What you can learn from Canada’s most successful tech companies

Canada is home to incredible talent in many different sectors. Interestingly enough, some of the most successful “American talent” is in fact Canadian. This is true in music, film, television and tech, to name but a few. Up until fairly recently, many Canadians would have to head south of the border to make it big in the tech world. Of course, more specifically, they would have to move southwest to Silicon Valley, more often than not. However, the trend is starting to shift a bit and Canadian tech companies are becoming more and more successful right here in the north.

Silicon Sisters Interactive

Silicon Sisters Interactive is a Canadian video gaming company with a focus on creating games specifically targeted and geared at women and girls. Not only has this company participated in breaking down the geographical barriers as successful Canadian tech talent, but they are also breaking down the gender barrier in, “an industry dominated by guys who build games they want to play, not games their sisters want to play,” says Co-Founder & CEO, Brenda Gershkovitch. As they have been pioneers in a predominantly male industry and even more specifically a predominantly male sector within that industry – their success should taste that much sweeter.


Toronto-based FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting software platform zeroed in on a hole in the small business accounting market and found a way to ease their pain by developing a user-friendly solution.  CEO, Mike McDerment said, “Small business owners are grossly under-served when it comes to accounting software. They don’t have enough choice, and vendors treat them as if one size fits all.”  McDerment started FreshBooks back in 2003 and has now reached the not-so-small-business success of a $30 Million Dollar funding round.

Shopify Inc.

Ottawa, Ontario based Shopify Inc. raised $131 Million Dollars in its initial public offering.  Just minutes after Shopify stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Tobias Lutke, Shopify Inc. CEO said to The Globe And Mail, “It’s pretty crazy stuff, I have to say. It’s a day for reflections, after taking your company from writing your first line of code to going public. It’s an experience not a lot of people get to witness. I am feeling very, very lucky right now.” It is interesting to note that many successful entrepreneurs seem to understand the role gratitude plays in whole entrepreneurial game.

What Can New Tech Companies Learn From These Canadian Success Stories

There are endless lessons to learn from successful entrepreneurs who have believed in themselves and their businesses so completely and overcome the odds to reach their goals. This road is not for the faint at heart, but most titans of industry that have made their way through the rollercoaster ride of business start-up, wouldn’t have it any other way.

They are the people who are not solely driven by money, they are driven by the desire to make the world in some way better; to solve a problem, to fill a need, to build a dream. Any new tech company making their way through the start-up maze can first pay homage to those who travelled Tech Road, Canada when it wasn’t yet paved at all. Then, they can start paving along with them; believe, persevere, listen, learn and grow.

While this will definitely stoke your motivational fire – there are many traps that tech startups fall prey to. Failing to properly hire and develop competent Product Managers is right in the top few.