When you envision tech hubs, you may visualize the Bay Area, New York, or Silicon Valley, but Toronto may not automatically spring to mind.
Well, it should.
Toronto is one of the world’s most rapidly growing tech hubs. For multiple years it’s been adding more tech jobs in North America than the usual suspects. Toronto actually had more tech job growth recently, than the Bay Area, Seattle, and DC combined, according to Invest Ontario.
Toronto is the place to be for tech innovators, and there are many factors that contribute to growing the city as a tech hub.
Silicon Valley Talent is Coming to Toronto
Talent from Silicon Valley is finding irresistible opportunities in Toronto.
The Toronto-based Nobul Corporation, a consumer-centric real estate technology company, announced the addition of key executives from Silicon Valley in late 2021. Led by CEO Regan McGee, Nobul has disrupted the real estate industry by leveraging powerful technology to empower homebuyers and sellers.
“I am very pleased to have these highly accomplished executives from Silicon Valley join Nobul’s leadership team to fuel our growth,” McGee shared in a PR Newswire press release. “They each have proven track records of successfully scaling businesses much smaller than Nobul to multibillion-dollar market caps and attracting stellar talent.”
There are several factors behind Toronto’s meteoric rise as a tech hub.
A Tech Culture
Tech companies are usually drawn to geographical clusters teeming with tech businesses, and Toronto boasts over 2,000 tech startups run by some of the world’s most creative people. Meanwhile, the Toronto-Waterloo corridor hosts over 15,000 tech companies.
The city also carries renowned accelerators and incubators that help tech businesses with mentorship, networking, pre-seed capital, and seed capital.
Skilled and Diverse Labor
It’s easier for tech companies to establish in a city with a strong talent pool. Toronto has world-class post-secondary IT facilities, with over 150,000 students in the Greater Toronto Area. Moreover, 60% of Torontonians between 25 and 64 have a post-secondary education.
In addition, Toronto is a multicultural city that offers diverse talent from different backgrounds and genders. In fact, Dell Technologies ranked Toronto as one of the world’s best cities for women entrepreneurs.
Support and Infrastructure
Toronto has benefited from multiple government investments and incentives in the tech sector.
- The Trudeau government committed $900m to stimulate high-tech innovation and startup incubators in 2015.
- The Strategic Innovation Fund provides funding for large and innovative projects.
- Companies investing in R&D can retrieve some investments from incentive programs.
- The Start-up Visa Program, in association with VC funds, angel investors, and incubators, makes it easier for entrepreneurs to immigrate to Canada to launch innovative businesses.
- Toronto hosts the MaRS center, which occupies 1.5 million square feet and features exceptional research labs and global tech communities.
National AI Strategy
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a critical element of dozens of tech industries, boosting research, analysis, productivity, efficiency, etc. And Canada was the world’s first nation to implement a National AI strategy, enhancing research, innovation, and education. Toronto has undoubtedly benefited from the policy, featuring the densest cluster of AI startups globally.
Toronto’s central geographical location is also helpful. Tech leaders in New York, San Francisco, London, and Vancouver can quickly fly to the city for face-to-face meetings. Toronto is also a short drive from smaller local IT Hubs.
It’s no wonder that technology giants like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Google have opened offices in Toronto. So, why is Toronto less famous than other technology hubs despite outpacing them in multiple metrics?
The answer is marketing. In typical Canadian fashion, Toronto doesn’t like to humblebrag — it just gets the job done.