The finalist voting period has ended. And we'd like to make a toast.
The idea for a national celebration and recognition of this country's best startups, entrepreneurs, and investors was a long time coming. It's the least we can to honour Canada's tremendous talent pool. This first year was our pilot, so we kept it as lean and simple as possible—we wanted to gauge interest, we wanted to observe the response, and we didn't want a colossal flop. As it turned out, the reaction couldn't have been better.
When we first announced the Canadian Startup Awards in November, there was immediate buzz. And when we opened up nominations in December, the excitement was palpable—nominations started rolling in instantly and consistently. We received well over 1,000 nominations through email, Twitter, and Disqus, each filled with passion and pride for Canada's talented entrepreneurs, wise investors, and groundbreaking startups. But that was only the beginning.
The nomination period came to an end at the end of December. Based on quantity and quality of nominations, we deliberated at length which candidates were most deserving of a finalist title and the chance to win it all—and believe us, it was tough. But we know the right people and companies went through because finalist voting skyrocketed.
We launched the finalist voting round in early January and we couldn't be more pleased with the results. Participation exploded from the nomination round; finalists garnered over 10,000 votes in just two short weeks.
Our Startup Awards content got over 7,000 combined social media shares, nominations, and votes. So we wanted to express our gratitude: thank you for spreading the word and thank you for participating. We're certain that Canada's startup scene is immensely appreciative. We also want to thank KPMG, our lovely sponsor the awards.
The votes have been counted and the winners have been determined. On Friday, we'll officially announce the winners across all six categories—Best Overall Canadian Startup of 2011, Best New Canadian Startup of 2011, Canadian VC of 2011, Canadian Angel of 2011, Canadian Entrepreneur of 2011, and Most Significant Canadian Acquisition of 2011. It's an event you won't want to miss, so stay tuned.