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in life science

The CELS Valley Ready (VR) program is designed to immerse Canadian Life Science companies into Silicon Valley to help them achieve their local business objectives. The program is designed for companies that have the US as their target market for commercialization or expansion. 

The comprehensive program includes a custom mentorship component, along with virtual sessions with experienced life science leaders as well as the opportunity to connect live in Silicon Valley and participate in our Showcase. Participants will build their knowledge from the content, workshops, and mentor sessions and build their network in order to successfully navigate the Bay Area start-up ecosystem.

Apply to CELS Valley Ready here


Open to Canadian-based Life Science companies from Pre-Seed to Series A that are planning for U.S. funding or market entry.

Participants are coached and mentored through progressive activities with ongoing webinars and a curriculum based immersion program that culminates with our signature Canada in the Valley Showcase in San Francisco.  Graduates are featured and promoted in the curated CELS VR Deal Book and invited to our in-person CELS Canada in the Valley Showcase in San Francisco

A successful CELS VR graduate applies their learnings to form productive connections with Bay Area and U.S. investors.    

Programming focuses on Coaching, Promotion and Connection:
  • Mentorship: 1 on 1 coaching with accomplished mentors matched to participants needs
  • Webinar Series: Virtual conversations with Bay Area and Canadian leaders on topics most relevant to the life science ecosystem.
  • Workshops: 
    • Panel discussions and networking with investors, strategic/corporate partners and future customers. 
    • Topics include message refinement, pitch development & presentation, path to commercialization, growth and scaling, talent and executive leadership, legal, tax and IP, regulatory, and market access & reimbursement.
  • CELS VR Deal Book: Featured in the CELS VR Deal Book (digital) featuring vetted, quality Canadian life science startups. Circulated and promoted to the Bay Area Life Science investment community.
  • CELS VR Showcase: Exclusive curated pitch event and showcase for VR Deal Book companies. 


    1. Adapt and refine your message and pitch to the Bay Area audience

    2. Mentor participants to become “Valley Ready” (meet investor and customer expectations)

    3. Improve and develop visibility in Silicon Valley

    4. Form key relationships and build up the startup’s “Rolodex” (advisors, clinical institutions and strategic partners)

    5. Showcase CELS-VR “graduates” to the Bay Area Life Science investment community 


    Program runs for 4 months and includes a virtual sessions with experienced leaders, workshops, 1:1 mentorship, introductions to our network, and a ticket to attend the VR Showcase.

    Selection Process: Participants must complete an application form and all startups being considered will be interviewed by the CELS Selection Committee. This is to ensure a high quality cohort class for a rich and dynamic experience. Our Selection Committee consists of Canadian-based and Silicon Valley-based investors and life science experts. 

    Program Fee / Company: $2,997 USD (
    Up to 2 members/participating company)

    The Program runs virtually twice per year:

    Spring Cohort - February to May

    Fall Cohort - October to January                         



    A look at some of our past program speakers, mentors and supporters.

    Ajit Singh

    Managing Director and General Partner

    Artiman Ventures

    Alex Efron

    Healthcare & Life Sciences Investor

    Telegraph Hill Partners

    Angele Maki

    Senior Vice President and Head

    ReCode Therapeutics

    Bassam El-Fahmawi

    President & Chief Technical Officer

    Mawi DNA Technologies

    Cheryl Reicin



    Gloria Maceiko

    Managing Director and Founder

    Silicon Valley Advantage

    Humphrey Polanen

    CEO and Board Chair

    Deep Medicine Acquisition Corp.

    Mark Mitchell

    Vice President

    Scholar Rock

    Oguzhan Atay

    Co-founder & CEO


    Scott St. Germain

    Vice President, Oncology, Respiratory, Flu Business General Manager at Genentech, Genentech

    Tarek El-Sawy

    Venture Capital Partner

    Raiven Capital

    Tom Vogelsong

    Angel Investor, Director (Deal Flow)

    Kyto Technology and Life Science


    ''The CELS program is a great resource for Canadian companies looking to build connections to the valley. Joanne, Hatim, and Richard are genuinely interested in building an ecosystem and helping the companies that participate. We are also excited to have continued engage with the mentor we connected to through the program, which speaks to the character and passion of those involved. Lastly, the cohort and programming spans all startup stages and across multiple healthcare spaces, giving participants a broad view into the development and challenges of startups in this sector.''

    -Ali Hashemi, CEO and Co-Founder, CSTS Health Care Inc.

    '''Our startup, Mesintel Therapeutics, was a member of the Fall 2021 cohort and through our weekly sessions and the demo day we were able to build and refine our story by pitching to different groups of interest including Angel, corporate and strategic investors.  Our goal was to get direct and honest feedback from investors outside of Canada and the CELS program was very helpful in that regard.  Joanne and the CELS team have a wide network and they have continued to share contacts and events of interest long after the sessions have ended."

    - Jonathan Jafari, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, Mesintel Therapeutics Inc. 


    • Joanne Fedeyko, CELS Director, Finance
    • Hatim Chraibi, CELS Director, Marketing
    • Richard Ayllon, CELS, Director

    Contact Us:  info@cels-sfo.com


    © 2024 Canadian Entrepreneurs in Life Science. All Rights Reserved.