We’ve updated the Narwhal List and released a new report for 2019. Canada’s tech community continues to make progress but we haven’t created a new Unicorn since 2015. The technology sector has doubled the number of companies that are on track to become Unicorns but the healthcare sector continues its slow decline.
This report is the result of a forum held in February 2018 on the challenges that companies in the physical technologies face in commercialization. Forum participants had a robust discussion around the challenges outlined in our previous report on Physical Technologies and identified a number of other commercialization hurdles, including weak institutional support, knowledge and information gaps, lack of prototyping facilities and short run manufacturing, among other issues.
Effective intergovernmental coordination in research and innovation funding has been a persistent challenge in Canada. The dizzying mix of initiatives for research and innovation at both levels has also contributed to the coordination challenge, which has resulted in a patchwork of programs and co-matching requirements. Researchers and innovators are left to navigate a complex system of supports, seeking opportunities to help cover R&D costs.
This report examines the shape of the health technology industry in Canada with a focus on three specific questions: Does Canada actually have a problem with health tech commercialization? If so, how extensive is that problem? And what is causing it?
Our objective for this report was to analyze the ten-year trajectory of tech companies launched in 2008 in select jurisdictions around the world. We looked in detail at 983 companies created in 2008 in Canada, the US, France, Germany, and the UK.
The analysis shows some progress we are making and points out some areas of concern. The average funding received by Canadian companies in the last ten years ($15.5M) is in second place behind the US ($25.2M). Canada is strongest in funding technology companies including software, hardware and mobile, but is lagging the US in the number of health tech companies created and our average funding per company is weak.