Can you read my name on a charter?
A new report suggests some of Toronto’s most prominent entrepreneurs may not be the smartest people around.
But they’re the ones that need the help, the study says.
The survey, commissioned by Toronto-based consultancy Panorama Charter, surveyed 1,000 people, with the results released Tuesday.
While there are some surprising findings, some notable names came out on top: Kevin Bacon, co-founder of Toronto-area restaurant Bacon Brothers, is the first CEO of a non-profit founded by a former executive of the company, while David Brat, CEO of online game maker Zynga, was the first Canadian CEO to be voted into the Canadian Technology Hall of Fame.
The findings were based on a survey of more than 200 of Toronto startups, including the city’s most famous.
There were also some surprises, like one surprising winner of the top prize for CEO.
“The most surprising finding was that many of the highest-performing and most-well-respected CEOs had to work in other fields,” said Tim Pincus, president of Panorama, who said he was surprised at how many people said they were looking for a CEO position in the tech industry.
“They’re looking for an entrepreneur, they’re looking to hire someone that’s going to make a real difference in the business, and they’re not seeing anyone in the technology industry who fits that profile.”
Pincuses findings echo those of a report from last year that looked at the success of some of the world’s best-known companies.
Toronto’s startup scene is booming, with more than 40 companies on the city list.
In 2017, there were 564 companies listed on the Toronto listings website, up from the 538 in 2016.
But Pincis said many of those companies have been growing rapidly in recent years, and there are more opportunities for them to grow.
He pointed to companies such as Instagram, which launched in Toronto last year, as a recent example.
“In 2018, Instagram had 2.5 million monthly active users, which was an increase of 25 per cent from 2016,” Pinci said.
“This is a very interesting trend, because we’ve seen this growth in the last few years.”
PINCUS also noted that there are plenty of people looking to break into the industry.
The number of new hires in the industry is projected to reach 20,000 by 2021, and the number of companies listing on the listings website is expected to increase from a little more than 600 to 1,200 by 2021.
He said there are also companies that have recently been acquired and are working to grow, but they’re still a small part of the overall ecosystem.
“We can be very successful as a startup ecosystem and also we can be successful in our own business and not have to compete with others in this space,” he said.
As for the number one challenge for entrepreneurs?
“It’s about getting a team together, it’s about figuring out how to monetize your product and how to sell your product,” PINCIS said.
He noted that even though he and his colleagues are looking for leaders, it takes a lot of work to get there.
“When you have a team of 20 people, you’re probably going to get one or two that can do it,” he added.
“But I think you have to be really creative and have an idea about what you’re going to do, and if that’s not your thing, then you’ve got to look elsewhere.”
The report was commissioned by Panorama to provide insights into the top tech talent in the city.
The company will be releasing its findings later this month.