Toronto-Waterloo ranks #14 startup ecosystem globally in world’s preeminent report on advancing startup ecosystems

Startup Genome, MaRS Discovery District and Communitech publish 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report

TORONTO / WATERLOO – September 22, 2021 — The 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network was launched today at London Tech Week — in which the Toronto-Waterloo ecosystem placed #14 in the global ranking, raising four spots from the previous year, and marking the highest the ecosystem has ranked in its history of the report. The GSER is the world’s most comprehensive and widely-read research on startups with 280 entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems and 3 million startups analyzed. The Report includes a ranking of the leading 140 ecosystems in the world, breakdowns by continent with regional insights, and founder-focused articles from thought leaders and experts around the world.

MaRS Discovery District and Communitech, with support from the University of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo, worked closely with Startup Genome to highlight Toronto-Waterloo’s strengths against ecosystems globally. Powered by these organizations, Toronto-Waterloo startups created $20.8 billion in economic value with $2.3 billion in total early stage funding over the last 2.5 years.

The 2021 GSER provides insights and guidance to public and private leaders on how to cultivate thriving startup ecosystems and support local startups — the No. 1 engine of job creation and economic growth. Discover how more than 140 entrepreneurial ecosystems across the world stack up and view the full report here:


Toronto-Waterloo’s Ranking in the #GSER2021 Quick Facts 

  • Top 10 Global Ecosystem and Top 5 North American Ecosystem in Funding—measures innovation through early stage funding and investor’s activity
  • Top 15 North American Ecosystem in Affordable Talent—measures the ability to hire tech talent
  • Top 20 Global Ecosystem and Top 10 North American Ecosystem in Talent and Experience—measure of production of talent in the ecosystem through universities and institutions
  • Top 30 Global Ecosystem and Top 10 North American Ecosystem in Performance—measures the size and performance of an ecosystem based on the accumulated tech startup value created from exits and funding
  • Top 15 North American Ecosystem in Knowledge—measures innovation through research and patent activity
  • Created $20.8 billion in economic value with $2.3 billion in total early stage funding over the last 2.5 years
  • Rich, diverse talent pools, data sovereignty, and data privacy are cited as the reasons a startup should move to Toronto-Waterloo
  • Al, Big Data & Analytics and Life Sciences are highlighted for their density of talent, support resources, and startup activity



“I am pleased to see Toronto-Waterloo rising rapidly in the ranking of the Top 30 ecosystems globally. The last two years have presented harsh conditions for everyone, but the upward trajectory of the Toronto startup scene has been a bright spot. With increases in the number of venture deals, IPOs and some of the biggest ever global investments in Canadian technology companies, everything is lined up for a very strong rebound and Canada’s most vibrant startup scene is playing a major role.” — Yung Wu, CEO, MaRS Discovery District

“Being the sole Canadian ecosystem to place in the Top 15 rankings is reflective of what we know: there’s no better place to start and grow a global tech company than here in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor. The data shows we’re punching well above our weight and competing globally across all criteria evaluated by Startup Genome. Our companies are poised to win in the trust economy and exemplify the values of tech for good. The Toronto-Waterloo tech ecosystem is primed to continue to produce world-class companies in the years to come.” — Chris Albinson, CEO, Communitech

“The Region of Waterloo is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and is forecasted to remain a growth leader in the coming decades. We’re deliberate about our growth, working to ensure we have the tools to attract and retain top tech talent to our region from around the globe. With initiatives like investment in the terminal expansion at the Region of Waterloo International Airport and delivering 2,500 affordable housing units by 2025, we’re poised to continue to be a top destination for tech companies to start, grow and thrive.” — Karen Redman, Regional Chair, Region of Waterloo

“This report is further evidence that a significant part of Canada’s economic future — and the way it is perceived around the world — is being powered and inspired by the Toronto-Waterloo corridor. A large part of what makes the ecosystem here so unique is the strength of Waterloo Region’s post-secondary sector. Our world-class institutions continue to fuel innovation through important research and by attracting and educating top students, who go on to join the rich talent pool that powers our startups.” — Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo

“Entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community leaders are working hard all over the world to build productive and inclusive technology ecosystems that are engines of economic growth and job creation for all. The Global Startup Ecosystem Report is the foundation of knowledge where we, as a global network, come together to identify what policies actually produce economic impact and in what context.” — JF Gauthier, Founder & CEO of Startup Genome


About Startup Genome

Startup Genome’s mission is to enhance startup success and ecosystem performance everywhere. Startup Genome is the world’s leading policy advisory and research organization for governments and public-private partnerships. Its impact is rooted in the world’s largest entrepreneurship research with data on over three million companies across 280 cities. Learn how Startup Genome accelerates global startup ecosystems by contacting Adam Bregu at and on, LinkedIn, Twitter.


About MaRS

MaRS is North America’s largest urban innovation hub. A registered non-profit, MaRS supports high-growth startups and scale-ups tackling key issues in health, cleantech, fintech and other sectors. In addition, MaRS convenes all members of the tech ecosystem to drive breakthrough discoveries, grow the economy and make an impact by solving real problems for real people — in Canada and around the world.


About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was a wild idea, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,600 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.

  • Communitech is a place — the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs — helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem — making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.


For interviews and further inquiries, please contact:

Samantha Clark
Public Relations Manager, Communitech

Amanda Whalen
Media Relations, MaRS

Tricia Whitlock
Chief Operations Officer, Startup Genome
WhatsApp: +1-770-561-1701