Albert Lai, the hometown tech hero, explains why Toronto is the perfect city for tech start-ups…and business events!
ALBERT LAI Co-founder, Big Viking Games Serial entrepreneur
Before starting Big Viking, I travelled to Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Singapore, India and Berlin—all these up-and-coming new Silicon Valleys outside the U.S.—and none had the potent mixture of strong creative and technical talent that Toronto has.
We have U. of T. [the University of Toronto] and the University of Waterloo, and Sheridan College is arguably the No. 1 digital animation school in the world. There’s a thriving film and animation culture, too, which means we will create the next Hollywood.
Toronto has a vibrant tech industry that has grown faster [recently] than at any other time. A lot of people have done really well in the past 20 years from a financial and knowledge capital point of view.
And that success is being reinvested into both the industry and the city by people like me and many others, who are doing their second, third or fourth start-up.
When you have diversity in a company or a country, there’s an increase in innovations, and Toronto has a social system that lends itself to the city embracing multiple cultures.
You really see that in the food: I can get more authentic ethnic food in Toronto than anywhere else in the world.
I believe there’s a direct correlation between a city’s Chinese food and the success of its start-ups. San Francisco, New York—they have great Chinese food, but Toronto has, hands down, the best outside of Asia.
I live for really good Chinese food! And I live for tech.
Albert Lai, Toronto’s tech superstar, sold his first company when he was still a teen, and in the decade since, he’s launched five more, including social- and mobile-game venture Big Viking Games.
Choose Toronto for your next event!
Looking for the city with a track record for innovation to hold your event? Innovative, progressive Toronto is the 3rd largest tech hub in North America and 4th in the world as a top tech hub for software start-ups. It has an impressive track record of hosting technology conferences at our stunning, state-of-the-art venues.