Q1 2023 has proven to be a rough ride for our region. Several top startups, which were previously on a growth trajectory, suddenly hit the brakes, and reversed course forcing them to let go of some employees. Last quarter, only 18% of firms hired new talent, while 30% downsized, resulting in a net loss of 521 jobs. This dip brings the total tech ecosystem jobs in Atlantic Canada down to 12,781, a low we haven’t seen since Q3 2021.
The Global Venture Capital Market
Our region isn’t alone in facing these challenges. The global venture capital market has also taken a hit, with startups raising 80% less capital and venture deals plummeting by a staggering 45% compared to Q1 2022, as reported by Carta. Although there were minor improvements in valuations from seed to Series C, these gains were overshadowed by the overall decline in funding rounds across all stages.
Down rounds surged to nearly 20% of all venture investments, while bridge rounds have become a lifeline for many startups. M&A activity has experienced a resurgence, with a 20% increase in the number of venture-backed companies being acquired or merging with others compared to Q4 2022.
Downturns can be tough, but history shows that they’re often followed by periods of recovery and growth. The emergence of new technologies, like what we are seeing in the AI space, demonstrates that our industry is constantly evolving and creating new opportunities.
If you or someone you know has been affected by a layoff, a number of our portfolio companies are currently hiring. You can see the full list of job opportunities here: https://jobs.concrete.vc/jobs
According to CB Insights global VC funding dropped by 34% QoQ as of Q3 2022, hitting a 9-quarter low! In Canada, the numbers were even lower with funding dropping by 65% while deals fall 19% QoQ. The total funding for Q3 reached $700M, with a total of 143 deals. With funding drying up, more startups are hitting the brakes on hiring or alternatively are “right-sizing” their teams.
New Net Jobs
Here in Atlantic Canada, the startup ecosystem saw only 16 net new jobs in Q3. That brings the total number of employed by the sector to 13,194. Of the companies that I’m tracking 20% hired employees, 58% had no change and 22% had less staff than in Q2.
According to CB Insights global VC funding dropped by 23% QoQ as of Q2 2022. It does appear that deals in the region are still getting done, but this pullback is starting to creep into this region. It seems every day we hear from more entrepreneurs about how challenging it is to even get meetings with investors outside of the region.
Layoffs across the tech industry have been making headlines, as well. With top Canadian companies such as Wealthsimple, Shopify, and ClearCo announcing layoffs over the last few months. The market has certainly shifted – both in terms of VC opportunities and other employment opportunities.
New Net Jobs
Locally, we are seeing the effects of this market shift in our jobs data. While layoffs have occurred (Introhive recently announced a reduction across their global workforce), we did see an overall positive increase in net new jobs in the region. However there were only 179 net new jobs created in the startup ecosystem throughout Q2 2022. This time last year, there were 926 net new jobs created. This is a significant pullback relative to the growth of previous quarters. Overall the number of employed in this sector currently stands at 13,178.
Of the companies that we are tracking 22% hired employees, 57% had no change and 21% had less staff than at the beginning of the previous quarter. One thing that stood out this quarter, was the sheer amount of acquisitions. It is hard to gauge what the value of some of these acquisitions were, but the capital and talent from these exits will hopefully be recycled into new ventures.
Here are the big headlines out of the region in Q2 2022