The 2015 Cantech Investment Conference is wrapping up at the Metro Toronto Conference Centre, with attendance numbers almost triple what they were last year.
Slightly before 4:00, the booth representative for Revenue.com said to a conference attendee, “I’m sorry, I ran out of business cards an hour ago.”
The dilemma this year hasn’t been so much of supply as demand.
Where the 2014 conference, with keynote speaker Commander Chris Hadfield, boasted attendance figures slightly above 500, this year’s event threatens to peak above 1,400, almost triple the previous year’s numbers.
“The second annual Cantech Investment Conference exceeded our expectations. It’s clear that the appetite for technology on Bay Street is increasing rapidly. A lot of people are really looking forward to 2015,” said Cantech Letter’s Nick Waddell.
With Dragon’s Den host Diane Buckner acting as emcee, panelists and guest speakers have included Mike Wekerle, Andrew Reid of Vision Critical and representatives from Build Direct, Chango and AHRT, a company specializing in interactive holograms.
The talk of last year’s conference was of a tech renaissance in the context of Canada’s investment climate which historically has favoured the resource sector.
At that time, in January 2014, the price of oil hovered over $100 a barrel. Today, that number sits at $46.
So investors are looking increasingly to the tech sector not so much as a nice-to-have as more of a safe harbour in the turmoil of a resource sector in freefall.
As Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov pointed out during his speech, two years ago the Cantech Investment Conference consisted mainly of a dinner attended by about 40 investment bankers and tech analysts.
See you at next year’s conference.