A prominent think tank is releasing the latest edition of its annual startup report; Toronto Mayor John Tory is embarking on a streaming-centric tour of Silicon Valley; and the U.S. government has forced online classified site Backpage to shut down.
On Tuesday April 17, Startup Genome will release its 2018 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Since 2012 the Oakland, California-based think tank has been assessing the world’s top cities for entrepreneurs trying to break into the tech industry, and last year Vancouver and the Toronto-Waterloo corridor placed 15th and 16th on its top 20 list, respectively. In fact, the Toronto-Waterloo corridor was singled out for possessing the second-highest density of startups in the world. According to Startup Genome, Canada’s major tech hubs, including Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, are making great strides in the 2018 report, and in some ways are leading the world when it comes to AI research and development.
On Thursday April 19, Toronto Mayor John Tory will lead a delegation of 23 Toronto companies and organizations to Los Angeles to pitch entertainment industry leaders – including Amazon Studios, Apple and Netflix – on the city’s production talent. According to an April 12 release, the delegation plans to update the studios on expansion plans for local facilities such as the Cinespace Film Studios and Pinewood Toronto Studios, in addition to plans to build additional studio space in the city’s Port Lands. Last year’s Best Picture Academy Award winner, The Shape of Water, was shot in and around Toronto, as was much-lauded Hulu original The Handmaid’s Tale.
Finally, trending on Facebook, online classified website Backpage.com has been shut down. On Thursday CEO Carl Ferrer pleaded guilty to human trafficking and money laundering, with federal prosecutors alleging Backpage earned $500 million USD in prostitution-related revenue since launching in 2004. Ferrer, who admitted knowing the majority of Backpage’s “adult” and “escort” ads were for prostitution, now faces up to 10 years in prison. The investigation that led to Backpage’s demise was related to a pair of congressional bills aimed at reducing illegal sex trafficking by making websites responsible for third-party content advertising prostitution, but experts warn the law doesn’t actually do anything concrete to target illegal sex trafficking directly, and will simply push sex work, both consensual and not, further underground.