Canadian Startup Ecosystems Take Four of Top 35 Spots in New Global Blue Economy Report

Canadian Startup Ecosystems Take Four of Top 35 Spots in New Global Blue Economy Report

Atlantic Canada Ranked in Top 10

 LISBON, PORTUGAL (Nov. 2, 2022) – Startup Genome released its first report focused on global startup ecosystems in the blue economy, where Canadian startup ecosystems took four of the top 35 rankings. The research was undertaken by Startup Genome in 2022 with the support of partner organizations including Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Novarium, crunchbase, and and findings were made public today amid Web Summit activities in Lisbon.

This report looks at the current state of startup activity and related investment in the blue economy, where the rankings are a reflection of which global ecosystems are currently driving innovation through startups and related activities. It aims to provide information for founders, investors, and policymakers interested in understanding the current landscape, and is intended to encourage further blue economy activity within the startup world, with an overall goal of both mitigating climate change and improving lives around the world.

Global blue economy rankings in the Startup Genome report were determined based on performance, funding, startup experience, knowledge, talent, focus and legacy. Singapore took the overall top spot marking the first time in a Startup Genome tech-based report that Silicon Valley did not rank first. Atlantic Canada also had a top ten ranking (at tenth); Vancouver ranked 14th; and Calgary and Toronto-Waterloo came in at 26th and 35th respectively. Atlantic Canada and Vancouver were also named the fourth and fifth of the top five ecosystems in North America.

Other key findings from the report:

  • Europe is the global leader in Blue Economy startups, holding 39 per cent of the share and producing the highest number of early-stage deals. Europe also has produced the three of the top five ecosystems: Oslo, Amsterdam-Delta, and London.
  • Blue Economy startups that secure early investment have a much higher chance of success in comparison to other sub-sectors. The attrition funnel over 2016 to 2021 shows that 17 per cent of recorded VC-funded blue economy startups that receive seed investment go to Series B, and 6 per cent go on to exit at over $50 million.
  • Within the blue economy, aquaculture, marine energy, and marine transportation are currently receiving the most VC investment.

In August, the United Nations’ Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum saw governments, banks, and corporations gather at a UN Ocean Conference and commit to investing billions of dollars in the blue economy. In Halifax this fall, an international conference focused on investing in the blue economy drew the participation of Prime Minister Trudeau and participants from around the world. Described as being in its early stages, the blue economy is increasingly becoming a global conversation focused on the accelerated development of ocean technologies that help address climate change and contribute to a healthier planet, and also create sustainable economic opportunity in the process. In Canada, and in the startup world more broadly, there is plenty of untapped opportunity.

From its earliest days, Canada’s identity as an ocean nation has been built around an abundance of marine resources that helped sustain communities and people in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic who endured harsh conditions and uncertain waters to build thriving ocean sectors such as fisheries, offshore energy, transportation, and others. Today, these sectors and other emerging ones are thriving in new ways, leveraging advancing technologies across expanded areas of focus reflective of the world’s attention on the blue economy.

Canada has a long history of ocean-related activities, and several well-established startup hubs have a deep connection to the marine industry. As the global blue economy continues on its trajectory of rapid growth, there is opportunity not just in areas of focus but in geographic reach and impact. Canada has a strong research community that is increasingly leading to startups, and as a result innovators and their investors are starting and scaling more ocean companies. With game-changing ideas that will service sectors including fisheries, aquaculture, offshore energy, marine renewables, transportation, defense, ocean technology, and other areas, Canada’s ocean startup ecosystem is quickly growing stronger.

With incubators and accelerators oversubscribed, there are many ocean innovation hubs established and growing across Canada including Rimouski, Quebec where a blue innovation corridor is forming; Halifax, Nova Scotia with 20 startups funded through the Ocean Startup project to date; Victoria, British Columbia now generating more applications for the Ocean Startup Project than any other region; and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with 17 per cent of the early-stage ideas submitted to the Ocean Startup Project this year.

There is tremendous momentum building in the blue economy in Canada. Through the work of the OSC and its ambition to see 5x growth in Canada’s blue economy by 2035, there has never been more opportunity for new ideas, new investment, and new companies in ocean.

Read the report at:  



“The blue economy is an increasingly global conversation where made in Canada innovation is helping solve some of the biggest challenges in ocean. It’s both established ecosystems named in this report as well those that are emerging in Canada that contributing to our collective efforts as a nation to make this the best place to start and grow an ocean company. We are thrilled to see Canadian startup ecosystems ranking amongst global leaders in this report, knowing there is much more for us to do together.” – Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“Working with local and international partners and different stakeholders in developing systemic initiatives is the only way to create impact. It is this strategy that put Atlantic Canada in the 10th place challenging ecosystems such as Amsterdam and Singapore. This success is the result of collaboration between actors across the country. Every industry should take note of the collaboration that exists on the Blue Economy between business leaders, government officials and innovation hubs.” –  Liette Lamonde, managing director, Startup Montréal