"The Toronto-Waterloo corridor offers incredible diversity in talent, industry representation, and funding opportunities. In today's fast-moving markets, this type of diversity is essential to driving efficient growth for businesses like Vidyard."
The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is home to more than 15,000 tech companies, including 5,200 startups, and around 250,000 tech workers. The largest tech hub in Canada and one of the largest in North America, the region is rapidly growing and attracting both tech giants and innovative new startups. Microsoft opened four floors of new office space in a downtown tower in February 2022, while Google has announced plans to build a 400,000 square foot building in Toronto.
Toronto saw CA$3.7 billion ($2.7 billion) in investments in 2022, more than double the CA$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) raised in 2019. Waterloo-based companies, meanwhile, raised CA$856.4 million ($632.9 million) in 2022, for a combined total of just over CA$4.5 billion ($3.3 billion). In April 2023, traffic-tech company Miovision raised CA$260 million ($192.2 million) to grow its smart-city technology. PointClickCare Technologies, one of the largest private Canadian software vendors was valued at over $5 billion in July 2022, making it the ecosystem’s highest valued unicorn.
The success of Toronto’s tech startup scene is in part a result of Canada’s immigration-friendly policies. The Global Skills Strategy expedited the immigration process for highly skilled workers to just two weeks, and today over half of all Toronto residents were born outside of Canada. Leading innovation hubs including MaRS and Communitech have built a strong entrepreneurial community and continue to nurture it with dedicated support, and a steady stream of talent comes out of local post-secondary institutions, which include the University of Waterloo, York University, and the University of Toronto.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
AI, Big Data & Analytics
The University of Waterloo’s is a partner in the SCALE.AI Supercluster, an industry-led consortium dedicated to boosting Canada’s leadership in applied AI. More than 200 researchers work at the university’s AI Institute, and the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is home to the most AI PhDs in Canada. Notable AI research labs NVIDIA AI Lab, Samsung AI Lab, and the Sanofi AI Centre of Excellence are based in Toronto. Generative AI startup Cohere raised $250 million in a May 2023 round and is valued at $2 billion.
Toronto’s Discovery District is Canada’s largest concentration of hospitals, research institutes, business incubators, and venture capital organizations. The Toronto-Golden Horseshoe region represents around a third of Canada’s Life Sciences employment. Led by the University of Toronto, the Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence and Innovation in Infectious Diseases (HI3) is a national hub focused on responding quickly and effectively to future pandemics. In April 2023, Waterloo welcomed the Medical Innovation Xchange, Canada’s first industry-led hub for Medtech startups.
The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is home to more than 12,000 Fintech companies and around 360,000 people are employed in the sector. The region attracts more than half of all foreign capital investment in financial services in Canada, and Accenture’s 2021 Canadian Fintech Report ranked Toronto as the #8 tech hub in the world, ahead of all other Canadian cities. The Intuit Prosperity Accelerator: Toronto offers a four-month program with an aim to support Fintech startups to refine and scale products.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Toronto-Waterloo
Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world with more than 230 nationalities represented and around 190 languages spoken. Over 400,000 people became Canadian permanent residents in 2022, and immigrants and permanent residents accounted for 23% of the population. More than half of those admitted to Canada between 2016 and 2021 entered under the economic category.
The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is home to 16 post-secondary institutions, including Canada’s largest engineering school, two of Canada’s top three computer science programs, and three of the top five business schools in the country. The 2022 PitchBook university rankings place the University of Waterloo at #1 in Canada and reports that the institution has produced 494 founders with undergraduate degrees who have gone on to raise $19.4 billion.
Located almost directly in the middle of America’s Eastern Seaboard and Midwest, the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is easily accessible from other North American tech hubs, including Montreal, New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit. That means entrepreneurs and investors can easily expand and maintain their network to other ecosystems and explore new markets without major investment.
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