Plastic Mobile Tempts Tech Startups to Move to Canada

Some Americans joke that if their preferred presidential candidate fails to win the White House, they’ll head to the Great White North. But Havas mobile agency Plastic Mobile has taken the election angst seriously—and transformed it into a clever new business effort.

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The Toronto-based agency sent “Eh to Zed” kits to startups founded in Chicago or New York within the last three years, encouraging them to consider relocating.

“Showing a little bit of our Canadian hospitality, we decided to give 20 American startups a taste of Canada by showing them what they have to look forward to if they move,” says Melody Adhami, president and chief operating officer at Plastic Mobile. “For us, the benefits were twofold: help shine some light on the Canadian tech landscape, while also engaging with some intriguing businesses in New York and Chicago, where we are trying to grow our presence.”

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In these kits, recipients found items that are uniquely Canadian, including coffee from Tim Hortons, an album by Drake, and a photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau without a shirt.

Says Melody, “We would be naive to think that some Canadian snacks and a Drake CD would be enough to tempt an agency to move, but we needed a simple, human way to get prospects to pay attention to the many valid reasons for tech startups to set up shop in Canada.”

Among these reasons are generous government grants, dedicated visa programs, and world-class universities churning out top engineering talent.

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If American companies do decide to take the bait, they will face some local competition. Melody notes that, while Canada has lost much of its top talent to companies in Silicon Valley and New York, the growing number of startups in the country have recently been generating higher retention rates.

“With three cities—Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal—consistently ranked in the top 20 of global startup economies, Canada is starting to step out of the shadow of the US when it comes to tech talent,” says Melody. “There are a number of amazing innovators in Canada right now, with some of the most prominent including Shopify, Hootsuite, 500px, Wattpad, Kik, and Slack.”

And it’s not just local companies taking notice. She points out that tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon have all opened up offices in Canada as well.

Says Melody, “With a Canadian government that is promoting innovation to help transition the country from one that relies on its resources to one that relies on its resourcefulness, it is a great time to be working in the space.”

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Plastic Mobile is a full-service mobile agency with offices in Toronto, New York, and Chicago. The team of 70 employees partners with brands like RBC, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Pizza Pizza to create extraordinary user experiences. Learn more about Plastic Mobile here. And read more about the agency’s “Eh to Zed” kits in Ad Age.

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