RBC has announced a multi-year investment and collaboration with Toronto-based innovation hub OneEleven, with the goal of helping startups scale beyond their first million.
The investment — the number of which is not being disclosed — is meant to help OneEleven increase accessibility to its space, services, and networks. The collaboration will provide opportunities for joint events and programming, startup support services, networking, and investment opportunities.
“Not only does our collaboration with OneEleven help them deliver programming and services at their new office space, but also we’ll be involved on site to provide startups with advice and mentoring and to work with OneEleven on delivering thought-leadership to the community,” said David Rozin, national director of knowledge based industries at RBC. “Naturally, one of the potential benefits of our involvement with OneEleven is that it could lead to direct collaborations with startups in the program. This might take the form of an investment, or it might be a collaboration to develop an idea that could benefit RBC’s clients. We’re certainly interested in the possibilities.”
OneEleven recently opened a new 250,000 square foot space at 325 Front Street West, and while it initially started as an accelerator, it’s shifted its focus to becoming a hub for scaleups — the latter being a commonly cited challenge facing Canadian companies.
“This collaboration between RBC and OneEleven will contribute directly to Canada’s future positioning as a leader in the global innovation ecosystem,” says Bilal Khan, managing director of OneEleven. “With the support of our allies, OneEleven is providing talented individuals with the resources and connections they need to grow and scale successful tech companies and create real impact.”
For its part, RBC has been focused on its own innovation strategy, having recently been ranked one of the top Canadian banks for embracing FinTech innovation. The bank also said that it wants to spend 40 percent of its budget on innovation.
“RBC works with a number of excellent innovators and accelerators across Canada. We’re thrilled to be working with OneEleven because we believe the future of Canada’s economic prosperity depends on our ability to commercialize ground-breaking ideas—OneEleven is well positioned to help startups do this,” said Rozin. “They have an impressive list of mentors, a great model to help companies scale and have created a unique culture that drives innovation. And, with their new space, they have the increased capacity to help an even greater number of startups reach new heights.”
Last year, RBC partnered with the University of Toronto to create a new accelerator.