Toronto-Waterloo, Vancouver, and Montréal hold the fort as Calgary and Ottawa rise in Startup Genome’s latest global ecosystem rankings

Montreal skyline from Mount Royal
Larger ecosystems keep the status quo, as smaller ones post slight improvement.

According to Startup Genome, Canada’s biggest tech startup ecosystems have maintained their positions from 2022, while two emerging cities have improved their standing.

Per Startup Genome’s 2023 report, which covers up to the first half of 2022, Toronto-Waterloo, Vancouver, and Montréal were the only Canadian startup ecosystems to crack Startup Genome’s top 40 global rankings, with all three finishing in the same place as last year. Once again, Toronto-Waterloo, which Startup Genome groups together, was Canada’s top-ranked startup ecosystem, placing highest at 17, followed by Vancouver and Montréal, which came in at 30 and 40, respectively.

Toronto-Waterloo, Vancouver, and Montréal held their positions from 2022, while Calgary and Ottawa rose slightly.

Meanwhile, a duo of smaller cities rose slightly on Startup Genome’s emerging ecosystems list: Calgary cracked the 51-60 range for 2023 (up from 61-70) and Ottawa featured in the 71-80 range—an increase from 2022 when it came in between 81 and 90.

Per Startup Genome’s latest report, since most of them fell in the organization’s 2022 rankings, three of these five Canadian startup ecosystems have defended the fort, and two have even gone on the attack.

Startup Genome’s latest annual report closely aligns with StartupBlink’s recent analysis in terms of how it ranks Canada’s top five startup ecosystems. However, per StartupBlink, some emerging ecosystems—including Ottawa, Kitchener, and Québec City—saw stronger gains.

Founded in 2016, Startup Genome is a San Francisco-based policy advisory and research organization focused on evaluating startup ecosystems. Startup Genome’s startup ecosystem rankings are based on six factors: performance, funding, connectedness, market reach, knowledge, talent, and experience.

The organization’s 2023 report is based on startup activity that took place before or during the first half of 2022. Startup Genome derives its data from interviews with over 100 experts, its startup ecosystem survey, Dealroom, Crunchbase, and PitchBook, as well as a network of local partners, including accelerators, incubators, startup hubs, and investors.

Ranked at 17 overall among global ecosystems, Toronto-Waterloo ranked particularly well in terms of funding, connectedness, and talent and experience. The region also posted relatively strong scores in the funding and market reach categories, but was dragged down a bit by its very poor knowledge ranking.

RELATED: Here’s how Canada’s top 10 cities rank in the global startup ecosystem

Meanwhile, Vancouver, in spot 30, posted its strongest results in the performance, funding, and connectedness categories, and weakest in market reach and knowledge. At 40, Montréal secured low scores across the board.

For its part, Calgary was buoyed by relatively strong funding, connectedness, and talent and experience scores, and hurt slightly by its low market reach and knowledge rankings. Startup Genome’s Ottawa finds were slightly different, as the city nabbed quality results on the connectedness, knowledge, and talent and experience fronts, alongside weak performance, funding, and market reach scores.

According to Startup Genome, Canada produced 15 unicorns in 2022, “largely from the rapidly growing hubs of Toronto-Waterloo, Vancouver, and Montréal.” This marked only a slight decrease from the 18 that were anointed in 2021.

As far as top startup ecosystems overall, Silicon Valley, New York City, and London defended their positions as one, two, and three, respectively. However, this year there was also some new blood in the top five, as Boston and Beijing were replaced by Los Angeles and Tel Aviv.

Feature image courtesy Unsplash. Photo by Matthias Mullie.

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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