Tag Archives: waterloo

Pandemic brings 3x growth to Kitchener Waterloo startup Faire

Working on a startup is an admirable goal because it takes months, often years, to get rewarded for your hard work. But sometimes, you can run into a golden egg, as was what happened to Marcos Cortes, the co-founder, and chief tech officer at Faire. The golden egg, in this case, was the lockdown following the COVID-19 -a solid example of what was a nightmare for some became a dream come true for others. 

Faire, an online marketplace connecting everyday customers with wholesale vendors, rounded up a staggering 260 million dollars in its latest investment venture earlier in June. This brought the value of this Canadian startup to 7 billion dollars -making it one of the best startups the country has seen!

With this rapid success, Faire has expanded its worker base too. The Kitchener, where the Faire employees worked, hosted around 55 workers before the pandemic, and that quickly rose to 175. The startup has continued to expand its workspace, and Cortes expects to shift to two to three large offices soon. As many companies get comfortable in the work-from-home lifestyle from the lockdown, Faire envisions a hybrid model. 

Faire has kept its momentum on expansion. The company is also looking for a space to host its 25 employees in Toronto. The company has also gone international, as they now search for offices in London, England, to facilitate their expansion in 10 European countries. 

Faire’s competitors aren’t expecting great news anytime soon, as the exponential success of startups continues to snowball. More retailers are looking to sell their products at Faire because it connects them to a larger market. Over 18,000 brands and about 200,000 retailers use Faire to sell to their target audience. Most of the retail markets that Faire caters to are small-independent retailers who love the 60-day pay time and the ability to return goods in that window. Other than that, it’s gaining popularity among medium-sized brands which are big enough for warehouse services. 

Faire has a motive, and it doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. This huge growth has caught the attention of Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm based around silicon valley, which leads the last two rounds of investment for Faire.

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.’


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.


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.

14 AI Companies Hiring Now in Toronto

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.

freestocks-photos / Pixabay

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.

12019 / Pixabay

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 Software 


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.

Canopy Labs


Every customer reaches a buying decision in their unique way – Canopy Labs helps businesses to track and optimize their customer journey.


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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.


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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!


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We believe that making intelligent decisions can be made easier with AI and today we have multi-billion-dollar clients with retail brands operating in North America, Europe, and Asia.


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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.

Kognitive Marketing


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.


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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.


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Naborly has reinvented how credit reports and scores work for the rental industry to help landlords know who they’re renting to, while helping tenants build credit by just paying their rent!



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.’



Viafoura empowers over 600 media brands to engage, discover, and grow their audience through seamlessly integrated user registration, engagement, moderation, and analytics modules–all in one platform.



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.

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.

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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.

Vancouver and Toronto Ranked in Top 20 Startup Ecosystem around the World

The Startup Ecosystem Ranking report is out for another year and they have been some significant changes – London went up 3 places to #3, and Berlin went up 2 places to #7, and Beijing came in at #4.

Things look good for Canada as well especially if you work and live in Vancouver or Toronto region (Waterloo included). Toronto went up 1 spot to #16, and Vancouver went up 3 spots to #15. Unfortunately Montreal did not make the list.

Startup Genome is a global collaborative effort to help regions everywhere nurture and maintain thriving tech startup ecosystems. Insights gathered from 10,000+ startup companies and 300 partner organizations, provide a starting point for founders, employers, local leaders, and policymakers in 50+ cities around the world to make informed and timely decisions that drive innovation and economic growth.

In regards to Vancouver, report said:

Vancouver is leveraging its unique combination of assets: Hollywood North, a strong industrial foundation, enterprise data and cloud underpinnings, and a remarkably diverse talent pool, with over half its residents having a first tongue other than English.

The city may have the fewest number of startups in top 20, but their valuations are highly competitive. Its funding metrics point to the Vancouver ecosystem holding steady, not rising or sinking greatly.

Toronto was another story, the report said:

An estimated 2,100 to 2,700 startups thrive thanks in part to world-class engineering talent, strong entrepreneurial culture, an affordable rental market, and a global base of customers. It benefits from multicultural talent drawn from sixteen academic institutions…alongside generous tax credits, government grants, and favourable currency exchange.


Top 20 Startup Cities  as according to Startup Genome for 2017

  1. Silicon Valley (unchanged)
  2. New York City (unchanged)
  3. London (up from #6)
  4. Beijing (new entry)
  5. Boston (down from #4)
  6. Tel Aviv (down from #5)
  7. Berlin (up from #9)
  8. Shanghai (new entry)
  9. Los Angeles (down from #3)
  10. Seattle (down from #8)
  11. Paris (unchanged)
  12. Singapore (down from #10)
  13. Austin (up from #14)
  14. Stockholm (new entry)
  15. Vancouver (up from #18)
  16. Toronto – greater Waterloo area (up from #17)
  17. Sydney (down from #16)
  18. Chicago (down from #7)
  19. Amsterdam (unchanged)
  20. Bangalore (down from #15)

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