The Recovering Tech Sector in Ottawa

Although the number of technology sector employees in the National Capital Region is significantly lower than it was during the boom in the late 90s, the recovery in the last six months has been significant.

According to Stats Canada, the number of high tech workers in the region reached 50,400 in June, up from 40,200 in December 2012.[i]

As opposed to one huge player employing the bulk of workers – like we saw in the past with Nortel – the technology landscape across the city is now comprised of some mid-sized players, such as DragonWave and Mitel, along with hundreds of smaller organizations.

Though they may be small, there are a lot of promising companies operating in the region.

“We cannot believe the number of startups in the city. We may not have the market cap of that boom time years ago, but quantity-wise we’re going to have a lot of successful companies,” said firm lawyer, Debbie Weinstein in a recent article in the Ottawa Business Journal.[ii]

In the past two months, LaBarge Weinstein has worked on four high-profile local deal including Graphite Software’s $4.4-million funding round; LPI Level Platforms sale to AVG Technologies;  prairieFyre’s sale to Mitel; and Halogen Software’s $55.2-million initial public offering.

Michael Runia, the Ottawa-based managing partner for Deloitte, whose firm was involved with Halogen’s IPO and several undisclosed private equity transactions in Ottawa, said “There is a domino effect when local companies catch wind of their peers’ financing deals. Executives look at similar opportunities for their firms and consider going down a similar path.”[iii]

These recent transactions clearly show positive momentum for the area’s tech industry. With others local deals currently in the pipeline, there’s no indication that things will slow down any time soon.

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