Last month, CBRE published their 2019 Scoring Tech Talent report. As described in the introduction to the report, “Scoring Tech Talent is a comprehensive analysis of labor market conditions, cost and quality in the U.S. and Canada for highly skilled tech workers. The top-50 markets were ranked according to their competitive advantages and appeal to both employers and tech talent. The analysis also provides insight into the quality of tech workers, their demographics and how tech talent growth patterns are impacting cities and real estate markets.” CBRE used thirteen metrics to measure markets in the US and Canada for their depth, vitality and attractiveness of tech talent. CBRE describes tech talent as “a group of highly skilled workers in more than 20 technology-oriented occupations driving innovation across all industry sectors.” 

The top 5 cities for tech talent are:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Seattle
  3. Toronto
  4. Washington, DC
  5. New York

Crystal Lo, Senior Account Manager, Community Real Estate at Vancouver-based member-owned financial co-operative Vancity shared the report with me. She also shared the following highlights for Canadian markets:

  • Toronto is the highest ranked Canadian market, at #3 overall. In terms of diversity, Toronto has a  76% male to 24% female ratio. Toronto also ranked highest for the volume of “brain gain” (number of tech jobs added), just slightly ahead of San Francisco and 3 times more jobs added compared to Seattle.
  • Vancouver is ranked #12 overall and rose 12 spots (the largest jump among all the cities). 
  • Vancouver tech talent diversity is ranked the worst at 82% male and 18% female.  Second worst is Montreal with a 79% male to 21% female ratio. Top city for diversity is Sacramento, CA with 68% male to 32% female ratio.
  • All the Canadian cities featured (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa) are ranked the lowest cost markets to operate in in terms of average tech wages and overall operating cost.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city with close to 3 million people according to the 2017 census. In the Toronto Region, there are 6.4 million people and its economy contributes an estimated 20% of Canada’s GDP. The concentration of people, businesses, and capital in Toronto continues to attract talent, new and growing businesses, and investors. 

Lally Rementilla, President of technology IP lender Quantius and Pique Fund investor and Board member, remarked about the volume of investment activity happening in Montreal, a potential strategy to attract more talent to that region.

Rise of the North

In 2018, Brad Feld wrote that Canada is going to be the next, great entrepreneurial tech country. He remarked that “many companies [he’s] involved in are exploring offices in Canada, especially Vancouver (for the Seattle folks) and Toronto (for the east coast folks) since it’s so difficult to get work visas in the US for employees.” Feld leads Foundry Group which announced its investment in Toronto-based early-stage investor, Golden Ventures’ third fund.

Entrepreneurial ventures aimed at helping people with technology skills immigrate to Canada were launched in 2017 and some ventures like VanHack, which helps people find tech jobs abroad, recognize that opportunities can be borderless.

The Government of Canada is also investing in its investment and venture ecosystem. In early 2018, the government launched a new agency, Invest in Canada, to attract investors to Canada. And it may investments into fund of funds and emerging venture capital firms, like Pique Ventures, to strengthen and bring greater diversity to Canada’s venture capital ecosystem.

Deciding Where to Locate

Danielle Morrill, partner XFactor Ventures and previously CEO of Mattermark, candidly wrote in detail about her new life in Denver after moving from San Francisco

Ryan Hoover, founder and CEO of Product Hunt recently shared on Twitter his thought process for relocating from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He cited three main goals which he referred to as:

  1. Serendipity: “New environments and people can inspire fresh ideas and unpredictable opportunities.”
  2. Lifestyle: Personal purchasing power and lifestyle goals.
  3. Family: Moving to be closer to his partner.

Drawing from a tool and technique in Integrated Investing, integrated decision-making can be applied to decide where to be located to build your venture or to invest in them. Gather information from the following four areas and answer the following broad questions:

  1. Analysis: Where does it make sense to be located, to be close to the people, networks, and resources to do what you want to do?
  2. Emotion: Where do you want to be to meet your life, lifestyle, and livelihood goals?
  3. Body: What locations energize you? As always, when you’re tired, stressed out, relaxed, or feeling at the top of your game will affect your decision-making?
  4. Intuition: Where do you know is the right fit for you and your circumstances?

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About Pique Ventures

Pique Ventures is an impact investment and management company. Pique Ventures enables a diverse community of investors to pursue integrated investing. Integrated Investing is a proprietary investment decision-making methodology to help create a better world and was developed specifically to evaluate impact and early-stage ventures.