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Better Pay and ‘Micro Offices’: VC Veteran Ponders Tech’s Future

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(Bloomberg) – The global pandemic is rocking Canada’s burgeoning tech industry, prompting employers to embrace new job deals and offer competitive salaries, one of the biggest in the world. veteran in the country’s venture industry said.

Chris Arsenault, a founding partner at Montreal-based Inovia Capital, said in an interview that the work habits that persist in times of crisis have created an “open market” where people can get money. You can hire anyone, anywhere. The company anticipates increasing competition for talent, with companies operating “micro-offices” around the world.

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Inovia, including President Patrick Pichette of Twitter Inc. among its partners, manages about $1.5 billion and invests in early-stage and growth-stage startups.

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Arsenault said the shift to “distributed offices and talent is part of the future. “Covid has accelerated all of this and we think this is going to be an important challenge for companies.” The Montreal-based company recently added two partners with the technology and human resources expertise to help its portfolio companies expand in this changing environment.

Northern Silicon

A longtime believer in building a domestic tech scene, Arsenault has watched Canadian startups multiply in recent years and local champions like Shopify Inc. and Lightspeed POS Inc. rise. Backed by open immigration policies, that burgeoning ecosystem allows young companies to attract workers, leading to years of brain drain.

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Canadian cities, which have previously lost many of their graduates to Silicon Valley, have become a magnet for foreign students and workers, thanks in part to their more restrictive visa policies. America under former US President Donald Trump. Between 2016 and 2020, Toronto added nearly 55,000 more tech jobs than it generated tech graduates, the largest shortfall in the 50 North American markets reported by CBRE Group Inc. ranking, Montreal and Vancouver come in at third and fourth respectively.

While global competition for talent is already fierce, the Covid-19 crisis has added a new layer of complexity for employers as people get used to working from home. Krista Skalde, Inovia’s new partner and talent manager, who joined Inovia from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest sovereign states, said: wealth fund.

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She said in an interview: “Suddenly, it turned into ‘yes, compensation, but what else? “.

Encourage ‘crazy’

Melanie McClure, chief human resources officer at Montreal-based FX Innovation, is at the forefront of global trends in tech skills. The company, a cloud consulting firm with around 650 employees, is using every means to attract and retain local and foreign workers, including offering complete flexibility in terms of employment. where they choose to work. Competition for Canadian workers is fierce, especially from American companies, she said.

“We are very proud to be employed in Quebec, Canada, but in a full job market it is very, very difficult,” she said. In some cases, employers are offering an extra $50,000, in addition to already lofty salaries, to secure the highest returns. “Is crazy.”

In this environment, Arsenault said Inovia wants to make sure the startups it invests in are committed to offering competitive salaries, diversity, and can handle a geographically distributed workforce. .

“If you’re in the tech space, with any tech expertise, I can honestly say the first reason you would get in is because you believe in the company’s purpose,” he said. “You take it for granted, they’ll pay you equally with whatever you can get somewhere else.”

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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