Regional VC Activity

Canada's Startup Ecosystem

Written by:
Ela Malkovsky, Editor-in-Chief (Cambridge)

At an age when the technology sector is growing twice as fast as the global economy1, startup ecosystems provide a vital means for individuals and regions to not only take advantage of technological change, but to also steer technological change in a direction that will improve humanity.

2017 saw historic Venture Capital (VC) investments in early stage Canadian entrepreneurs and mature Canadian startups. VC funding grew by 11% in 2017 ($3.5B invested over 592 deals) compared to 2016 ($3.2B over 534 deals) with Information & Communications Technology (ICT) companies receiving the bulk of VC dollars (71% or $2.5B invested over 375 deals). Maturing Canadian startups closed a record number of 15 Megadeals ($50M+), while early stage entrepreneurs experienced a 33% increase in small deals (<$500K over 162 deals). More than 95% of total VC funding was raised by Ontario (40.01% or $1,416M), Quebec (37.36% or $1,322M) and British Columbia (18.25% or $646M). Ontario’s Waterloo-Toronto high tech corridor exhibits the highest startup output in Canada, while Vancouver boasts the highest startup density, and Quebec-based companies closed a record number of $50M+ mega-deals in 2017, with three deals over $100M.

In February 2018, $950M in non-repayable federal funding was awarded to five high tech superclusters including Ontario’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, BC’s Digital Technology Supercluster, Quebec's AI powered Supply Chains Supercluster (Scale AI), Prairies’ Protein Industries Supercluster, and Atlantic Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.

Superclusters are innovation hotbeds. They accelerate technological advancement and boost the economy by stimulating business growth as well as attracting investment and talent through strong private, public, and academic research collaborations and globally competitive brand recognition. High tech superclusters enable individuals with diverse skills and resources to work together and reach global markets to achieve advancements in education, healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing which have a potential to improve the global living standard.

National VC Activity


1Startup Genome: Global Startup Ecosystem Report, 2017

2,3CVCA Venture Capital & Private Equity Canadian Market Overview, 2017

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