Repeat after me. Unicorns are NOT real. Unicorns are mythical creatures.
I’ve been working on Replicon, a company I co-founded, for the past 20 years. I am currently based in Redwood Shores (near Oracle), as is a good chunk of the company. But our origins are in Canada – in Calgary – where we grew the company until we raised our venture round in 2013. If I had to start another company again, I would do it in Canada –here are some of the reasons why:
Software Development is Essentially Free: Canada has extremely favorable tax laws for software companies. In a day and age where software developers are being paid through the nose in the Silicon Valley, Canada offers a the ability to deduct virtually all software development costs. This piece alone makes it worth it to co-found your next company in Canada.
The Talent Pool is Enormous: The University of Toronto, the University of BC and McGill and Waterloo are all ranked in the top 100 technical universities on the planet. In a country that has the population the size of California, that’s a pretty impressive feat. University grads in Canada, like anywhere else, tend to congregate and settle near the metros where they study. Given that there isn’t as much competition for talent as there is in the Valley, you have a situation where you can gain a strong hold on a good amount of talent in a short amount of time.
Cost of Living is Not Insane – and Better Healthcare: Not much more needs to be said here, but Canadian cities are typically ranked as the most livable in the world. Vancouver was rated the #1 most livable city in North America by an annual Mercer survey last year, and we Canadian cities represent 5 out of the top 35 in the world.
Progressive Political Environment: A lot of people congregate to San Francisco because of its progressive politics. The irony of that is of course the divide between tech workers and non-tech workers in SF continues to grow and cause a lot of consternation within the city. In Canada, if you are a true progressive, you will not witness this sort of divide. We have a fantastic Prime Minister whose cabinet is 50% women, and his defense minister is Sikh.
I realize a lot of the tech world tends to think very Valley-centric, because all of the major VCs are based here, as are two large technical universities (Stanford and Berkeley), but Canada warrants consideration. It’s a great country with great people and we still maintain a very large presence in Toronto and Calgary. It’s a total no-brainer to start your next company in Canada.