Is Canada’s Startup Landscape That Robust?
Jan 13, 2012, written Mark Evan’s Tech Startups
At a conference earlier this week put on by the Ontario Media Development Corp., I kicked off panel I was moderating by boldly declaring the Canadian startup landscape is as exciting and healthy as it has ever been during the 15 years I’ve spent as a reporter, entrepreneur and startup consultant.
But before I could ask a question, one of the panelists, Real Ventures’ J.S. Cournoyer, stepped into the fray by suggesting the landscape wasn’t as bullish as my description. His key point, which is totally on the mark, is there still isn’t enough capital to properly support and nurture startups. Instead, there are small pockets of activity that are celebrated but are relatively modest in the scheme of things.
It got me thinking about whether my enthusiasm is well-intentioned but a bit misplaced. As I thought it through, it struck me there are three parts to Canada’s startup ecosystem.
On one hand, there are investors, who are slowly but surely becoming more active. Players such as Real Ventures, Extreme Ventures, iNovia, Mantella Ventures, Golden Ventures and OMERS are making some interesting investments. Nevertheless, it’s a relative drop in the bucket to what’s needed for the Canadian startup ecosystem to really thrive.
We’ve also got a growing number of incubators and accelerators – players such as Founder Fuel, Extreme Labs, GrowLab, Next36, MaRS Commons and Incubes. Even so, it’s a modest amount.
Then, there are the entrepreneurs themselves, who the most exciting and active part of the ecosystem. With the barriers to entry to lower than ever and entrepreneurialism becoming hip, startups and here, there and everywhere. In fact, I’m starting to think it’s too frothy given some of the startups I’ve seen recently.
When you look at the three “buckets”, there are different stages and healthiness. So to make a sweeping statement about the startup landscape without breaking things out is a mistake.
It is difficult to tell how startup scene will evolve over the next couple of years. Maybe we’ll see more capital for the startups seeking seed and growth capital. Maybe accelerators and incubators will, in fact, create high-quality opportunities and businesses. And maybe we’ll continue to see a robust entrepreneur landscape, as well as a healthy amount of roadkill given not everyone can be successful.
If I’m guilty of anything, it’s being a glass half-full person. While things aren’t perfect, I do see lots of reasons for encouragement.
What do you think? Are we guilty of being too bullish?
Original Article: Is Canada’s Startup Landscape That Robust? | Mark Evans Tech