The Toronto-Waterloo region corridor is the second largest technology cluster in North America and one of the world’s fastest-growing innovation hubs.
Over the last decade, the corridor has become internationally recognized for its diverse talent pool, research-leading universities and colleges, and vibrant, livable communities.
As more and more entrepreneurs choose the Toronto-Waterloo region to put down roots and scale their companies, opportunities for investment and incubation abound. That also means the list of innovation hubs, accelerators and funders at a company’s disposal can be overwhelming, no matter what stage of growth it finds itself.
Surprisingly, there is no comprehensive visualization to showcase the plethora of support that exists for entrepreneurs in the region. So we at Hockeystick set out to make one.
Startup Ecosystem Map
The map includes 81 innovation hubs and accelerators and 92 funders. Each accelerator and funder is classified under four company stages — early, startup, scaleup and growth — depending on which stages they interact with. There is some overlap across the four stages since both accelerators and funders tend to work with companies at varying stages.
It also includes a legend to indicate the type of business each entity on the map falls under — angel group, private equity, venture capital or accelerator.
We hope this map will serve as a resource for entrepreneurs in the ecosystem as they grow their companies. Whether a company is in the earliest stages or in the process of scaling, they can use it to seek out the hubs and funders available to them.
It’s important to note that this map is not set in stone. Just as the tech ecosystem continues to evolve, so too will the map. If you notice any information that needs updating or changes you think we should make, please contact us.
The Next Great Innovation Cluster
Right now, the Toronto-Waterloo region corridor is poised to become the world’s next big innovation cluster. The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 ranks the region among the top 20 technology clusters in the world, primarily because it connects Canada’s biggest, most diverse city (Toronto) with the country’s leading innovation and research hub (Waterloo).
But in order for this opportunity to become a reality, more companies need to reach that next level of growth.
The good news is that Canada is continuing its five-year upward trajectory when it comes to venture capital investment, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association 2018 H1 report. But that still pales in comparison to Silicon Valley. Last year US$25 billion was invested in startups in Silicon Valley, while across all of Canada the total was about $3.3 billion.
While it’s certainly not the whole solution, we hope that this map will support entrepreneurs as they find the right accelerators and funders for every stage of growth, so more companies can reach that next level.
This post was updated on March 14th, 2019.