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March Wrap-up: Waterloo, a Top Seed in Global Tech

Waterloo emerged as a leader in the global tech arena this month with new investments, research and acquisitions. Read the full wrap-up to learn more.

March Madness took on a new meaning in Waterloo’s tech and innovation scene last month, as local companies and organizations put up impressive numbers.

Instead of basketball teams, we have big brands and leading research centres pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and setting the pace for global tech innovation. From cloud computing and quantum research to automotive manufacturing and AI, the region is buzzing with activity.

Here are the top stories from March 2024:

OVHcloud opens second Canadian data centre

OVHcloud, a leading force in the cloud computing industry and a top European provider, is advancing its global strategy with the opening of its second Canadian data centre in Waterloo Region.

Housed in a former BlackBerry facility in Cambridge, a community in the region, this marks OVHcloud’s 42nd global data centre. With a forward-looking $145M investment over the next eight years, the company aims to enhance its infrastructure to meet the sophisticated needs of Canadian businesses, focusing on performance, resilience and data governance.

Now in operation, the data centre is a shining example of OVHcloud’s commitment to innovation and environmental sustainability. Occupying 10,000 square feet, the centre employs a “Private Powered Shell” model, marrying the high security of an existing structure with the company’s advanced operational technologies, such as patented water-cooling systems.

This expansion will help generate job growth and enhance the local tech ecosystem, solidifying Waterloo’s position as a leading destination for innovative businesses to grow.

Battery research centre opens in Waterloo

The University of Waterloo announced the launch of the Ontario Battery and Electrochemistry Research Centre (OBEC), led by professors Linda Nazar and Michael Pope. The new centre is tasked with advancing next-generation electric vehicle (EV) battery development, with a particular emphasis on sustainability, cost-efficiency, safety and longevity.

Funded by a $5M investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the University of Waterloo, OBEC will collaborate with Ontario-based researchers and the industry to enhance the EV battery supply chain, tackling aspects like production, recycling and advanced manufacturing processes.

Dedicated to driving innovation in battery materials and technologies for future vehicles, OBEC will also help train Waterloo’s undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral fellows, to advance their expertise in electrochemistry.

Pope emphasized the centre’s broad focus, stating, “While there is an urgent need to train people to work on the next-generation EV battery gigafactories being built here in Canada by the likes of Volkswagen, Stellantis, Umicore and BASF, it is equally important to develop these next generation technologies and help local industry meet growing market demand.”

Apple acquires DarwinAI

Waterloo-based startup DarwinAI, which specializes in AI for visual quality inspection in manufacturing, has been acquired by Apple. Although neither party has officially confirmed the news, multiple sources familiar with the acquisition revealed that Apple has acquired the entire company, including its employees and technology.

Founded in 2017, DarwinAI applies AI to improve product quality and production efficiency, with notable clients including Fortune 500 corporations like Honeywell and BMW.

Waterloo researchers secure funding to solve global challenges

Waterloo researchers have been awarded over $51M in funding from the Government of Canada to tackle global challenges across various fields. This funding supports projects ranging from geothermal energy storage to AI, highlighting Waterloo’s commitment to innovation and problem-solving at both national and global levels.

New research advances the quantum landscape

Recent advancements in quantum research from the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) are pushing the field forward.

Dr. Adam Wei Tsen, a professor at IQC and the Department of Chemistry, has received the 2024 Dorothy Killam Fellowship by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). This prestigious fellowship, providing $80,000 over two years, supports Tsen’s groundbreaking research in 2D quantum materials and devices, aimed at advancing quantum computing and quantum information technologies.

Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Reimer, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is among the recipients of $8M in funding from the Ontario government’s Ontario Research Fund to support innovative projects ranging from environmental cleanup to virus outbreak prevention and financial data protection.

Waterloo EDC compares tech and manufacturing hubs

Waterloo EDC launched a City Matchup tool in March that allows international business leaders and site selectors to quickly compare how Waterloo stacks up against other North American tech and manufacturing hubs.

The City Matchup tool provides a detailed analysis of key metrics and indicators relevant to both industries, including workforce availability, salary, quality of life and labour costs. If your business is currently exploring expansion, this is an essential resource for you.

Miovision expands reach with TTS

Local traffic management software company Miovision made its second acquisition of the year, acquiring Beaverton, Oregon-based Traffic Technology Services (TTS). Miovision, located in Kitchener, will leverage TTS’s technology to further reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions using computer vision, AI and advanced analytics.

The deal expands Miovision’s solutions for automotive OEMs and fleet operators globally. The acquisition adds 11 patents and 80,000 managed intersections, bringing the total portfolio to over 170,000 intersections.

Waterloo in Canada’s top-15 for immigration

Waterloo Region has one of the highest immigration rates in Canada, according to a recent article. Ranked 14th in the country, the area was praised for its dynamic ecosystem and thriving tech scene, while cultural diversity and commitment to public spaces was also praised.

When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, Canada presents a compelling case. With business-friendly options like the Global Talent Stream or the Intra-Company Transfer Program, companies can bring highly skilled talent and leadership to work in their Canadian headquarters in as little as two weeks. Worth exploring? As a referral partner, we can guide you through the process.


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