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Tech Roundup for July 2023

Tops in talent

Canada continues to be a growing force among top North American tech markets, according to two new talent studies.

Waterloo Region jumped six spots to No. 18 on CBRE’s ranking of the top 50 North American tech markets. The number of tech workers in the region rose to 29,700 in 2022, up 52 per cent – or 10,100 jobs – over five years.

Vancouver, which had the highest tech-job growth rate (69 per cent) of the 50 cities measured, remained at No. 8 on CBRE’s Scoring Tech Talent list. Ottawa moved up two spots to No. 11; Montreal rose three spots to No. 12. Toronto slipped two spots but is still the highest ranked Canadian city at No. 5. The San Francisco Bay Area remained No. 1 in North America.

Canada’s tech workforce grew by 15.7 per cent (150,000 workers) between 2020 and 2022, faster than the U.S. growth rate of 11.4 per cent (610,000 workers).

Earlier in the month, a tech-worker migration report released by the Technology Councils of North America and Canada’s Tech Network found that between April 2022 and March 2023, 32,115 new workers moved to Canada. The communities that attracted the most were Mississauga, Montreal and Waterloo Region.

“It’s not just wishful thinking,” said Communitech CEO and President Chris Albinson. “More and more tech talent is coming to Canada. If you want to work hard and build great tech for the good of the planet, Canada wants you!”

Top 10

The Waterloo Economic Development Corporation (Waterloo EDC) got some good media traction in July with a list of the 10 largest tech companies in Waterloo Region.

While international biggies like Google, Oracle NetSuite, SAP and EPAM Systems were on the list, it was nice to see that most of the Top 10 were launched right here at home – Open Text, BlackBerry, D2L, eSentire, ApplyBoard and Arctic Wolf.

Further, faster

The federal government announced the first eight Canadian tech companies to receive support through Ottawa’s Global Hypergrowth Project, a new service to help scaling companies “go further, faster.”

The program will help innovative Canadian businesses grow into “anchor firms” by providing help in the areas of funding, international trade, navigating federal regulations and procurement, and access to mentorship, the government said.

Three of the eight companies – Ada, AlayaCare and Clio – were previously named to Communitech’s Team True North, an initiative to support and celebrate high-performing Canadian tech firms that are tracking to $1 billion in annual revenue.

Riders on the storm

While the tech world continues to grapple with global headwinds, many companies are finding ways to adapt and succeed.

In July, Waterloo-based RideCo announced a partnership with Uber to help public-transit operators offer more on-demand transportation options, address staffing challenges and augment fleet vehicles.

Launched in 2013, RideCo is an SaaS company that provides transit agencies and fleet operators with a software and app that provide riders with several on-demand tansit options based on price, time and destination. 

Meanwhile, MIMOSA Diagnostics – a graduate of Communitech’s Fierce Founders Intensive Track program – announced a financing round that will help the medtech startup expand into the U.S. market.

The company, which did not disclose how much it raised, makes a portable imaging device that allows clinicians to detect biomarkers below the skin’s surface and efficiently determine the next steps for early intervention and treatment. 

Another startup making headway is Palitronica, a University of Waterloo spinoff that’s addressing supply-chain security with a physics-based approach to cyber defence.

Palitronica was recently recognized by the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA) with a $50,000 prize in its 2023 Sustainable Future Competition. 

Also in the spotlight in July was  Kitchener-based Primal. Founded in 2004 by serial entrepreneur Yvan Couture, the “deep tech” company has been involved in AI research and development for nearly two decades.

And a newer company is impressing conservation-minded customers with its water-and-energy-saving shower system. 

RainStick Shower reduces water and energy usage by capturing, circulating and cleansing water as you shower, rather than letting it flow down the drain and out to the sewer system.

Alumni of Impact

After helping thousands of students find educational opportunities abroad, Kitchener-based ApplyBoard announced the first 10 winners of its inaugural International Alumni of Impact awards.

The awards celebrate former international students who studied in Canada and have gone on to make a positive impact in the world. 

Check out the Tech News story and learn more about one of the recipients, University of Waterloo grad Iyinoluwa Aboyeji.

Creative tech

Tech News columnist Alex Kinsella tells us about an interesting collaboration between local filmmakers, city hall and Christie Digital.

Ten student films from the first cohort of the Open Gate Filmmaker Lab were screened for a packed house at the Apollo Cinema in downtown Kitchener. The screening was the first for a new program designed and facilitated by Digital Sabbath, a local film production company. The City of Kitchener, the Zehr Group and Christie Digital sponsor the program.

“We want to help nurture the next generation of not only technologists but also filmmakers and cinematographers,” said Carmen Benyair, Senior Manager of Global PR at Christie Digital.

Trust and convenience

Columnist Melanie Baker penned a pair of insightful pieces about the relationship between companies and customers.

In one, she explores the importance of building trust with your audiences – both customers and employees.

In another column, Baker tackles the notion of “convenience” and asks whether tech companies – especially those in the social media sphere – are really putting the wants and needs of their customers first.

Other News

"Communitech helps tech-driven companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: - Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies. - Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate. - Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant."

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