Waterloo tops in high tech intelligence
“New York-based Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) chose Waterloo from among seven finalists for its annual award as the community that best exemplifies the development of a prosperous economy based on broadband and information technology.”
You can read the entire piece from the Globe and Mail here.
It is a great tribute to the many folks in the Waterloo region who labour in the tech field that the area is now getting international attention. The criteria were interesting as well, and may even ignore many of the other unique pieces to the Waterloo fabric, such as the Perimeter Institute, for example:
“Finalists for the award were chosen on the basis of several indicators, including significant deployment of broadband communications, the extent of a knowledge work force, the promotion of digital democracy, the ability to foster innovation, and a track record in economic development marketing.”
The breadth of the tech community ensures deep penetration of broadband communications, and the sheer number of RIM and Open Text employees would drive the knowledge workforce numbers as a percentage of the local population. Research in Motion (RIM:TSX) is a global icon for fostering innovation, and Communitech et al do a solid job of marketing the halcyon days of the area’s tech start-ups (RIM, OTC, DSG, MKX, DSA, CDV, etc.) as well as the fabulous post secondary education infrastructure of the region.
Once the fruits of the recent infrastructure investments kick in, awards of this type should only get easier for Waterloo to win in the years to come.
In related news, the Thomson Financial database is reporting just a single new tech venture capital financing in the past twelve months in the Kitchener and Waterloo region: Rapidmind received $10 million in February 2007. There were also three follow-ons for Covarity (founded in 2001), LiveHive (founded in 2004) and Sirific (founded in 2000); and they’re all good stories.
Toronto-based Robin Axon of Ventures West led the Rapidmind deal, with participation from Edgestone and BDC Venture Capital.
One new VC tech deal in a year?
Burlington, Ontario, as an example, has had three tech firms receive first time financings in the same timeframe: aal Solutions (a Wellington Financial Fund III portfolio company), IPICO (led by Brookfield’s tech fund) and iUpload (led by U.S.-based Greylock). Who would have guessed there’d be more venture capital tech deals closed in Burlington (a city of similar size to Waterloo) than in the world’s “most intelligent community”?
You can follow the earlier coverage of this topic in our Waterloo Investing Trends series. And, if University of Waterloo President David Johnston is interested, our offer still stands to help create a $10 million technology commercialization fund for the school’s many entrepreneurs; at last count we had $4 million of VC funds pledged to the concept after a couple of telephone calls.
But, as one VC friend from down that way tells me, everything is perfectly fine and I should just move on to other topics of more relevance to the Canadian tech community than the apparent lack of tech venture capital financings in the world’s most intelligent tech community….