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City of Montreal's four seasons IT (digital) industry

November 24, 2014


The rise of the IT industry in Montreal community can be said for a long time. And all other cities in the IT industry in North America, as in the first Internet boom began in the 1990s, Montreal’s IT industry has also ushered in a frenzy early surge of development. But within a few years, like other North American cities, and soon a large number of small IT companies are coming IT boom receded in the “dead” in the sand. Montreal is now the IT industry can be said to be the scene after Ebb Tide. In addition to the few large IT companies to survive and grow up outside Montreal’s IT industry in recent years has been a characteristic groping their way. Relying on a small risk investment, entrepreneurial ecosystem by many small IT companies involved are gradually mature.

Industry heavyweights – Game Software

In this figure industrial ecology in the “big brother” Nature is concentrated in a few well-known Old Montreal’s big game companies. Among the most important internationally renowned gaming software company “UB Soft”. Over the years, in support of Montreal and Quebec provincial government, and many other game development companies like EA, Edios also opened a research and development center in Montreal.

However, due to the Montreal game industry is developed in the City of Montreal’s first-hand support, although it has laid a good foundation for the city’s IT (digital) industries. But has been in it a lot of money to support a variety of preferential conditions and venue rental companies also have received criticism.

Government-backed industry – combining old city transformation and renovation of industrial zones, the effort to build a multimedia City

Montreal Old Port (CP PHOTO / Andre Forget)
In fact, the Montreal City Hall in addition to strongly support the gaming industry is still outside the Old Montreal would have been almost abandoned historic River Port (Old Port) to carry out reform, trying to IT industry and old industrial areas grafted together, so many old the old building rejuvenated. And this is the city of Montreal, “Media City” (Multimedia City) plan.

From about 2000 on this project started, Montreal municipal government will come up with some of the old industrial buildings to modernize the interior, and then to compare the low prices to attract small and medium sized creative companies (which are mainly IT Digital Corporation, including creative company) settled. The purpose of this project is to build in the old industrial district of a young, highly educated, creative, collaborative new community (young, educated, creative and connected).

But the game industry and government support, like multimedia city reconstruction project also due to excessive government action and being questioned. Judging from the figures at first glance, it seems that the number of high-tech companies suddenly increased a lot, and the old industrial area is also a lot more educated, energetic young man on the scene. However, the problem is that these high-tech small companies in government support under preferential terms appear in the end there is no competitive enough and many start-ups across Canada competing against.

IT entrepreneurs of small companies

Old Montreal street (Istockphoto)
In fact, there was a vibrant driving force in Montreal’s IT industry chain. They are not as big as compelling gaming company nor on government funding can be developed. But they gradually become the IT industry in Montreal rely on in the future – this is Montreal’s entrepreneurial small IT companies.

The start-up of small IT companies often rely on small venture started. Upon completion of the initial product development, and then further large-scale investment in venture capital companies.

Of course, this type of IT’s business failure rate is very high. But if you really understand what this business crowd, you will find about the same people continue to fail and the establishment of a new start-up companies. Very interesting is the number of failures in these “entrepreneurial entrepreneurs” in that they also had a strong reason to convince the new venture capital, because in this industry it is generally agreed “Failure is the mother of success,” the true meaning.

Speaking of these entrepreneurial companies, we have to mention these companies continue to inject re-sail “new fuel” of venture capital firms. A reference to “Ventures”, people will emerge mind the image of bankers in suits and ties. In fact, in Montreal, these venture capital companies in a large number of so-called “angel investors” (Angle Investor). They find a suitable project, it will inject generally below $ 50,000 plus start-up capital for small IT entrepreneurs.

Many of these micro-VCs IT company itself is the original founders. They are also in the process of investing in companies willing to offer advice for the creation and management (if required) to help these innocent young entrepreneurs through the difficult start-up phase. It is also because of this very small amount of investment, the entrepreneur will not lose decision-making power of the company. Which often allow small companies to creativity in a free, vibrant atmosphere complete the startup phase.

Meanwhile, in Montreal, is also very easy to find this group of high-tech entrepreneurship. They distinguish between the various areas of interest, regularly organizes various activities. Location of the activity generally in bars and other informal places. We exchange ideas and new collide in a relatively relaxed environment. Some of the activities put direct investors and entrepreneurs together to “fast blind” approach brief but effective face to face communication.

Montreal Chinese IT industry

In Montreal’s IT industry can be seen in many Chinese workers yellow skin, black hair, a lot of immigrants from China. The vast majority of them as a programmer or technician. You can see the Chinese rarely added to the ranks of entrepreneurs.

For the majority of Chinese immigrants, bilingual in English and French language requirement is already a difficulty. Coupled with the Chinese are generally more shy, not used to express and communicate with people in public. This makes the role of the Chinese majority only employees. In addition, the traditional Chinese family education suffered generally wanted stability. Chinese parents require children to study hard from an early age, after seeking a good job. Failed venture is “worthless” “loss of face” thing for many Chinese speaking.


Overall, IT industry eco Montreal is a gradual development in the City of Montreal’s strong support of the industry. Its focus areas are the old town in the vicinity of the old port, especially “Media City” as the representative. While large companies in the Montreal game still serves as a leader position, but entrepreneurial small IT company in support of small venture capital is becoming the core driving force under the Montreal IT industry.

… Maybe it is a bar in the Old Port of Montreal, a few humble young entrepreneurs talking about the project will affect the pattern of the global IT industry.