Are you contemplating moving to the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor to make the most of the startup culture in the region? Here is an A-to-Z guide to the startup ecosystem in the area to make the move more comfortable for you.
Canada has shown considerable growth in recent years and has established itself as an important player in the global startup scene. The country was ranked in one of the top 15 countries in aspects of productivity and business growth according to The Global Competitiveness Report 2018.
The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor in Canada has primarily been in the spotlight in recent years as an important startup ecosystem in the country that has attracted entrepreneurs and startup job seekers equally.
The Toronto-Waterloo region boasts of a large economy with a GDP of $323 billion and a population of 6.1 million people. Startup Genome members in the area are propelling the growth of the startup ecosystem in the region. These include MaRS which is the most significant innovation hub in the region supporting many disruptive startup ideas and Communitech, a private-public partnership to help tech startups grow.
The vital industries contributing to the regional economy in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor are:
The tech sector is what has charged the startup scene in the Toronto- Waterloo Corridor. If you have a business idea that can transform the tech niches and need the right base to set it up, moving to the Waterloo-Corridor for materializing your entrepreneurial dreams can do wonders.
What makes the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor a Hotbed for Startups In Canada?
Touted as one of the most innovative regions in Canada, the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is the largest tech startup ecosystem in the region. The region is defined by its diverse population and some of the most dynamic cities in Canada like Toronto, Cambridge (Canada), Kitchener, and Waterloo. There are more than 5000 startups in various stages her and moving to the Toronto-Waterloo can help get your business get noticed as a part of a high impact startup ecosystem that has a monopoly over the regional tech sector.
Move to Toronto-Waterloo Corridor for its Wellspring of Talent and Leadership
The human resource capital is the backbone that propels the growth of any organization. Entrepreneurs who are moving to Toronto-Waterloo Corridor get a generous pool of talent to build their team from. This talent is produced from the world-class universities and colleges present in the region. One of the notable institutes is that of the University of Waterloo which has been named the most innovative university for 26 times in a row by Maclean’s magazine.
Startups in Toronto – Waterloo region also have access to premium accelerators and incubators. There are more than 20 incubators and accelerator programs in the corridor like OneEleven, INcube, Ryerson Futures, and Highline.
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The Government supports Startups in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor
Saving up on taxes can help startups save a considerable amount of money. Entrepreneurs looking forward to setting up their venture in a tax-friendly startup city should ideally move to the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor. The Corporate Income Tax in Toronto is at 26.5% which is lower than that in a majority of the G7 countries. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’s approval in 2017 also facilitated free trade between the EU and Canada.
Move to Toronto-Waterloo to be a Part of a Well Planned Startup Ecosystem
The partnership between the cities in the Toronto-Waterloo region and various agencies like MaRS, the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation, and Communitech is a conscious effort to create a dynamic framework for startups to flourish. The corridor is open to innovative entrepreneurial ventures and has several competitive advantages over other startup clusters like London, Tel Aviv, and San Francisco.
While Toronto is an epicenter for important industries like R&D, health, finance, life sciences, and venture capital; Waterloo has the second highest concentration of startups globally according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2017 by Startup Genome. The Toronto- Waterloo Region is also home to headquarters of leading companies from diverse niches. Setting base in such a dynamic region can help entrepreneurial ideas based in the tech and related sector grow manifold.
Co-working offices are an essential element of this well-planned corridor. Co-working office space brands like WeWork, Regus, and Innovation42 are some of the many premium real estate companies offering shared workspaces for startups in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor.
Toronto-Waterloo Corridor offers Strategic Positioning Benefits
Being located in a city that is well connected with the rest of the world can do wonders to how a business is run and how well it grows. Startups moving to the Toronto-Waterloo region can enjoy access to over 500 million customers from diverse location and cultures in and around the corridor. The corridor is just 90 minutes away from other significant startup ecosystem cities in the U.S like Boston, Washington, New York, and Chicago. The excellent strategic positioning of this region is what has made it one of the top preferences of tech giants to launch pioneer projects to achieve more global visibility and diverse customer base. One such project is Google’s smart city which aims to create a high tech living community with jaw-dropping infrastructural facilities in the corridor.
Toronto-Waterloo Corridor: a Rising Tech Startup Ecosystem in Canada
Moving to the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor can be a game changer for tech entrepreneurs. This can be attributed to the favorable business environment and proximity to educational institutes like the University of Waterloo and University of Toronto which are both renowned for offering computer sciences and engineering courses that are internationally acclaimed.
The main sub-sectors whose startups are fuelling the tech sector in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor are:
Fintech Startups In The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor
The success of the Fintech sector is not surprising considering the fact that Toronto is an international hub for financial services companies. There are more than 12,000 companies in the finance sector in the region whose presence has helped the fintech startup niche soar as well. The acquisition of RDM Corp for over a $100 million has strengthened the sub-sector further. There are more than 500 companies in this sub-sector with names like eSentire, Nuco, Wealthsimple, and Kik that are making news for their work and funding received. While eSentire raised $100 million in the latest funding rounds; Nuco, Wealthsimple, and Kik raised $21 million, $39 million, and $98 million respectively. Move to Toronto-Waterloo Corridor to be a part of a growing fintech sub-sector that got a funding of $400 million in 2017.
AI, Big Data, & Analytics Startups In The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor
The subsector came into the international limelight in 2017 following the establishment of AI research labs by Uber and Samsung in Toronto. Two of the biggest exit deals to have come out of this sub-sector is that of Microsoft acquired Maluuba and the acquisition of Layer6 for $77 million by TD Bank. Element AI and Deep Genomics raised $102 million and $10 million respectively and became notable startups in the sub-sector. Another catalyst to the growth of the AI, Big Data & Analytics sector in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence which is led under the advisory of ‘godfather of AI’, Geoffrey Hinton who also leads AI research for Google. Many AI entrepreneurs are making a beeline to move to Toronto-Waterloo Corridor tap into the AI talent pool from this ecosystem.
Life Sciences & Health Startups In The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor
Companies in the life sciences & health niche throughout the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor raised a staggering $300 million in 2017. This was a collective effort of more than 450 ventures which include success stories like Fusion Pharmaceuticals, PointClickCare, and BlueRock Therapeuics. The life sciences and health sub-sector is further strengthened by Toronto’s Discovery District which comprises of 30 top-notch research centers in the region.
Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Startups In The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor
The University of Waterloo’s Mechatronics program has given some of the notable ventures in the sub-sector like Clearpath Robotics, Thalmic Labs, Aeryon Labs. These three companies have raised over $260 million in the years from 2015-2017. The Southern Ontario region in the corridor has been a historically significant region for the manufacturing sector and is responsible for creating jobs for a tenth of the province’s workforce.
Ecosystem partners who are helping the corridor reach new heights include:
Centre for Social Innovation
Creative Destruction Lab
City of Toronto
Creative Destruction Lab
The Founder City Project
The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor poses a lot of advantages for startups in several aspects. Its strategic location combined with the local favorable tax policies and other government incentives makes it a startup ecosystem worth moving to. According to a McKinsey Primer report, the region is expected to create 170,000 new jobs and $50 billion of direct equity for tech companies. Moving to the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor can be extremely beneficial to startups in the tech sector.
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