Toronto-Waterloo rises, Calgary and Montréal ecosystems to watch in Startup Genome’s global FinTech rankings

Vancouver cracks top 10 ecosystems with a population of less than three million.

Startup Genome has published a new report ranking the top ecosystems for FinTech startups in the world, naming Toronto-Waterloo as the only Canadian city or region in its top 20.

Of the regions named to the list, Toronto-Waterloo was the third biggest mover, jumping five spots from its 12th-place finish in Startup Genome’s 2020 FinTech report to seventh in the world, behind only Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Beijing.

Toronto-Waterloo has jumped five spots since 2020, fuelled in part by increased venture investment.

According to Startup Genome, Toronto-Waterloo’s rise was fuelled partly by the increased venture investment it saw last year in both Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, including Wealthsimple’s $750 million May 2021 funding round. This report comes after Toronto fell from 14th to 17th in Startup Genome’s overall ecosystem rankings.

Startup Genome also named Calgary and Montréal as two of the top FinTech ecosystems to watch in North America, ranking Vancouver 10th and Calgary 32nd among ecosystems with a population of under three million.

Founded in 2016, Startup Genome is a San Francisco-based policy advisory and research organization focused on measuring startup ecosystem performance. The organization’s latest FinTech report measures ecosystems from 2017 to 2021 on the basis of seven factors: performance, funding, startup experience, knowledge, talent, focus, and legacy.

The report draws on a Startup Genome survey with over 100,000 participants, interviews with over 100 experts, and data from Crunchbase, Dealroom, PitchBook, CB Insights, and local partners, collected between 2017 and 2022. A variety of BetaKit reporting was also cited in Startup Genome’s research.

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Toronto-Waterloo, which is labeled as a single ecosystem by Startup Genome, ranked top-tier in terms of performance, funding, startup experience, focus, and legacy, but more poorly on the knowledge and talent front, according to the report. The report dubs Toronto-Waterloo North America’s “third-largest and fastest-growing innovation ecosystem.”

The Toronto-Waterloo region plays home to a number of promising and well-funded FinTech startups, from Wealthsimple to Koho, FreshBooks, and Clearco, though some have faced headwinds in recent months as market conditions have shifted.

Startup Genome values the Toronto-Waterloo tech ecosystem at $46 billion, far above the global average of $28.6 billion. According to Startup Genome, Toronto also has particularly strong cleantech and AgTech and new food ecosystems.

As noted, Vancouver slotted in at 10th among ecosystems with populations under three million, after ranking strongly in funding, startup experience, knowledge, and talent, slightly above-average in performance and focus, but weakly legacy-wise. The report did not share any further data on or context surrounding Vancouver’s performance.

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This comes after Vancouver did not crack Startup Genome’s 2020 FinTech report at all, which listed only the top 30 ecosystems overall. The city, which plays host to one of North America’s fastest-growing tech talent pools, houses a growing roster of FinTech firms, from Bench to Blockstream and Dapper Labs.

Vancouver also has strong cleantech, AgTech and new food ecosystems, ranking slightly below Toronto-Waterloo on the former front and higher on the latter. Overall, Startup Genome ranks Vancouver the 30th best startup ecosystem in the world, a spot below where it finished last year.

Calgary’s 32nd place finish among ecosystems with populations under three million comes after the city did not make Startup Genome’s 2020 edition of its FinTech report. Startup Genome described Calgary as a “fast-growing Fintech hub,” naming it one of the top FinTech ecosystems to watch in North America.

According to Startup Genome, Calgary is “rapidly transforming into a global tech hub.” The city houses fast-growing FinTech startups like Neo Financial, Symend, and Helcim, and has become an increasing target of international investment in recent years.

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Notably, Calgary was the only Canadian tech city not to drop compared to previous years in Startup Genome’s latest annual ecosystem report, finishing once again in the 61-70 range after breaking its record for venture funding in 2021. Startup Genome also recently recognized the strength of Calgary’s cleantech ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Montréal—which did not crack either top 35 list—was recognized as a top FinTech ecosystem to watch in North America. The city, which serves as the base of operations for fast-growing FinTech firms like Nesto, Flinks, and Hopper, is a “hotbed for sustainable finance,” according to Startup Genome.

Montréal, which saw steady growth in venture funding in 2021, was ranked 36th in Startup Genome’s latest overall rankings of startup ecosystems, down from 31 the previous year.

Feature image courtesy Unsplash. Photo by Berkay Gumustekin.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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