Canada’s Next Big Act is Training Scaleups
Canadian companies took in $2.5 billion in funding in the first half of 2018, the strongest first half since 2000. The Canadian technology landscape is booming, and with the announcement of corporate large-scale investment plans to invest in innovation and digital technology (CAE recently pegged $1 billion for the efforts) and post-secondary institutions, institutions are breaking ground to house future generations of talent (the University of Toronto is building a 14-storey building to be completed by 2021).
While scaleups make up less than five percent of Canadian companies, they create half of all new jobs in the country. At Elevate ScaleUp, we seek to provide helpful insights into the problems facing scaling companies. Presented by CIBC and Osler, the event features startup veterans sharing their experiences.
DX Journal spoke with Julia Kassam, Managing Director, CIBC Innovation Banking, to find out more about the next big act in Canada’s innovation space. Read the full article by DX Journal here.
With innovation ecosystems forming across Canadian cities, what excites you the most for startups in Canada?
From coast to coast, we’ve hit our stride as a community. The Canadian startup ecosystem has never been stronger and it is launching Canada into the global spotlight. Success stories about scaling companies of all sizes, in different industries, are generating the attention of investors and aspiring entrepreneurs. We are gaining a reputation for being diverse, collaborative and competitive.
This means that Canada is no longer an occasional destination, but a critical location for international investors to regularly visit, and for global brands to establish roots and drive their own corporate growth.
Many startups struggle to scale because they don’t have the right senior talent. What is your sense of how well positioned Canada is with experienced leaders?
Although Canada has established a reputation for developing world-class academics and innovators, we do need to attract experienced executive talent. Everything moves at an accelerated pace in a scaleup, and the business will bend and flex in ways it never has. Canada needs more leaders who know what it takes to grow globally and ensure scaleups are well-equipped to navigate and accelerate growth.
Canada has also been able to attract tech titans such as Google to open up offices in Toronto. What role do they play in the scaleup economy?
They serve as training ground, but also as a competitor for talent. In the best case, people learn what it takes to be part of a leading innovator while being trained by experienced executive talent at the local divisions of firms such as Cisco or Google. For scaling companies, the opportunity to pilot their innovation becomes a realistic opportunity which can flourish into a partnership that may lead to an acquisition. A big opportunity that emerges as a result of large tech companies choosing to set-up an office in Canada is an acceleration of human capital development for the ecosystem.
What we are also seeing more of is that global innovators are setting up their R&D centres in Canada. A great example this summer was Samsung announcing an AI Centre located within MaRS, led by a Toronto-based academic. Again, another opportunity for scaleups to be close to the heart of global innovation. That is huge potential waiting to be unleashed.
To hear more from industry leaders who have scaled real businesses (and have the scars to prove it), get a ticket for Elevate ScaleUp, happening September 26, 2018 in Toronto. Presented by CIBC Innovation Banking and Osler, the event will provide real insights from entrepreneurs and tech veterans who have spent years in the field, on everything from hiring, to financing, to distribution.