"We're the $10 part in the $1000 solution," says Paul Seed, President and CEO of StarTech.com, "and we make it very easy for our customers to get exactly what they need."

That business model, almost Zen-like in its simplicity, has enabled the London, Ontario-based manufacturer to become the go-to source for IT professionals worldwide.

And growth is accelerating. Quickly.

Niche market winner in booming global industry

StarTech.com produces more than 3,000 different everyday computer products, from cables and adapters to docking stations and other tech essentials. Innovation is a priority, and new items are released on a daily basis.

Products are developed in Canada, manufactured in Asia, and then sold through a network of close to 40,000 resellers and distributors to customers in 16 countries across four continents.

Rising sales in Europe, Australia and Japan meant StarTech.com's London, Ontario facility was bursting at its seams.

StarTech.com computer products displayed in the shape of a 'v'

Just a few of the more than 3,000 tech essentials developed, manufactured and distributed by Ontario-based StarTech.com.

The solution? An $8 million expansion that doubled the size of StarTech.com's headquarters/innovation lab/distribution centre from 28,000 square feet to more than 60,000. That's up from 12,000 square feet in 2012, when StarTech.com had roughly 165 employees. Now, the head count is 400 and the company expects to add 200 more people within the next few years.

Paul Seed expects sales to double again within the next few years, which makes finding the right mix of skills critical.

StarTech.com's success demands high levels of expertise in global logistics, advanced manufacturing and continuous innovation. It's a combination not readily found in many communities.

Ontario a treasure house of talent

Photo of Paul Seed, StarTech.com President and CEO

While the search for talent keeps many CEOs awake at night, not so for Paul Seed.

"We're fortunate to be located in a tech corridor that includes some of Canada's best business schools and universities such as the Ivey Business School, Fanshawe College and the University of Waterloo," said Seed in a recent telephone interview. "Simple proximity makes this a great place to recruit young talent. It also makes it easier to network with other entrepreneurs and leading business thinkers."

"We're fortunate to be located in a tech corridor that includes some of Canada's best business schools and universities," says Paul Seed, StarTech.com President and CEO.

Diversity the key to understanding global business cultures

For companies driving business through Google searches, another skill has become key: understanding global business cultures.

"The diversity of languages in Ontario is a huge advantage for us," said Seed. "We translate material into six or seven languages, but it's more than that. Knowing other languages and dialects really helps us to understand local business cultures. When it involves online searches for tech gadgets, small tweaks in the language can make a big difference."

High quality of life attracts high quality staff

An even bigger recruiting advantage, according to Seed, is the quality of life offered by London, Ontario, a city of 500,000 people roughly two hours west of Toronto. "Many of the people we're talking to are at a stage in their careers when they're interested in starting or raising a family and London is a great place to do that."

A focus on quality of life, diverse language skills, and on making it easy for customers to find what they need – simple values, but they have powered StarTech.com's growth in a $3.4 trillion global industry constantly buffeted by disruptive change.


October 5, 2016

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