Each quarter, Hockeystick – a company that uses AI to match startups with funders – releases a report on deals and funding in the Waterloo tech ecosystem. In Q4, we got a bit more than usual: a full 2020 year in review.
Here are the 2020 highlights from the report:
According to Hockeystick, Waterloo could count 36 investments with a total value of $689.6 million in 2020. The biggest deals came in SaaS, healthtech, analytics and artificial intelligence, and were driven by companies like Faire, Miovision and ApplyBoard. These investments bring Waterloo’s two-year total to 90 deals and $1 billion in funding across 26 technology verticals. In Hockeystick’s words, “immense growth.”
Interestingly, while total funds raised was a significant 107% increase over 2019, the total number of deals in 2020 was down 33% while the total number of investors increased 40%. Fewer deals, higher value. That makes sense with major late-stage raises from ApplyBoard ($170M) and Faire ($222M).
Over the last year the division of funding across growth stages has been quite even, despite these larger late-stage raises. Early-stage raises constituted 36% of the funding, Series A was 25% and late-stage raises accounted for 39%.
What’s helping drive this growth?
Hockeystick draws a straight line between tech company growth and the University of Waterloo, which is Canada’s top technology university. The report notes that local talent is evident across the three largest deals, with 25% of Faire’s workforce, 35% of ApplyBoard’s workforce and 55% of Miovision’s workforce having graduated or taken courses at Waterloo’s three post-secondary institutions. At smaller startup companies, the percentage of locally-trained talent is likely even higher.
The accolades for Waterloo’s tech ecosystem have piled up over the last year. CBRE named our community the fastest growing emerging tech talent market in North America, and home to the highest quality tech workforce in Canada. Deloitte reported that 22% of Canada’s 50 fastest-growing tech companies have operations in Waterloo. The University of Waterloo was ranked #1 in Canada for engineering, computer science and mathematics, and in the top-40 globally.