A portrait of Montreal’s startup ecosystem – by the numbers

The 9th edition of Montreal’s iconic Startupfest got into full swing on Wednesday and it was filled with networking, learning, interaction and sun… so much sun!

One of the day’s highlights was a new report on the state of Montreal’s tech ecosystem released by Bonjour Startup Montreal and the Institut d’entrepreneuriat Banque Nationale of HEC, in collaboration with Montreal NewTech and other partners. Nearly 400 startups took part, and more than 30 community organizations also provided their input.

The results of the Montreal study found:

  • More than 1,300 startups in Montreal
  • 23 organizations investing in startups
  • 25 coworking spaces
  • Over 100 different meetups
  • Over 1,300 events per year (+/- 4 per day, 7 days a week)
  • 42 different incubator and accelerator programs
  • and more than 2,800 startup founders presently operating in the ecosystem

Drilling a little deeper into the data and the economic impact of startups in Montreal, we find the following stats.

68% of Montreal startups employ fewer than 10 people. However, 65% say they plan to hire between 1 and 10 new people over the coming year. Companies in incubation and early stage employ about 5.5 workers on average, whereas later stage startups average about 22 employees each.

Only 3 in 10 startups have over $100,000 in annual revenue, while just 1 in 10 take in over $500,000.

Just 15% of Montreal’s startup founders are female, which shockingly is well above the 4% nationwide statistic for Canada released in 2017.

34% of founders in Montreal were born outside Quebec and 58% of startups have at least one co-founder from outside the province.

A whopping 82% of Montreal startups plan to launch outside the country. 50% are already present in the US and 38% are active in Europe.

Over the years Montreal has become known as a global hub for artificial intelligence. AI talent is continuously being lured to our city, while our universities crank out more and more graduates each year. Perhaps for these reasons two thirds of Montreal startups say they either use or will use AI in their offering. Furthermore, 65% say attracting AI talent is not an issue for them at this point. Yet 45% of later stage and mature startups say talent attraction and retention is an issue for them.

On the financing side, 12% of Montreal startups have received VC investment. Perhaps not surprisingly, 70% see financial constraints as their principal obstacle to success. Of the 64 deals in Montreal in 2018, most were early stage (26 seed / 12 series A / 8 series B). 15 transactions accounted for a massive 89% of all the dollars invested in Montreal startups in 2018. That being said, the report went on to say there were no notable exits in the ecosystem in 2018.



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