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Toronto seeks Tel Aviv’s advice on startup culture

Toronto Mayor John Tory (right) visited the city of Sderot during a trade mission to Israel last month. (Twitter/@JohnTory)

Toronto Mayor John Tory has turned to the Middle East for advice on nurturing startups. According to the City of Toronto website, Tory led a business and technology delegation to Tel Aviv in November to lure Israeli entrepreneuers to Canada’s business hub.

The mayor wanted to learn more about Tel Aviv’s prowess at attracting venture capital for fledgling high-tech businesses. “It is truly impressive that a country with a quarter of the population of Canada is able to raise twice as much money for its startups,” Tory said of the fact-finding trip. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre led a contingent from his city on the same trip.

The delegation visited Aleph, a leading Israeli venture capital firm, and WeWork, a fast-growing U. S.-based shared-workspace startup co-founded by an Israeli. WeWork already plans to expand to Toronto.

Also on the agenda was Ramallah, where the Canadians met with the Ibtikar Fund, which invests in nascent Palestinian companies that are scalable and innovative. Tiny Israel, which likes to call itself the “StartUp Nation,” raised US$4.4 billion in venture capital in 2015, compared to US$1.7 billion for Canadian startups, the mayor’s office notes. Read more on Israel’s entrepreneurial culture here.


City of Toronto

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