Branham Top 300 - Spotlight on Canadian Tech's Rising Stars

The Branham Top 300 is an annual survey of the Canadian tech sector, and as with all "lists", makes for good copy in the press. Backbone Magazine has been publishing this for a couple of years now - it's always a good read, and I've posted about it in the past. The 2009 Top 300 just came out in their April/May issue, and I wanted to touch on a few highlights.

The Top 300 covers a number of sectors related to tech, and I'm really only looking for companies that I follow. They also have several sub-lists for various categories within tech, and I want to simply draw attention to companies on these lists that are in my orbit. Many of these are clients and I'm an Advisor to some of them, while others I just follow in the course of my everyday work.

With that said, here are the kudos I'd like to extend to those who made these lists:

Top 25 Up and Comers: Fonolo, Protecode, Tungle, Vayyoo

Top 25 IT Hardware: Nortel, RIM, Mitel, Aastra, Vecima Networks

Top 20 Movers and Shakers: Counterpath, Sangoma, Espial Group

If you want to get a more thorough read on the Canadian tech landscape, there's lots to explore there, but on a high level the dynamics of this market remain the same. The top vendors are the usual suspects - Nortel, RIM, Celestica, Open Text, Mitel, etc. - and for service providers, you can pretty much count them on one hand - two at most. In short, Canada is a small market, with classic concentration of ownership, and the rest being tiny.

That's not to say these tiny companies aren't worth following! Regular readers of my blog know how world-class many of these companies are, and the Branham 300 definitely helps get them on the radar. Then it's up to people like me who have working relationships with many of these, to do some flag waving and in-the-trenches validation. So, here I am, telling you that if it takes the Branham 300 to turn you on to some promising Canadian tech companies, hats off to them. Now, if we could only find VCs willing to fund these companies...

Otherwise, the Top 300 is dominated by IT and software companies, most of which fall well outside my orbit. There's not that much in the Top 300, actually, related to the IP communications space, and those that are there are very small. I had expected to see more wireless players, and even though they had a list of top companies, there were only 10 of them, and none registered for me. Enough said - don't let that stop you from exploring the list a bit more. We've got great companies up here, and with our cheap dollar, it's a mystery to me why more of them aren't household names.