Canada will soon have its own data platform for technology companies looking to track their growth metrics.

The Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises at Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy in Waterloo, Ont., is teaming up with financial market data network Hockeystick to launch a national scale-up data platform for Canadian technology companies.

The platform, powered by Hockeystick’s technology, will be available for free to every innovation organization – from incubators and accelerators to startups and scale-ups – and allow them to track their own performance and contribute to a national database.

“For the first time, it will be possible to obtain a comprehensive picture of the evolution of Canadian companies from early to late stages, giving Canada a world-leading competitive advantage in innovation, and invaluable insights into why startups fail or succeed,” Kim Morouney, executive director of the Lazaridis Institute and associate dean in the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, says in an Apr. 27 press release. “By standardizing the collection and tracking of data across every incubator and accelerator, the platform will provide normalized startup data over the long term.”

The data collected will be used for research purposes so the organization can understand the challenges facing Canadian technology companies when starting and scaling up. It will also help companies identify and apply for funding opportunities, and assist accelerators in finding startups that meet their program requirements.

Steve Bailey, Director of Operations for the Lazaridis Institute (on the right), and Raymond Luk, Founder and CEO of Hockeystick.

“There’s a lot of untapped potential in growing small private companies and turning them into global ones, and Canada is in a great position to do that,” Raymond Luk, founder and CEO of Hockeystick, explains to IT World Canada. “We have great universities, motivated young people, and innovative technology, and I think the only thing we’re missing is coordination of resources and better data that can act as guideposts for what we can do. We’re hoping that this platform will fill that vital role.

He adds that the industry has been talking about coordinating a project like this for years and gives full credit to the Lazaridis Institute for finally taking the first step towards making it reality.

Steve Bailey, director of operations at Lazaridis, tells ITBusiness.ca that originally, the platform was only going to be available to members of the organization’s scale up program. But after partnering with Hockeystick and developing the idea further, the institute realized how beneficial this unique program could be if unveiled nationwide.

“From a national perspective, we believe this platform will help Canada be more competitive as a country,” Bailey says. “We made membership for this platform free because we wanted to make the process as easy as possible and not give companies an excuse not to use it. If we all truly want Canada to be successful, getting behind the program like this will show that intent, and the data we will receive will allow us to move forward in a positive way.”

He foresees a future where, through this data platform, a sequential view of all the business accelerator programs in Canada would be available for companies to view and map out their scale-up journey. Depending on what stage a company begins at, Bailey says companies could use this roadmap to essentially “graduate” through each program level and come out on the other side stronger.

Federal support

The national data scale-up platform will also be receiving funding from the federal government.  The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, announced today that the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), through a non-repayable contribution, will give the Lazaridis Institute up to $2.5 million for the platform.

“In addition to creating over 150 jobs in our communities, the platform will help provide entrepreneurs across Canada with the tools they need to reach their full potential, become investment-ready, and compete on the global stage,” Minister Chagger says in an Apr. 27 press release.

Lazaridis director Bailey says they have been working closely with the federal government, calling them “instrumental” in developing the platform.

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