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Three Canadian regions ranked among the best global clean tech ecosystems by Startup Genome

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Date: 2022-01-24 22:02:36

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Toronto-Waterloo was ranked the best cleantech ecosystem in Canada.

Startup Genome released its first clean tech report, naming a trio of Canadian ecosystems on its list of the best 35 cities and regions for clean tech startups in the world.

The report ranks the strongest cleantech startup ecosystems in the world based on six different factors: performance, funding, startup experience, knowledge, talent, and focus.

Toronto-Waterloo finished higher at 12, with Vancouver close at 16. Meanwhile, Calgary slipped into 26th place.

Startup Genome has identified the Toronto-Waterloo, Vancouver and Calgary corridor as the best cleantech startup ecosystems in the country. Of the three, Toronto-Waterloo finished highest at 12, with Vancouver close at 16. Meanwhile, Calgary slipped into 26th place.

The strong Toronto-Waterloo ranking is consistent with how it measures overall against other ecosystems globally, as the region ranked 14th in all verticals last fall, according to Startup Genome. On the West Coast, the organization’s report indicates that the Vancouver and Calgary cleantech industries far outstrip their overall startup ecosystems.

The ranking of the Toronto-Waterloo region as Canada’s premier cleantech hub is interesting, particularly as British Columbia (BC) is often regarded as the country’s leader in this area.

Indeed, the Toronto-Waterloo finish seems at odds with the results of the Cleantech Group’s latest Global Cleantech 100, which was dominated by BC startups, many of which were MaRS portfolio companies.

Tyler Hamilton, Ecosystem Director for Clean Tech at MaRS Discovery District, told BetaKit he wouldn’t be surprised to see Toronto-Waterloo outperform Vancouver in terms of clean tech, but added that “it might as well go the other way. “given the quality cleantech startups emerging from the Vancouver area.

According to Hamilton, each region has its strengths. “However, Toronto-Waterloo may outperform Vancouver in the number of companies we have in the cleantech startup ecosystem and the breadth of innovation we are seeing in the region,” he added.

A spokesperson for Startup Genome told BetaKit that the organization’s data on Vancouver is limited as the city is not currently a member of Startup Genome, which may have contributed to its second place among Canadian ecosystems.

RELATED: Toronto-Waterloo Rises in Startup Genome’s 2021 Global Ecosystem Rankings as Vancouver Tumbles

According to Hamilton, the Toronto-Waterloo group of top universities “churns out a deeper pool of engineering and commercial talent and greater specialization in areas such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and materials science.”

He added that Toronto-Waterloo’s proximity to the United States and large American markets in the Northeast are also “a big advantage” over other ecosystems.

Founded in 2016, Startup Genome is a San Francisco-based research and policy consulting organization focused on measuring the performance of the startup ecosystem.

The organization defines clean technology as consisting of sustainable solutions in the energy, water, transportation, agriculture and manufacturing sectors, such as advanced materials, smart grids, water treatment, efficient energy storage and energy systems distributed.

Startup Genome’s clean tech report is based on data from Dealroom, Crunchbase, CB Insights, PitchBook, and a variety of other sources. Startup Genome collected this data between July 2016 and June 2020.

RELATED: 13 Canadian Companies Decide on the 2022 Global Cleantech 100

Described by Startup Genome as “one of the fastest growing and densest innovation clusters in the world”, Toronto-Waterloo ranks in the top 10 in the world in terms of both funding and talent and experience, with particular strengths in artificial intelligence, big data and analytics and life sciences.

Toronto-Waterloo ranked particularly well in terms of funding, startup experience, knowledge and talent, but average in terms of performance and focus. The region features early stage players like Trusscore, eLeapPower, and EnPowered, as well as promising bigger companies like Hydrostor, Li-Cycle, and Ecobee, all of which have made big moves in recent months.

RELATED: Ecobee will be acquired by US-based Generac for $ 770 million

Meanwhile, Vancouver has performed well in each of the six factors measured by Startup Genome.

The Vancouver milestone comes as BC made a number of commitments in its cleantech industry, including the launch of a new clean energy center and a $ 500 million fund with a mandate that emphasizes the planet.

BC’s 2021 budget focused heavily on clean tech when it came to new technology-related expenditures. The budget committed $ 506 million to CleanBC.

Vancouver’s cleantech ecosystem features smaller players like Ionomr Innovations and Pani Energy, as well as budding giants like General Fusion.

Elsewhere, Calgary scored perfect talent and strong knowledge and funding scores, but ranked lower overall due in part to its average startup experience and below-average performance and concentration scores.

Known primarily for the oil and gas sector, the energy hub recently stepped up its investments in clean tech, supporting local talent and attracting companies like mCloud to the region.

Startup Genome describes Calgary as “one of North America’s leading green energy centers”, attributing some of its growth to “progressive government policy”.

Overall, the top five cleantech ecosystems in the world are Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Stockholm, London, and Los Angeles respectively, according to Startup Genome.

According to the founder and CEO of Startup Genome JF Gauthier, the main problem facing the cleantech sector is not related to innovation. Rather, “the problem is the cleantech scalability gap,” he writes in the report. “As of now, relatively few cleantech startups are expanding to become global class leaders in the net zero economy.”

Gauthier added that cleantech startups still face “significant barriers” when attempting to bring their solutions to global markets, and this problem cannot be solved by “more capital alone.”

Gauthier said the answer involves a few different solutions, including more demand-side policies, early stage capital raising “with global industry experience and customer relationships” and the combination of venture capital with foundations and government funds “to create capital ”in both the early and late stages.

“We need to do a better job of commercializing force [of cleantech ecosystems]”Said Hamilton of MaRS, speaking specifically of Toronto-Waterloo. He also stressed the need for greater procurement efforts by local and provincial governments.

Unsplash feature image source.


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