Incubator ‘DMZ’ spawns specialised Accelerator programmes and wins accolades for Toronto
Toronto is proving to be a hot spot for boosting businesses, with three local incubators and accelerators now ranked among the world’s top university-backed launchpads for startup companies.
The Digital Marketing Zone (‘DMZ’) at Ryerson University, known for supporting Canadian tech startups like marketing company #paid, credit education company Borrowell, and photography website 500PX, has been ranked the top university-managed tech incubator in the world, tying with Bristol’s SetSquared.
Another local business launchpad, University of Toronto Entrepreneurship, took fourth place in the recently announced rankings. In the category of university-linked accelerators, the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute took the top spot, with three other Canadian accelerators rounding out the top four.
Since 2010, DMZ has incubated roughly 300 startups that have raised close to $400 million and created more than 3,000 jobs. Over the last few years, it opened an office in New York City, developed a sales accelerator program, and forged partnerships with banks and companies like Facebook to develop accelerator programs in digital news, financial technology and early market validation for women-led founders.
Sam Seo largely credits the Ryerson incubator with the success of his tech startup Livegauge, launched in 2013, which provides sensors for marketing events so companies can measure the level of engagement from passerby. The company now has more than $1 million in annual sales.
“I had a business idea to launch, but not really a plan to commercialize the business,” he said. “After we got into the DMZ for the first three years or so, they really helped us shape the business.”
John Whatmore, July 2018