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Toronto’s Quiet Tech Boom Isn’t So Quiet Anymore

Nov 1, 2022

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Back in March of this year, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Toronto, the Quietly Booming Tech Town,” in which it profiled the city’s up-and-coming status as a world-class tech destination.

The article is informative, well-researched and well-considered. But the title? Perhaps in the interest of clicks, the title makes a couple of backhanded suggestions. To start, Toronto is no "town." Not only is Toronto the largest city (by a mile) in Canada, but it's also the fourth-largest in North America, trailing megalopolises New York, Mexico City and Los Angeles.

Granted, using the word “town” might have been a prosaic nod to the way we’ve always discussed mercantile entities (‘London is a shipping town on the Thames,’ for instance). But it’s the title’s other qualitative description that appears particularly understated: “quietly.”

Toronto’s tech boom isn’t so quiet anymore. It’s an innovative, full-throated and expansive burst of creative energy. In this article, let’s build on that well-meaning NYT article by evaluating the key stats, central drivers and pivotal players in Toronto’s tech boom.

The Stats

Technology and the investments that buoy it are fundamentally interested in data. So perhaps the best place to start is to look at the stats. Here are a few pertinent statistics that point to Toronto as a world-class tech city:

  • As the Old Gray Lady correctly points out, Toronto is the 3rd largest tech city in North America. The only cities ahead of it are New York and Silicon Valley – both of which enjoyed a massive head start and geographical connection to investment hotspots. The fact that Toronto bests Chicago, Austin and Miami is reason enough to take it seriously.
  • Toronto is home to several big tech company offices, including Google, Microsoft, Uber, Twitter and eBay.
  • The city rakes in $5.4 billion in startup investment. That figure is forecasted to grow alongside the city’s widening talent pool.
  • Canada, and by extension Toronto, boasts the most liberal immigration policy in North America (one of the most liberal in the world). See “The Drivers” section below for this stat’s significance.

Stats can only tell you so much about a scene. To round out the portrait of Toronto's tech boom, let's look at some drivers and prominent players.

Drivers and Main Players

A list of the big tech players in Toronto reads like a “who’s who” of global companies. But, arguably, it’s the up-and-coming, homegrown tech innovators that lend legitimacy to Toronto’s boom status. Canadian-grown companies like Nobul are leading the charge. The real estate digital marketplace founded by innovator Regan McGee is currently disrupting the real estate industry across North America. And it’s doing so from the comfort and cool of a downtown Toronto office.

As for driving factors in Toronto’s boom, leading financial experts point to two things: universities and immigration. The city’s post-secondary institutions have several competitive tech programs that consistently churn out big thinkers, talented engineers and leading developers. And Canada’s liberal immigration policies (see above) make Toronto a “brain gain” meeting point for countless foreign-born professionals.

The Future

Toronto’s tech boom might have been quiet a half-decade ago, but it isn’t anymore. The city’s big tech investments, scrappy startups and homegrown success stories prove that Toronto is a tech city on the rise.

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The future looks bright for the northern star as it continues to welcome highly trained professionals and innovators into the fold.

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Toronto's Quiet Tech Boom Isn't So Quiet AnymoreThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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