Our story, est. 1997

Built by founders for founders

It all started in Waterloo Region with a group of entrepreneurs who joined forces to help each other build successful companies. They saw the need for a community to help ensure the future prosperity of Canada, and Communitech was born. 

Today, we are Canada’s tech supercharger. Still guided by a mission to help founders start, grow and succeed, we are a supportive community at every stage of the founder journey. We provide accelerated opportunities for startups, scale-ups and at-scale companies to access talent, capital and sales.

We help founders: 

  • Hire and retain the smartest, brightest and most experienced team
  • Access growth financing at every stage
  • Sell to the biggest customers at home, and then around the world
  • Connect the right people at the right time – peers who have been there before, coaches who can guide them through the difficult spots and partners from all over Canada

While we’re headquartered in Waterloo Region, our goal is to help grow companies that will create jobs and prosperity for Canada.

Formed with a big idea, built on the strength of Waterloo Region 

Waterloo Region’s founders had a strong tradition of coming together to get big jobs done quickly (and well.) As an inland settlement of mostly German-speakers living outside the cultural mainstream, the community had to be self-reliant and innovative.

Their entrepreneurial spirit and collaborative work ethic created countless innovations and inventions over the course of our history. Waterloo Region has made everything from buttons and whisky to tires and furniture to life insurance and the smartphone. This ability to reinvent itself has helped the community adapt to change and weather economic uncertainty.

Communitech was invented when a group of tech executives came together to help one another build strong tech businesses in response to a manufacturing downturn. What began as a breakfast peer group became a “Community of Tech” when those 43 entrepreneurs founded an organization to work on their collective behalf.

Today, Communitech is an innovation hub that supports more than 1,600 companies, from startups to scale-ups and large, global players. And Waterloo Region has all the right ingredients of a Top 5 global innovation ecosystem: a healthy startup pipeline; rapidly scaling firms; enterprise-level investors and partners; world-class talent; and strong connections to international markets.

Communitech helps founders start, grow and succeed.

- Our mission since 1997 - 

Our values

Our mission is what drives us, and our five values are what shape how we do our jobs.

Colour outside the lines

Encourage fearless creativity and broad thinking.

Get s#!t done together

Work collaboratively across the team to execute and achieve our mission. 

Do the right thing

Act with honour, integrity and empathy. We work in the best interest of our customers.

Be a champion

Cooperatively work to elevate our industry, region, nation and organization.

Go for the gusto

Inject energy and enthusiasm in every relationship and interaction. Celebrate lots!

Our guiding principles

We work closely with a lot of people, from customers, investors and partners to team members and the broader community—all of whom have placed their trust in us to deliver value and do right by them. We are committed to earning this trust day in and day out. We treat each other with respect, integrity and transparency, and provide a safe avenue to raise concerns confidentially at whistleblower@communitech.ca.

To our founders:
tech-driven companies

We commit to working hard to understand their problems, deliver timely solutions, amplify their wins and advocate for public policy that helps them succeed.

To our public and private investors 

We commit to delivering strong return on investment by helping companies create jobs and grow revenue, and by working to make Waterloo Region the best place anywhere to start and grow a tech-driven company.

To our partners

Universities and colleges, municipalities, government departments, private companies and sister organizations—we commit to working collaboratively, diligently and in good faith to align our efforts and achieve our mutual goals.

To our team members

We commit to providing a diverse, dynamic, inclusive and fun place to work, where people can find their calling, achieve greatness and belong to an important movement. 

To our community

We commit to doing our part to make Waterloo Region a better place to live, by supporting a vibrant arts and culture scene, advocating for quality health care and rolling up our sleeves to help those in need.

To everyone

We will never stop fostering an inclusive and anti-racist environment to create a place, and the space where everyone is free to be their whole selves. Our commitment to building a community rooted in diversity, inclusion and equity will never waiver. And it will mean listening and learning as we go.

Tech for Good®

At Communitech, you can expect to hear the phrase “Tech for Good” a lot. It’s something that we’re more than serious about, something that’s more than just a part of our mission statement or cultural mantra. 

What does it mean? Well, there’s no denying that technology has an impact on all aspects of life, the environment, and all sectors, all organizations and all peoples. We believe that all organizations that create and use technology must do so with intent for the good of humanity and of the planet that sustains us. 

In 2018, at Communitech’s True North Festival, we developed and published the Tech for Good Declaration alongside the Rideau Hall Foundation as well as the Governor General of Canada. This is a living declaration built to create an ongoing dialogue between all Canadians about the meaning of Tech for Good, a set of guiding principles that all aspiring organizations can follow to create and use technology for the good of humanity and of the planet that sustains us.

Being committed to Tech for Good is an unofficial prerequisite for Communitech membership. Companies joining our innovation ecosystem must share in our steadfast commitment and be prepared to work alongside our expert growth coaches and leadership team to ensure that their tech continues to uphold the principles outlined within the Tech for Good declaration. 

Our leadership

We have an amazing team at Communitech. We all pull together and each member brings to the table unique strengths and specialties. Our strategy is guided by our mission, values and guiding principles, and led by our senior leadership team and Board of Directors

Chris Albinson

President & CEO

Lisa Cashmore
Lisa Cashmore

VP, Founder Services

Eric Bencina
Eric Bencina

VP, Data Strategy, IT, and Operations

Jennifer Gruber
Jennifer Gruber

VP, Finance

Kevin Tuer
Kevin Tuer

VP, Data and Advanced Technologies

Kyra Jones
Kyra Jones

VP, Organizational Development & Culture

Saj Jamal

VP, Marketing & Events

Matt Bondy
Matt Bondy

VP, External Relations

Joel Semeniuk
Joel Semeniuk

VP, Ecosystem Collaboration

We love our community

We love our community. We encourage our team to give back and play a part in making Waterloo Region and Canada a better place for all.

Want to make an impact in our community, but not sure where to start? 

Giving guide

Our Giving Guide is an evergreen resource to find the right partnership for you. Check out some immediate volunteer and philanthropic opportunities and reach out to the organizations that appeal to you.

  • The Working Centre provides a range of impactful volunteer opportunities, including 3 hour morning or afternoon shifts at St. John’s Kitchen, Green Door Used Clothing Boutique or Worth A Second Look Furniture, and Recycle Cycles Community Bike Shop.
  • The WR Connectors Program, run by the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre asks you to meet with a job-ready newcomer in your professional field for a coffee, let them pick your brain about working here, then recommend contacts from your network to have coffee with them.
  • Join Community Support Connections as an occasional Meals on Wheels driver! Flexible volunteer drivers are needed over the lunch to help deliver meals to clients in our community. It’s simple, let us know when you have some spare time over the lunch hour and we’ll coordinate a route for pick-up at a convenient location. Contact Jodi Carreiro to learn how you can get involved, or apply at communitysupportconnections.org.
  • The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is always looking for corporate and community groups to volunteer at events, or even host their own Food & Fund Drive. You can learn more about becoming a volunteer or hosting a Food & Fund Drive.
  • Pathways to Education, a community-based program run by Carizon Family and Community Services, is looking for volunteer tutors and mentors to help young people living in low-income communities to overcome barriers to education and graduate from high school.
  • The Kitchener Public Library is looking for volunteers for its Reading Buddies program– and who doesn’t appreciate a good Robert Munsch session anyway?
  • The Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Waterloo Region are in urgent need of volunteers to be big brothers and big sisters to kids in our Region.
  • In your neighbourhood, workplace or even your own home, you will see someone with a KidsAbility story. To learn more about donor and volunteer opportunities, visit KidsAbility.
  • Reception House works with newly-arrived refugees and tries to get them off to the best start in our community as possible. Find out more about the goods they need and challenge yourself to put together a starter kit for a refugee family’s home!
  • Check out the YWCA’s Wish List and In Her Shoes programs and donate your gently used household items, new warm blankets and and women’s clothing that’s suitable for job interviews to help women who are using their Emergency Shelter or other services.
  • The Working Centre’s Computer Recycling Program gives your old but functional computer or laptop the chance to live a second life as both a computer for people who can’t afford one, as well as giving a volunteer training in computer repair work.
  • If you are interested in donating food to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region, you can see an up-to-date list of their Most Needed Items here.
  • The Food Bank of Waterloo Region offers corporate and community teams the opportunity to have a financial and time impact! Helping to serve the 34,552 people in our community struggling to put food on the table. Learn how you can get involved.
  • It’s always a good time to donate blood to Canadian Blood Services either as an individual or by setting up a date for your whole team to either host or attend a blood donation drive day. Contact Tara Gutscher to set it up.
  • You and your team (8-12 people) can arrange a meal for 200 people for the Ray of Hope Community Centre – everything from planning a menu, purchasing the food and preparing and serving it to people in need. Email Jaime Wright to set it up.
  • Habitat for Humanity offers the chance for a team to take a day out of the office, pick up a hammer (or some other tool) and help a local family in need!
  • Take your lunch break with Community Support Connections! Round up your co-workers to deliver Meals on Wheels – it’s more than just a meal, it’s a smile and safety check for some of our most vulnerable neighbours in the community. Contact Jodi Carreiro to learn how you can get involved, or apply at communitysupportconnections.org.
  • The Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre’s English Tutoring program lets you sit down and work on conversational English with a newcomer– a very meaningful contribution.
  • The Humane Society is looking for volunteers with website, graphic design and social media skills to help them grow their reach– and you could get to play with cute puppies and kittens while you’re at it! .Contact Kathrin Delutis and tell her what you’d like to help with