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How MaRS leverages PitchBook to grow Canada’s most promising startups

MaRS Discovery District accelerates high-growth startups and entrepreneurs by offering access to experiential workshops, capital and PR, detailed market intelligence, networking events, startup conferences, and expert mentorship.

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MaRS Discovery District accelerates high-growth startups and entrepreneurs playing a vital role in fostering Canada's innovation ecosystem. Based in Toronto, this urban innovation hub offers ventures access to experiential workshops, capital and PR, detailed market intelligence, networking events, startup conferences, and expert mentorship. MaRS specializes in healthtech, cleantech, biotech lab space, agtech, emerging digital technologies, information and communications technology, and more.

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Richard Li
Senior Market Research Analyst,



From ideation to scalability, MaRS understands that success in the fast-paced startup world lies in discovering untapped opportunities and gaining insights into opaque market areas.

In addition to contending with market volatility, startups are often hindered by the lack of financial data and market intelligence they need to grow their operations—information vital to understanding their competitive landscape and connecting with investors.

MaRS works with companies across industries, sub-verticals, and diverse offerings to provide comprehensive and agile insights into the capital markets. Their clients range from seed-stage companies to Series A and beyond, including companies reaching $100M ARR, all of which need investment-related data.

Richard Li and the MaRS Market Intelligence team is the go-to resource for Canada’s top innovative companies. Since 2017, PitchBook has provided the team data and insights that has supported countless ventures on the road to fundraising and expansion.

Challenge: Produce data-driven, actionable insights to help scale

Early-stage startups and those working with emerging technologies face unique challenges on their path to growth and profitability. They need accurate market intelligence to identify their industry and customers, enabling them to create products accordingly.

Comprehensive data insights further help founders understand competitors and differentiate their unique market positioning. To generate investor interest, they must demonstrate a keen understanding of their growth potential and communicate the credibility of their financial strategy.

Equipped with PitchBook’s capital market intel, MaRS can rapidly prototype customized searches and streamline information delivery—helping cut through the noise—ensuring startups receive accurate and timely data and insights without slowdowns.

One of the best things about PitchBook is its ability to handle the variance we throw at it to get answers for startups. Our Capital Insights service includes a variety of data pulls and insights for each startup, which is assembled in a quick and scalable way.”

Richard Li, Senior Market Research Analyst

Solution: MaRS sheds light on opaque market areas through data-driven insights

Since they often operate with limited information, ventures partnering with MaRS rely on its insights to help expand and uncover opaque market areas. Supported by PitchBook’s powerful search functionalities, MaRS shines a light on emerging companies, competitors, and strategic investors—across verticals.

Their Capital Insights service offers founders an array of venture services and tailored investment-related data. Powered by the PitchBook Platform, the startup services team puts together investor lists and comps for founders to facilitate them on their fundraising journey. These data-driven insights include:

  • Capital invested, pre- and post-money valuations, and revenue multiples for direct competitors and specific industries and verticals
  • A list of the top 50 active investors who have recently completed deals related to the client’s industries and verticals
  • Information on target investors, along with a list of relevant deals completed by each investor
  • In-depth analysis of later-stage company exit, along with sector and industry-specific comparables

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From FY22 - FY23, requests for the MaRS Capital Insights service increased by over 40%.

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*Source: MaRS Discovery District

Result: Flexibility wins out in a challenging market

Amid fluctuating market valuations, subdued fundraising, and a frozen exit environment, startups are now seeking differential analysis between historical and current valuations. As a result of the challenges in the public and private markets, investors have become incredibly frugal regarding capital deployment while companies have intensified their fundraising efforts.

Our startups are not asking for anything different when they’re looking for information, but they are interested in the recency of how things have changed because they are very much in the know about valuation shifts depending on which sector, vertical, and industry they’re operating in. PitchBook helps us serve those needs.”

Richard Li, Senior Market Research Analyst

Uncovering new horizons in the competitive world of startups

As an innovation hub, MaRS offers collaboration and market intelligence that help scale high-growth startups—their Capital Insights service garners exceptional praise from its users.

Clients frequently return for an informative refresher when their company is going through an internal shift or if they need to pivot to target different investors. Alongside this primary use case, MaRS leverages PitchBook to help acquisitive companies source strategic partners, close deals, or get acquired. PitchBook goes beyond sector and technology capture to paint an in-depth picture of industries, verticals, and emerging technologies through comprehensive data. These valuable insights help MaRS empower its diverse client base—inspiring innovators to make a lasting impact.

So much of what we provide depends on how the data is collected, exported, or available, without which we wouldn’t be able to offer such a wide service in terms of competitor valuations, investors, and high-level deal analysis. Our core offering would not have been built without PitchBook.”

Richard Li, Senior Market Research Analyst

As a longstanding customer, MaRS Discovery District’s satisfaction with PitchBook continues to grow. Frequent check-ins with customer success representatives provide Richard and his team with valuable insights regarding new features and tools, serving as an opportunity to review performance.

Collaborating with the account managers has been phenomenal. PitchBook is the only database partner that we can communicate with via Slack. The team has always been responsive, collaborative, and super personable.”

Pui Yi Ng (PY), Senior Manager, Market Intelligence

Interested in working with MaRS Discovery District? Learn more about what Canada's largest innovation hub can do for you!


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