Finish entrepreneur Marcus Räder, CEO of travel tech company Hostaway, recently wrote an editorial explaining why he felt Toronto was the perfect place to start his company.
“Before starting my company Hostaway, I worked in tech start-ups for over ten years in several countries. I have been part of companies that have raised a lot of funding and some that ran out of funding. I’ve worked on great products with incredible teams from around the globe,” He said, adding that when he went to various tech events in Toronto, he would feel inspired by the ecosystem of successful founders and start-ups here.
“I was blown away by the growth the Canadian tech scene has seen in the last few years. It wasn’t long before I had that entrepreneurial itch again,” Marcus said.
Hostaway is a company that helps vacation rental managers get more bookings and increase revenues with less hassle. Their automated channel manager solves double-bookings, makes guest communication more manageable and makes it easier to focus on the business.
“Hostaway came about as a result of noticing that there was a big opportunity in the travel industry. This industry attracted a lot of investment from venture capitalists, and I started researching where the most promising areas were. Short term rentals stood out as a niche to focus on, so I started to narrow in on that. Eventually, that led us to build a full-service solution for vacation rental property managers,” Räder said.
We started the company with an Iranian in Finland and a Finn in Canada, and our first staff recruitments were from France, Russia, and Barcelona. I knew that this could be a multinational billion-dollar company. So now there was the pressing question of where to build it. Should I go to Silicon Valley? Back to Europe?” He said, describing his thought process.
“In the end, we decided that Toronto was the best place for our biggest office to be based,”
In the editorial, Marcus Räder describes why it drove him to choose Toronto as the place for his start-up and why it is excellent for start-ups.
Toronto has an impressive cluster of business incubators and accelerators that offer a range of services and strategic partnerships to support budding tech companies. The DMZ, in particular, has been a huge help for us, and we’re proud of being alumni of the program. Their mentorship and network made it easier for us to attract talent and accelerate our growth.
Toronto is the largest centre of education and research in Canada. We have internationally-renowned educational institutions graduating skilled, highly-educated and globally connected people. By locating our startup in Toronto, we positioned Hostaway to take advantage of a deep talent pool and allowed ourselves to work with the best of the best.
People worldwide converge in Toronto, with tens of thousands choosing this city as their new home each year. It is an incredibly dynamic and welcoming place to work and live. Our growing team comprises nearly 20 nationalities speaking over ten languages, an advantage for a tech product that is becoming a global market leader. Our Scandinavian values align perfectly with Canadian values and are at the heart of our culture: diversity, freedom, and transparency.
Being a travel tech company with global offices and investors, connectedness and ease of travel is key to our success. Being based in Toronto allows us to travel quickly to key destinations thanks to the more than a thousand flights that leave our airports each day. Operating in Toronto gives us quick and easy communication and travel with our key cities and regions.
Canadians are humble. My advice to other local start-up founders is to aim higher. The Toronto tech scene is booming, and we’re right at the crux of this momentum and growth. We’re in the right place to build more billion-dollar companies.
As more entrepreneurs worldwide see Toronto as a start-up haven, businesses from around the globe are likely to come here to reap the benefits of the start-up culture.