Radical Reads

Toronto is #1 in Tech Talent Growth, but not in VC Investments

By Daniel Mulet, Investor


Photo Source: Invest for Good

In CBRE Group’s latest report scoring tech talent across 50 North American markets, Canadian cities took 3 of the top 5 spots, with Toronto ranked #1 fastest growing market. Montreal and Vancouver were third and fourth, respectively.

Toronto is increasingly known as a powerhouse for attracting top-tier AI and tech talent. The city has the third largest pool of tech talent, next to the Bay Area (which has the benefit of San Francisco and Silicon Valley being grouped together) and New York. Toronto’s totals in this survey do not include its talent-rich neighbouring region, Kitchener-Waterloo.

Toronto-based talent increased by 43% from 2015 to 2020. Over the same timeframe, there was a doubling of the VC capital raised by founders in Canada’s largest city. While the growth in investment has broken records the past few years, the aggregate amount raised over the past five years ($10Bn) still lags behind the Bay Area ($264Bn) and even the smaller talent market of Los Angeles ($23Bn).

Source: CBRE 2021; Radical analysis of Tracxn data, July 14, 2021

In the top tech talent markets, Toronto ranks last on dollars raised-per-technical employee in 2020, with approximately $4,300 raised per head, compared to $130,000 in the Bay Area.

Closing this gap in capital was a fundamental reason for creating Radical Ventures. We witnessed first-hand many of the brightest minds in AI flocking to Toronto and Canada after the creation of the Vector Institute and the world’s first national AI strategy, but struggling to raise VC investment locally.

Toronto outperforms on talent, and over the next ten years we expect capital to follow. There are tremendous investment opportunities at all stages and we are incredibly excited to continue investing and partnering with exceptional founders who are building global companies in Toronto.


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Radical Reads is edited by Leah Morris (Senior Director, Velocity Program, Radical Ventures).