The Collision conference in Toronto with over 30,000 attendees from 125 countries will be cancelled as per their press release this morning.
Instead the conference will be taking place online only, as Collision from Home .
Collision is a very popular tech conference taking place once a year in Toronto bringing startups, venture capitalists and celebrities to Toronto. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, recorded video welcoming the conference to Canada, and participated as a speaker.
The conference validated the city of Toronto, as the place to be, if you want to be in tech.
For now, given the evolving nature of Covid-19, we think gathering tens of thousands of people from almost every country in the world in one place this June would be irresponsible. Toronto has not suffered a significant Covid-19 outbreak, and at Collision we want to ensure that remains the case.
Second, while Collision will still take place online, as Collision from Home, all our attendees will still get full transfers of their tickets to Collision 2021.
CEO Web Summit, Collision, RISE, f.ounders
Coronavirus has originated in China on December 31 2019 and have spead to more than 80 countries with more than 3,381 deaths.
The Collision conference is not the only conference being cancelled, Toronto conferences like Mobile World Congress, Google’s I/O developer conference, Facebook’s F8 conference, and Shopify’s Unite in Toronto have also been cancelled.
As reported by Wall Street Journal, salaries for software developers outside of Silicon Valley are rising fast. This is due to the fact that the companies are expending outside of Silicon Valley and bidding up the software developers’ salaries.
For example, average salaries in Silicon Valley for 2018 were around $220,000 Canadian dollars, increasing 6% from 2017.
While in Toronto skilled software developers were making on average around $110,000 Canadian dollars in 2018, increasing 7% from 2017.
It seems like salaries in Silicon Valley have risen so much that they have plateaued and are still increasing but at somewhat slower rate.
Companies have started expanding into cities like Toronto where salaries are almost half of what they have to pay for workers in Silicon Valley.
Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey recently said that he thinks that hiring in Silicon Valley is no longer working and that Twitter needs to look outside the Silicon Valley to hire more technical staff.
Toronto has been growing at rapid speed when it comes to number of technical jobs available and salaries that come with them. Toronto has now many companies doing artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other specialty fields that command higher salaries.
The demand for IT is high but talent is very hard to find. For example there are over 350,000 unfilled positions in the US, according to IT trade group CompTIA.
On top of that, according to Dice, over 60% of all software engineers, are planned to move to a different city due to number of constraints.
A total of around 60,000 people were employed in the tech sector in the city of Toronto in 2019. That’s 16.6% increase from 2018. If you compare the tech jobs’ employment to 2014 for example, the IT sector in the City of Toronto has almost doubled.
Looking at the research, you can see that these companies choose to locate in Toronto because Toronto is a tech centre that offers a diversity of education and culture that builds successful organizations.
Mayor of Toronto
John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, has said most companies choose to pick downtown for their location but some expand and open offices in North York, Etobicoke, etc.
Tory said he was happy with the numbers but more must be done when it comes to access to opportunities in some neighborhoods in Toronto, as well as, improving transit around the city.
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.
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.
The minimum number of years of required driving experience will now increase from 1 year to 3 years;
training program must be passed covering such topics as transporting passengers in a safe manner, driving in an urban setting, providing accessible service, anti-racism, diversity and sensitivity;
all ride sharing drivers will now be required to attach “Watch for Bikes” on their windows to alert passengers when exiting;
must alert passengers if they are being recorded.
If you are a new driver you have to pass the training by June 2020, if you are an existing driver you have until end of 2020 to complete it.
Also a handheld devices such as cell phones will now need to be securely secured and mounted in the vehicles.
There will be also a new program called “Accessibility Fund Program” which will charge a fee for not providing a wheel chair accessible transportation, all the fees collected will go to fund special wheel chair accessible transportation.
We have sat down with Ahmed El Kaffas, Co-Founder at Oncoustics, to talk about his Toronto’s startup. The company helps with early diagnosis when it comes to liver disease without invasive biopsies or expensive imaging.
Oncoustics is changing that with AI diagnostics for inexpensive, pocket-sized, point-of-care ultrasound, which is not ordinarily capable of high-resolution diagnostic imaging.
They do this by mining unique raw data streams for subtle signatures of disease, which is beyond perception with conventional methods.
Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?
The Founder: Dr. Ahmed El Kaffas is an Instructor at Stanford University in Radiology researching ultrasound tissue characterization. Dr. El Kaffas graduated from the University of Toronto’s prestigious Sunnybrook Research Institute where world-renowned ultrasound and medical imaging research is conducted.
CEO on founding team: Dr. Michael Weil is an MD in Radiation Oncology and has led several innovative technological developments from concept to market, including products that he has fully licensed to Siemens. He also founded Sirius Medical and has 15+ years in imaging technologies.
Business lead on founding team: Beth Rogozinski is a serial entrepreneur at the cross-bridge of tech and medicine. She has served as CEO of Signal 2 Health and CPO of Pear Therapeutics. He work has produced >30 apps and > 12 for healthcare w/ 2 FDA approvals.
Oncoustics is a multi-disciplinary international team of radiologists, hepatologists, engineers, physicists, AI/ML and business experts, with international data collection and collaborations with Stanford and University of Toronto; total of ~13 employees.
How are you being financed?
Seed Angel Consortium through the Creative Destruction Lab (Toronto) and non-dilutive funds from Grand Challenges Canada, OCE and others.
Building a start up is a lot of work, and as a founder, you are involved in everything from hiring, finding talent to tech dev, business pitches and strategies.
It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of work and many don’t realize that still… failures happen, and one needs to move on after learning the lesson – things never run smoothly.
What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
Our initial obstacle was to set up a global network of clinics to acquire data to train on – this is because the data Oncoustics uses is unique and not conventionally stored on any ultrasound system or hospital repository (PACS). Oncoustics has spent the last year addressing this issue, and now have a steady stream of data flowing into our cloud system, and have started building AI on these.
The next major challenge will be a business one, that is to ensure that Oncoustics can have our product as part of the healthcare buying lifecycle – this is not a major challenge due to our software-based solution which taps on to already available hardware systems in the clinics.
How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
I tend to have a lot of faith in new grads that are passionate about tech and develop, and i’ve found that they are often deeply committed and have quick insight about the product once a training phase of 2-4 months passes; having them take ownership of the work and play a crucial role in the company also ensures that they are part of a founding team in start up like ours.
The GTA is full of excellent tech workers that have proven themselves over and over. I am also linked to Egypt, and often visit – Oncoustics has found an excellent network of developers there deeply passionate about the start up scene. As such, Oncoustics has been fortunate to run our business across several continents and to tap into an incredible network of talent in tech.
Who is your biggest competition?
Due to the nature of our business, Oncoustics does not have any direct completion. That said, Oncoustics has other players that are in parallel spaces; essentially other AI in medical imaging companies.
How are you intending on taking your company to millions / billions dollars in revenues? In what markets?
Introducing low-cost liver disease surveillance and diagnostics with ultrasound; the alternative is i) invasive biopsies, or ii) imaging systems that cost > $150k-$1M.
Using a data-driven solution to enable low cost (< $5k) point-of-care ultrasound systems conventionally designed for guiding a procedure in the emergency room, now transformed to equivalent systems to those in a radiology department.
As death and morbidity rates from liver disease rise around the world, there is a growing need for low cost and widely available surveillance and diagnostics. Oncoustics provides just such a system that is an alternative to both invasive and expensive biopsies and high end imaging systems that cost > $150k-$1M. Our data-driven solution enables low cost (< $5k) point-of-care ultrasound systems to be used as diagnostic systems and accelerates the procedure from hours to minutes. Via this system, more patients everywhere can have faster access to better diagnostics, surveillance and treatment than currently exists.
Revenue will come from:
Partnering with clinical centers,
Distribution through a Saas Model with PoC ultrasound OEMs
Partnerships with Pharmas to train our data for specific indications (i.e. companion device)
What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
Building a start up is a lot of work, and as a founder, you are involved in everything from hiring, finding talent to tech dev, business pitches and strategies. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of work and many don’t realize that still… failures happen, and one needs to move on after learning the lesson – things never run smoothly.
As a company, Oncoustics had to do several pivots to iterate how Oncoustics introduce our tech and idea into the market, and that on it’s own took a significant amount of time and several years of development, talking to MDs, OEMs and understanding the real problems in the space Oncoustics is trying to tackle.
Toronto is once again has been named as one of the best cities in the world to start your tech startup business.
Experts at Movinga, online platform-based moving company, have crunched the numbers and named Toronto as one of the best cities to launch tech startup in the world.
Movinga looked at 75 cities around the world and ranked them based on their “entrepreneurial spirit, business opportunities and economic growth”. They also looked into “looking into startup costs, opportunities for female founders and the typical timeframe for setting up a new business”.
Top three cities for tech startups were San Francisco, London and New York City.
Toronto was the only city in Canada that made the top 10 list.
The main industries for growth in the tech/digital venture category is one of the most interesting datasets in this study. With Artificial Intelligence taking top spot and Blockchain making a noticeable appearance, digital entrepreneurs are clearly leveraging future-facing technologies more than ever.
Marta Blanco Amez
Vice President of Marketing at Movinga
Vancouver and Montreal were among other Canadian cities that made the overall list. Vancouver was #16 and Monteal was #32.
Toronto and Montreal were highlighted as great cities for Artificial technologies while Vancouver was commended for great Block-chain technology use.
Cities were scored on the following criteria
Tech Ecosystem This score indicates the digital business ecosystem available in a city by analysing the number of existing companies recently launched. The Tech Ecosystem score is based on the number of recent startups and for the purpose of this study, a startup is defined as a company founded after 30/6/2017.
Human Capital This score indicates the available tech workforce. Human Capital consists of the average number of people working at a startup in technology-related and digital businesses. Additionally, it contains the current number of job vacancies for developers. For the purpose of this study, a startup is defined as a company founded after 30/6/2017.
Venture Capital This score analyses how many companies have received venture capital to evaluate the funding environment in the city. The score indicates the sum of the (publicly available) amount of funding that technology-related and digital startups received. For the purpose of this study, a startup is defined as a company founded after 30/6/2017.
Main Industry for Growth This factor reveals the most popular type of startup in the city. The results are the category/categories with the most startups in a city. For the purpose of this study, a startup is defined as a company founded after 30/6/2017.
How tech startup scene in Toronto , Montreal and Vancouver stack up
In overall tech ecosystem Toronto was #7, Vancouver #16, Montreal #32.
When it came to availability of tech staff to do the job , Vancouver was the ranked the best in Canada at # 24 , Toronto #39 and Montreal was at #42.
Easiest cities in Canada to raise money for technology startups were: Toronto at #22, Vancouver at #27, and Montreal at #31.
It was surprising to see Sao Paulo Brazil and Singapore making it in the top 10 list.
It was interesting to see Tallinn as top of the cities for availability of great tech talent.
And less of a surprise it was striking to see that Beijing and Shangai beat New York when it comes to VC money. You would think New York would be #1 in this.
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