British Columbia

Tech startup industry in Vancouver lagging globally, experts say

Vancouver's tech startup sector is lagging behind in financing and investment, say industry experts attending a conference in the West Coast city.

Vancouver slipping in global startup rankings due to lack of investment

Experts in the tech sector say Vancouver's startup industry is lagging behind globally. (Shutterstock / Rawpixel)

Vancouver's tech startup sector is lagging behind in financing and investment, say experts in the industry who are attending a conference in the West Coast city.

"There's no shortage of money here, it just tends to go into real estate and we need to have people think more laterally — at potentially larger opportunities that are out there," said Mike Tippett, who has been in the startup business for 20 years, founding businesses like NowPublic and GrowLab.

More than 3,000 people will be attending Vancouver Startup Week beginning on Thursday, including representatives from the tech ride-sharing giant Uber

The City of Vancouver has been trying to promote itself as the next tech capital; Vision Vancouver's economic plan includes courting tech companies to set up shop.

So far the tactic has attracted tech giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. And Vancouver's very own Hootsuite is one of the biggest tech companies in the world, creating hundreds of jobs. 

Despite those efforts, experts say Vancouver's tech startup sector is lagging behind globally.

The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking has placed Vancouver as18th in the world for startups, a drop from ninth in 2012. It said that funding is the city's biggest issue, leading to slow growth in the sector.

The decline in the city's ranking doesn't surprise Tippett.

"Compared to a place like Silicon Valley or New York, that have many people with deep pockets who are willing to take risks on new ideas, Vancouver is often not as risky," he said. 

While Tippett hopes Vancouver's investment community will see the value in tech startups, he also advises entrepreneurs to think beyond borders, and look abroad for funding too.

With files from Bal Brach


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