Toronto, Vancouver slip in Startup Genome’s 2024 rankings as Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa rise

Smaller Canadian cities make strides in 2024 as larger ecosystems lose some of their lustre.

Canada’s two largest tech ecosystems saw their rankings inch down in Startup Genome’s 2024 latest global startup ecosystem report.

According to the report, which ranks global regions based on the strength and quality of their startup ecosystems, both Toronto-Waterloo and Vancouver maintained their positions within the top 40 global startup ecosystems. Toronto-Waterloo ranked as the eighth best ecosystem in North America, while Vancouver ranked 15th on the continent.

Calgary and Ottawa made gains in Startup Genome’s Emerging Ecosystems rankings.

However, Toronto-Waterloo slipped to 18th place globally from 17th in 2023, as it was overtaken by Chicago.

Vancouver experienced a more significant drop in the global rankings, falling to 34th place globally from 30th the previous year.

Startup Genome ranks ecosystems using data from over 4.5 million companies across more than 300 cities worldwide. The rankings are based on six differently weighted factors: performance, funding, market reach, talent and experience, and knowledge. Unsurprisingly, the top three ecosystems globally this year were Silicon Valley, London, and New York City.

In total, five Canadian cities appeared in Startup Genome’s rankings this year. Montréal, also in the top 40 global ecosystems, improved its ranking by one position, advancing to 39th place this year. The city is the third-highest ranked among other Canadian ecosystems.

According to the report’s spotlight on Montréal, the city generated $39 billion in ecosystem value between 2021 and 2023, surpassing the global average. The report also highlighted life sciences, cleantech, and FinTech as key strengths of the local ecosystem.

Startup Genome’s findings on the top three Canadian cities contrast with another global ecosystem report released by StartupBlink this month. StartupBlink’s rankings saw Toronto advance to 22nd in the world, nearly double the position of Vancouver, which improved by one place this year.

RELATED: Toronto’s lead over other Canadian cities continues to widen in new startup ecosystem rankings

StartupBlink’s findings suggest a widening gap between Toronto and other Canadian cities, whereas Startup Genome’s report indicates that other Canadian cities are closing in on Toronto’s lead.

Two additional Canadian cities made significant gains in Startup Genome’s Emerging Ecosystems Ranking, which evaluates 100 startup communities considered to be at the earlier stages of growth.

Calgary moved up to the 41–50 range from last year’s 51–60 range, demonstrating substantial improvement. Ottawa also advanced, now ranking in the 61–70 range, up from the 71–80 range in 2023.

The report’s ecosystem spotlight on Calgary highlighted three key strengths: a low cost of living, access to global talent, and a high quality of life.

“Not too long ago, Calgary wasn’t on the map as a world-class destination for startups or a hub for innovation,” Brad Parry, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, said in a recent statement about Startup Genome’s findings. “But with talent and investment flowing into Calgary, we have all the right pieces in place for our innovation economy to continue its pace as one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the world and allow us to continue competing on the global stage.”

Feature image courtesy Unsplash. Photo by Igor Kyryliuk and Tetiana Kravchenko.

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.

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