Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check

The Globe and Mail  | and

global competition - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality checkNeil Desai and Graeme Moffat are executives with Canadian technology scale-ups and Fellows at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

There has been a steady drumbeat of headlines praising Canada’s innovation economy of late, including our academic contributions in the area of artificial intelligence, federal “superclusters” that will foster collaboration between large multinationals, local startups and postsecondary institutions, and strategies to increase access to venture capital.

If you look past the feel-good headlines, the analysis of Canada’s innovation activities is misguided at its best. It lacks the precise goal orientation necessary to deliver meaningful and sustainable economic growth relative to the significant public expenditures aimed at transforming our economy. At its worst, the current discourse entrenches a stranglehold on Canada’s innovation inputs by universities, regional innovation centres and foreign tech giants.

A case in point is a recent Globe and Mail article titled, “Cutting out the middle-man not always best for startups." It suggests that Canadian startups should partner with other companies and act as a “middle man” rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. The piece cites Jay Shah, the head of the University of Waterloo tech accelerator Velocity, who infers that taking on incumbents is difficult and likely to make a startup some enemies.

See:  NCFA: Canada Needs a Harmonized Securities Environment as Current Provincial Approach is a Fintech Innovation Killer

The reality in the knowledge-driven global economy is that the ownership of intellectual property (IP) is paramount and a precondition to commercialization. Those who generate, own and commercialize valuable ideas have the greatest ability to create wealth. The rest – those companies and countries without deep IP stocks – will fight over table scraps.

The business strategies that allowed U.S. tech companies such as Facebook, and Chinese champions such as Huawei, to become global giants resemble colonial economics: concerted efforts to own every valuable idea and extract rents on nearly insurmountable advantages. These include monopolies on information, talent, data flows and the sidelining of smaller competitors.

This new reality should not surprise Mr. Shah. His own early-stage company, BufferBox, which aimed to create efficiencies in parcel delivery, was acquired by Google along with a number of others taking on the same challenge. His company’s technology was eventually mothballed. Google likely didn’t think twice about the cost of acquiring the Canadian-created technology. Their goal wasn’t to grow Canadian jobs and prosperity, but to pre-empt competitors.

Acquisitions of early-stage Canadian tech companies are often heralded as great successes but these are false positives for our national economy. While some founders and their investors may pocket a few million dollars, this is the wrong metric by which to evaluate the benefits of publicly supported innovation. Canadian taxpayers spend billions annually on university research and development projects, the federal Industrial Research Assistance Program, Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credits, and Canada’s technology hubs and accelerators (to name just a few of many programs).

Early acquisition and the expatriation of IP will too often result in the widespread economic benefits of Canadian public investment in innovation – job creation and tax revenue that commercialization creates – occurring elsewhere.

Under these circumstances, it is deeply troubling that those who speak loudest on behalf of our innovation ecosystem not only encourage the acquisition of early-stage Canadian companies and innovations before they grow to scale, but actively enable it.

See: 

For example, tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars have flowed to state-backed Chinese technology giant Huawei from various public institutions all while that company engaged in a concerted effort to acquire and expatriate Canadian-generated IP, as revealed by a recent Globe and Mail investigation. At the same time, the head of MaRS, a Toronto technology hub that houses the Canadian offices of several foreign tech giants, proclaimed that “Toronto’s tech ecosystem needs to continue attracting global firms such as Samsung and Uber” as if it’s a certainty that Canadian prosperity will follow from their presence.

The growing presence of foreign multinationals has devastating effects on scaling Canadian tech companies. Our companies already face higher hurdles in accessing capital. Now they are facing an increasing talent crunch. Ultimately, the increased presence of foreign giants in our own backyard restricts their ability to grow to a scale that sustains meaningful technical and non-technical job and wage growth for Canadians. Under this reality, early acquisition seems to be the preferred business strategy for Canadian tech entrepreneurs. This will have long-term consequences to our national prosperity and maintaining our standard of living.

Continue to the full article -->here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality checkThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, STO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

Click for News:

latest news - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check

 

Canadian Consulate General in Hong Kong | Eunice Wong | July 16, 2019 [INVITATION] Webinar:  FinTech Market and Opportunities in Hong Kong / Canadian FinTech Trade Mission to Hong Kong @ HK FinTech Week 2019 You are invited to attend a Webinar - Hong Kong FinTech Market and Opportunities on July 23, 2019 (Tuesday)  9:00AM - 10:30AM Toronto Time Join us as we discuss the current Fintech Market in Hong Kong. This webinar will cover the following topics: HK Fintech Market and Ecosystem HK Fintech Opportunities HK Fintech Week 2019 as a platform Canadian FinTech Trade Mission to Hong Kong FinTech Week 2019 Speakers: Mr. Charles Ng, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion, InvestHK Mr. King Leung, Head of Fintech, InvestHK Mr. Musheer Ahmed, General Manager, Fintech Association of Hong Kong See:  Hong Kong being pulled into the 21st Century — digital banking licenses finally arrive Agenda: Event Introduction by Ellen Cao, Ontario government (10 minutes) Hong Kong Fintech Market by InvestHK, Mr. Charles Ng, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion; and Mr. King Leung, Head of Fintech (30 minutes) Hong Kong Fintech Market by Fintech Association of Hong Kong Mr. Musheer Ahmed, General Manager (10 minutes) Q&A (15 minutes) Government of ...
Read More
Government of Canada Hong Kong - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
NCFA Guest Post | July 16, 2019 Managing Finances in a New Startup Every day, new startups are launched and another entrepreneur decides to begin building a business. One of the challenges that startups often face is managing their money effectively. Managing business finances can differ from personal finances as one mistake could trigger several issues in your business. Being as meticulous and accurate as possible is one of many ways to grow finances in a healthy way. It’s also imperative that you keep your expenses low which can be done in numerous ways. On that note, here is how you can manage your finances if you happen to have a new startup. Create a Budget Every business that wants to effectively manage its finances needs a budget. This will give you an accurate idea of what your income and expenses look like so that you’re able to spend wisely and plan effectively. Below, you’ll find a couple of tips for creating a budget. Income: Firstly, you’ll need to write down every source of income that your business has. In the case that you don’t have any income yet, create a financial forecast and estimate how much you think you’ll ...
Read More
Managing finances in a new startup - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
Impression Ventures | Christian Lassonde | July 16, 2019 Intro:  NCFA Fintech Confidential spoke with some of Canada’s experienced fintech investors, on their background, how Canada has evolved, what we should be doing, advice to fintech founders and what keeps them awake at night.  This is part 3 of a 4 part series. What is your background, and how did you come to found Impression Ventures? I'm graduated from Western in the mid-90s with two degrees. Comp-Eng and Comp-Sci. I immediately started my own business, excited by the endless possibilities the internet could bring to gaming. I had no idea what I was doing - needless to say, that company didn't work out. But the lessons I learned being a first-time entrepreneur have stayed with me to this day. From there I moved to the Valley, worked for some all-star companies; Electronic Arts, LucasArts, Linden Lab, got an MBA and founded two more businesses, Millions of Us & Virtual Greats. After a decade in the San Francisco area, I moved back to Toronto. After a fourth startup (didn't work out) - I got very interested in the intersection of finance and technology, two businesses sectors Canadian's excel at, but there was ...
Read More
Impression Ventures - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
Coindesk |Michael J Casey | Jul 15, 2019 Let’s be clear: It was not the substance of Donald Trump’s tweet that made his critique of bitcoin and Libra so important last week. It should be of no surprise that this US President would declare himself “not a fan” of “highly volatile” cryptocurrencies “based on thin air” that “facilitate unlawful behavior” or that he much prefers a “dependable and reliable” currency “called the United States Dollar!” (Anyone who assumed Trump would be a “drain-the-swamp” libertarian advocate for censorship-resistant money had an ill-informed view of a man whose government is stacked with former Wall Street execs, who opposes free trade and immigration, and takes a draconian approach to a variety of civil rights and social liberties.) What matters is the very fact that a sitting president mentioned cryptocurrencies at all. Indeed, from a price perspective, Trump’s disparaging remarks are, on balance, positive for bitcoin. By Friday evening, the post-tweet price action reflected that. See:  Fintech Fridays Episode 32: Rallying behind Bitcoin with Frederick T. Pye More importantly, the tweet marks a symbolic milestone in the gradual but ever-expanding presence that cryptocurrency occupies in the public conversation around money and policy. It also marks ...
Read More
donald trump not a fan of bitcoin - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
Cointelegraph | Helen Partz | July 10, 2019 Global payment giant Visa has recorded its second investment in a crypto project by leading a $40 million funding round of Anchorage startup, according to a Fortune report on July 10. Visa has reportedly led the round along with major cryptocurrency venture capital (VC) firm Blockchain Capital to support institutional-grade crypto custody service Anchorage, which previously raised $17 million in an investment led by Andreessen Horowitz. In the new round, both the amount of Visa’s contribution and Anchorage’s private valuation were not disclosed, the report notes. Both Visa and Anchorage are founding members of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra, which was officially revealed on June 18. See:  Ethereum will match Visa in scale in a ‘couple of years’ says founder As Fortune noted, the recent funding round is the second known investment of Visa in a crypto-related firm, with the payment giant having participated in a $30 million funding round in blockchain startup Chain back in 2015 alongside with Nasdaq and Citi. In late 2018, Chain was acquired by Stellar-focused firm Lightyear. The new funding will be used in Anchorage’s mission to provide an alternative to cold storage-based institutional custodies to ensure the ...
Read More
visa invests in crypto - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
The Block Crypto | Frank Chaparro | July 10, 2019 Quick Take The Security and Exchange Commission approved Blockstack’s token offering under Reg A+, an accelerated path for smaller companies to raise money publicly This is the first approval the SEC gave for a token offering, after a series of crackdowns the regulator led against unregistered ICOs it deems as securities The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave blockchain startup Blockstack the go-ahead today to conduct a $28 million digital token offering under Regulation A+, the first token offering of its kind ever approved by the SEC, according to the firm. The SEC has launched a series of crackdowns on unregistered initial coin offerings (ICOs), with the latest including a dispute with messaging app Kik over its $100 million ICO. Still, Reg A+ offerings have had their own headaches. Reg A+ is a fast track for smaller companies to publicly raise money with less strenuous accounting and disclosure standards than a regular token offering requires. Even so, Blockstack founder Muneeb Ali told the Wall Street Journal that the process is still very long and costly since the SEC had to devise a brand new protocol for token offerings under Reg ...
Read More
Blockstack Reg A token sale 1 - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
NCFA Canada | July 6, 2019 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep34-July 6: Accelerating Fintech Growth HOST: Manseeb Khan, Fintech Friday's show host GUEST:  BRENDAN HOLT DUNN, Founder Holt Accelerator, (Linkedin) BIO:  Brendan is an investment guru who has close to 15 years in managing multi-billion dollar asset portfolios. He is currently the CEO of Holdun, a 5th generation family business which offers family office services, wealth management services, trust services, corporate services, concierge services and financial services and was awarded best Multi-Family Office in the Caribbean 2017 for Holdun Family Office. A tech savvy investor, he has made many investments in startups including Stradigi AI, Addepar, Uber, LeAD Sports Accelerator, Sway Ventures, and Falcon 5. He has accumulated five finance and investment certificates to compliment his finance degree from King’s University College. He’s considered by entrepreneurs to be founder friendly. About this episode: On this week's episode of NCFA's Fintech Friday's Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Brendan Dunn the Managing partner of the Holt Accelerator program. They talk about why are accelerators are important, how the can find the right companies and what their Fintech Show is. Enjoy! Subscribe and tune in each ...
Read More
FF EP34 Brendan Holt Dunn - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
CNN Business | Clare Duffy | July 4, 2019 New York (CNN Business)American lawmakers are concerned that Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency may try to challenge the dollar and are demanding the company stand down. They want Facebook to immediately halt development of Libra until regulators have time to examine the plans and "take action," according to a letter sent Tuesday to the company by a group of lawmakers from the House Financial Services Committee. Chairwoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, first suggested a moratorium on development the day Libra was announced. The new letter represents an escalation of pressure on Facebook's digital currency plans, which have also been scrutinized by regulators around the world. Other interest groups have weighed in, too: More than 30 organizations sent a similar request to Facebook on Tuesday, saying US and foreign regulatory systems are not prepared to address questions about "national sovereignty, corporate power, consumer protection" and other issues raised by the project. The lawmakers said they want to hold public hearings on the "risks and benefits of cryptocurrency-based activities and explore legislative solutions." "Failure to cease implementation before we can do so risks a new Swiss-based financial system that is too big to ...
Read More
libra - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
Bicameral Ventures Release | June 27, 2019 TORONTO, June 27, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Bicameral Ventures, the fund powering value creation through their "Interconnected Investing" model, announced today a highly strategic investment in Balance aimed at accelerating its growth. The investment brings Bicameral's portfolio to nine projects that are targeting challenges in various layers of the technology stack, with an aim of delivering superior end-user experiences by leveraging the blockchain and associated virtualized technologies. "Most M&A destroys value, especially as the problems centrally-planned corporations are trying to solve grow increasingly complex. Instead, Bicameral has brought together a group of independent yet 'interconnected' projects working at all layers of this novel technology stack, to attack multiple facets of the largest challenges. Balance, with its unique take on institutional grade custody for digital assets and hyper focus on UX and connectivity, provides an important building block in the delivery of unparalleled end user experiences that leverage decentralized technology," said Alex McDougall, Chief Investment Officer, Bicameral Ventures. See:  Crypto Custody: Our Shared Journey Towards Mass Adoption Balance adds another critical component to Bicameral's unique portfolio of highly complementary projects focused on accelerating Web 3.0 adoption. As a key aspect of executing on Bicameral's "Interconnected Investing" ...
Read More
Bicameral and balance - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check
Bank of England Review of UK’s financial system | By Huw van Steenis | June 20, 2019 Overview My report, The Future of Finance , looks at how the economy is changing; how finance can serve and support these changes; and what it could mean for the Bank of England. We have looked beyond the immediate challenges posed by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to identify longer-term trends shaping the economy and finance — and how the Bank can support this evolution for the good of the people of the United Kingdom. A new economy is emerging driven by changes in technology, demographics and the environment. The UK is also undergoing several major transitions that finance has to respond to. What this means for finance Finance is likely to undergo intense change over the coming decade. The shift to digitally-enabled services and firms is already profound and appears to be accelerating. The shift from banks to market-based finance is likely to grow further. See:  Tech’s raid on the banks EY Global FinTech Adoption Index finds over half (64%) of global consumers use FinTech The Roadblocks to European Fintech Expansion Ultra low rates, new regulations and the need to invest ...
Read More
review of UK financial system report June 2016 - Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check