Communitech, Velocity, MaRS, the C100 and RBC have teamed up to give Canadian entrepreneurs a home away from home in the Bay Area.

Canada House, based at WeWork’s Mid-Market location in San Francisco, provides physical amenities for up to 25 Canadian companies travelling abroad — things like office space, meeting rooms, a kitchen and Wi-Fi — but intangible benefits too: access to international business networks, development and investment opportunities, and a landing pad in one of the most strategic destinations on Earth for Canadian entrepreneurs.

Communitech Photo: Phil Froklage

Communitech photo: Phil Froklage

“We hope to raise the bar of innovation in Canada,” said Joanne Fedeyko, Executive Director of the C100, an association of influential Canadians in Silicon Valley. “Not only for entrepreneurs but corporations, universities, government… We want everybody to come down to the Valley, get the DNA, the pixie dust, all of the goodness that’s here, and take it back up to Canada so that Canada can win on the global stage.”

A recent Globe and Mail piece about Canada House argued that Canadian companies “need help developing their businesses beyond startup status into larger, more sustainable global forces.” This is exactly what Canada House was designed to do. 

“We’re really excited to find a landing spot for the great startups in Waterloo Region and beyond, who want to come down to the Bay Area, build a network, and build better companies,” said Mike Kirkup, Director of the University of Waterloo’s Velocity Program.

To be eligible for the Canada House pilot project, startups must have raised money or generated significant revenue, and must be actively working with either MaRS, Communitech or Velocity. Salim Teja, Executive Vice-President of Ventures with MaRS, indicates that incubators in other tech hubs — like Vancouver, Ottawa and New Brunswick — could be invited to join the initiative in the future.

Communitech photo: Phil Froklage

Communitech Photo: Phil Froklage

“This is an exciting time for Canadian tech startups, that they have a place they can call home when they come to San Francisco,” said Lisa Cashmore, Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network, a group that connects tech hubs across the country. “There’s a lot to be said for having a comfortable, welcoming place where they can meet the right people, begin their network, start making connections, and have a big head start on their relationships in the Bay Area. I’m excited to see how many companies can take advantage of this program.”

“The only reason C100 is able to do this is because of really amazing Canadians in the Valley who donate all of their time in order to give back to the Canadian entrepreneur,” said Fedeyko. “That’s why we do this.” 

About The Author

Phil Froklage
Digital Journalist/Multimedia Producer

Phil Froklage is a writer, filmmaker and journalist in Waterloo Region obsessed with the future. Passionate about science and technology — and how it shapes our world — Phil likes nothing more than being surprised by the amazing things human beings can do.