A Guide to the Toronto Tech Ecosystem
Toronto has an active and growing tech scene but it cannot be compared with the valley. The valley has had a couple decades to evolve and is now a mature ecosystem. Toronto is a younger place when it comes to tech. That can be a good thing, getting in early after all has been the mantra of the valley.
Today things are very different from back when the valley started. Faster networks, higher levels of skill based migration, free flow of knowledge around tech and startups, distributed companies, remote work, sophisticated cloud platforms, new investment vehicles and so much more. This gives more places a chance to evolve a rich tech ecosystem. Add to this mix things Toronto has to offer like a great quality of life, top tier tech schools, art and design, a very supportive government, great healthcare, north america, a lower cost of living and a pretty successful young tech ecosystem. All of this together makes a pretty compelling picture.
Shopify is Toronto’s globally recognized IPO’d tech success story and it’s helping sprout many more. Bitstrips the makers of Bitmoji raised over $11 million and was acquired for over $100 million by Snapchat. Ecobee a smart thermostat company that’s partnering with Amazon Alexa and competing with Google Nest. Ethereum the new cryptocurrency and smart contracts platform. 1Password a bootstrapped startup who’s product is the most popular and secure password manager globally. 500px the goto website for professional photographers. Large tech companies like Amazon and Google also have engineering offices in and around Toronto. This includes the Google Brain teams that are working on their AI technology. This list is just the few I could remember of the top of my head. There are many other successful startups in and around Toronto that span consumer and enterprise. Influtive in marketing tech, EventMobi for event apps, Careerify acquired by Linkedin, Wave for SMB accounting, Weathsimple for robo investing, Wattpad and Mozilla Foundation the makers of the Firefox browser.
A Force in AI
Two of the worlds most promising technologies AI (Deep Learning) and decentralized cryptocurrencies have roots in Toronto. Geoffrey Hinton is a canadian computer scientist and a professor at the University of Toronto. He is also known as the godfather of Deep Learning and heads Google’s AI efforts from Toronto. He’s currently also helping Vector Institute a unique Toronto based non-profit focused on AI research. It is backed by over $150 million from the canadian government and by companies like Google. And only a short distance away in the picturesque french speaking city of Montreal sits Yoshua Bengio another canadian computer scientist noted for his work on AI. He heads the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms another world class AI lab funded by Google and the Canadian government to with over $100 million.