An inside look at Burlington’s destination for new and growing technology companies
Burlington is the place to be for companies at all stages of the innovation spectrum to find the resources and support that drive growth and success.
Led by the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), TechPlace exists to help technology, talent and ideation come together under one roof.
TechPlace provides new and existing technology companies with access to space, resources, programming and mentorship. The TechPlace model is focused on supporting the entrepreneurship and innovation that will ultimately generate concrete opportunities for networking
and growth in Burlington and across the region.
TechPlace is not a co-working space. TechPlace is a collision space, where through a one-of-a-kind endorsement system, companies can apply for access to its hot desking areas, meeting rooms, and events that are hosted there.
“The strategy behind TechPlace was to create opportunities for high-growth and scalable companies to collide on a daily basis,” said Anita Cassidy, acting executive director of BEDC.“We wanted to make it not only possible, but easy for businesses to interact with investors and business leaders to create synergies that ultimately lead to new business growth opportunities. Through our endorsement-based membership model that relies on our partners and the business community, we are able to remove barriers to networking and allow the TechPlace community to thrive.”
TechPlace has co-location partners in Haltech, Halton’s regional innovation centre, and the Angel One investor network. Since opening in 2017,TechPlace has hosted 12,000 visitors and 250 events, and has welcomed 13 companies through its LaunchPad program. In its partnership with TechPlace, Haltech has been able to support more than 150 companies in 2018 and 2019 alone, resulting in more than 400 new jobs and $63 million in revenue.
TechPlace’s LaunchPad program offers office space, mentorship, programming, networking and connections for new and growing ventures for a residency of up to 12 months.To apply, companies must have a minimum of two full-time employees, an ability to demonstrate market traction and scalability, and be looking for a community-minded environment in which to grow.
Graduates from the LaunchPad program include Zippy Jamz, which offers innovative, patent-pending sleepwear for infants.While at TechPlace, the company tripled sales and created an international presence. Zippy Jamz has since signed the work of TechPlace, Haltech and the their own commercial lease and runs their own office and warehouse space in Burlington.
“The LaunchPad program provided us with fantastic resources we needed to grow.TechPlace has a great energy, and it was amazing to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs who were dealing with similar situations in growing their business. I was able to tap into a whole community of people and support, and it was an amazing experience,” said founder and CEO Nicole Mortimer.
Able One has set up a corporate innovation office at TechPlace to take advantage of Burlington’s prime location within the QEW corridor stretching from Toronto to Hamilton.The company has been a part of the innovation environment in Kitchener-Waterloo for 30 years, helping companies marry their technology strategy to their business goals and providing the infrastructure to support technology integration.
Able One employs about 40 people and has access to a network of 200 people globally.
“TechPlace is such a great incubator to help organizations get on their feet,” said president Mark Ciprietti. He praised BEDC in offering high-quality coaching, networking opportunities and educational programming.
Able One first launched a sister organization, Unify, at TechPlace that focuses on helping companies solving complex problems with advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, block chain and big data mining.
“TechPlace is a phenomenal hub for all kinds of innovative companies,” said Able One co-owner and chief transformation officer Grant Sojnotki.“There are young people just starting out and experienced companies looking to build capacity and offer new things.”
The story of fintech startupWayPay is another example of the great innovation happening in Burlington.The cloud- based payments automation provider launched in 2014 and was acquired by RBC in July.WayPay’s platform will be integrated into the RBC’s services for business clients.
Where capital meets business start-ups.
Co-locating in TechPlace allows for a deep and personal partnership with Haltech and all the growing innovative companies Angel One Network Inc. has invested in, says Karen Grant, executive director.
Angel One is a not-for-profit network of 70 accredited, high-net-worth members who have made 130 investments in 74 early-stage innovative companies in information and communication technology, healthcare, and cleantech since late 2011, says Grant.
In 2017 alone,Angel One members invested more than $2.5 million across 19 investments. “We are delighted to be at TechPlace. We take full advantage of this space for board meetings, education events, and due diligence and deeper dive meetings.The companies we invest in also hold meetings and events here,” said Grant.
“TechPlace allows all of us to look much bigger than what we are because of the facili- ties we can access. People are blown away by the vibe and the design of the space here.”
To schedule a tour of TechPlace and learn how you can leverage its resources to scale your business, visit techplace.ca or call Mark Steffler, Manager of Innovation and Partnerships at (289) 337-5505 ext. 102.