Industry forecasts are as much about reacting to current crises as they are about predicting the future, particularly in a fast-moving sector like tech. The global economy faces real challenges: a possible recession, GHG emissions at record levels, automation’s continued disruption of workforces, etc. We need our greatest innovators to help weather — and solve — these problems.
In a recent article, MaRS CEO Yung Wu argued that while storm clouds are indeed approaching, Canada’s tech ventures stand to benefit from the gale’s silver linings. Buoyed by unprecedented investment, first-class talent, and world-leading research and development, Canada’s startups are poised to make waves next year and beyond.
Here are some 2019 predictions from MaRS senior leaders.
“The demand for smart transit — autonomous and connected vehicles, ride-sharing, multi-modal transportation and energy storage, among many innovations — ratchets up, bringing about changes in policy and regulation. Toronto-based startups like Magnovate (magnetic levitation train systems) and Pantonium (fleet routing and optimization) continue to make inroads by leveraging this issue to accelerate growth.” – Oshoma Momoh, chief technical advisor
“The world thinks more about removing GHG emissions from the atmosphere, not just releasing less of them. Canadian tech companies are already doing great things, from trapping CO2 in concrete (CarbonCure; Carbicrete) to creating clean, synthetic transportation fuels from harmful gasses. We’re finally getting past the debate around the existence of climate change. Now it comes down to the political will.” – Jane Kearns, advisor, MaRS Cleantech
“Our housing crisis leads to contraction in the Vancouver and Montreal markets. Toronto suffers too but sees a greater concentration of capital as a result, which is good news for fledgling (pre-seed and seed-stage) startups.”
– Alexander Munro, director, Capital Services
“Millennials acquire more sophisticated financial literacy by eschewing the big banks and insurance companies. By choosing challenger service providers like KOHO, Thrive Savings and Sitata, young people achieve a more personal and inclusive sense of wealth and security.”
– Roy Kao, acting managing director, MaRS Fintech
“Executives increasingly turn to mobile, cloud and AI-enabled platforms to augment the capabilities of their workforces and streamline internal processes. Canadian enterprise software ventures like Wysdom.ai and CareerSpark continue to lead in enabling global businesses to harness the best of their people and tech.”
– Krista Jones, managing director, MaRS Enterprise
“Precision medicine — individually tailored healthcare, surgeries, treatments and decisions fueled by advancements in DNA research and AI — continues to fulfill its beautiful promise. I’m very excited by companies like GeneYouIn and Perimeter Medical Imaging. They’re taking the guesswork out of wellness and making treatment more effective for everyone.”
– Ying Tam, managing director, MaRS Health