What does the Toronto startup ecosystem look like? (V2)

There are many different types of components in the Toronto startup ecosystem. The ecosystem consists of the physical world in Toronto (e.g. offices, people) and the global virtual world. The attached chart is my first version. I will update as I learn more.  Note that I’m focused on showing the different types of components NOT producing a comprehensive list of the hundreds of participants.

Version 2 of the document adds in the fact that many startups bootstrap their way to success, with the only investors being themselves, friends, and family.

The core of the ecosystem are the founders.  Founders start with an idea.  They create a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) which satisfies some early customers.  They then refine the MVP until it is ready for a broader market, and the company is ready to scale.

Financing comes in many ways, depending upon which stage the startup is at.  Financing options include: bootstrapping, friends & family, individual angels, angel groups, startup funds (e.g. Ripple Ventures), Venture Capital, strategic investors, debt, in-kind services (e.g. Clearbanc)

Some founders start at incubators (which take a startup to the point of having a MVP with some satisfied customers.  Some founders go to accelerators (which take a startup from the point of having a customer validated MVP to having a MVP with proven market/product fit and a company ready to scale.

The physical ecosystem in Toronto includes:

  • Service providers, who may provide free or discounted support to startups e.g lawyers, accountants, consultants, paid advisors, corporations (e.g. RBC’s Wave).
  • The government e.g. loans, grants, SE&RD, tax incentives, etc.
  • Training students and graduates for startups e.g. Venture for Canada.
  • Pro-bono advisors and mentors.

The virtual world includes:

  • Education and information e.g. YouTube, websites (e.g. Blitzscaling at Standford).
  • Virtual investors e.g. Kickstarter.
  • Cloud services e.g. Office and finance software, payment processing, CRM, etc.
  • Virtual service providers.

The attached one-page chart illustrates these concepts.

What does the Toronto startup ecosystem look like?

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