Tag Archives: kitchener

Communitech Lures USA Based Tech Workers to Work in Waterloo Canada

Communitech, an organization that supports the entire “Community of Tech” in Waterloo, placed 9 billboards across Silicon Valley to invite US based tech employees to relocate to Canada for IT work.

Communitech spent $100k on the billboards and promises tech talent that comes to Canada from US that they will provide them with health insurance, and will provide an answer within 10 days whether visa is approved.

Communitech’s CEO, Iain Klugman, says that majority of tech workers in US are under H1B visa and that recent announcement that H1B visa will be cancelled put a lot of tech workers on alert and not sure about their future in the US.

Klugman says that presented a great opportunity for Waterloo region to advertise itself to some amazing tech workers in Silicon Valley who prefer work security.

It’s that uncertainty, and doubt, and fear that is creating an opportunity for us to come along and say, ‘You know, if America doesn’t want you– we do!’

At the end of the day, the country that can attract the smartest people, and retain the smartest people in their country is going to win.” said Klugman.

“We’ve had challenges getting people to move here for a lot of reasons but now we can say, ‘You know what? You don’t have to move. You can join a remarkable company right here in Waterloo, Ontario.’

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Iain Klugman, in an interview to Kitchener Today

Communitech CEO

Klugman also says he expects a lot of new foreign talent to come to Waterloo and Canada promptly but he says it is not very easy to attract tech talent to come to Canada even with recent H1B closures.

It will be interesting to see how Canada can compete with salaries that are more than double in the US as well as hundreds of very well funded tech companies in Silicon Valley to choose from.

Google to Hire Up To 5,000 Employees in Canada

Google has announced last week that it will be adding three times more employees than they have now in Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo – Kitchener, Ontario.

Google hopes to get the hires in within the next few years. Each location will get a new office. Kitchener is expected to have the largest number of employees hired, as many as 3,000.

Google is following the lead of Amazon, Microsoft, and Shopify – all opening new offices and increasing staff in Canada. This can definitely help persuade some Canadian engineers not to move to USA for work and stay local. On the other hand, with unemployment rate as low as 1% in IT field, this may prevent some local tech companies and startups from hiring local IT talent as salaries might increase and available tech talent decrease.

The open web allows any size company or individual creator in Canada to become a global business and reach customers. Canada’s digital economy is now bigger than its forestry, mining and gas industries, and the transition to digital reflects incredible momentum for Canadian businesses leveraging data and online technologies.

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Ruth Porat

CFO, Google

Google is moving to Canada even though the Canadian government has promised to tax the revenue of advertising-driven digital giants such as Facebook and Google. However, one of Canadian newspapers, Globe and Mail, has investigated and found that the Trudeau government has sent some internal memos wanting to expand Google presence into Canada.

There will be many IT jobs to choose from such as software development, game development, sales leadership, AI research and Cloud expertise.

This new expansion from Microsoft, Shopify, Amazon, and now Google puts tremendous pressure on local tech companies in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa where demand for IT talent has skyrocketed in the last 5 years.

With such a rapid hiring, we can see tech salaries in cities like Montreal , Toronto and Waterloo to grow as the tech giants compete for talent.

Fly from Toronto to Waterloo in 18 minutes: Silicon Valley North United

Waterloo as you know is dubbed as Silicon Valley of the North. With over 1,200 new ventures for a population of around 600,000 is the region that has the highest startup density of any area globally.

That is a good thing – but a lot of times Waterloo startup community is connected tightly with Toronto area startup community, especially when it comes to financing and recruiting.

So how can Toronto visit Waterloo and vice versa on daily basis? Well now you would need to be stuck in traffic of around 4 hours round trip. Or take Go Train for around the same time of about 4 to 5 hours wasted.

Do not fret, starting November 6, FlyGTA will offer daily flights to the Waterloo region from downtown Toronto from Monday to Friday. Their planes will seat eight passengers, and only cost $129. No need to be a big hustler to afford one of these trips. And if you travel a lot – the tickets can become as cheap as $105 one way. The flight itself will only take 18 minutes.

Amazon – are you listening? Time to open your HQ2 here.

A post shared by FlyGTA Airlines (@iflygta) on

This is on top of their Niagara Falls flights – only 10 minutes (vs 2.5 hours in traffic round trip) and Muskoka – The Malibu of the North according to NY TImes (ummmm.. I mean Barrie flights) – about 18 minutes.

Toronto or Waterloo / Kitchener for tech startups?

We always want a great place to start our business. In deciding where to bring your business, you must define your priorities on several factors like operating and developer costs. Both, Toronto and Waterloo are considered very business friendly cities but which one is better?

The question below was asked on Quora recently on where it is better to create a technology startup. See the answers given below.

Which is the better place to start a tech startup in Ontario: Toronto or Waterloo? Why? It seems like it would be easier to attract people to Toronto, but Waterloo has a strong support community.


Stavros Rougas , Co-founder Expertise Finder (expertisefinder.com), journalist, writes:

I co-founded a startup that is based in both Waterloo region (downtown Kitchener at Communitech) and in Toronto.

Waterloo region is better for an early startup:
– cheaper
– engineering talent pool
– far easier to connect with people and get support (ie people more more helpful and open)
– tech is the big industry in town

Where Toronto excels:
– need to raise money (more Canadians with money live here, VCs…)
– partnerships: Canadian head offices are normally in Toronto
– connecting with prominent people beyond tech
– have a bit of traction and need to grow (more of everything available if show a little success)
– pool of creative people beyond engineers (marketing…)
– Toronto is more interesting, this attracts people even though it costs
more, Kitchener-Waterloo remains a nice glorified suburb where you
must have a car to have much of a life (light rail and other pending
projects are changing this slowly)

Jesse Rodgers, Building startups in Toronto. Co-founder of TribeHR. Built up VeloCity:

That is a really complicated question that gets even more complicated by the fact that you don’t hear about the activity in Toronto and *everything* startup or tech related gets coverage in Waterloo. I don’t think either place is better than the other but each has it strengths, you decide which you value more.

What I think Toronto’s strengths are:
High net worth individuals that have built $100M+ companies in Canada, have a track record of investing in and helping tech companies grow, and will likely found another company themselves.
Research and talent – there is $1.2 Billion in research annually at the University of Toronto alone and 17K grad students from the top schools across North America.
The city is coming of age and offers a heck of a lifestyle for young adults. You can rent a condo right down town where you and the founding team can live/work… it is a more common practice than people think.

What I think Waterloo’s strengths are:
There is a tight community of founders that know how to get from the idea stage to seed level with a great support network to make the scary ‘founding a company’ feel less scary. This is a huge plus btw.
You can easily access the Co-op student talent at the University of Waterloo which is *the best* talent you will find at an undergraduate level anywhere in North America. It is also extremely cost effective talent.
You can still access Toronto’s ecosystem from Waterloo — this one is diminishing quickly as the transit situation is rapidly deteriorating (it now takes over 4 hours for a round trip, it was 2 hours) however there are ways to still make it work.

Have fun with your choice… and remember location won’t make you successful unless you are in retail 😉

Source: https://www.quora.com/Which-is-the-better-place-to-start-a-tech-startup-in-Ontario-Toronto-or-Waterloo-Why/answer/Stavros-Rougas

Kitchener Clearpath Robotics’s OTTO Motors makes self driving vehicles for warehouses, raises $55M Canadian to date

OTTO Motors, a division of Clearpath Robotics, provides self-driving vehicles designed exclusively for indoor material transport. The vehicles operate with infrastructure-free navigation, offering intelligent, safe, efficient, and reliable transportation within industrial centers. Proprietary hardware, software, and services are delivered to provide customer excellence.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

Clearpath Robotics was founded in 2009 by Ryan Gariepy (CTO), Bryan Webb (COO) and Matt Rendall (CEO). In April 2016, the company launched its industrial division, OTTO Motors, to provide self-driving vehicles for material transport to manufacturing and warehouse operators.

How are you being financed?

Our parent company, Clearpath Robotics, raised its first round of VC funding in March 2015 and its Series B funding in October 2016.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

Scaling a high-growth company is our biggest challenges. It’s something we’ve had a lot of practice with over the course of our business, but there are always growing pains associated when it comes to scaling up. From improving team communications to efficiently planning inventory stock, there’s a full range of factors that can be impacted when growing a company’s team, product line, and customer base.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

We’re fortunate to receive over 9,000 applicants each year for the positions we post on Clearpath Robotics and OTTO Motors. We open our application process to prospective team members globally, engage in recruitment activities with local universities, and engage in the online community through social media discussions and recruitment advertising.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?

We were profitable within 18 months of inception and now we’re a multi-million dollar organization. Addressing the market needs to ensure a product-market fit is our number focus, and we do this by listening to our customers and iterating on products and solutions quickly to ensure we provide the highest value possible. Expanding with our industrial division was an important strategic move for us since OTTO Motors serves a very separate market (ie: manufacturers in industry) than the Clearpath Robotics business (i.e: researchers in academia).

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is how to manage growth, yet with more growth, comes more growing pains. So although we’ve learned a lot, there is always more to gain!