Toronto, Ontario's unique combination of fintech, talent and innovation has paid off nicely for PayPal

About one in five Canadians use PayPal to pay for online and mobile transactions ranging from movie tickets and furniture to coffee, groceries, cab rides and parking. PayPal, the global payment platform with 192 million active users around the world, is one of Canada's most popular forms of digital payment. In their 10-year history in Canada, the company has amassed 6.5 million active user accounts in Canada including 250,000 retailers and small businesses who use the platform to sell to PayPal's customers in 200 markets around the world.

Paul Parisi, General Manager, PayPal Canada

The Canadian success story of this San Jose, California company has a made-in-Ontario narrative. When it decided in 2006 to establish a presence in Canada, PayPal chose Toronto as the site of its headquarters.

"Unlike Silicon Valley's technology prowess or New York's focus on finance, Toronto is one of the very few places in the world where finance and technology unite in a collaborative and innovative fashion,"

observed Paul Parisi, PayPal Canada's general manager. "Toronto's tech sector is booming. We have between 2,500 and 4,100 active tech start-ups in the city, and major banks and financial institutions are based here. It's a clear value proposition."

An optimal environment for growing a business

This unique nexus of technology and finance – backed by a robust innovation sector in Toronto and in other parts of Ontario – has given PayPal an optimal environment for growing its Canadian business. Over the last decade, the company has seen its base of active users in Canada grow by 200%. Mobile use of PayPal has also risen significantly in recent years, by as much as 99% from 2012 to 2014, noted Parisi.

At the same time, the number of Canadian retailers and businesses that accept PayPal payments has also grown significantly, ranging in size from solopreneurs and small businesses to iconic Canadian retailers like Hudson's Bay, lululemon athletica, Roots and Canada Goose.

"The ecommerce space in Canada is growing faster than any other international market – growing at twice the speed of other widely known markets such as the U.K. and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) markets," says Parisi. "In 2007, the ecommerce market was valued at $12.8 billion and now is expected to grow to $37 billion in 2017 – a 189% increase."

The move to MaRS: New opportunities for collaboration and innovation

In the fall of 2016, PayPal moved to a new Toronto location inside the MaRS Discovery District, an urban innovation centre where start-ups can incubate and commercialize, as well as connect with big-name tenants and new ventures.

Parisi says PayPal Canada's new location puts the company right in the midst of one of the country's most dynamic innovation hubs, and opens up opportunities for engagement and collaboration. A number of companies at MaRS are also PayPal customers, notes Parisi.

"We're now co-located with Facebook, a key partner, Airbnb and Etsy, our customers, and a host of enterprising start-ups," he shared. "It's inspiring to our teams and allows for organic collaboration and an opportunity to build greater things for our communities and customers. It keeps innovation front and centre because you're in this building which is possibly the world's largest urban innovation hub."

PayPal's Toronto Office

Access to the best and brightest talent

PayPal Canada currently has about 30 employees in Ontario. As business grows, the company is looking for innovative, entrepreneurial and customer-focused workers – that the company should have no difficulty in finding in Ontario.

PayPal's decision to build its Canadian headquarters in such an innovative and entrepreneurial environment has given the company access to the best and brightest talent, says Parisi. This pool of exceptional talent – which is fed continuously by Ontario's 44 universities and colleges – extends well beyond Toronto and into other parts of the province.

"The Toronto-Waterloo corridor, in particular, represents one of the highest concentrations of start-ups on the planet," says Parisi. "The talent and energy coming out of Ontario's start-up community rivals the best Silicon Valley has to offer. We have something special here: we've got the spirit of entrepreneurship, the quality of higher education, and the loyalty of the talent who want to do great things."

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December 5, 2016

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