Hint? They don’t include Drake, maple syrup, or ice hockey
‘What are the things that come to mind when you hear about Canada?’ I bet when you ask this question to many people, the responses will be ‘cold,’ ‘Drake,’ ‘maple syrup,’ ‘ice hockey,’ and ‘cold’ again.
Canada, unlike its neighbor the United States, has been acting as a ‘silent force’ and climbing to the top at a fast pace within the global startup ecosystem.
The global success stories of Canada kicked off with Nortel and Bell many years ago. Now new stories are emerging thanks to new generation Canadian companies like Slack, Shopify, Kik, and Wattpad. While Vancouver has contributed a lot to this success, Toronto was recently ranked in the 16th place in the ‘Startup Genome Report 2017,’ and is becoming a rising star.
Here are the four reasons startups should consider moving to Toronto.
1. Multicultural diversity and fast growing tech market
Think about a city with nearly 3 million people and 50% of the population coming from different parts of the world. That makes Toronto an ideal place to test your ideas at the global level. In the latest ‘2017 North American Scoring Tech Talent’ report, which compares the 50 largest tech markets in the United States and Canada, Toronto was crowned as North America’s fastest growing technology market, leaving San Francisco and New York behind.
2. Global talent pool
The corridor from Toronto to Waterloo (a 1.5-hour drive from Toronto) hosts the foremost universities of Canada, including the University of Waterloo, which is touted as MIT of Canada, University of Toronto, and so on. Apple, Google, and Facebook also hold continuous recruiting events at the universities within this corridor. Google has announced a fund of 150 million USD allocated for University of Toronto for AI research. In summary, finding talent is not an issue for startups here.
3. Government support
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program started in 2013 as a 5-year project. Starting in 2018, the program will be a permanent program of the Canadian government. It is constantly supporting the creation of a global startup ecosystem.
4. Increased interest from VC funds
The total number of investment in 2016 by VC funds in Canada was 3.2 billion USD.
The yearly increase was 113% compared to the previous year, where 530 investment deals were closed. It should not be a surprising move that many Silicon Valley-based VC funds are starting to open offices in Toronto.
UberEATS was first launched in Toronto as well. With the announcement of a new office by Amazon in the city, you can see that Toronto holds great potential.
I believe Canada, the increasing ‘Star of the North,’ is a real blue ocean for startups. That’s why startups need to consider expanding to the Canadian market to avoid red oceans with harsh competition.
As Drake, the global ambassador of Toronto and Canada, says, “When I think of myself, I think of Toronto. My music would never sound the way it does if it weren’t for Toronto.” As an entrepreneur, I hope that one day you can say, “My startup would never scale globally if it weren’t for Toronto.”
I am also following my own advice: At the end of September, I am embarking on my own journey to Toronto.
Let’s keep in touch if you ever decide to come.
The views expressed are of the author.
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