Uber Expands Canadian Presence with $200 Million Investment

It has been a good week for international business and technology in Canada.

Uber today announced a brand new engineering hub to be established in Toronto, set to open in 2019. Along with that, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also revealed the company would be expanding their Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) Research & Development Centre, investing more than $200 million over five years. On top of this, Uber has also launched the Express Pool feature in Toronto.

“At Uber, we recognize Canada’s commitment to innovation and the vibrancy of Toronto’s tech ecosystem,” said Khosrowshahi. “We want to support the innovation coming out of this great, diverse region. That’s why I’m so excited today to be here to announce our continued commitment to, and investment in, Canada’s tech sector.”

The Uber exec and the company itself touted Canada’s AI and computer engineering prowess as one of the main reasons to make significant investments and open up new innovation hubs in the country. Toronto was chosen due to its proximity to leading research institutions such as the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo as well as smart investments made form various levels of government into the innovation ecosystem of the city.

uber ceo
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

With this newest investment, Uber plans to grow its total employee base in Toronto to over 500. This will include an expansion of the self-driving centre already located in the city as well as the new engineering hub. The self-driving research centre has been open for 15 months and made several breakthroughs when it comes to the new technology.

“Working at Uber ATG has allowed me to elevate my academic research to the next level through real-world applications. Uber is at the forefront of self-driving technology, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to be part of building the future of transportation,” stated Raquel Urtasun, Uber ATG’s chief scientist and head of the ATG’s Toronto centre. “I am proud to be part of Toronto’s ongoing efforts to embrace diversity and technological innovation, and am thrilled that we are expanding ATG’s efforts here to make self-driving technology a reality.”

The engineering centre will work to improve and build out Uber’s vast backend infrastructure. The company will offer existing engineers the ability to transfer to the new Toronto location.

“This expansion comes at an exciting time for engineers at Uber,” said Thuan Pham, Uber’s chief technology officer. “We have a number of big bets on our roadmap that create unique challenges and opportunities for engineers interested in helping to build the future of their cities. There is still a lot to be written in the history of Uber engineering and we’re excited for the local and international talent Toronto attracts to help us define the next chapter.”

This is the third major announcement a world-leading technology company has made this week relating to making a massive investment in Canada. Microsoft announced a $570 million investment, while Intel announced a brand new chip-engineering lab.