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Waterloo is truly a GREAT place to build a startup, but most of the early-stage entrepreneurs we speak to are not aware of the local resources that are available to help them.

With applications for the Waterloo Founder Institute now open, we are excited to release the Waterloo Startup Ecosystem Canvas, which is currently in Draft v1 below! It was developed by the Waterloo Founder Institute and local leaders Jordan Jocius, Madusha Cooray, and Sunil Sharma.

This is just a DRAFT, and while we spent many hours on this research, more input is needed. Please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document to help us complete the list. There are definitely omissions on this current version. 

Are you looking to build a startup in Waterloo? Then apply to the Waterloo Founder Institute today!

Text version included below, for ease of searching:

Startup Stages


There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

A. Inspire

  • Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters, Startup Digest)
    1. Accelerator Centre News
    2. BetaKit Kitchener-Waterloo
    3. Communitech News
    4. FP Startups
    5. Startup Digest Waterloo
    6. StartupNorth
    7. Techvibes
    8. The Logic
  • Inspirational Events: Open, inclusive, beginner startup events (i.e. Startup Weekend, idea fairs, and inspirational meetups)
    1. EntSoc
    2. Fluxible
    3. LAUNCH Waterloo Meetup
    4. Startup Open House
    5. Startup Weekend Waterloo
    6. StartupTech Unleashed-KW
    7. TechWaterloo Region Meetup
    8. True North 2019
    9. WatCamp
    10. Waterloo Fintech and Crypto Meetup
    11. Waterloo Innovation Summit
    12. Women In Technology Waterloo Region
    13. Women Who Code Waterloo

B. Educate

  • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspire, like 1 Million Cups, Startup Grind, Startup Founder 101, etc).
    1. Agile/Lean P2P
    2. Canada's Technology Triangle .NET User Group
    3. Data for Good - Waterloo Region
    4. DesignChats
    5. Elasticsearch Meetup - Waterloo/Kitchener
    6. EOS Waterloo
    7. Internet of Things Waterloo Region
    8. Kitchener Waterloo DevOps Meetup
    9. Kitchener WordPress Meetup
    10. KW Cyber Security Meetup
    11. KW Ruby Developers
    12. KWJavaScript
    13. Lean Product Waterloo
    14. Manufacturing and Operations P2P
    15. NetSquared Kitchener/Waterloo
    16. Rust KW
    17. Startup Founder 101 Waterloo
    18. Startup Grind Waterloo
    19. Startup Laurier
    20. uxWaterloo
    21. Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Community
    22. Waterloo Blockchain Meetup
  • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development. (Ex. bootcamps and comprehensive training programs, like Founder Institute, General Assembly, Lean Startup Machine, code camps, etc)
    1. Bridging Entrepreneurs to Students (BETS)
    2. Code Squad Camp
    3. D2L Night School
    4. Digital Product Design with Signal UX
    5. Docker Waterloo
    6. Fierce Founders Bootcamp
    7. Founder Institute
    8. GDG Waterloo
    9. GPUG PHP User Group
    10. iOSKW
    11. Kitchener node.js Meetup
    12. K∩W - Intersections KW
    13. KW Big Data P2P
    14. KW Content Strategists
    15. Lean Startup Machine
    16. Microsoft Ventures Startup Bootcamp: Waterloo
    17. NeuroTechKW
    18. Product Management P2P
    19. Shopify Sessions
    20. StemLabRobotics
    21. Tech Savvy
    22. Technical Communication P2P
    23. Technical Support Innovators P2P
    24. The Revenue U
    25. The Zeitspace Sessions
    26. UX Book Club KW
    27. Waterloo Artificial Intelligence & Deep Learning
    28. Waterloo AWS User Group
    29. Waterloo Data Science and Data Engineering
    30. Waterloo Region Small Business Centre Programs
    31. Waterloo Technology Chautauqua
    32. WatPy
    33. Web Developers P2P
    34. WWITPRO User Group

C. Validate

  • Team Formation: Resources for teaming up. (i.e. events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching)
    1. Android KW
    2. BNI Canada
    3. CoFoundersLab
    4. DevHouse Waterloo Meetup
    5. Ethereum Developer Meetup (Waterloo)
    6. Founder2be
    7. FounderDating
    8. GeekMeet Kitchener/Waterloo Technology Meetup
    9. Kitchener Small Business Meetup
    10. Kitchener Waterloo Business Women's Association
    11. Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs
    12. Southern Ontario Automation and PLC Programming Meetup
    13. Startup Waterloo
    14. Startups and Beer
  • Build First Product: Hackathons & resources to build. (i.e. hackathons and other builder-focused events and resources)
    1. 2018 NASA Space Apps Hackathon - Kitchener-Waterloo Region
    2. Catalyst137
    3. CivicTechWR
    4. ETHWaterloo
    5. FaithTech Labs - Working Group
    6. Hack the North
    7. HACK4HEALTH
    8. HackerNest Kitchener-Waterloo Tech Socials
    9. Hacking Health
    10. Indie Game Development P2P
    11. Kotlin Waterloo P2P
    12. Kubernetes and Cloud Native Kitchener-Waterloo
    13. KW Go Developers
    14. Kwartzlab Makerspace
    15. MyShop Makerspace
    16. OpenHack Waterloo
    17. StarterHacks
    18. Waterloo VR/AR - Virtual and Augmented Reality Meetup
    19. WPL Tech Events

2. Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

A. Start

  • Establish: Law firms & banks for startups
    1. Bereskin & Parr LLP
    2. BMO Bank of Montreal
    3. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
    4. Gowling WLG
    5. HSBC
    6. Manulife Bank
    7. McCarter Grespan
    8. Miller Thomson LLP
    9. National Bank
    10. PCK
    11. Phillips Lytle LLP
    12. RBC Royal Bank
    13. Scotiabank
    14. TD Canada Trust
    15. VersaBank
  • Workspace: Co-working and flexible workspaces (note: “official” office space goes in 3.1.a. Infrastructure)
    1. BRCH
    2. Freedom Cafe Coworking Space
    3. Kitchener Waterloo Innovation Center
    4. Regus
    5. Spur Innovation Center
    6. Terminal
    7. Treehaus Collaborative Workspace
    8. Workplace One

B. Develop

  • Formalize: Accounting, development and HR for early-stage startups.  
    1. AppStudio
    2. BDO Canada
    3. Bwired
    4. Dedicated Bookkeeping Solutions
    5. Digital Chaos Inc
    6. Eyelight
    7. Liberty Staffing
    8. MAC LLP
    9. Mad Hatter Technology
    10. Mulrooney & Associates Inc.
    11. Northsail Software
    12. Padgett Waterloo
    13. Pollard Gagliardi Navickas LLP
    14. Prime Management Group Inc
    15. REM Web Solutions
    16. RLB LLP
    17. Vehikl
    18. zfactor
  • Prepare for Seed: Incubators and advanced mentorship. (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources for startup TEAMS, Startup Next, etc)
    1. Communitech
    2. Conestoga C4E
    3. LaunchPad Incubator
    4. Velocity
    5. Waterloo MedTech

C. Launch

  • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs (Techstars-style programs that provide funding)
    1. Clean Tech Accelerator
    2. Fierce Founders Accelerator
    3. Rev
    4. SmartStart Seed Fund
    5. Techstars Toronto
    6. The Accelerator Centre
  • Pitch & Demo: Show local startups for investment (i.e. demo days for companies seeking seed investment)
    1. Communitech Fierce Founders Bootcamp Pitch Competition
    2. Communitech: Pitching to Investors
    3. Corridor Demo Day
    4. Golden Triangle Angel Network - RAW
    5. Startup Pitch Nights Waterloo
    6. Velocity Fund Finals

3. Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

A. Recognition

  • Investor Networking:  Connect professional investors with founders. (i.e. events or groups that facilitate connections with professional investors)
    1. Angel Investors Ontario
    2. Canadian Investment Network
    3. Golden Triangle Angel Network
    4. Keiretsu Forum
    5. Southwestern Ontario Angel Group
    6. Waterloo Alumni Angels
  • Major Media: Mainstream local business press. (i.e. major local or regional publications that frequently champion local businesses)
    1. Canadian Business
    2. CBC
    3. CTV News
    4. Exchange Magazine
    5. Financial Post
    6. Kitchener Post
    7. The Record
    8. Waterloo Chronicle
    9. Snapd KW

B. Funding

  • Angels / Micro-VCs: Seed-stage investors
    1. Aditya Bali
    2. Alex Kolicich
    3. Alex Leyn
    4. Andrew Parker
    5. Andrew Wright
    6. Anton Polski
    7. Benton Leong
    8. Brian Hunter
    9. Cameron Hay
    10. Darrell MacMullin
    11. David Chilton
    12. Devon Galloway
    13. Highline BETA
    14. James Appleyard
    15. Jim Estill
    16. Joseph Fung
    17. Karamdeep Nijjar
    18. Kartik Ram
    19. Kevin Thomason
    20. Laurent Bernardin
    21. Matt Schlotzhauer
    22. Michael Mahon
    23. Mike McCauley
    24. Mike Stork
    25. Prem Kalevar
    26. Panache Ventures
    27. Sol Algranti
    28. Steven Woods
    29. Steven McCartney
    30. Two Small Fish Ventures
    31. Yousef Khraibut
  • Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
    1. BDC ICE Venture Fund
    2. Extreme Venture Partners (covers Toronto-Waterloo corridor)
    3. FAIRVentures
    4. First Ascent Ventures
    5. Garage Capital
    6. Golden Ventures
    7. Information Venture Partners
    8. inovia Capital
    9. OMERS Ventures
    10. Quantum Valley Investments
    11. Tech Capital Partners
    12. Timia Capital
    13. RBC Capital Partners
    14. Real Ventures
    15. Relay Ventures
    16. Ripple Ventures
    17. ScaleUP Ventures
    18. White Star Capital
    19. C. Growth
  • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, local business insurance. (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
    1. Axiom Performance
    2. BrokerLink Insurance
    3. Colliers International
    4. Donovan Insurance
    5. H2R Business Solutions
    6. Hays Canada
    7. HCI Consulting Inc.
    8. Kijiji
    9. Loopnet
    10. Mumby Insurance Brokers
    11. Randstad
    12. Regal Insurance Brokers
    13. Regus
    14. Spacelist
  • Expansion: Growth accelerators/consultants. (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
    1. Advanis
    2. Deloitte
    3. Ernst and Young
    4. Grant Thornton
    5. KPMG
    6. Open Options
    7. Overlap Associates
    8. PeaceWorks Technology Solutions
    9. PMG Intelligence
    10. Protiviti
    11. PwC

4. Success Stories

Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

  1. Aeryon (acquired by FLIR)
  2. Auvik
  3. ApplyBoard
  4. Axonify
  5. BlackBerry
  6. Bonfire (acquired by GTY Technology Holdings)
  7. Bridgit
  8. Clearpath Robotics
  9. DarvinAI
  10. D2L
  11. Dejero
  12. Demeure
  13. eSentire
  14. Faire
  15. Igloo
  16. ISARA Corporation
  17. Kiite
  18. Kik
  19. Magnet Forensics
  20. Maluuba (acquired by Microsoft)
  21. Meya.ai
  22. Miovision
  23. Nicoya Lifesciences
  24. North (formally Thalmic Labs)
  25. OpenText
  26. PiinPoint
  27. Plasticity Labs
  28. Plum.io
  29. Sandvine (acquired by PNI Canada Acquireco Corp.)
  30. SkyWatch
  31. Sortable
  32. Terminal
  33. TextNow
  34. TribeHR (acquired by NetSuite)
  35. Tulip Retail
  36. Routethis
  37. Vidyard
  38. Prospect
  39. AvidBots
  40. Cicer One
  41. Bartesian
  42. Palette Gear
  43. MappedIn
  44. Focus21
  45. Traffic Soda
  46. Structur3D
  47. Encircle
  48. Smile.io
  49. SSIMWAVE
  50. Local Line
  51. Eleven-x
  52. RideCo
  53. IGNIS Innovation
  54. Tangam Systems
  55. BrockSolutions
  56. FleetCarma (now a division of GEOTAB)



Supporters


To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

1. Evangelists

Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.

  1. Alex Kinsella
  2. Amaris Gerson
  3. Amit Mehta
  4. Andrew Leest
  5. Benton Leong
  6. Bjorn Dawson
  7. Brian Zubert
  8. Bryan Peters
  9. Brock Dickinson
  10. Calvin Leyon
  11. Cassie Myers
  12. Chase Denomme
  13. Chris Farrell
  14. Chris Wormald
  15. Christine Maiolo
  16. Chukwuemeka Uche Onuora
  17. Dana Fox
  18. Don Thompson
  19. Ella Hilal
  20. Evan Clark
  21. Frank Erschen
  22. Grace Bartz
  23. Hana Hassan
  24. Howard Armitage
  25. Iain Klugman
  26. Ilona Dougherty
  27. Jackie Lauer
  28. Jay Shah
  29. Jennifer Moss
  30. John Baker
  31. Jordan Jocius
  32. Joseph Fung
  33. Kurtis McBride
  34. Laura Allan
  35. Lisa Cashmore
  36. Madusha Cooray
  37. Mark Connolly
  38. Michael Lazaridis
  39. Michael Litt
  40. Mike Kirkup
  41. Nabil Fahel
  42. Norm Malloch
  43. Olga Lioudvinevitch
  44. Patrick Martinson
  45. Paul Salvini
  46. Prem Kalevar
  47. Popy Dimoulas-Graham
  48. Ramy Nassar
  49. Reza Chaji
  50. Rina Carlini
  51. Robert Langlade
  52. Rod Foster
  53. Rob Douglas
  54. Robert Bruski
  55. Ryan McCartney
  56. Sarim Haque
  57. Simon Chan
  58. Sunil Sharma
  59. Tricia Gruetzmacher
  60. Vinit Nijhawan
  61. Wayne Chang
  62. Wes Worsfold
  63. Zach Weston

2. Government

Public organizations that facilitate local economic development (ex. Start with the chamber of commerce, “Invest in XXX”, “Economic Ministry of XXX” , “Innovation”, R&D, etc)

  1. Cambridge Chamber
  2. Cambridge BIA
  3. Cambridge Economic Development
  4. Canadian Innovation Centre
  5. Kitchener Economic Development
  6. Kitchener-Waterloo - Greater KW Chamber of Commerce
  7. Prosperity Council of Waterloo Region
  8. The Corridor
  9. Waterloo BIA
  10. Waterloo Economic Development
  11. Waterloo Economic Development Corporation
  12. Waterloo Region Small Business Centre

3. Talent

Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

  • Local Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs)
    1. Conestoga College
    2. University of Waterloo
    3. Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Local Employers (Major technical employers, like Microsoft or Google or large local companies, with large local offices, “major technology companies in XX”)
    1. Ansys
    2. BlackBerry
    3. Christie Digital
    4. D2L
    5. Dejero
    6. Electronic Arts
    7. Google
    8. IBM
    9. Kik
    10. NCR
    11. NetSuite
    12. Nuance
    13. ON Semiconductor
    14. OpenText
    15. Oracle
    16. Rogers
    17. Sandvine
    18. Shopify
    19. SSIMWAVE
    20. TextNow
    21. Unitron
    22. Vidyard

 

*  *  *

Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on the Waterloo Canvas on this collaborative Google document (This is just a DRAFT, and more input is needed!)

Are you looking to build a startup in Waterloo? Then apply to the Waterloo Founder Institute today

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