Collision technology show: a record breaker
By Mario Cywinski
The Collision technology show brought together over 36,000 attendees representing 118 countries to Toronto’s Enercare Centre.
The show, which celebrated its fifth year in Toronto, has brough $188 million into the local city economy since 2019 (for in-person conferences), including $77 million projected for this year’s show, according to Destination Toronto. The show has already been confirmed to be coming back to Toronto in 2024.
“We’re delighted to be in Toronto for another year, and to welcome a record number of attendees and women-founded start-ups to Canada. This is possibly one of the most diverse conferences we’ve ever run, with hundreds of women-founded start-ups, initiatives such as our Indigenous Attendee Program, and community partners like Black Innovation Alliance helping to broaden representation at tech events,” said Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO, Collision.
Collision, which continues to grow year-over-year, this year saw 1,727 start-ups and partners from 76 countries (of which 1,497 were start-ups and 230 were partners), representing 30 industries. Of the start-ups, 30 per cent this year were women-funded (466 start-ups), a record for the show. Also on hand were trade delegations from 75 countries, including from Italy, Brazil, Pakistan, and Portugal.
“Investors, entrepreneurs, and members of the media from around the world want to travel to Toronto to experience the city and the thriving tech scene that has developed over the years. We want to deliver the most global tech conference, and this is a time for Canada to be on the global stage,” said Cosgrave.
Apart from the networking at the show, the presentations by 1,426 speakers and media members from 42 countries, was the most important part of the show. With many stages (a centre stage, five secondary stages, two pitch stages, and the women in tech lounge stage) for attendees to view presentations, there was never a lack of information to take in.
In all, 20 different tracks were designed for the attendees to participate in. They included: auto/tech and talkrobot, crypto, planet and tech, sportstrade, corporate innovation, future societies, and many others. Other parts of the show included the women in tech program, a plethora of press conferences/announcements in the Media Village, roundtables, Q&A stage, growth summit, start-up showcase, money conference, health conference, and more. This year, 36 per cent of all speakers were women.
Speakers at the show included: Adam Selipsky, CEO, Amazon Web Services; Jeremy Legg, CTO, AT&T; Sheila Jordan, senior VP and chief digital technology officer, Honeywell International; Geoffrey Hinton, the ‘godfather of AI’, University of Toronto; and Colin Murdoch, chief business officer, Google DeepMind.
AI was also front and centre at the show, with presentations including The AI gold rush; In Conversation with the Godfather of AI; How AI is changing the world; Generative AI: the next evolution in media; Built to last: responsible AI starts with responsible business; and AI: the inflection point is now.
On the manufacturing side, Volkswagen Canada was on hand with two of its electric vehicles prominently displayed. The ID.4 SUV, and the ID.Buzz (an EV take on the classic VW Bus). VW is planning on building an EV battery plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, with construction set to begin in 2024, and production to begin in 2027. The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) of Canada also was on hand with its Project Arrow, as part of Project Arrow Global Tour 2023.
A big part of Collision is its commitment to community initiatives. For 2023, it had 35 community partners to help in its commitment to underrepresented people in the technology industry. Included as part of the initiatives were the Indigenous Attendee program, and the Amplify initiative.
The show will return to the Enercare Centre in Toronto on June 17 to 20, 2024.