It was way back in the 1980s when the Kitchener-Waterloo region of Ontario began to earn a reputation for growing the minds, talent, and ideas of some of the brightest information technology minds in the country.
Since then the innovators that created Silicon Valley and those who manage Fortune 500 companies make a point of raiding this part of North America to source new graduates and snap up talent, while the financiers on Wall Street and Bay Street also keep their eyes peeled for emerging high-tech start-ups that call Canada home.
In addition to Kitchener-Waterloo, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver have spawned several exciting high-tech companies, working in fields ranging from wireless data, e-commerce services, Web applications and software development.
The recent news that DeepMind Ltd, Google’s high-profile AI research firm, will open its first lab outside the United Kingdom in Edmonton, Alberta, has given our city a huge science and technology boost.
The news is that this new operation, named DeepMind Alberta, will be affiliated with the University of Alberta, deploying three computing science professors – Rich Sutton, Michael Bowling and Patrick Pilarski – to head the initiative.
The men will continue to work in the university’s Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute while overseeing the new firm. Seven other researchers hired by DeepMind Ltd. from around the world will join them eventually. We’re looking forward to following DeepMind Alberta’s developments and we’ll do our best to share any interesting news we come across!
Benevity & Solium Capital Inc.
Two Calgary-based high-tech businesses – Benevity and Solium Capital Inc. – continue to thrive. Benevity is a leader in online workplace giving. Many leading international companies rely on Benevity-inspired technology to drive their goodness and philanthropic initiatives.
Solium Capital Inc., whose cloud-based product enables corporations to manage their stock-based incentive programs, is enjoying an international growth spurt. One of its key applications, Shareworks, enables companies using it to manage stock option and stock purchase programs.
Other high-tech companies on a roar
Other Canadian high-tech companies on a roar include Thalmic Labs (pioneering innovative ways to interact with digital-enabled devices), eSentire (managed cybersecurity services), Aeryon (unmanned aerial systems, with both public safety and military applications), and let’s not forget COM DEV – one of the world’s most prolific suppliers of space and satellite hardware that have helped power no fewer than 950 satellites for the past 40 years.
The State of Canadian High-Tech
The Brookfield Institute for innovation and entrepreneurship at Ryerson University recently published a report called The State of Canadian Tech Sector. Its key findings portrayed the Canadian high-tech sector in an exceptionally favourable, expansionist and economically upbeat light. Our high-tech sector now supports approximately 900,000 workers (5.6% of total employment) and about 71,000 firms whose collective efforts generated some $117 billion of Canada’s $1.65+ trillion GDP.
We’re thrilled that Alberta is performing front-and-centre in this rapidly developing field.
The Wooding Group at CIBC Wood Gundy, 780 498-5047