David Johnston Research + Technology Park

Carol Stewart

The David Johnston Research + Technology Park (R+T) is one of the largest research parks in Canada and is uniquely located on the University of Waterloo's North Campus. Designed to accommodate 1.2 million square feet of office space on 120-acres (49 hectares), the Research Park houses thousands of ICT industry researchers, and technology jobs. The Research Park has generated an economic impact of $602 million in spending, $428 million in GDP, and $319 million in labour.

The cornerstone of the park is the Accelerator Centre (AC) which is a world-renowned, award-winning centre for the cultivation of technology entrepreneurship located at the gateway of the R+T Park in Waterloo, Ontario. The Accelerator Centre has graduated over 30 companies from their Accelerator Program , and has been ranked 9/10 for overall experience by their clients. Today the park is home to 50+ companies and almost 3,500 knowledge workers.

Show Us the Money.

Raising capital for a young company is a challenging task, whether it's securing that first bit of funding from a government grant, a loan from friends and family, or negotiating a larger funding round with a venture capital firm.

In this issue of Watch, we devote ourselves to the issue of investment, looking at the topic from a variety of perspectives. We chat with startup founder and CEO of Milao Language, Camelia Nunez about that all important 'small money' that comes at the front end of the process to fuel initial product development efforts. Then we meet Sunil Sharma, venture capitalist, former diplomat and managing director of Extreme Venture Partners tells us why he believes Waterloo is such a hot area for investment these days. Afterwards, we spend some time with Tom Jenkins, founder and Executive Chairman of OpenText Corporation, one of Waterloo Region's greatest success stories. Tom updated us on OpenText's new investment fund, and shared his thoughts on why regional tech clusters appeal to investors. Finally, we sit down for a Q&A with Paul Salvini, the new CEO of the Accelerator Centre (AC), to learn why incubators and accelerators such as the AC provide that all-important validation for startups seeking funding.

Investment in Canada: the Facts

• 29 Angel groups made 199 investments in 2013 totaling $89.0 million.
• While in an accelerator program, Canadian companies reported attracting $31.1M in Angel, VC and government funding.
• Since 2006, the Accelerator Centre has developed and nurtured over 130 early-stage technology start-ups, creating 1100+ new jobs and generating over $120 million in revenue.
• More than 450 startups opened for business in the twin cities of Waterloo and Kitchener last year, more than four times the number begun in 2009
• In the year ended April 30, 2013, more than $214-million was invested in startups in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Three years earlier, the figure was just $500,000.