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January Wrap-up: Cleantech, startups and sustainability

A round-up of business and investment news stories from Waterloo, Canada in January, 2022.

Waterloo kicked off 2022 with a bang. This month, our business ecosystem saw major funding announcements, earned research accolades and achieved international recognition for our cleantech and sustainability efforts.

Here are the top stories from January 2022:

Toronto-Waterloo Corridor named one of the world’s top cleantech ecosystems

The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is a global leader in cleantech. A new report from Startup Genome named the area as one of the world’s top cleantech ecosystems with a 12th place global ranking. Toronto-Waterloo is also leading the cleantech charge in Canada, ranking #1 in the country.

In the report, Startup Genome stated: “With unprecedented investment, strong public institutions, favourable immigration policies and one of the most-vaccinated citizenries on the globe, the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is well-positioned to advance the Canadian and global economics post pandemic.”

$2.8 billion invested in local startups in 2021

Waterloo is growing at an incredible rate. Last year, $2.8B was invested in local startups – more than the previous 10 years combined – and the number of tech workers in the region topped 26,000. Waterloo is also part of the fastest-growing innovation hub in the world; the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is reportedly growing about four times faster than Silicon Valley. This exceptional growth is nothing short of remarkable.

Velocity alumni raise $3.6B in funding

The velocity at which Velocity is growing is unparalleled. The University of Waterloo’s flagship incubator recently announced that its alumni raised a cumulative total of $3.6B in funding – mere months after reaching $2B. Adrian Côté, Velocity’s executive director, expects more growth for Velocity companies in the year ahead, as the incubator continues to accelerate momentum in Waterloo’s exciting entrepreneurial ecosystem.

UWaterloo named #1 comprehensive research university in Canada

For the 14th consecutive year, the University of Waterloo was named Canada’s most comprehensive research university. Waterloo’s consistent ranking in Research Infosource Inc.’s annual report is a testament to the school’s exceptional research credentials.

President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vivek Goel said that the University of Waterloo’s research excellence is supported by industry partnerships that create opportunities to generate new knowledge and solve increasingly complex, real-world problems – such as sustainable food production and global water resilience.

Cricket farming initiative recognized by the UN for sustainable AI innovation

DarwinAI, a local artificial intelligence company, was recognized by the United Nations for its contributions to a state-of-the-art facility farming crickets for food. The initiative, led by DarwinAI and Aspire Food Group, was named to a list of the top 10 projects using AI innovation to advance global sustainability and tackle sustainable food production.

The Water Institute and BlackBerry partner up to address global water-related challenges

Building on a strong partnership that spans three decades, the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute and BlackBerry launched a first-of-its-kind innovation research challenge. The Water Innovation Challenge invites new applications of BlackBerry technologies to address water-related challenges.

The Accelerator Centre rebrands for the future

This month, the Accelerator Centre launched its new brand and website, ushering in its new vision for the future. The organization, a key pillar in Waterloo’s innovation ecosystem, aims to build the world’s #1 full-stack startup hub. The new brand provides a foundation for delivering the organization’s strategic roadmap, which includes the launch of new founder-focused programs, increased access to investment opportunities and the expansion of the organization’s global network.

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