BC Tech by the Numbers: 2015 in Review

Written by Michael J. Kousaie, Head of Business Development, Technology, Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange


Earlier this month, Bill Tam wrote a great blog post about the role that the BC technology sector is expected to play in building jobs and supporting economic growth in the province. The article is a good read and serves as an important reminder of a broader trend we are seeing across the country: tech matters. It matters to investors. It matters to governments. It matters to companies. It matters to the economy.

From my seat at Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV), I have a very interesting view of how the sector matters. In particular, I get to see companies from their earliest stages (growing up in some of our country’s amazing incubators and accelerators) through to maturity. I get to see public and private companies. And I get to talk to angels, VCs, and public company investors about their view on the sector. Through this lens, I’ve seen the sector evolve and grow in importance across the country. As I wrote in a recent article, tech is definitely back in Canada.

The story in BC is just as strong. Consider these statistics:

  • Venture capital investment in the province was C$290 million in the first nine months of 2015, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA)*
  • Some of the BC-based companies to raise significant private funding rounds from Canadian and US investors in 2015 include Allocadia, Bit Stew, Cymax, General Fusion, and Shoes.com
  • BC is home to more than 25% of all technology and innovation companies listed on TSX/TSXV (as at December 31, 2015)
  • In total, 106 BC-headquartered technology and innovation companies are listed on TSX/TSXV
  • Of these companies, more than 50 raised equity capital in 2015, representing over one-third of all financings by Canadian technology and innovation companies listed on TSX/TSXV
  • Over C$480 million was raised by these companies in 2015
  • The IPO of BC-based Mogo Finance Technology Inc. (TSX: GO) was the second-largest technology and innovation sector IPO on TSX/TSXV in 2015

Clearly, 2015 was a good year for the tech sector in BC. What about 2016? Of course, it’s impossible to predict specific funding levels, IPO activity, etc. But, it is clear that BC has built a very strong foundation for further success. Some of the key pieces that are in place include strong accelerators and incubators (like BCTIA and HIGHLINE), supportive government initiatives, and (most importantly) a strong cohort of successful companies (both public and private) and entrepreneurs that provide important leadership, mentorship and support to the sector. With these pieces in place, there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about the continued growth and success of the tech sector in BC.

* Source: http://www.cvca.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2015-Q3-data-release-FINAL.pdf

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