September 26th, 2018
Waterloo’s startup engine is in hyper drive
By Anthony Reinhart | December 11, 2012
The following is a guest blog as part of a monthly series featuring MaRS’ partners across Ontario and their up-and-coming companies.
Given the strong tradition of bootstrapping in Waterloo Region, it’s fitting that the Communitech Hub is housed in a former tannery.
Not only was the sprawling, yellow-brick headquarters of the Lang Tanning Company the largest supplier of shoe leather (and bootstraps, likely) in the British Empire, but it is an apt symbol of what this part of Ontario is and has always been: an industrious community that constantly reinvents itself and punches above its weight.
Through its many programs, services and events, Communitech has become an ever-larger catalyst in this process since being founded as a member-funded non-profit organization in 1997.
That’s when a small but influential group of local technology entrepreneurs gathered around a common cause: to attract top talent and capital to Waterloo Region’s growing technology sector so that we could compete with the world’s best.
Since then, Communitech has been designated a Regional Innovation Centre in partnership with the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, which offers acceleration support for early-stage companies as part of the Ontario Network of Excellence. The Communitech Hub is also a Sector Innovation Centre, a provincial asset for any company interested in commercialization in the digital media space.
So far, the results speak for themselves. Here are some highlights:
- In 2012, our region saw $300 million in venture capital, private equity and angel investment, compared with $7 million in 1997.
- Communitech’s Venture Services Program recently welcomed its thousandth startup client.
- Waterloo Region is now home to about 1,000 technology companies, including more than 450 startups.
- Waterloo was named among the world’s top 20 startup ecosystems by Startup Genome and Telefónica Digital this year.
- Desire2Learn, an e-learning firm that grew to more than 550 employees on its own steam over 13 years of steady growth, raised an $80-million Series A round this year, the largest ever for a Canadian software company.
- In April, Communitech launched HYPERDRIVE, a $30-million-plus startup incubator that offers seed investment, chances to pitch for venture funding and 24 months of mentoring and support.
Continue to read more Highlights and Succcess stories --> here