Startup City Magazine

What Prevents Vancouver from Becoming the Next Silicon Valley?

Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a startup company that is based in Vancouver, Canada. It wasn’t easy for him to let his company thrive with success. What was the reason for this great challenge? The answer lies in the fact that Holmes’s company was based in Canada, unlike any other successful startup based in startup friendly locations like Silicon Valley.

The challenge that Holmes had to face with his company was the lack of investors. The difference between tech entrepreneurs in Canada and those in the Silicon Valley is that the former do not have as much an access to investors and venture capitalists as the latter do. It was then that Holmes discovered the root cause for the barrier that prevented Canada from becoming a convenient spot for technology entrepreneurs.

“The reality of this province and of the country as a whole is there are not enough investments being made into promising start-ups, and without that money those small companies will often burn out or move away.”, he says, “I know it, the reporters who interview me know it, and yet this gap in funding doesn't seem to be topping too many people's priority lists.”, as reported by

The problem does not lie in the shortage of ideas among entrepreneurs in Canada; ideas, which are considered the heart of innovation required for any startup to reach the heights of success. These are by no means less. Also, establishing a startup in Canada is not free from advantages. In fact, the advantages of establishing a startup at Vancouver outnumber those in other startup convenient cities in America. IT  professionals and developers for one, readily jump into the prospect of entering a startup company giving up other high paying jobs Further, the location makes it just convenient for these startups to evolve independently rather than to fall in line with other surrounding startups. But these advantages are wasted, only because of the one main disadvantage.

This is the reason why an increasing number of tech entrepreneurs in Canada are getting their businesses sold for a $10 to $50 Million to buyers in America. The problem of funding wouldn’t have occurred if we had investors, providing encouragement and confidence.

“Since then I've invested in a number of companies with an ultimate goal, and I say this often, of creating Canada's equivalent to the "PayPal Mafia" - a cohort of financially independent people who have made money off of other companies, who understand the tech industry and who can now invest and advise start-ups.”, Holmes says. “British Columbia has the potential to become the tech capital of Canada but the biggest ingredient, the lettuce, needs replenishing.”


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