TORONTO–Google yesterday announced a new accelerator program to help grow startups at the series-A funding and seeding stages.
According to a Fortune article, 90 per cent of startups never take off, with insufficient capital, disharmony, poor marketing, and wrong team composition listed as key failing points. Well-funded companies, through establishing accelerator and incubator programs, can guide startups around some of those pain points while asserting their own products in the process.
“The opportunity here is in the scale-up, so we’re really trying to get startups that have a product-market fit that have a team in place,” said Sabrina Geremia, Google Canada country lead. “…[we’re] really going immersive on how to use our products platforms technology in order to scale.”
Qualified startups can receive equity-free support, three in-person boot camps hosted at Google, personal mentorship and feedback from Google experts. In addition, the accelerator program includes workshops on product design, customer acquisition, and leadership development to help the team develop a strong business foundation.
The new accelerator would be Google’s first own accelerator initiative in Canada and the 12th globally. Based in Waterloo, Ont., it will begin accepting applications starting March 2. Between 16 to 20 applicants will be chosen and divided into two cohorts. The acceleration program will last three months.
“This is going to be complementary to all the work that we do with our partners in the ecosystem,” said Geremia. “I think this is an additional investment. We have Google for Startups everywhere, and this is a real value add that we hadn’t gone with this type of programming in Canada.”
In parallel to the announcement, Google also announced plans for three new buildings divided between Toronto, Waterloo and Montreal. They’re expected to provide workspaces for around 5,000 employees.
Canada’s thriving tech sector
Canada’s technology scene has thrived in recent years, ranking exceptionally high in innovation and talent attraction. According to IMD’s World Talent Ranking 2018, Canada ranked sixth in attracting and retaining talent and is the only non-European country to break into the top 10. It’s also ahead of the U.S. by six places (12th). Canada’s strong talent pool reflects its welcoming immigration policies and multiculturalism that entices skilled international workers.
Hockeystick, an open-source startup database that began as a startup itself in 2014, said Canada grew its tech sector by 50 per cent between 2014 to 2019. Out of the jobs created, almost half of them were in Toronto.
In its 2018 ICT profile, the Canadian government stated that Canada’s information and communications technologies sector generated CA$86.6 billion GDP, accounting for 4.5 per cent of the national GDP. The ICT industry also spent CA$6.2 billion in research and development, the highest of all private sectors. The ICT sector only had 102 firms with more than 500 employees, the rest–a staggering 35,500–were small businesses with fewer than 10 employees.