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Imagining the Supercity: KW and Toronto should join forces, according to the new intelligence report

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opens Google’s new Canadian engineering headquarters in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario

The Waterloo Region has a unique startup ecosystem, but it needs to bulk up to truly gain international attention, claims the new intelligence report released on February 15th 2016 by Entrevestor Intelligence. The report sheds light on the potential of KW-Toronto corridor and its status as an innovation hub – with a focus on the need and significance of building “Canada’s tech supercity”.

“Kitchener-Waterloo is an important linchpin in the most important technology cluster in the country,” said John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, quoted in this report, adding that Toronto is extremely active, and combining it with the Waterloo Region would produce an entity responsible for more than half the VC deals in the country.

Top 5 report highlights:
  1. Velocity, the largest free startup incubator in North America has accepted 163 companies, expanding to welcome even more in 2016.
  2. The Waterloo Region has the second-highest concentration of startups in the world, but it’s not ranked in the top 20 ecosystems.
  3. Bridgit, a construction industry app and one of the region’s hottest startups, recently won the Google Demo Day in Silicon Valley and wrapped up a strong year with plans to expand into the US
  4. Better transportation options between Toronto and the Waterloo Region are sorely needed, but a high-speed train link might still be a decade away
  5. KW and Toronto risk to become a “farm team to the Valley”, but strong fundraising rounds (KIK’s $50M and Vidyard’s $35M), a growing number of exits, and companies like Google expanding in the region are widely seen as good signs for the ecosystem.
Toronto and KW as a hub of corporations, population, capital, talent and active community can be a powerful force in fuelling money into the country. With so many important stakeholders aligned, a Prime Minister who has expressed enthusiasm for innovation and recently visited the new Google’s new Canadian engineering headquarters in Waterloo, and the mayors of Kitchener, Waterloo and Toronto cooperating, Toronto and KW are well positioned to join forces and strengthen the region's global reputation.

The report sought out the views of Communitech President and CEO Iain Klugman, Kik CEO Ted Livingston, OMERS Ventures CEO John Ruffolo, and Google Canada Managing Director Sam Sebastian and Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Tim Jackson, the EVP Corporate and Community Development and Lead Executive at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing and many others. Please read the full report here: http://entrevestor.com/images/uploads/Entrevestor_KW_MAR2016_Digital.pdf
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