Toronto as a Technological Futurescape. What a future-forward couple of weeks for Toronto. First, Uber says they are going to build a new lab for their autonomous vehicles program here. Then, Omers Ventures raises another $300 million fund, taking them over a billion dollars in funding for their startup ventures ecosystem. And, if those aren’t hot enough tickets… Google wants to build a 12-acre ‘high-tech city of the future’ on the Toronto waterfront. Ok, we are so THE cool kids on the block right now!
Uber – Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has just “hailed” Raquel Urtasun, a prominent Toronto Artificial Intelligence academic, to lead their autonomous car project. The Uber CEO said he was proud to have Raquel Urtasun, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, on board. He describes her as “one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of machine perception and artificial intelligence.” He goes on to say, “Raquel’s work focuses on developing the software that allows self-driving cars to ‘see’; recognizing objects so they can navigate the world smoothly and safely.” This will be Uber’s first research and development hub outside of the United States.
OMERS Ventures – “Raising Fund III was a tremendous success that speaks to the strength and stability of the Canadian tech community,” said John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures. “When we launched in 2011, the ecosystem was starved for venture capital and corporate participation. Six years later, our third fund is oversubscribed, complete with strategic investors and corporate partners. We are proud to operate on a ‘Canada-first’ mandate’, and are ready to meet new companies and deploy the next $300 million into the innovation economy.” OMERS say their portfolio companies have raised an additional $1.2 billion in capital and created over 5,000 jobs.
Google – Larry Page’s dream of using technology to fix cities may come to Toronto first, as they’ve applied to develop a strip of land in downtown Toronto, “to create a brand new high-tech city from the Internet up.” It is the latest initiative from Sidewalk Labs, Google’s urban innovation unit, and is part of a vision to create a large-scale metropolitan district modeled after a tech company. “What would a city look like if you started from scratch in the Internet era – if you built a city from the Internet up?’” asks Sidewalk’s CEO Daniel Doctoroff. “A place where ubiquitous connectivity is truly built into the foundation of the city, and where people use the data that’s generated to enhance quality of life.” He went on to say, “I’m sure many of you are thinking this is a crazy idea: building a city new – the most innovative, urban district in the world, something at scale that can actually have the catalytic impact among cities around the world, but… we don’t think it’s crazy at all.”
Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications
CityNews – Uber setting up Canadian driverless-car lab headed by Toronto AI expert
BNN – OMERS Ventures raises $300M for third VC fund
John Ruffolo, CEO at OMERS Ventures joins BNN to talk about the closing of its third VC fund. Ruffolo says that the success of this fund, “speaks to the strength and stability of the Canadian tech community.”
Financial Post – Google-parent Alphabet applies to turn 12-acres of Toronto’s waterfront into connected high-tech city
Larry Page’s dream of using technology to fix cities may come to Canada first.
Justin Trudeau at the Launch of OneEleven’s New Innovation Hub
OneEleven is creating Canada’s largest scaleup hub. Their expansion strategy targets and involves the most sophisticated entrepreneurs, influential thought-leaders, fastest growing tech startups and disruptive corporate partners in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. Check out the live stream tech-talk with Prime Minster Trudeau.