Canada’s Thriving Tech Sector

By: Michael Kousaie, Head of Business Development, Technology, Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange

If you’re like most folks watching the Canadian equities markets lately, you’ve likely noticed the tech sector is getting lots of attention. To be fair, the sector has always received its share of headlines, but this year feels different. The mood is more positive, the companies are bigger and their success is happening on an international scale. There’s no question, tech is alive and well in Canada.

Consider this: In the span of just a few weeks in May and June, three leading companies in their respective industries went public on Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX): Shopify (TSX: SH), Stingray Digital (TSX: RAY.A), and Mogo Finance (TSX: GO). A few weeks earlier, another TSX-listed Canadian tech company, DH Corporation (TSX: DH), successfully raised nearly $1 billion to fund a major international acquisition. And more recently, we’ve seen several high-profile private tech companies announce that they’re making plans to go public on TSX or TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV).

“Our listing on TSX is a significant milestone in our story,” said Tobi Lütke, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Shopify Inc., “and we believe it marks the start of a new chapter for Shopify as we continue to grow our business.”

While the last few months have brought well-deserved attention to the Canadian tech sector, the reality is that the recent successes are actually part of a longer-term resurgence of interest in technology and innovation companies. The following points make this clear:

  • The technology and innovation sectors have been the fastest-growing sectors on TSX/TSXV since the start of 2013.
  • The technology and innovation companies listed on TSX/TSXV are now collectively valued at over $250 billion. That’s more than the aggregate value of the mining sector.
  • More than 50 new technology and innovation companies have gone public on TSX/TSXV since the start of 2014 – more than in any other sector.
  • Nine technology and innovation companies have graduated from TSXV to TSX since the start of 2014 – more than any other sector.
  • Technology and innovation companies listed on TSX/TSXV have raised nearly $12 billion in equity capital since the start of 2014.
  • The S&P/TSX* Capped Information Technology Index, which serves as a barometer for the sector, rose 38% in the last year and a half; in contrast, the S&P 500 Information Technology Index of U.S. companies was up 19% over the same period.

So, not only are Canadian tech companies getting good access to private capital at their early stages, but public investors are also stepping-up to support small (TSXV-listed) and large (TSX-listed) companies in a significant way.

How long will this enthusiasm last? It’s a fair question, but it’s also impossible to answer. What is clear, though, is that the quality of tech companies being built and funded in Canada is as high as ever; and the support for these companies (from mentors, incubators, accelerators, government organizations and VCs) is phenomenal. This was especially evident at the latest TSX Technology Investor Day and TSX Technology Start-Up Showcase, where some of Canada’s most exciting private tech companies were featured in front of a standing-room-only audience of investors and capital markets professionals.

For these companies, investors and stakeholders – and for the rest of us, as well – there should be no doubt that Canadian tech is back.

All data is as at May 31, 2015 with the exception of index data, which is through to June 30, 2015.

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* “S&P” is the trade-mark of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, and “TSX” is the trade-mark of TSX Inc.