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Canada a hotbed for robot startups: report

After the U.S., Canada is seeing more robot company startups than any other country.


The International Space Station’s Dextre robot hand was made by Richmond, B.C.-based MDA.(Photo: NASA)

Canada isn’t necessarily thought of as a robot super power, but it could be if The Robot Report is correct. The website, which tracks the business of robotics, finds that Canada is seeing more robot company startups than any other country, except for the United States.

The site, which has a nifty locator map, identifies six Canadian robotics startups: Entact Robotics in Toronto; Next Generation Flight in Ottawa; Independent Robotics in Montreal; RobotIQ in St. Nicholas, Que.; B-Temia in Quebec City; and Que Innovations, which lists only the province of Quebec as its base. Obviously, la belle province is over-represented on this list.

While that’s good news, the total number of startups pales in comparison to the United States. California has 16 on its own, with the entire country boasting 66, or two-thirds of the global total.

The other downside for Canada is that its startups don’t appear to be clustering like they are in other countries. As The Robot Report’s Frank Tobe writes:

These start-ups appear to be clustering in the Bay Area (Silicon Valley) of California, around Boston, Pittsburgh, Tokyo and Stockholm – all of which correspond with the locations of notable government or university-sponsored robotics research facilities, and in and around New York City. Each of those areas have ongoing entrepreneurial assistance programs for technology projects and provide nurturing and social get-togethers with prospective investors and fellow inventors and roboticists.

The website’s measure doesn’t look very scientific and it doesn’t necessarily reflect the health of a particular country’s robotics industry, although in the case of the U.S. it’s pretty clear they’re doing just fine. Still, it’s an interesting snapshot that suggests bigger and better things could happen in Canada with some more organization and government support.