You Don't Need to Move to Silicon Valley, but You Do Need to Spend Some Time There

September 17, 2015

PUBLISHED BY Knowlton Thomas

SOURCE Techvibes

Borders continue to shrink and global markets are increasingly open. But are Canadian startups siezing these unprecedented opportunities?

Turns out, they might not be. In fact, most Canadian startups aren’t even doing enough in the US to maximize their success, some suggest.

“A Canadian startup that refuses to take Silicon Valley seriously is naive,” said Devon Galloway, the chief technology officer at Kitchener’s Vidyard, at a C100 Roundtable during Dreamforce this week. “You can’t afford to ignore the Valley.”

The main topic of discussion at the roundtable, held in Salesforce’s offices in downtown San Francisco, was about Canadian startups realizing their full potential. And the message was clear.

“It’s okay to remain headquartered in Canada,” noted Clarence So, executive vice president of Salesforce1, “but you still need to have at least a couple feet on the ground in San Francisco or the Valley.”

99% of employees in Canada work for small- to medium-sized businesses, according to Industry Canada, making healthy startup ecosystems a crucial component of the company’s economy.

“For the sake of Canada’s productivity and its future as a nation of innovation, we need more scale, more billion-dollar companies,” argued Katherine Barr, a Canadian expat who is now a general partner for Mohr Davidow Ventures in the Bay area. “Canada needs 50 Blackberrys, not just one.”

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