Canadian technology communities such as Montréal are experiencing an influx of investment.  Data Center POST spoke with ROOT Data Center’s President and CEO, AJ Byers, to learn about the opportunities this has created for data centers, businesses and the workforce alike.

By: Joanna Soucy, Editor-in-Chief

What Big Investment Means for Canada’s and Montréal’s Economy

By AJ Byers, President and CEO, ROOT Data Center

For many up-and-coming technology organizations, success in the global marketplace requires substantial financial backing. In the past, Canadian-based companies struggled to acquire the necessary funding to maintain operations, forcing them to travel south of the border into Silicon Valley to obtain capital from U.S. investors.

This practice negatively impacted Canada’s technology landscape, as successful companies and talented individuals were forced to leave their country of origin in search of new growth opportunities. As a result, Canada maintained limited recognition as a prosperous destination for tech investment and struggled to remain relevant in today’s increasingly digital economy. However, all that has recently changed.

In the past few years, we have seen a major shift throughout the Canadian market, and in particular, Montréal. Montréal is transforming Canada’s technology scene, attracting a host of industry giants, including Amazon, Microsoft and Google. As an advantageous region for data center investment, Montréal features a naturally colder climate that can help lower energy consumption costs associated with cooling, while providing access to renewable energy resources. The local government also provides enterprises with a wide range of favorable tax incentives. As a growing number of companies are drawn to Montréal and other Canadian markets, technology industry investors are taking notice.

As investors introduce funding into Canadian technology communities such as Montréal, the country is experiencing a groundswell of development and growth that reinforces its evolving reputation as a favorable destination for both startups and Multi-National Organizations (MNOs). Currently, tech employment levels in Montréal are hitting all-time highs as new investments, lending and government support make it possible for domestic enterprises to thrive here. According to Montréal International, an economic development agency, the city had the highest job growth percentage among the 20 largest metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. and Canada last year, and the highest growth rate recorded since 1998, in large part because of increased investment in the tech sector.

In addition, from a national economic perspective, new investments make technology more accessible to both end users and downstream businesses. The increased supply of high-tech products and services lowers prices for everyone, making these offerings more accessible. Lower prices and greater access to technology aids in innovation as more smart and creative citizens will have access to groundbreaking tools and systems. Meanwhile, Canada has also become an attractive destination for skilled professionals from around the world, offering a wealth of career opportunities.

As one of the most recent recipients of substantial investment, ROOT Data Center secured $90 million in new financing from Goldman Sachs this past October. As a result, the company now has the opportunity to expand its progressive colocation services as needed to meet the growth requirements of hyperscale customers.

Data center infrastructure is capital-intensive with significant up-front costs for developing and building data halls. This new financing has given us the freedom and flexibility to expand our facilities and grow with our customers as needed. The additional revenue will also enable ROOT to expand its operations significantly, both throughout Montréal and to new international locations, to serve hyperscale customers in Tier II markets around the world.

To ROOT, investment means opportunity. With the proper funding we are able to fit whatever mold our clients need to ensure their businesses thrive with innovative and efficient colocation that encourages growth throughout the Canadian economy.

About AJ Byers

With 20 years of experience in the data center industry, AJ has proven skills in business transformation and growth. Recently, as president of Rogers Data Centers he led the team in the development of one of Canada’s largest data center service companies with 15 centers nationally. As executive VP of Primus, he guided its transition from a legacy telecom provider to a full solution technology services organization. He has also long been a pioneering force in the industry. As COO at Magma Communications, he was instrumental in building one of Canada’s first internet data centers.