MaRS’ NYC Partnership Supports Cross-Border Growth

One of the most innovative hubs in Canada has unveiled partnership plans with the biggest city in the United States.

The MaRS Discovery District will be heading to Grand Central Tech (GCT) in New York City as the Canadian hub announced the launch of MaRS@GCT today. GCT is the largest innovation hub in New York City and MaRS will offer support, services and physical workspace to Canadian Ventures looking to expand their reach into one of the biggest markets in the world.

The new partnership will afford Canadian startups ready to enter the market the chance to scale internationally right away, as well as access to a different pool of investors and partners.

“Innovation hubs build sustainable, scalable and accessible solutions that tackle the world’s largest problems,” said Salim Teja, the president of venture services for MaRS. “Grand Central Tech and MaRS share a strategic vision. By collaborating, we can scale more solutions faster and help our ventures become global success stories.”

GCT was founded in 2014 and separated itself from other hubs by becoming a premier venture platform offering the resources needed to scale globally, all under one roof. This is not unlike what MaRS does in Toronto, especially since the two hubs focus on similar companies in spaces like fintech, health and smart cities.

A few companies have already been tapped to take advantage of the collaboration, including ThinkData Works, BioConnect and Overbond. In fact, ThinkData Works will be among the first to open a physical space in New York and expand their MaRS presence to New York City.

“We’re past the accelerator phase as a company, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to buy office space in downtown Manhattan,” said Bryan Smith, CEO of ThinkData Works. “What I think we can really benefit from is a space like GCT that acts as way for us to expand and grow as required.”

GCT encompasses 100,000 square feet in downtown Manhattan and works with over 100 companies, so it is easy to see why Canadian companies may be eager to hop on this new partnership. MaRS itself supports over 1,000 startups across four key sectors: energy and environment, health, finance, and work and commerce.

According to a recent MoneyTree report, funding in New York City is up 57 per cent, and the city boasts twice as many corporations as other large cities.

This new partnership is just the latest in a line of large organizations crossing North American borders to establish a presence in their neighbour’s backyard. Airbnb, IBM and Samsung all have offices at MaRS, while massive Canadian companies like Shopify establish presences in San Francisco through acquisitions of companies like Kit.

MaRS Discovery District recently named Yung Wu as their new CEO in late September.