II. April 14, 2017: Show me the Money
This is the second volume of The UnderDog’s bi-weekly newsletter on the highlights from Canadian tech, and more.
- The Drought is Over: Canada’s first IPO in two years comes from Real Matters Inc. in Ontario
The Headline: Tech darling Shopify was the last Canadian software company to file for an IPO back in 2015 — now the 2 year wait is over. Based in Markham, Ontario, Real Matters Inc. has been making mortgages sexy for the past 13 years, and filed a preliminary prospectus for an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange on April 10th.
Fun Fact: Real Matters has gone against the grain and financed their path to IPO almost entirely with Bay Street bros rather than the more typical Silly Valley financiers. Globe and Mail
2. Double Time: Canada needs nearly double the amount of tech grads/professionals each year to keep up with demand.
According to a recent study, Canada’s education system graduates 29,000 tech workers per year but needs around 43,000 to keep up with demand. Takeaway: The top 3 jobs in demand? Jack-of-all trades developer, software architect, and front-end developer. The hardest tech position to fill? A mobile developer.
A word to the wise: To all the awesome comp. sci grads out there, if you’re looking to stay on home soil, know that you’re in high demand —negotiate for top coin.
3. A Little House (or ten) on the Prairie: Winnipeg has a budding tech hub, too.
What happens when you take low cost of living, a tight-knit community, a small town-big city feel, and ambitious young people — the perfect storm for innovation in Manitoba, apparently. With decades of knowledge and expertise in stagnant industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and construction, locals in Winnipeg have dared to innovate where others wouldn’t. Some notable locals startups include: Sightline Innovation, a machine learning company focused on real-time quality inspection for the construction sector; and Farmers Edge, a precision agriculture company. Sightline’s CEO, Wally Trenholm, characterizes operating in the ‘Peg as: “300 percent productivity, 80 percent cost, and 10 percent of the hassle” of being based in Toronto.”
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em: Manitoba’s government recognizes that historical opportunities in manufacturing/ag/etc. have fundamentally shifted, and have taken the steps to be ahead of the inevitable disruption curve. Initiatives such as the EMILI (Enterprise Machine Intelligence & Learning Initiative) and the Manitoba Technology Accelerator are a notable resources to check out. TechCrunch
4. Does Canada need to protect our AI-deas better? At least one MacLean’s author thinks so.
As I highlighted in the first newsletter, Canada’s tech scene is ready to become a leader in AI, especially with the announcement of initiatives such as the $180 million Vector Institute in Toronto. But do we have a leakage issue on our IP out of the country? Some would say so.
The Takeaway: Protect the Crown Jewels. Check out this chart on machine Learning patents in the past 10 years:
- Jeff Bezos’s annual shareholder letter focuses on change at Amazon.
- Mark Zuckerberg responds to Cleveland Murder Video with “We have a lot more to do”: Watch what he said here and read a poignant opinion here.
- Cars and Second Order consequences by Benedict Evans (Partner at Andreessen Horowitz).
- Don’t start a company, become obsessed with something by Sanjeev Agrawal (Head of Product Marketing at Google).
- How ‘Silicon Valley’ nails Silicon Valley by the The New Yorker on the HBO hit show.
III. Blog Post:
How the Cinderella tech company became the belle of the ball from a defunct game.
IV. Cheeto Dust
(Cheeto Dust is the Satire/Humour section of the newsletter/blog. Every week, I’ll post a new piece I stumble upon that serves up some comedic relief on the tech world.)
140 Characters of Laughs: Startup Humour should be Twitter’s niche. My favourite four tech humour Twitter accounts: