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
After a long build-up of Russian forces along the Ukrainian border, Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022. While there were warnings of this invasion, it sent shockwaves through the international community. Shortly after this invasion, a number of international sanctions took place against Russia and have resulted in a mass exodus of companies and assets from Russia.
On the COVID-19 front, the omicron variant continued to spread causing additional strain on many already over capacity healthcare systems. In addition, China took a hard stance with full-out lockdowns across many of their cities with a zero-COVID policy.
Global Ripple Effects
These macro events have caused a number of ripple effects across the global economy. For example, decreased manufacturing capabilities and increasing oil prices (e.g. transportation costs) are fueling a number of supply chain problems and rising costs. These effects, plus monetary policies over the past couple of years, are causing inflation to hit record highs, which is leading many central banks to fight it by increasing interest rates.
Warren Buffet once said “Interest rates are like gravity in valuations. If interest rates are nothing, values can be almost infinite. If interest rates are extremely high, that’s a huge gravitational pull on values.”
Many entrepreneurs who launched their businesses in the last decade have only experienced an environment of low-interest rates, which has led to high valuations. As interest rates rise, investors will begin moving away from high-risk assets into safer havens.
This is why there has been a pullback in venture capital in Q1 2022 and there will be a continued pullback as interest rates go higher… If you look around at the sentiment across venture capital investors in Q1 2022, most are saying to prepare for the worst.
Some entrepreneurs reading this may feel they need to hit the panic button. On the other hand, some entrepreneurs may think this environment doesn’t necessarily affect them. The only advice I have to those in either of those camps is to continue creating products/services that delight your customers and manage your cash obsessively. Do this, and you’ll weather any storm.
Atlantic Canadian Technology Ecosystem Performance in Q1 2022
With everything going on in the world, how did the Atlantic Canadian technology ecosystem perform in Q1 2022? It doesn’t appear there was any pullback in the region. In fact, there was a large increase in jobs across the startup ecosystem in Atlantic Canada throughout Q1 2022. The number of jobs increased by about 478, bringing the number of those employed by the sector to 13,298.
Of the companies that I’m tracking 29% hired employees, 47% had no change and 24% had less staff than the previous quarter. Much of the job growth came from companies that announced large raises in 2021.
In addition, there was some big funding news out of the region in Q1 2022: