Waterloo EDC Blog

Three key findings: New report on startup funding in Waterloo

Posted by Waterloo EDC on October 8, 2020

Innovation Alley at the Communitech Hub

Hockeystick, a company that connects startups with capital and connections to help them grow, released their quarterly report on Waterloo’s tech ecosystem last week. The report highlights a busy Q2 for Waterloo’s tech scene, with more than $140M invested in local tech companies.

“From a national perspective, the Waterloo Region is a small population base with tremendous deal activity and value,” the report said.

Here are our three key findings from the Report:

1. COVID-19 didn't stop the Waterloo tech ecosystem's momentum

Waterloo had a strong second quarter in 2020, with $148.6M raised through 12 funding rounds. The majority, $139.3M, came from late stage funding, while $9.7M came from early Click here to download the guide to foreign business expansionstage deals. This breakdown between late and early stage funding is consistent with Q1 of this year. That said, total venture funding increased by 7.8% from Q1 despite any uncertainty accompanying COVID-19.

Bigger deals made up the bulk of funding in Q2, with almost $140M invested in deals worth over $35M each. Over the past year, 81% of total funding in the region came from deals above $35M.

Keep in mind that all of this new funding landed in the darkest part of COVID-19’s first wave. This continued success speaks to Waterloo’s excellent handling of the COVID crisis and the resilience of our business ecosystem.

2. Waterloo competes with Canada's biggest regions

Even with our smaller population size, Waterloo’s venture funding is very competitive with Canada’s much larger communities, including the Greater Toronto Area and the whole of British Columbia.

British Columbia – the whole province – raised $253.5M in Q2 while the Greater Toronto Area raised $179.7M.

Like BC and Montreal, Waterloo saw most of its funding come from late stage deals, while in the GTA, funding was concentrated in early stage deals. Waterloo’s Q2 funding demonstrates how the region is consistently able to compete with larger tech hubs.

3. Two Waterloo startups leading the way with Q2 venture funding 

In Q2, venture funding in Waterloo was led by significant investments in ApplyBoard and Clearpath Robotics. After being highlighted as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies last year, ApplyBoard raised $100M and achieved ‘unicorn’ status at a $2 billion valuation this quarter and announced a $70M extension in September. To learn more about how Waterloo was fundamental to their growth, read our story about ApplyBoard’s journey.

Clearpath Robotics raised raising $39.3M in a Series C round in June, followed by an additional $6.6M extension in late September. The investment will be used to expand their industrial autonomous mobile robot division, Otto Motors.


You can find the full Hockeystick report here.


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