There is no lack of excitement about Toronto’s emergence as one of North America’s leading startup communities. After the Startup Genome project ranked Toronto as the world’s fourth best startup ecosystem, you hear the champagne being popped.
But here’s a thought: Is the excitement about Toronto’s startup community really just a reflection of the growing enthusiasm as opposed to an increasingly vibrant community that is, in fact, emerging as one of the world’s leading startup communities?
There is little doubt Toronto’s startup community is oozing with enthusiasm. The recent Elevator World Tour event at the CN Tower attracted a packed house, there’s a healthy turnout today at the GrowTalks event, and you could attend a startup event day of the week.
Meanwhile, there are incubators and accelerators nurturing startup entrepreneurs. And there are have lots and lots of people doing startups or thinking about doing startups.
It all sounds positive and encouraging but it feels like something is missing, which I just can’t pin down.
The landscape is a lot healthier than it was five years when there was lots of talk about startups but little walk. Today, there is still lots of talk and some solid walking.
But I think more walking needs to happen. It feels like there’s lots of talk, lots of meetings, lots of beer-driven idea brainstorming get-togethers. And there are plenty of entrepreneurs who have launched startups that are interesting but seem like features as opposed potential businesses.
Maybe my unease is a fear of frothiness.
Maybe it has to do with not enough startups that have the potential to create large, fast-growing businesses.
Maybe it has to do with the belief we need more money, particularly acceleration capital to fund startups looking to take the next big step forward, including all those startups graduating from the incubators and accelerators.
What do you think? Do you think I’m off the mark, or does all the bubbly enthusiasm overshadowing some fundamental structure issues that need to be improved?