"The government's massive support for innovation, the brilliance of our researchers and creative minds, our collective ambition for making a positive difference in society — Montreal is a very special place in the world to create, develop, and commercialize out-of-the-ordinary innovation.”
Montréal is a vibrant, strategically located hub that offers companies easy access to markets in over 50 countries with almost 1.5 billion consumers. Featuring a strong collaborative culture, Montréal benefits from great public-private partnerships, such as Hypercroissance Québec, a tailored program to support the city’s most promising scaleups. In 2022, Québec launched a CA$7.5 billion ($5.5 billion) Research and Innovation Investment Strategy, of which CA$110 million ($81 million) will directly go to innovative technological entrepreneurship. In its 2022–2023 Budget, the province renewed a tax incentives package for R&D and IP development activities for five more years. In March 2023, CA$48 million ($35 million) was secured to create Ax-C, a new international entrepreneurship hub in Montreal. Earlier, the City of Montreal had announced the dedication of CA$4 million ($2.9 million) to support startups, including funding for business incubators and accelerators and Startup Montréal. The city is also relaunching the Open Innovation Subsidy Program.
Greater Montreal is a fast-growing Cleantech hub, with sub-sectors of excellence including Agtech, Smart Buildings, and Energy and Smart Transportation. Cycle Capital, Canada’s leading private ClimateTech VC investment manages over $500 million in early and growth stage funds.
Notable local events include Startupfest, Montreal International AI and Neuroscience (MAIN) Event, C2 Montreal, the World AI Summit and the international UN Biodiversity Conference: COP15. Recent large funding rounds include digital mortgage platform Nesto’s December 2022 $80 million Series C. In 2022, Lithion Recycling raised a total of $125 million in Series A funding.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Montréal’s Life Sciences and Healthtech sector broke a record in 2022, with 12 foreign direct investment projects worth $685 million, a 144% jump from 2021. The 2022–2025 Québec Life Sciences Strategy will provide $569 million ($416 million) to support an estimated CA$2 billion ($1.46 billion) in direct investment. Québec Consortium of Life Sciences Accelerators and Incubators was created in September 2022. Moderna’s first mRNA vaccine-manufacturing facility is planned for Laval’s Biotech City. Montréal InVivo is a Life Sciences and Health Technologies cluster of nearly 600 organizations.
AI, Big Data & Analytics
Montreal is home to 30,000+ professionals with AI skills, as well as research organizations Mila and the Institute for Data Valorisation. Global leaders including Google, Microsoft, and Meta have made Montréal their AI R&D center. In December 2022, Google committed CA$2.75 million ($2 million) to support Québec’s tech ecosystem. Samsung AI Center Montréal will open a lab to develop wireless and robotics technologies. Concordia University launched a new Applied AI Institute in 2022 and the Quantum Frontiers Lab opened.
Montréal ranked #1 in Canada in sustainable finance in the Global Green Finance Index 10 and is among the top 10 financial centers in North America. In 2022, Hopper secured CA$130 million ($96 million) in equity funding with a valuation estimated at over CA$6.7 billion ($5 billion). A group of Fintechs formed the Canadian Web3 Council to advance Blockchain-related policies. Station Fintech Montréal Accelerator introduced founders to large corporations, insurance companies, investors, and service providers within the Finance Montréal network.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Montréal
Montréal is home to 15 universities, 300,000 postsecondary students, and the largest number of university researchers in Canada. McGill University ranked joint #31 in the best universities in the world and #1 in Canada in the 2023 QS Best Student Cities. NPower Canada aims to launch 460 Québec residents into digital careers through its free workforce-development program.
Quality of Life
This multicultural and multilingual capital is ranked the second best city in the world for remote workers and has the lowest crime index among the 20 largest cities in Canada and the U.S. The Time Out Index 2022 ranked it the ninth best city worldwide. Montréal’s cultural attractions include 120 festivals and 70 museums. It is cheaper than almost all other large cities in North America.
Institutional investors play a significant role in the Montreal startup ecosystem. They provide consistent funding for entrepreneurs regardless of the economic situation, leaving the ecosystem less exposed to economic crises. Montréal is a launchpad for emerging ventures with six of Canada’s 10 most active investment funds here. In 2022, VC investments added up to $2.5 billion across 150+ deals.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
Centech, a non-for-profit organization, supports deep tech companies in manufacturing, supply chains, telecom, energy and industrial cleantech, medical devices and digital health. Centech also provides open innovation services to establish corporations. The incubator was recognized as one of the global top 10 best business university incubators by UBI-Global.
Ministère de l’Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie
Key Ecosystem Players
News from the Ecosystem
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