DMZ Validator

Our market validation and traction program

Fueling Canada’s most-promising tech startups

The DMZ’s pre-accelerator program helps Canada's most-promising tech startups with a minimum viable product, build early sales, marketing and product development traction and prepare them for our growth accelerator.

What you get

Over the course of eight to 12 months, DMZ pre-accelerator startups have access to exclusive programming and work closely with our experienced EiRs.

You’ll have access to a tailored suite of services that includes:


Refine your product or service to meet the needs of your customers through hands-on product development and market validation programming.


Meet and network with our leading VCs and angels to pursue funding opportunities and better understand what investors look for in a business.


Connect with North America’s top tech entrepreneurs to immerse yourself in a dedicated and tight-knit community comprised of peers, investors, advisors and partners who will help you validate your product.


Work with best-in-class mentors who have built, scaled and sold businesses around the world. Access and work with our experienced and well-connected entrepreneurs who are ready to help you learn, test, connect, de-risk, adapt and grow.

Program lead

Shane Flynn

Manager, Pre-Accelerator Program and Alumni Relations

Meet our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Ben Stacey

Pitch coaching

Frank Erschen

Pitch coaching

Kareem Arafat

Senior tech executive

Kristy Sadler

Mark Halpren

Founder, FirstCFO Inc.

Mark Ramsay

Sales Expert

Mary Ann Dunlop

Michael Ho

Expert in strategy, product, problem definition, customer segmentation, operational design for scale and raising capital.

Michael McCarthy

Strategy and business development

Mike Orloff

Sales team optimization

Naveed Ahmad

CEO Coach Expert

Phillip Gales

Operations Expert

Rokham Fard

Founder and development strategist

Scott Neil

Growth & Commercial Strategy

Shivalika Handa

Equity and debt capital raising

Soheil Alavi

Product and UI/UX

Uzair Chutani

Expert in digital marketing, business development and customer success

Selection criteria

We’re looking for Canada’s most-promising and high-impact tech entrepreneurs who have what it takes to scale their business.

Interested applicants must also have:

  • A business dedicated to solving a compelling problem using innovative technology
  • At least one full-time founder
  • A driven, coachable and collaborative leadership team
  • A full-time CTO or in-house technical lead
  • A product in market with paying customers
  • The potential to grow and scale sufficiently to reach the eligibility criteria for our growth accelerator

Ready to validate your business?


Your validation journey

DMZ validator companies are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and connections needed for our growth accelerator program.

Here’s how it works.

Have a question?