Silicon Valley unicorn Productboard eyes Vancouver, Toronto for expansion

The startup plans to hire 70 Canadian employees following a $125 million USD round.

San Francisco-based unicorn Productboard is growing its Vancouver office and is preparing to formally launch one in Toronto.

While the startup hasn’t publicly announced a Toronto office, Productboard’s senior communications manager, Neha Jewalikar, told BetaKit the startup currently has 28 people in the Ontario city.

“We recognize just how immensely qualified and diverse the talent market is in Canada.”

Jewalikar said a date hasn’t been set yet for when the Toronto office officially opens.

Productboard also plans to expand its Vancouver presence, and is currently hiring for new roles in the west coast city.

The plans to scale its Canadian arm come just as it announced a $125 million USD Series D funding round. Productboard places its current valuation at $1.725 billion USD.

Productboard said it intends to use the funds to support and scale product offerings for its growing base of enterprise customers, fuel hiring efforts, and continue to position itself as a leader in the product management software space.

Productboard provides a project management platform for companies that helps build roadmaps for products, provides customer insights, and captures and collects customer feedback in one place, among other things.

In 2022, the startup intends to hire 70 employees divided between Vancouver and Toronto.

“We recognize just how immensely qualified and diverse the talent market is in Canada, so we will be focused on growing our team in both Vancouver and Toronto,” Jewalikar said.

The startup launched its Vancouver office in 2021, where it has 67 employees. Currently, it has 19 positions open in Vancouver, including for a strategic finance and business associate; an engineering manager; and managers in customer success and customer engagement roles.

It will be the second increase in staffing in Productboard’s Vancouver office. When the startup raised $72 million in Series C funding in April 2021 it announced that it would increase the size of its Vancouver team.

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Productboard claims to have more than 250 customers in Canada. Overall, Productboard claims more than 5,500 customers globally with more than 400 employees.

Vancouver is one of the fastest-growing talent pools in North America. Vancouver added over 24,000 tech jobs since 2015, an increase of more than 36 percent. The city now boasts a total of 91,000 tech jobs, placing it above similarly-sized Detroit and just behind much more populous Houston.

Because of its proximity to Silicon Valley, Vancouver has risen to become a popular hub for technology startups. Although tech firms from elsewhere are choosing the coastal city as well.

The European information services firm Dialectica announced plans to create over 500 jobs in Montréal and Vancouver by 2025 as it looks to capture more of the North and South American market and tap into Canada’s talent pool.

Some other companies bulking up in Vancouver in the last couple of years include Microsoft; the San Francisco-based FinTech startup, Chime; Amazon – with 3,000 new jobs – and San Francisco FinTech startup Brex.

As well, Silicon Valley Bank, a United States-based commercial bank that helps fund tech startups, opened a Vancouver office in 2020.

Some of the city’s advantages for technology firms, according to the Vancouver Economic Commission, include a “collaborative ecosystem,” a low cost of doing business, and the city’s “business efficiency and infrastructure.” The latter included (pre-COVID) 700 direct, weekly flights to the US, according to the Vancouver Economic Commission.

Asked about further plans for Canada, Productboard’s Jewalikar said, “depending on COVID restrictions, we’re hoping to bring folks together in person in our Vancouver office, and spend time getting to know each other.”

Image source Unsplash.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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