Toronto has been in the news a lot due to its growth when it comes to technology businesses. American and Canadian companies have been investing heavily into Toronto, for example just in one month alone, September 2018, more than $1.4 billion dollars was invested into the city.
So what drives companies to come and invest into the City of Toronto?
Tech Talent is Abound
Toronto tech scene employs over 240,000 workers. When it comes to cost and quality of tech workers in North America, Toronto comes in the lead.
Wired magazine ran a story this weekend declaring Montreal as a clear winner in artificial intelligence.
Wired magazine claims that due to cheap office rent and “community feel” Montreal is able to capture a lead in AI space.
According to PwC, Montreal has raised more capital than any other Canadian cities with total value of investment over $800m. When comparing to the US or San Francisco or New York that is very small but when comparing to other cities in Canada, that’s quite a large chunk of money.
Enticed by Montreal’s low cost of doing business and its research in AI, companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and Google opened offices in Montreal. Even Canadian government pledged further $200m to subsidize the growing AI industry in Montreal.
Yoshua Bengio, world-renowned expert in deep learning, claims Montreal is becoming “a mini Silicon Valley”.
Damien Silès, director of the Quartier de l’innovation, an experimental city laboratory, claims Montreal success is due to Montreal’s
“speaking French with joie de vivre but we’re acting North American – it’s totally different.”
There is also dirt cheap rent in Monteal that’s been low since major companies moved away from Quebec in the 80s and 90s and took head offices and thousands of jobs with them to mainly neighboring province of Ontario.
Jack Jedwab, President of the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration said:
“”I think some of the things that are driving these departures, which are taxation issues, higher income, are things the government needs to work on.
The government needs to be working on lowering people’s taxes. Probably that’ll create a bit more motivation for people who don’t want to leave and want to explore opportunities here with the knowledge that the amount of income they risk losing due to taxation is in a better position.”
Wired also highlighted some leading AI firms in Montreal as being:
But Montreal can win big if it stays open minded and can generate some success stories. Philippe Telio, founder of Montreal Startupfest, says that the only thing holding Montreal back, is a breakout success story.
“Like any community we’re starting to see some great successes, but like any great ecosystem we need a couple of billion-dollar companies to showcase.”
In Canada it is starting to be good to be an AI developer and / or data AI analyst, AI scientist. According to a new report by Indeed, AI jobs in Canada have risen over 1,069% from 2013.
To compile their report Indeed looked at all available AI jobs posted on their website across different industries in Canada, UK and US.
The result that they got found that AI jobs rose by almost 1,069% since 5 years and are growing at much higher rates than in countries like UK and USA.
Jodi Kasten, managing director at Indeed Canada, said
“Advances in artificial intelligence have stoked fears of large-scale job loss, our data shows that AI can help create jobs, too. These jobs are also found in a variety of industries including finance and tech and for a budding and complex technology like AI, there will be continued need for highly-skilled workers to develop and maintain a wide range of AI applications in Canada.”
Update: We have recently learned that both Amazon and Uber are hiring for AI tech jobs in Toronto such as AI Research Scientist (Self Driving), Computer Vision & Machine Learning Engineer/Research, and Data Scientist.
Artificial intelligence took off like a wild fire in the last few years with Federal Government of Canada supporting the industry with millions of dollars in grants.
Not surprising Toronto has taken a lead in this AI domain, and has over 45 active artificial intelligence organizations employing over 1,500 employees and raised more than $170 million dollars.
Below we list the most prominent 14 leaders in AI space in the Greater Toronto Area as well as Waterloo.
Top Artificial Intelligence AI Companies Hiring in Toronto
Aislelabs’ technology transforms brick and mortar locations to smart venues, resulting in effective marketing, increased sales, and better customer satisfaction. We serve enterprise customers globally including major shopping centres, airports, transit hubs, big box retail chains and venues.
Angoss is a global leader in delivering predictive analytics to businesses looking to improve performance across risk, marketing and sales. With a suite of big data analytics software solutions and consulting services, Angoss delivers powerful approaches that provide you with a competitive advantage by turning your information into actionable business decisions.
For biomedical researchers who are starting experiments, BenchSci is a reagent intelligence platform that transforms published data into experiment-specific recommendations to reduce time, money and uncertainty in planning materials and methods.
Our goal for the Hubba Discovery Network is to be the first place buyers and influencers start every journey to learn about interesting and new brands and products. We are product people, too, and we built a site for product people like you.
PumpUp is a positive community to share and achieve your health goals. The PumpUp community is a safe and supportive space to share your journey toward a healthy body and healthy mind. Share your challenges and triumphs, track your fitness, and receive unparalleled support from a global community of like-minded people. PumpUp equips you with the tools you need to live a healthy lifestyle in a positive way. With millions of inspiring people cheering you on, it’s never been easier to become the best version of you!
StackAdapt is the no. 1 performing native advertising platform helping brands accelerate customer engagement and acquisition. This state-of-the-art platform is where some of the most progressive work in machine learning meets cutting-edge user experience. Ranking the highest in customer satisfaction and performance by G2 Crowd in the DSP category for the fourth time, StackAdapt is one of the fastest growing companies in Canada and ranks 6th in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 ranking and 23rd in Fast 500 in North America.
At Kognitive Marketing we create engaging experiential marketing campaigns that consumers actually want to participate in, thus increasing customer conversions and maximizing sales and brand equity for the client.
Maropost is a B2C cloud-based revenue optimization suite that gives companies the ability to increase multi-channel customer engagement to maximize revenue. Through integrated marketing and sales automation, Maropost provides essential tools, strategic guidance, and support needed to create more personalized customer experiences through a 360-degree business view – from marketing automation to CRM, commerce, and customer support.
Together with its global team of creative problem-solvers, Nanoleaf is ushering in a new era of beautifully personalized lighting experiences. This brave new world extends far beyond the lightbulb and into a new reality where lighting transforms to meet your needs for every moment of every day. Every product created by Nanoleaf embodies our philosophy of ‘Smarter by Design.’
Zoom.ai is SaaS start-up, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to enrich all employees’ work experience while increasing workplace productivity. Zoom.ai operates like a virtual helper, chatting with each employee in their favorite chat application and off-loading repetitive, low-value, day-to-day tasks. Key tasks include document generation, corporate information discovery, and full lifecycle calendaring.
Fluent.ai is a disruptive speech recognition startup based in Montreal, Canada.
We have sat down with CEO Niraj Bhargava to get some answers.
So what are you guys all about?
We are developing cutting-edge deep-learning techniques to enable acoustic-only speech recognition technology capable of running offline on-device without requiring a cloud connection. By associating speech to intent without requiring a speech-to-text translation, Fluent.ai offers a highly accurate and robust speech recognition system that is also able to learn or be customized by the end user. This opens a wide variety of new applications and use-cases unattainable using incumbent methods.
Who started the company?
A key co-founder of the company is Vikrant Tomar. Vikrant has a PhD in machine learning and speech recognition. Apart from Vikrant, our team consists of four other machine learning experts. I am a P.Eng and serial entrepreneur with 25 years business leadership experience.
How are you being financed?
US$1.5 million (CND$2 million) from TandemLaunch Inc., a group of Angels and VCs including Business Development Bank of Canada, Maple Leaf Angels, Creative Destruction Lab, Danhua Capital (Silicon Valley), and 500 Startups Canada.
What do you think will be/is a big obstacle to overcome?
Developing top talent has been a large obstacle to overcome, especially now that a number of big companies have opened their AI research labs in Montreal. This has created intense competition in hiring.
How do you go about finding good developers/IT guys for your company?
Networking and referrals has been important for us to find top talent.
Who is your biggest competition?
Fluent.ai offers a very different technical approach to the speech recognition problem. A number of big players are active in the speech recognition market, such as Google, Amazon, Apple etc. However, we look at these as potential partners, because our technology offers features and capabilities complementary to what the other players offer.
How are you intending on taking your company to $1 million in revenues? In what markets?
Yes to $1 million in revenues, in the markets of consumer electronics, telecom and automotive.
What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
While we always knew this was key, we have learned to appreciate even more the importance of having a solid plan and achieving its optimal execution. Sometimes things move at a different speed than expected—this is particularly true in a business-to-business world. Having a solid plan with multiple options has helped us to avoid tough times and maintain the company’s growth.
Facebook is the latest company, following in footsteps of Microsoft and Google, to open AI office in Montreal , to capitalize on its cheap labour, major universities like McGill and Concordia and its established artificial intelligence sector.
Facebook’s new lab also know as FAIR Montreal will be led by McGill university professor, Joelle Pineau.
Facebook is catching up with Google and Microsoft who already have offices / labs in Montreal.
Facebook’s lab is already up and running with few researchers setting up their desks and getting ready. Facebook expects to have 10 employees shortly, with 20 more hires within the next few years or so.
McGill Professor Pineau was educated in United States but has decided to come back to Quebec , Canada even though a lot of people advised her against moving back to Quebec. But she said she proved them wrong:
“For many years, I’ve seen a steady stream of talented AI researchers . . . leaving my lab but also leaving our country,” Pineau told dignitaries, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “I hope that some of the students who are here today will find an opportunity that matches their interest and their talent.”