Is Vancouver the Next Silicon Valley?

When Microsoft, in 2016, and later Amazon, in 2018, opened new offices in Vancouver, Canada, many Silicon Valley companies took notice. It turns out that this city has a lot to offer in terms of talent, location, and culture.

Now Kabbage, an online financial technology company based in Atlanta, Georgia, has Vancouver in its sights. Founded in 2008, it provides funding to businesses and consumers and helps them manage their cash flow. Since the company is ever expanding, finding and hiring the right people is a huge challenge, said Kathryn Petralia, co-founder and president. Due to Canada’s proactive laws for bringing in skilled workers, she believes that the business would be able to take advantage of a whole new pool of people.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

Because of Petralia’s hand in expanding the company from a small business supplying minimal loans to eBay sellers to a major lending institution with partners such as Alibaba, Airbnb, and WeWork, it has been very successful in raising or acquiring more than $2.5 billion of venture capital and debt financing. It also has a valuation of over $1 billion and has made Petralia one of Forbes’ 100 most powerful women.

With offices in Atlanta, New York, Denver, and San Francisco in the U.S., as well as in Bangalore, India, the company employs over 600 people. The reason for opening the Bangalore office, explained Petralia, was because there they could find enough of the data scientists needed, unlike in the U.S. However, due to immigration policies, Kabbage could not easily bring these employees into the country to work at one of their existing offices.

Having a positive experience in Bangalore has also made Vancouver an even more appealing prospect to Petralia. Tile, Asana, Lyft, and Mailchimp are just some of the companies that have already set up shop there. The highly educated work force has made the city an attractive option for many CEOs in the U.S. Vancouver’s location is also convenient for California-based companies since it’s in the same time zone and easy and relatively fast to reach by plane. Its culture and political leanings are also very similar to those in the state.

According to Petralia, the new Canadian location is not a done deal but something that is being strongly considered. If Kabbage does indeed open an office in Vancouver, more businesses will most likely follow its lead.