Why Toronto is home to the highest number of AI start-ups in the world

Toronto is one of the largest and most diverse cities in Canada. Home to some of the country’s largest tech companies and the Toronto Stock Exchange, this city can boast of a robust economy and technological market.

This financial stability and steady patronage to tech companies have fueled Toronto’s rise in the start-up world. The Digital Journal reports that Toronto has become an innovation hub due to numerous start-ups catering to different industries.

PwC released a report in 2017 revealing that artificial intelligence (AI) investments in Canadian start-ups had increased by 88% from last year. The total investment amount for AI start-ups crossed $ 191 million. The majority of these investments were in the seed and early stages.

What is contributing to this steady rise of artificial intelligence start-ups in the city? Read ahead to find out!

1. Rise of the venture capital market in Toronto

The funding success for most AI-based start-ups in the city is partly due to a broader phenomenon—Canadian venture capitalists. The Canadian venture capital market is taking a chance on the local start-ups in the city, encouraging others to launch their ideas and find investors.

According to CPE Media Analytics, 2019 saw more than $ 2.2 billion of Canadian venture capital funds flow into Canadian start-ups. CPE predicts that these capital funds can bump up to $5 billion in the coming years.

2. A diverse environment fostering a spirit of innovation

Most AI experts agree that the rise of AI start-ups in Toronto can be attributed to its rich and diverse talent pool. The strong university system in Ontario and the immigrant-friendly work policies make it easier for highly qualified candidates to come to Canada for work.

MaRS conducted a survey among top AI companies in Toronto which revealed that more than 54% of the participants hired international applicants in 2017. Most of these applicants were from countries like India, China and Brazil.

These candidates don’t just bring innovation and originality to the table but also bring their work ethics. These qualities help drive innovation in the local start-ups.

3. The burgeoning talent pool in local colleges and universities

The robust university system in Toronto is also adding fantastic candidates to the system. Many sound engineering and tech colleges in the GTA region offer great AI and Machine Learning courses. These universities foster innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit among their students—qualities that are important for AI start-ups.

Thus, start-ups in the city can cherry-pick their candidates from the local graduates who are great at both tech and business.

4. Proximity to the USA

Toronto is an easy flight from most metropolitan cities in the USA, including Chicago, Boston and New York. This makes it easier for start-ups to keep in touch with US-based investors. Additionally, the influx of talent and capital from the USA into Toronto helps the city nourish its start-up environment.

The capital being raised by Toronto-based AI start-ups is enormous. Early last year, the Vector Institute, the AI lab at the University of Toronto, pulled in more than $150 million in funding. Its investors include tech giants like Google.

Samsung has also announced its plans to open a research and development wing for AI-focused healthcare in Toronto.

Another factor that gives AI start-ups in Toronto a leg up is the presence of the government-funded healthcare system. It helps start-ups reduce their operating costs when they don’t have to pay for their employees’ healthcare. They can divert this fund into building innovation into their companies.

Other factors include AI developments in the industry and the immense applications and benefits of artificial intelligence in different Canadian industries like the automotive industry, energy management, and the healthcare domain.

With AI-based start-ups flourishing in Toronto, it can be a good idea to pursue AI, machine learning and data analytics courses. Having a relevant qualification in these subjects can allow you to explore the dynamic start-up scene in Toronto.

The Diploma in Data Analytics Co-op program from the Toronto School of Management (TSoM) can help you join the exciting world of start-ups in Toronto.

The one-year diploma can help you learn the relevant analytical and critical thinking skills that can help you drive innovation in a start-up dynamic environment. The program can also introduce you to cutting-edge coding languages and tools like R, Tableau and SAS, which can further heighten your career prospects.

Click here to secure an excellent start-up role with this program from TSoM.