Canada is destined to attract “smart” venture capital this year, according to an industry veteran.
Katherine Barr of Mohr Davidow Ventures penned a piece in VentureBeat this week in which she opines that Canada has become “a key market to match” because in the past five years “significant changes have taken place in the country’s technology ecosystem and regulatory environment.”
Conventional wisdom in Canada held that once you were ready to scale your company, you needed to move to Silicon Valley, or just get acquired by a larger technology company. However, that dynamic is rapidly changing, and Canada is now seeing large American technology companies setting up shop to take advantage of the country’s rich engineering talent, lower operating costs, and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. For example, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Square all have offices in cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Waterloo, and Montreal.
Barr, who is also co-chair of the C100, cites several Canadian companies at shining examples of what our country is capable of: Vidyard, FreshBooks, Kobo, Beyond the Rack, Frank & Oak, and Desire2Learn, among others. She also notes that our fallen titan, BlackBerry, has a sparkling silver lining: “the recent decline of BlackBerry has released a plethora of talent … into the Canadian tech ecosystem [and] the fall of this one giant will plant the seeds for hundreds of others to grow.”
The VC also touts our nation’s educiation system and entrepreneurial spirit.
Canada is world-renowned for its high-quality post-secondary education, with the University of Waterloo’s engineering co-op program at its core. In fact, the Waterloo area is also now home to the Perimeter Institute, a globally recognized leader in theoretical physics graduate studies and research. And while Canada has always churned out top engineering talent, today it’s also producing outstanding technical entrepreneurs.
And what’s a pro-Canada stance without a mention of our bleeding-edge Startup Visa Program? Barr mentions that, alongside the facts that R&D tax credits and refunds unique to Canada help to lower the cost of starting a company and “it is up to two-thirds less expensive to start and run a technology company in Canada versus Silicon Valley.”
According to Barr, “a new generation of technology entrepreneurs dispelling the stereotype that Canadians are ‘too nice’ to aggressively do what it takes to build a billion-dollar company” and Canada “is a tech hub worth keeping your eye on over the coming year.”
It’s hard to disagree with her, don’t you think?