2017 can definitely put Toronto on the radar of the big startup centers of the world. Toronto’s influence area comprises over 5,000 startups, an intense activity in terms of knowledge and development, as well as more than 150,000 university students that are being trained to meet the growing work demand in the booming technological sector.
Within the framework of the uncertainty triggered in the United States’ startups ecosystem by the ant-migration plans of President Trump, Toronto and the corridor with Waterloo are standing up as a true alternative for thousands of companies and entrepreneurs. Over two billion dollars in venture capital were spent in Canada in 2017, which represents a 15 percent increase over 2016 and the highest amount of funds since 2002, when 2,700 million were reported, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association. Toronto has everything it takes to compete against the main business centers in the United States in terms of talent, business structure, affordable prices and quality of life.
This is the base of a flourishing ecosystem that has given the business world some of the most interesting and successful projects in the technological realm. In line with the select unicorns club (over 1 billion dollar worth startups), in 2017 the technological sector and investors are paying close attention to the evolution and growth of several Canadian startups that have joined the ecosystem in a disruptive way. PanamericanWorld has put its smart money on five of them, which are likely to be ranked near the world elite by the end of the year.
Slack is already a member of that elite. Hundreds of thousands of users utilize this instant communication tool that was created back in 2013 by Canadian entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield. Slack has been described as the tool that will put an end to emails. The business communication platform has gained over a million active users on a daily basis and its contact rate is 140 minutes per day among those users. With a present valuation establish near 4 billion dollars (it is a member of the Unicorns Club), its growth potential knows no bounds. It has revolutionize the way to communicate within the business sphere and it delivers the same features emails do.
The taxi industry is being reinvented with the presence of such collaborative economy companies as Lyft and Uber, which have fully revolutionized an industry based on accurate standards. Shyp, a company founded by Canadian Kevin Gibbon, has gained momentum thanks to a service that facilitates the preparation, packing and sending of packages, a process that is usually pretty uncomfortable for everybody. Shyp makes it easier by means of a technological interface that connects users with the people in charge of picking up and professionally wrapping packages, who send or return them for lower fares. Shyp is also offering its services in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and it is planning to include more cities within the next months. With a quarter of billion dollar worth, Shyp has a promising future.
Scribble Live software company has made a group of tools that helps other companies plan, measure, make and publish contents based on a marketing strategy. This Toronto-based company is already working with such customers as Red Bull, Canadian Tire, NFL and Nissan. With a growing customer portfolio, Scribble has opened five offices in North America and it is also present in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Thanks to the tremendous evolution experienced by the content marketing over the past years, Scribble Live has strengthened its position as a leader in the sector, both in the sphere of companies and marketing and advertising agencies.
League is a new digital alternative to traditional health insurance, since it connects employers and employees to a full network of health services and benefits, thus providing an unprecedented option, convenience and value. 2016 was a consolidation year for League, when it raised 25 million dollars during an A Series funding round (besides its previous 4 million dollars in terms of seed money) and developed a partnership with RBC to increase insurance offers. Mike Serbinis, CEO of League, looks forward to having his company joined the Unicorns Club by 2018, and raising even more funds to fulfill its expansion phase.
The creators of Myo bracelet, Thalmic Labs had a truly productive 2016, when they confirmed the expectations triggered within the Canadian startups ecosystem. They raised 158 million dollars in a B Series funding round to “reimagine the man-computer interaction for their Myo bracelet”. CEO Stephen Lake also announced the opening of a 4,500 square meter factory in Waterloo to employ 100 people. The three co-founders of Thalmic Labs, the Kitchener-based startup that produces the controlled movement portable device named “Myo bracelet”, have been included by the Forbes magazine in the “Under 30 Years” category of entrepreneurs in the consumption technology sector. Matthew Bailey, Aaron Grant and Stephen Lake are 27 years old.