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Vancouver, the strongest startup ecosystem in Canada

Vancouver, the strongest startup ecosystem in Canada

Posted by PanamericanWorld on March 14, 2017

Canada has a new startup champion according to a report released Tuesday. Vancouver ranks 15th on the planet, ahead of the 16th place scene in Toronto and tech-heavy Waterloo, Ontario while Montreal dropped out of the top 20 index. That is according to the 2017 Startup Genome report ranking the world’s strongest startup ecosystems, its first such index in two years. Silicon Valley predictably ranks in the top spot, followed closely by New York, Boston, Tel Aviv, and China’s big cities. But there were changes in the rankings for Canada’s major cities.

The shift is a major surprise considering Waterloo (in conjunction with sister towns Kitchener and Cambridge) has the highest density of startups of any North American city outside Silicon Valley. Vancouver is estimated to have only 800-1,100 startups compared to Toronto-Waterloo’s about 2,100-2,700. Toronto ranked ahead of Canada’s two other major metros in the 2015 report in which it was considered the 17th best on the planet, ahead of 18th place Vancouver and 20th place Vancouver.

Canada actually shows improvement despite the minor shifts, as the report two years ago did not include data on startup cities in the Far East, Hong Kong, or Singapore. This one does, yet Canada’s power remains steady.

“Canadian cities score particularly well on Market Reach, driven by the high share of foreign customers that startups in Toronto-Waterloo, Vancouver, and Ottawa are able to reach,” the report’s authors write, noting Toronto-Waterloo ranks 5th and Vancouver 7th on that stat, right behind of Berlin (7th overall) and just ahead of 14th place Stockholm.

“This is largely because of Canadian startups’ access to the U.S. market — when we remove that from Market Reach calculations (captured in our Rest of World customer metric), Toronto-Waterloo and Vancouver both rank below the 10th position.”

Vancouver saw about a 90-percent increase in its exit growth rates between the previous report in 2015 and this edition, while Toronto easily outpaced it at about 180 percent.

Yet, both cities ranked near the bottom 20 in terms of talent access. Surprisingly, Vancouver came in 9th in terms of cost when it came to making new hires despite issues about the cost of living in the city. On the upside, when the talent gets to work, Canada’s western city has a big advantage.

“Focusing on Team Experience, Vancouver (ranking first) and Austin join much larger Beijing, Silicon Valley (in second place), and Boston to complete the top 5, while Stockholm places eighth. This metric showcases well the importance of tech in these three smaller cities of about one million people. This results in a concentration of experience available to startups, with tech entrepreneurship being a strong career option.”

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