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September 28, 2016

Challenging Times for Canadian Start-ups

Over the past decade the Canadian tech start-up scene has enjoyed numerous successes that have taken the world by storm. Yet there have also been more than a few frustrations felt that show that the nation has some way to go before it can compete with the likes of Silicon Valley.

In particular it’s the way that the majority of Canadian start-ups seem to be swiftly sold off to US companies that has suggested that these fledgling tech firms aren’t receiving the help they need from venture capital companies in order to make the leap from promising start-up to established middle-league brand.

Last year’s initial public offering of Shopify quickly illustrated how the Ottowa-based eCommerce firm could become a template for Canadian start-ups by showing how a homegrown company can mature in Canada and overcome the difficulties that have been encountered by other new brands.

But as this case study into Christie Medical shows, there are issues of scaling up that have to be dealt with in order for the nascent Canadian tech scene to really reap the benefits of the digital revolution.

In particular, it’s thought that developing a suitably robust homegrown infrastructure that’s capable of stopping the flow of talent south of the border will be essential if the Canadian start-up scene is to succeed.

Brands like Hootsuite have successfully developed a model that allows them to operate their social media management systems from their Vancouver headquarters. And similarly, Red Flush online casino  have allowed Canadian gamers to access a wide range of slots, poker and roulette games regardless of time or location that overcomes the nation’s somewhat restrictive gambling legislation.

The way that Red Flush casino have been able to overcome the constraints of borders is a concept that’s also been enjoyed by other notable Canadian start-ups with the likes of Zootly who operate out of both New York and Kitchener, Ontario to deliver their revolutionary logistics app.

And whilst Red Flush casino have brought gambling games like blackjack and poker into the 21st century thanks to the latest in video technology, the Vancouver-based Shoes.com have shown that the digital revolution can come to our real-life shopping centres too. 

This is because the firm have opened up many pop-up stores in major cities across Canada that will feature one brand per month and show that even if you’re away from your smartphone you can still enjoy the best of Canadian start-ups.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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