Google to launch first Canadian accelerator in Kitchener-Waterloo


Google is launching an accelerator for early-stage tech startups in Kitchener-Waterloo. The accelerator will be the tech giant’s first in Canada and the 12th globally.

The announcement of the accelerator was made alongside news that Google is set to open three new offices in Canada, including one in Kitchener-Waterloo, where it has had a presence since 2005 when it opened a four-person office, later expanding into the Tannery Building.

“Google is committed to helping the Canadian startup ecosystem thrive by investing in an accelerator.”

The new three-month accelerator program will host two cohorts this year, with eight to 10 startups in each. Ashley Francisco, Canada startup ecosystem lead at Google, will be heading up the new accelerator, according to The Logic. The theme for the first cohort is yet to be confirmed, and the company will explore various potential themes, such as health and gaming, in the next few weeks.

Steven Woods, senior engineering director at Google and Waterloo site lead, called the Toronto-Waterloo corridor “the perfect place for [Google] to expand our footprint, and help grow the next generation of founders in Canada.”

“Google is committed to helping the Canadian startup ecosystem thrive by investing in an accelerator in Waterloo,” he added.

Other tech and business giants have made similar moves in Canada recently, such as Amazon’s Alexa Voice Tech accelerator, Colliers Proptech Accelerator, and Microsoft’s multiple partnerships with local innovation hubs, including most recently a partnership with Invest Ottawa aimed at supporting startups in the public sector.

Since opening its office in the city in 2005, Google has expanded its physical presence and formed industry partnerships with local innovation hubs like Communitech and the University of Waterloo’s Velocity accelerator, to provide mentorship and business resources to local entrepreneurs.

The tech giant has worked out of the Breithaupt Block building since 2016. At the time its current office opened in 2017 it was the second-largest engineering office outside of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, with 185,000 sq. ft. of space. In June, it was reported that Google’s current Kitchener-Waterloo engineering office would double in size. Today’s announcement confirms those plans. You can read more about Google’s new Kitchener-Waterloo office here.

Applications for Google’s new accelerator open in March and the first cohort is set to start in April.

With files from Meagan Simpson.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

0 replies on “Google to launch first Canadian accelerator in Kitchener-Waterloo”