Scaleup Hub, OneEleven, Opening Doors For The Ottawa Tech Community

Photos courtesy of OneEleven Toronto 

A promising new hub for hi-tech start-ups is blossoming in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown, and lighting a beacon for companies that have an eye on rapid development. OneEleven, a global scaleup hub designed to grow businesses in the technology sector will be opening its doors to the city in mid-July, providing support for up to 15 start-ups, and with plans to host many more in the future.

Heading up the office in Canada’s capital is local Ottawa entrepreneur, Brad Forsyth. Forsyth has 30 years of experience in business development and start-up consultation in the National Capital Region, serving on the Management Committee of the Institute of Corporate Directors Ottawa Branch.

Forsyth founded Kanata-based Mxi Technologies in 1996, and was instrumental in building it into a thriving leader in the international aviation industry. It has since been named one of “Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies” by Deloitte, making Forsyth the perfect candidate to steer the Ottawa business ecosystem towards a more self-invested future.

By pulling from his past experiences, Forsyth intends to mentor incoming clients by sharing the ‘scar tissue’ he has developed over the years, illustrating what worked in the past, what didn’t, and why.

“That’s what really excites me,” says Forsyth. “I know how important operational excellence is: It’s being operationally solid at the same time as being flexible with the growth.”

Ottawa got it’s legs in the technology sector via state-of-the-art engineering, but Forsyth has always believed in the importance of developing parallel skills in marketing and business transition.

Chief Growth Officer at OneEleven and fellow Ottawan, Dean Hopkins, says Forsyth is the ideal mentor for new hi-tech businesses. “Our belief is that under Brad’s leadership, OneEleven Ottawa will play a key role in helping to realize this potential,” he says.

OneEleven was founded in 2013 by OMERS Ventures which has invested over $340 million into North American companies in the last five years alone, as well as the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and Ryerson University. Offering expert advice, state-of-the-art workspaces, and customized services to support sustainable business growth, their portfolio includes Shopify, Klipfolio, and Fusebill; all software companies based in the Ottawa region.

While the official opening of the workspace won’t be until July, Ottawa Life Magazine was given the opportunity to take a tour of the site to preview the ample room and many amenities that OneEleven is providing their clients.

Open concept floor plans alongside luxurious conference rooms for high-powered meetings of any size, their industrial-designed furniture is perfect for members wanting to work on their projects comfortably. With on-site events and personal reception, OneEleven is fashioned to help small-member teams prepare for the next step of their business trajectory.

OneEleven’s home office in Toronto currently has 34 clients, and has worked with dozens of companies in the past with considerable success.

While they have many success stories, one of the best examples of their fostering mentality comes from Once a client of OneEleven, this relationship intelligence platform helps B2B sales groups seek out their best customers through networking insights and organic conversation management.

They grew their business with OneEleven, and thanks to the finance and infrastructure resources they had at their disposal were able to reach the market after raising $5 million in their series A round.

OneEleven doesn’t have a “revolving door” style approach to who they take in, in fact there is stringent criteria for companies looking to take advantage of their space and services.

“They have to have product market fit, this phase where they know the product they have existing (not the one they’re promising) is good enough that they can make sales with it,” says Forsyth.

But there’s more to it than just having a working sales funnel, they need to fit the community, too. Membership involves engagement with the peer community-hence the open concept workspaces-and simultaneous learning and teaching with the other groups that share their creative environment.

There has been a lot of interest in Ottawa’s OneEleven office, with a shortlist currently undergoing evaluation for suitability. Forsyth hopes that within a year the space will be at capacity for their Class A startup clients, with more floors opening up to meet the demand.