Canadians flee Silicon Valley to start up in Vancouver

With all the talk of Canadian brain drain to the United States and the lack of a strong tech startup ecosystem in Canada, it’s great to hear about companies like San Francisco-born A Thinking Ape moving the opposite way.

Founded by three twenty-something Canadians who met in the Bay Area, A Thinking Ape relocated to Vancouver in January with the blessing of their three Silicon Valley Angels. A Thinking Ape is “creating the future of social gaming experiences online” and their first title is the popular Kingdoms at War massively multiplayer online game.

Co-founders Kenshi Arasaki, Wilkins Chung, and Eric Diep are excellent examples of what happens when you don’t make it easy for talented entrepreneurs to move to a country, start new businesses, and ultimately create jobs.

Arasaki and Chung originally arrived in the Bay Area to work together on Y Combinator-funded Chatterous and met Diep along the way – it’s amazing how Canadians always seem to find their fellow countrymen when working abroad.

While Diep’s claim to fame is creating the first Facebook App (Quizzes), his recent hassles in trying to remain in the United States are well documented. He was profiled in a video called GeeksOnaPlane: A Tale of Two Erics along with Eric Ries talking about the Startup Founders’ Movement.

So what’s next for Vancouver’s newest social gaming company?

A Thinking Ape is working with Mochi Media and their new social gaming platform that will allow them to build social features into Kingdoms at War and future gaming properties.

Arasaki sees Vancouver as the ideal place to start-up in the social gaming space. He believes that while Vancouver is deep in engineering and programming talent, the convergence of games and social platforms has yet to heat up competition locally for that talent.

And, of course, they’re very eager to take advantage of all the government programs that Canada has to offer.

If you’re passionate about creating amazing software and working on a team of like-minded visionaries at an early stage startup, A Thinking Ape is currently hiring Engineers.