2012 Predictions for Montreal’s Tech Startup Community

Some people love ‘em, some people hate ‘em … but regardless, predictions are fun, and now is a perfect time for some of Montreal’s tech community leaders to make their own. I asked a number of people to share their predictions for 2012 and encourage you to share your own in the comments below.

Here are some of the answers:

Hugh McGuire from Pressbooks has a few predictions:

1. We’ll start to get a sense of the worth of incubators

The city is now packed with them, with YearOneLabs (RIP), FounderFuel, and more, giving small amounts to tens of short-term projects, along with coaching. Do incubators make for more successful companies? We’ve had a few good signs so far, notably LocalMind. I hope we can get the YComb model working in this city, because it seems like a better path to successful companies than a more standard VC approach.

2. Many of the Best Incubator & Lean Startups will Leave Montreal

If I had a dollar for every time someone said: “If you want to raise money/succeed, you should leave Montreal and move to San Francisco, New York or Boston…” I would have, well about $20. In general I think they are right. You don’t NEED to be elsewhere to succeed, but Montreal has a problem: we don’t have that many successful entrepreneurs to talk to. And that, I am convinced, is the X-factor that helps build success: talking to other successful startup entrepreneurs. Talking to other entrepreneurs who’ve done it is worth about a million blog posts about Lean Startup methodology. So: many companies will heed the advice. Some won’t. Hopefully we’ll maintain a growing and increasingly successful startup scene in Montreal. Maybe some of those big-shots will come back.

Hugh shares a bit of concern around the lack of exits in Montreal as well:

There were a couple of exits in the Montreal tech scene in 2011: Tungle and Coradiant. Were there others? Will we see more? If we don’t see more, we’ll have to start scratching our heads and wondering what’s wrong with us.

Mark MacLeod from Real Ventures is much more optimistic and bold:

At the risk of being controversial, I predict that Montreal will become the #1 city for startups in Canada.


* Density: between Founderfuel and Real, a lot of seed funding is happening.

* Capital: As above. Plus now iNovia has a shiny new fund and will likely invest part of it here. Rho will likely also have a new fund.

* Visibility: these funds, founderfuel demo days and events like International Startup Festival are shining a big light on what’s happening in Montreal.

I don’t know if that’s really controversial, but it’s definitely bold. Toronto saw much more capital raised and many more exits than Montreal. If you include Waterloo as well, Ontario pulled far ahead of anywhere else. We’ll see what happens in 2012.

For more information about Montreal’s tech community. Click here.

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