned companies from every business sector: L'Oréal, Radio-Canada/CBC, Movin'On (Michelin), TD Insurance, Microsoft, National Bank, Desjardins, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo and CGI are just some of Agorize's 200 clients from all over the world.
"TD Insurance recently organized a second open innovation challenge with Agorize, in which 600 talented students from all over the world took part. I was really impressed both by these students' drive to tackle what were fairly complex challenges and by their passion for the environment. Agorize put TD Insurance in contact with an international community of five million innovators who were able to help to solve a range of problems. The challenge also gave TD Insurance an excellent opportunity to scope out exceptional talent," says François Langevin, associate vice president – innovation at TD Insurance.
Agorize in figures
- Startup founded in 2011;
- Turnover doubling each year in North America;;
- $25 million of funding raised so far;
- More than 200 corporate clients from all over the world;
- Five million innovators in 185 countries and 75 employees;
- Offices in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
What is a hackathon?
The term 'hackathon' is a combination of the terms 'hacking' and 'marathon'. Originally, hackathons were coding marathon events. Now, however, they are innovation challenges that are open to all, during which participants from a wide range of backgrounds work in teams to solve a given problem.
Agorize is the leading platform for hackathons and open innovation challenges. Launched in 2011, the company has helped more than 200 major organizations in North America, Europe and Asia with their innovation strategy by connecting them with its network of five million innovators (students, developers, startups, and employees) through online hackathons and challenges. Agorize's clients include Deloitte, L'Oréal, Radio-Canada/CBC, TD Insurance, Microsoft, Google, Tinder, T-Mobile, National Bank, Desjardins, BNP Paribas, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo, Movin'On (Michelin), and CGI. For more information, visit: agorize.com
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