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Startup Dorms and Bill Gates’ Favorite Canadian Fishing Hole

Startup City Report: Waterloo, Ontario

Housing’s cheap, there’s a ton of engineering talent, and it’s apparently Bill Gates’ secret fishing hole for new hires. Welcome to Waterloo, Ontario, population 98,780, located just a couple hours from Toronto: our first startup city feature.

It’s long been high on the radar of the tech giants – hell, Google even chose it for their Canadian technical HQ – but it wasn’t until we caught up with the Tiny Hippos team recently that we started to dig for more details. Tiny Hippos was acquired last year by RIM – Blackberry’s parent company, which is–you guessed it–based in Waterloo.

Like most tech hubs, there’s a prominent, tech-focused university in the mix: University of Waterloo. Mr. Gates himself claims that in most years, Microsoft (we know, hardly a startup) hires more people from UW than any other school. The focus on tech runs so deep that UW even has a startup dorm! While this seems like a dead obvious idea for entrepreneurial schools, apparently it’s UW’s inventor-friendly IP policies that make the whole thing run.

Finally, about that cost of living. Avert your eyes New Yorkers. Rent + utilities can run as little as $500 a month. Sigh.

Now Go Forth (eh?)