Toronto-Waterloo #14

MaRS Discovery District Communitech Corporation

The Toronto-Waterloo corridor is Tulip's home and it's been essential to our growth. The access to talent, capital, and customers is world-class — and it's a wonderful place to live.

Ali Asaria
CEO, Tulip Retail
Top 10 Global Ecosystem: Funding
Top 5 North American Ecosystem: Funding
Top 10 North American Ecosystem: Talent and Experience


The Toronto-Waterloo corridor is one of the fastest-growing and densest innovation clusters in the world. Between 2013 and 2018, the region created more tech-sector jobs than New York, Seattle and Boston combined. It is home to 20 percent of Canada’s university students, many of them attending the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo. This ecosystem is also rich with some of North America’s leading innovation hubs, including MaRS and Communitech In the face of many pandemic-related challenges, the Toronto-Waterloo corridor nevertheless excelled, attracting record investment, while also boosting the economy, relieving front-line workers and creating jobs. In 2020, the region pulled in $4.4 billion in V.C. funding and fostered several new unicorns, such as Clearco and PointClickCare Hundreds of the region’s companies also pivoted their everyday business practices — for financial survival, but also to join the fight against COVID-19. And Toronto and Waterloo remain hotbeds for talent. With what’s widely considered the most diverse population on the planet, the corridor represents 17 percent of Canada’s GDP and roughly 275,000 tech workers. The result of this sustained progress is a still-thriving ecosystem. With unprecedented investment, strong public institutions, favourable immigration policies and one of the most-vaccinated citizenries on the globe, the Toronto-Waterloo corridor is well-positioned to advance the Canadian and global economies post-pandemic.

Ecosystem by the numbers

$2.3 bn
$548 m
$20.8 bn
$13.68 bn
$500 k
$480 k
$4.4 m
$3 m
$70 k
$44 k

Sub-Sector Strengths

AI, Big Data & Analytics

Few countries command as much trust as Canada. Global concerns about how technology is developed and used have created opportunities for Corridor tech companies to lead in sectors where trust is critical: Applied AI, fintech, cybersecurity, healthcare, sustainability and smart cities, among others. Waterloo and Toronto have pushed “Tech for Good” to the top of the country’s tech agenda.

Life Sciences

The Toronto-Waterloo corridor is home to the University of Toronto (famous for the discovery of insulin and stem cells) and the University of Waterloo, soon to be equipped with a $35-million innovation health facility, offering wet labs, biosafety labs and product development space for 75 ventures. In the first nine months of 2020, the region’s 600 life-sciences firms raised more than $1 billion, translating to $54 billion in annual revenue.

Reasons to move your startup to Toronto-Waterloo

Strong social values

Canada’s quality of life and social values provide a safety net that is actually a trampoline — a jumping-off point for startups to solve big problems and capitalize on opportunities. Tobi Lütke (Shopify), Martin Basiri (ApplyBoard), Michael Katchen (Wealthsimple) and Joshua Liu (SeamlessMD) are among many who typify this ethos.

Rich and diverse talent pools

Companies located in Toronto-Waterloo benefit from open and welcoming communities, as well as a highly diverse and talented workforce. The Universities of Toronto and Waterloo bookend the corridor, and produce some of the world’s best graduates for growth companies in AI, cybersecurity, health and medical technologies, and fintech.

Data privacy and sovereignty

Canada possesses robust and evolving data privacy and sovereignty laws making it an ideal place to build a company and store data for advanced applications. Data privacy equivalency status with key economic zones and countries continues to make Canada a compelling geographic zone for customers and businesses alike.

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