It takes a cluster to raise a startup, and Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood has emerged as one such nurturing ecosystem for technology companies. The new contender for Silicon Valley North has displaced Waterloo, Ont., as the country’s innovation hub, playing host to some of the biggest names in Canada’s booming technology sector.
Vancouver isn’t just a tech staging ground anymore either, says Bill Tam, president and CEO of the B.C. Technology Industry Association. “Many of those founders believe they can build billion-dollar companies here,” he says. “It’s not about exits or the horizon to build it to a certain size and look like M&A opportunities—it’s about actually building home- grown successes.”
That’s encouraging news for the sector as a whole, since proximity to success ups the chances of mentorship and col- laboration that could spark other entrepreneurial endeavours. Many of the people leading Vancouver’s new tech giants are keen to help budding entrepreneurs grow and thrive, says Tam. “They are very active in trying to ensure they can translate or transfer some of the expertise, the connections, the customer linkages, to the next generation of startups.” Here’s a look at just how tightly knit Vancouver’s tech sector really is.
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