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40 days that put Waterloo tech in the global spotlight

The last 40 days include massive new raises for Waterloo tech companies, a #1 rank in a North American tech talent report and more.

Less than a year ago, we highlighted a 12-month period that – at the time – we argued was a sort of “miracle year” for Waterloo’s tech ecosystem. A year that set the foundation for a future of dynamic growth.

Since that time, growth has continued to accelerate. However, the last month and a half have forced us to reevaluate whether we were looking at too long a timeframe. That’s because the last 40 days have been record-setting and – you could argue – eclipse the incredible achievements we highlighted last November.

Here’s what happened to make us issue this sort of mea culpa:

June 8 – MasterClass commits to Waterloo-based Canadian engineering HQ

The streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the world’s best announced plans to launch a Waterloo-based engineering hub that would “become a peer engineering headquarters” to their existing headquarters in San Francisco. The company is hiring developers across the full development stack, including web, mobile, native, back end and infrastructure.

June 10 – Faire raises $260 million and hits $7 billion valuation

The Waterloo-based retail innovator announced a massive new funding round just eight months after raising $150 million in October 2020. While many companies struggled during COVID-19, Faire turned problem into solution by empowering small businesses to compete with big box stores for pandemic necessities. The idea of a “democratized future for retail” has resonated with investors and customers alike.

June 14 – Waterloo moves up in the QS World University Rankings

Just three months after QS subject rankings put the University of Waterloo in the top-25 for computer science and top-40 for engineering and technology, the new QS overall rankings put this world-class tech school into the global top-150 for the first time ever. The overall ranking grades institutes on reputation, teaching, research and global outreach across all disciplines, and 2021 marks the third straight year that the University of Waterloo has substantially improved its ranking.

June 15 – ApplyBoard raises $375 million and hits $4 billion valuation

The Waterloo-based edtech leader announced significant new funding to expand product offerings, destination countries and support for international students seeking to study abroad. Like Faire, ApplyBoard has consistently raised significant amounts of investment, totaling at least $600 million since the company was founded in 2015.

July 13 – Arctic Wolf raises $150 million and hits $4.3 billion valuation

Another big raise! Arctic Wolf, which has been in Waterloo from day one, is a cybersecurity leader that has raised nearly $500 million over the last few years. The company is currently experiencing 100% growth in year-over-year annual recurring revenue and 438% year-over-year annual recurring revenue growth in large enterprise customers. The sky is the limit for Arctic Wolf.

July 13 – Waterloo becomes the top small tech talent market in North America

Each year, CBRE – the worldwide leader in real estate services – releases a report that ranks the top tech talent markets in North America. In previous years, Waterloo was the top-ranked emerging tech talent market but was kept outside of the top-50 due to its small size. This year, the community’s immense growth has boosted it into the “small tech talent market” category, where it was ranked #1, ahead of cities like Pittsburgh and Columbus.

July 15 – Auvik Networks attracts $250 million investment

The 40-day run of great tech news ended with a bang. Auvik Networks, an award-winning Waterloo-based provider of cloud-based network maintenance software, announced a new $250 million investment. This new investment is expected to accelerate product development, business expansion and reach, as well as other strategic growth initiatives.

These are just the biggest headlines. Altogether, more than $1.4 billion in new investment was announced between June 8 and July 15. SkyWatch announced a $20.9 million raise. Tulip announced a $28 million raise. Wilfrid Laurier University announced that graduates from its ScaleUp program had raised more than $1 billion in investment. All of this comes in the wake of the torch being passed to new leaders at three of Waterloo’s most important tech-related organizations.

This is Canada’s most dynamic tech hub – we should have known it would surprise us.

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