Breaking into the Canadian startup ecosystem – How to break into the tech scene in Toronto, Canada 


Last update 19-Mar-2021


Erik Torenberg

Daryna Kulya [DK]

Mohammed Asaduallah

Paul Krajewski

Kamil Rextin [KR]

Mustefa Jo’shen

1. Toronto Tech Scene FAQs

Q: What word best describes Toronto’s tech/startup scene?

[DK] Breakthrough. With so many great companies in the city, a lot of support networks for entrepreneurs and, hopefully, more funding for local companies, feels like Toronto is about to have its breakthrough moment.

[KR] Diversity & Openness. Both in terms of backgrounds, gender, ethnicity & cultures but also the type of companies from marketplaces to financial technology, commerce, marketing technology & many more. There’s no ‘right’ kind of founder or company, they come in all shapes & sizes. The TO community is open, welcoming and embracing to anyone who wants to get involved.

Q: How does someone break into Toronto’s tech/startup scene?

[DK] Depends what you’d mean by “breaking in”. If it’s just about finding a job at a startup, section 4 with a list of some startups that are hiring could be a good place to start. However, if you’d like to get involved in the community, meet future co-founders and make friends, I’d have a different answer.

I believe that creating value for others is the best way to “break into” any industry, including tech. Based on your skills and talents, find a way to help someone with what they are working on. Don’t ask for anything in return. Repeat. Keep doing it until people start reaching out to you for help (this means you’re creating value). Same people will be much more willing to help you after you’ve helped them.

Volunteer at an event, design / redesign someone’s logo, build something people in the community want / need, step up to host a meetup, write and publish a thorough product review, connect two people who should know each other, find an answer to the question someone has, do research nobody volunteered for.

Don’t forget to share your story. If you have a compelling story, strangers will go out of their way to help you. Thanks to Ruben Harris for sharing this important point in his post.

[KR] Don’t ask for permission. You own the community as much as anyone else. As long as you aren’t rude or an a**h**** you will be welcome and embraced. Get involved by going to meetups, asking people out for coffee, writing about your experiences and being active on Twitter & relevant Facebook Groups.

2. Where should I meet Toronto’s Tech Community?


UXResearch|TO —

UX Lightning Talks Toronto

TORONTO TECH: Wearable, IoT, Big Data, 3D, Energy, AI, Robot

(UXD / UX) User Experience Design Toronto —

Product Hunt Toronto — For all of you makers, hunters and early adopters.

#ProductTO —

Tech Toronto (Meet & learn from Toronto’s tech founders)

#BotTO — (Get your bot on)

#DesignTO — (Toronto’s monthly Design Meetup)

#DevTO —

Girl Geeks Toronto —

LEAN Coffee Toronto —

MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 — Canada’s largest live & online entrepreneurship course —

Startup Grind —

Subscribe to the feed from from your own Google calendar to automatically see it filled with a good portion of events in the city

Conferences / Annual Events

DigiFest —


HoHoTO —

Startup Open House —

Startupong —

TEDxToronto —

Uberflip Experience


Startup Weekend —

U of T Hacks —

3. Where should I pick up necessary skills?

Bitmaker Labs —

Brainstation —

HackerYou —

Ladies Learning Code —

Lighthouse Labs —

Design Cofounders (UX/UI & Design Thinking courses)

RED Academy —

Founder Institute Toronto

4. What Toronto startups are hiring?

500px — —

ConnectedLab —

Drop —

Ecobee —


Joist —

Influitive —

PagerDuty —

StreetContxt —

Shopify —

TribalScale —

Wealthsimple —

Wattpad —

Hired — [The Hired Toronto team is awesome and if you get a chance, talk to them about all things Toronto, startups, recruiting]

Format —

Uberflip —

Betakit Job Board —

5. What companies beyond startup stage are hiring?

Pivotal (Pivotal Labs, former Xtreme Labs now part of VMware):

Now, Ford owns

6. Where can I get office space?

Breather —


Lab T.O.

One Eleven —

Project Spaces —

WeWork —

7. Who could help me build my product?


Konrad Group —

Pivotal Labs — VMware Pivotal Labs (Get one hour of free consulting:

Tiny Hearts — (Shopify acquired them)

Design Cofounders — (UX/UI Design + Design Thinking)



Kinetic Cafe —

Playground Inc —

8. Who could write about my startup?

BetaKit —


TechVibes —

Yonge Street Media —

9. Who could fund my startup?

Golden VP —

OMERS Ventures —

Two Small Fish Ventures —

BDC Venture Capital —

iNovia Capital —


10. Who should I follow online?


Andrew D’Souza —

April Dunford —

Ben Zifkin —

Brandon Chu —

Breanna Hughes —

Dan Debow —

David Crow —

Farhan Thawar —

Heather Payne —

Huda Idrees —

Ian Gerald King —

Ken Seto —

Kyle A Collier — @KyleACollier

Mark MacLeod —

Mark Evans —

Michael Serbinis —

Sean Power —

Paul Teshima —

Satish Kanwar —

Amrita Chandra —

Tara Hunt —


Ameet Shah, Golden VP—

Christian Lassonde, Impression VC —

John Ruffolo, OMERS Ventures —

Marcus Daniels, HIGHLINE —

Matt Golden, Golden VP @goldenventures —

Two Small Fish Ventures —

Sunil —

Sundeep Madra —

William Mougayar —

(also see


Communitech —


MaRS Discovery District —

The Next 36 —

(also see


Founder Institute Toronto —

Founder Institute has a Blockchain Founder Syndicate:

[IN]cubes —

One Eleven —

Techstars Toronto —


(also see

Community Builders

Alex Norman, TechTO —

Arati Sharma, Shopify —

Danielle Smith, DMZ —

Daryna Kulya [DK] —

Jason Goldlist, TechTO —

Nicole Kelly, OMERS Ventures —

Nora Bieberstein, One Eleven —


Mohammed Asaduallah, Women & Color —

11. What online communities should I join?

Online Communities & Resources

Communitech —

StartupNorth Facebook Group —

PH Global Slack Community (Pick: “Toronto”) —

Startup Digest — (“Toronto”)

12. Where does the Toronto Tech community hang out?

Bars / Hangout Spots

Rush Lane —

Soho House —


Coffee Shops

Dark Horse Espresso (Spadina or John St locations) —

Fahrenheit Espresso —

Jimmy’s Coffee —

Quantum Coffee —

Portland Variety —

13. Further reading

Communitech —

Quora — Which startups are hiring in Toronto?

Quora — Startups in Toronto

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