On October 15, California-based fintech company Carta announced an expansion in Waterloo. Founded in 2012, Carta’s cap table software supports over 800,000 security holders at more than 12,000 companies. This software helps these companies manage more than $575 billion in equity.
The company arrived in Waterloo through the acquisition of 51 employees from Kik, the messenger app company that has pivoted to focus on a cryptocurrency called Kin. They also acquired Kik’s office space in Catalyst137. Carta is committed to turning Waterloo into its “next great R&D center.”
When announcing this news in a blog post, Carta CEO Henry Ward listed three key reasons for choosing Waterloo:
1. Top-quality experienced workforce
In his post, Ward speaks to the strength of the Kik team that Carta is bringing on board, calling them “mission-driven, talented, ambitious and kind” as well as “consumer-oriented.”
It’s true that Kik had a fantastic workforce – it’s one of the reasons why the company was routinely named a potential tech unicorn (along with a few other Waterloo-based companies). While we often highlight the strength of our talent pipeline, or our cost advantages, it shouldn’t be lost that the same CBRE report that called our talent “exceptional” also gave us the highest labour quality score in Canada. Companies that locate in Waterloo will find a world-class experienced workforce with an entrepreneurial, problem-solving bent.
2. Access to top-tier tech post-secondary
While calling Waterloo an ideal new home for Carta, Ward cited local top-tier universities as a key facet of our community’s value proposition.
When people talk about tech talent in Waterloo they often start with the University of Waterloo. The New York Times has called it “one of the world’s top technology schools” for good reason – it has some of the highest entry averages for tech programs you’ll find anywhere, the world’s largest concentration of math and computer science talent and the world’s largest co-operative education program.
That said, it is important to remember that our community is also home to Wilfrid Laurier University – which has a unique tech-focused business program – and Conestoga College – one of Ontario’s top polytechnic institutes and another great source of tech talent.
3. A thriving tech ecosystem
Last but not least, Ward cited Waterloo for its thriving tech ecosystem – “an ecosystem we’re humbled to be a part of for years to come.”
This one is a bit more difficult to quantify. Yes, we have a collection of incredible tech incubators and hubs, like Communitech, the Accelerator Centre, Velocity and more. Yes, we have a good mix of tech giants – Google, Shopify, SAP, OpenText, etc. – and startups/scale-ups. But it’s more than that. This community was built on tech – it’s in just about everything we do, from consumer products to robotics to advanced manufacturing. We’re a true tech ecosystem, where you’re more likely to see jeans and t-shirts than suits and ties. Our culture of collaboration – between companies, governments and everything in between – must be seen to be believed. We’re excited to have Carta join the fold.