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Six big Waterloo business stories from 2021

A round-up of business news from Waterloo in 2021, including stories about MasterClass, Faire, ApplyBoard, Communitech and more.

Waterloo had a big year in 2021. A record-breaking year. We smashed existing records for new tech investment – driven by three of the fastest-growing tech companies in Canada – and Waterloo EDC smashed its own records, helping welcome more than $360 million in new investment.

We also welcomed new leadership at multiple major local organizations, which heralded a reshuffling of strategies and partnerships to position the Waterloo community for its next era of growth.

Here are six big Waterloo business stories from 2021:

Setting records for new tech investment

It wasn’t just one story – it was a dozen. In 2021, Waterloo had its best-ever year for new investment into scaling tech companies.

In fact, in a 11-month period, companies in Waterloo – a community with just 600,000 people – landed more than $2 billion in new investment. That includes $660 million for Faire, $150 million for Arctic Wolf and $375 million for ApplyBoard – the three biggest scale-ups around.

We also had a number of companies go public, including D2L and Magnet Forensics, raising $120 million and $115 million, respectively.

Tech giant EPAM Systems joins the Waterloo ecosystem

In a record-breaking year for Waterloo EDC, you better believe there are some big new entrants in our community.

Maybe the biggest is EPAM Systems – a tech giant with 41,000 employees that operates in 35+ countries and had $2.7 billion in revenue in 2020.

The company aims to add 100 people to the Waterloo location – including transfers from other locations – before the start of 2022 and have as many as 200 people working here by the end of next year.

New era of tech leadership begins in Waterloo

The last year saw the changing of leadership in some of Waterloo’s most important tech-related institutions.

For 17 years, Communitech – Canada’s leading innovation hub – had Iain Klugman at the helm. For more than a decade, the President of the University of Waterloo – one of the world’s top technology schools – was Feridun Hamdullahpur. For seven years, Paul Salvini served as the Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s #1 private business accelerator – the Accelerator Centre.

Those institutions are now led by Chris Albinson, Dr. Vivek Goel and Jay Krishnan, and each is pursuing new priorities and strategies to further strengthen Waterloo’s position as a tech leader. To learn more about each of them, click here.

Automation giant Beckhoff moves Canadian HQ to Waterloo

One of the world’s largest automation companies has relocated its Canadian headquarters to Waterloo Region. Beckhoff Automation Canada has moved into an 11,000 square-foot office in Cambridge that will help increase warehousing and customer support capabilities.

“The new Cambridge headquarters has increased not only our corporate footprint but also our capabilities to serve Beckhoff customers. We are excited to be located in the technology-rich Waterloo Region, which puts our team closer to key customers and partners in the automation industry,” said Calvin Wallace, Managing Director of Beckhoff Automation Ltd.

BlackBerry launches multi-million dollar UWaterloo partnership

BlackBerry, the Waterloo-based tech giant, has announced a new five-year, multi-million dollar partnership with the University of Waterloo aimed at driving new research-based innovation in Canada.

The new partnership will combine the strengths of the two organizations in a unique program designed to fast-track the development of cutting-edge research into market-ready products.

The company also plans to support UWaterloo-based entrepreneurs who want to commercialize their intellectual property – the university has a reputation for producing exciting companies and products.

MasterClass opens new engineering HQ in Waterloo

MasterClass, a high-profile American streaming platform, has announced plans to launch a new engineering headquarters in Waterloo. This is their first expansion outside of the US.

With a new $225M Series F raise in the books, MasterClass is developing a new Waterloo engineering hub that will help build the company’s planned enterprise product offering and technical integrations with distribution partners, as well as scaling technical and video infrastructure.

MasterClass intends to grow the Waterloo office to become a peer engineering headquarters to their existing headquarters in San Francisco.

Want to learn more?

Waterloo’s business ecosystem is on a roll and 2022 is lining up for even more growth. It’s the perfect time to expand your company to our community.