London is a global financial centre and home of Europe’s largest and wealthiest consumer base.
London is also home to a growing number of Canadian technology companies thanks to the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA).
CTAs provide support for Canadian technology SMEs to access global market opportunities with unique business acceleration programs that are tailored to the opportunities in their local market.
London’s program targets Canadian SMEs from the ICT sector, particularly those with cloud, big data, digital media, eHealth, fintech, retail technology, mobility or M2M solutions.
Companies must have a proven product or service with demonstrated revenue, and a commitment to UK/EU market growth.
Selected companies receive office space at Central Working for three months, along with mentoring from business partners to fast-track growth (sales, strategic partnerships), and connections to VC networks.
Techvibes recently had a chance to visit the London CTA and met with two companies that have taken advantage of the program.
Arcadia Cyber Defense was one of the orginal London CTA participants. Based in Montreal and 40 employees strong, Arcadia protects public and private organizations against advanced cyber threats through their proprietary technology called Snow.
While Arcadia now protects billions in assets worldwide, that wasn’t the case when they arrived in London.
Arcadia co-founder William Lymer told Techvibes, “when we came here we were a very young, arguably immature, firm trying to get its legs and since that time we’ve grown into a firm that is protecting about $40 billion in assets.”
Lymer continues, “In many ways we had to come to London to expand our business back home.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Toronto-based GestureTek Health is a current tenant of the CTA program at Central Working. Spun out of 30 year-old parent company GestureTek last year, GestureTek Health creates gesture-control technology for the disability, hospital, mental health and education sectors.
GestureTek Health joined the CTA program in January 2016 to build strategic relationships, acquire customers, and launch a London office. As part of the program they have taken advantage of market research opportunties through Canada House and recently found permanent office space in London via London Partners.
These are just two examples of the value of the program in bolstering Canadian-born startups globally.