Today, Communitech, the Ryerson University Digital Media Zone (DMZ), and OneEleven jointly announced a partnership to provide reciprocal services and facilities to each institution’s member companies. DMZ and OneEleven startups will be able to apply for stays at Communitech of up to one week, with full access to the regular services of the innovation centre’s regular members, and vice versa for Communitech companies when in Toronto.
“This is another step in strengthening the Waterloo-Toronto technology supercluster,” said Communitech CEO, Iain Klugman. “By providing access to facilities and expertise in both Toronto and Waterloo Region, we are better equipping our companies to succeed.”
Speaking with The Globe and Mail, Communitech Director of External Relations Chris Plunkett indicated just how important even modest support can be to connect startups to new markets.
“If a company has to waste a couple of hours on the road between Waterloo and Toronto it can blow a whole day for them, so having a place where they can do work instead of setting up at a coffee shop is a lot more productive,” he said.
This specific link between Toronto and Waterloo has been operating surreptitiously for months (as far back as November, when we spoke with Plunkett at Series 401). Formalizing the partnership allows more startups to take part while also providing a better understanding of which startups are going where, and for what.
The partnership is also an indication of an overall thawing between members of the Canadian startup space as the ecosystem evolves. Plunkett indicated that this newfound cooperation has come as each institution has become more confident in the space it has carved out.
“Maybe at one point there was more of a competitive nature, now it’s more, ’hey look, we’re both taking on the world, how can we help each other do that better?”