Waterloo EDC Blog

Waterloo's top 10 business news stories from 2019

Posted by Waterloo EDC on December 18, 2019

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To wish 2019 a fond farewell, Waterloo EDC decided to recap some of Waterloo’s biggest business and investment stories in 2019. The problem: there was just too much good news. Instead, we’ve prepared a series of round-ups to highlight Waterloo at its best, including a look at business expansions/investments, reports focused on talent/growth and our own favourite original pieces.

Today, we’re beginning with Waterloo’s most outstanding business expansion/investment news. It’s stand-out stories like these that position our community as a great location to expand and innovate your business.

Assembling this list was no small feat. Each month in Waterloo, we see a flurry of business and investment stories as our ecosystem makes considerable strides and Waterloo’s global recognition continues to grow. From new unicorns to large multi-national expansions - narrowing the list down to just ten entries wasn’t easy!

Here are our top 10 business news stories:

1. Retail innovator announces $150 million raise and $1 billion valuation

Sliding in at the end of the year, Faire, an online marketplace scale-up, announced an extraordinary $150 million in series D funding leading to a $1 billion company valuation. The significant milestone will allow them to improve their marketplace and continue to offer a streamlined customer experience.

2. Manufacturing giant ATS Automation announces major expansion

A Waterloo Region multinational, ATS Automation is planning a multi-million-dollar expansion at its Cambridge headquarters, adding 122,000 square feet of space, including a 19,000 square foot innovation centre. This centre will help to advance some of the company’s key product lines. This expansion is also part of a $60 million global expansion.

3. SAP announces significant expansion of Waterloo operation

In June, German software giant SAP announced a major expansion of its Waterloo footprint. The development created 30-40 new positions - all local Waterloo hires - increasing total employment to 260. SAP plans to add an additional 50 jobs over the next two to three years.New call-to-action

4. ApplyBoard announces $55 million in new funding

ApplyBoard, the world’s largest platform for international student recruitment, announced $55 million in Series B funding back in May, reaching a total of $72 million in funding. The recent capital will allow ApplyBoard to further their mission to break barriers in education, making it more accessible to students around the world through their AI-powered platform.

5. Manufacturing excellence drives new Toyota investment in Waterloo

A year after announcing a $1.4 billion investment in their Ontario locations, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada revealed that its Waterloo operation will add two new vehicles to their production lines – the Lexus NX and Lexus NX Hybrid starting in 2022.

6. Quantum businesses in Waterloo get a $41 million boost

In April, the Canadian federal government announced $41 million in funding for four Waterloo-based quantum technology businesses and organizations. Delivered through the Strategic Innovation Fund, the capital will further strengthen Canada’s position, with Waterloo as its leader, in quantum research and technology.  

7. eSentire announces $47 million investment and expansion in Waterloo

In March, Waterloo-based eSentire announced $47 million in raised funds. The investment will propel their research and development efforts concurrently with a relocation within Waterloo, landing the company right next to their main talent source, the University of Waterloo. 

8. BlackBerry is now one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms

During the cold of Canadian winter, BlackBerry made a landmark announcement. The $1.4 billion acquisition of California-based Cylance positioned BlackBerry – known for the invention of the smartphone - as one of the worlds-largest cybersecurity firms. Fast forward just a few months and the company launched a new Waterloo-based cybersecurity research and development lab.

9. Ford Motor Company unveils innovation centre in Waterloo

Ford Motor Company, one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, joined Waterloo’s autotech ecosystem earlier this year. To the surprise of many, Ford announced that they had quietly assembled a team of 150 over the last two-and-a-half-years. In an article from the Waterloo Region Record, Gary Jablonski, Chief Engineer of Ford’s Sync Technologies, commented: “I think what we are doing here in Ontario…is changing the footprint of Ford forever.”

10. Audi partners with Waterloo company to deploy innovative AI

Audi, the German automotive giant, found a valuable partner in Waterloo-based DarwinAI. The two companies have worked together to apply artificial intelligence to the development of the electronic brain behind autonomous vehicles, increasing efficiency in data processing by 90%.



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