Bet on Collision coming to Toronto in 2019

Toronto Skyline

Paddy Cosgrave really wants you to know that Collision is looking for a new home. The co-founder of Web Summit, one of the world’s largest tech conferences, has been recently road-showing its sister event in an attempt to find a suitable replacement for New Orleans, which will host Collision for the last time in May (the city has hosted the event since 2016).

To drum up attention for the move, the Web Summit and Collision teams have adopted an Amazon HQ2 promotional strategy, presenting a short list of applicants and asking the global technorati to vote their choice. New York, Las Vegas, Los Angelas, Denver, and San Francisco have all made the list, along with one Canadian selection: Toronto.

Today, Cosgrave took to LinkedIn, asking his followers if he should do as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asks and choose the lone Canadian city on Collision’s short list. Here are some highlights:

    “Canada to some extent has lived in the technology shadow of America. But that’s changing and changing fast.

    “A new wave of Canadian founders are building companies not just out of Canada but all over the world. From Shopify to Cloudflare, there’s a new generation blazing a global trail. Google’s AI visionary, Geoff Hinton, is based in Toronto, not Silicon Valley.”

And importantly:

    “At the very moment when some countries around the world seem to be shutting their borders, when intolerance is on the rise, Toronto stands for something very different. If the statistics are to be believed, Toronto is of the most multicultural and diverse city on the planet. That matters a lot in today’s world.

    “As an example of the challenging times we live in, we know that quite a number of tech entrepreneurs from around the world were denied entry into the United States to attend Collision 2017. That pattern, despite our best efforts, has continued in 2018.

    “One can only guess how many great tech entrepreneurs and engineers have been discouraged from even considering attending a tech conference in the United States recently because of uncertainty over immigration policies.”

Cosgrave is known as a “PR master,” but the extent to which he lays out the argument for the city goes beyond the standard platitudes. He sounds like a man presenting his eventual justification for the first Collision to take place outside of the United States.

According to sources familiar with the matter, expect the official announcement of Collision in Toronto for 2019 to be delivered shortly in the coming weeks.

According to sources familiar with the matter, that is exactly the case. While BetaKit has been denied official confirmation from both Collision and the City of Toronto, expect the official announcement of Collision in Toronto for 2019 to be delivered shortly in the coming weeks, likely before the start of this year’s event (April 30th).

According to those sources, the most likely Toronto location to field the event is Exhibition Place, which is one of the few large enough for something of Collision’s size. The event expects 25,000 attendees from 120 countries, with over 350 speakers, in 2018.

Cosgrave’s LinkedIn article specifically referenced the work done by Toronto Mayor John Tory and his office to create a large Web Summit delegation in 2017 in helping to shape the vision for Collision in Toronto. Responding to a request for comment, Mayor Tory had this to say.

“As one of the world’s most diverse and welcoming cities, we are excited that Collision is considering Toronto for their technology festival,” Tory said. “In Toronto they will find not only a great partner that will help them grow their festival, but also a large and vibrant innovation community that is solving some of society’s biggest challenges and can be showcased with the world.”

With Elevate entering its second year, and Collision very likely on the way, it is great to see the Toronto ecosystem capable of supporting multiple international tech events.

Feature image courtesy Flickr.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.