Oh Canada…The Follow Up and The Toronto Trend

Waaay back in 2006 i was hell bent on Gold, Canada, Oil and Toronto. It helped that I was born and raised in the city.

Toronto is unique as is Canada.

I wrote a post that outlined my main investment thesis for the trend and I was investing my money where my mouth was . Gold, Toronto, Canadian Dollars and web. Today, not much has changed except gold has gone much higher than I expected (sold a few weeks ago) and oil spiked higher in 2008 (long gone). Real Estate is still at the condo flipping stage as Asian money continues to flood in.

I was back in Toronto after my longest ever period away (18 months) and it was like a new city of web people had emerged.

First off, while prices skyrocket for real estate, gold and oil, the web deals feel like they are underpriced relative to New York and California. Spend a day at Extreme Ventures Partners if you love web and mobile investing. Amar and Sundeep are kicking ass without much fanfare from the US.

While New York gets supercompetitive for deals, you can catch a 50 minute flight to Toronto, have some world class falafel and be treated to hundreds of mobile startups as RIMM loses talent left and right and a dollar at par helps keep talented engineers at home or even migrating.

While competing properly for deals is important, finding dealflow without much competition is more important.

San Diego now has a direct flight to Toronto so I expect to be back on a monthly basis as I fully expect this valuation and talent discrepancy gap to close quickly now that things are in high gear in the US.

While Mike Arrington has a few laughs at our Canadian expense, any serious investor should be spending time in Toronto and even Montreal, where deals are getting done and much help is needed cracking the distribution code of the US.

If you are serious, Amar and Sundeep are the guys to call. Thanks to my friend William Mougayar of Eqentia for treating me so well and running me around the city for start-up meetings.

As for TechCrunch…they probably don’t need a Canada office, so why not just buy StartUpNorth.ca and contribute to the momentum.


  1. Confidence has grown by leaps and bounds and a social infrastructure has developed over the past few years that has helped startups in and around the TO area come of age. Lots more exciting stuff to come from a growing group of talented and immensely passionate people.

  2. Will says:

    Hi Howard,

    Great meeting you at the Extreme CEO dinner.

    It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold in 2011 now that Universities in the Toronto area are getting into the game and setting up their own incubators as well.

    – Will

  3. Blantier2 says:

    I live in the middle of Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal on the US side (northern NY). When I relocate the family in a couple of years Toronto will be on the short list with NY and London.

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  5. Mark Essel says:

    Props for the shout out to William.
    Looking forward to reading/hearing more about the trip.

    Just skimmed Arrington’s “no TC in Canada” post, :D good times. The comments are even better.

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