How It all began
Founded in 2017, Canada Startup Company is a family-owned venture studio owned, operated and managed by Ajay Malhotra. Here is his story.
Maintaining the Mission but changing the Immigration Narrative
As an immigrant himself, Ajay’s journey to Canada was not unlike that of others. As one of the highest certified individuals on IBM products in India, Ajay was motivated by his desire to be successful, yet constrained by the opportunities and lifestyle in India. This realization led him to seek opportunities outside India which took him to Malaysia, Singapore, the United States and finally to now his home country of Canada.
Ajay spent almost a decade in the USA, however, realized that he was not experiencing the “American Dream” as he expected. While the work culture in Silicon Valley, where he got his first opportunity was very accepting of immigrants, The realities of being in the United States on an H1-B Visa, gave Ajay an illusion of freedom and a veil of choice. However, the fate of an H1-B immigrant like him is much different. Ajay was bound to his job by the visa and his employer fully exploited this, routinely paid as low as 30% of the market wages, he could not find another job opportunity unless the new company was willing to pay the high legal fees and wait almost a year for the process.
In 2001, just after 9/11, the work environment in USA changed drastically and there were massive layoffs, Ajay was a casualty, his visa status gave him only 30 days to find another job before he would have to leave the United States, Being amongst the top 100 globally in his field of work, helped him land a position in Virginia, United States even in those desperate times. Being in Virginia opened Ajay’s eyes to discrimination. He was issued six traffic tickets in a year - even one for driving approximately 50 in a 45 zone. His supervisor routinely joked at the office that “driving while being brown is a crime” in Virginia.
As a result of the discrimination he experienced, Ajay had applied for and received a Canadian permanent residency. Within a few months, he was approved for a Permanent Resident status. Once in Canada, he had extremely opposite experiences. He found Canadians warm, genuine and friendly. Whereas Americans would rarely put in the effort to even pronounce his easy first name correctly, he got a pleasant shock when the Ministry of Transportation employee issuing him a driver’s license even pronounced his complex family name properly. He knew he had found the right home.
Today, Ajay operates Canada Startup Co. - an integrated venture studio that empowers immigrant entrepreneurs to create their opportunities in Canada. His goal is to help immigrants create their own jobs and jobs for Canadians. He believes that every Founder of a Startup has a double positive impact, (A) they created their own job, and (b) they did not take a job so that vacancy is still available for someone else to fill. Ajay is also an active angel at VANTEC Angel Network, a screening committee member at York Angels, a mentor at MaRS Discovery District and a Limited Partner (investor) with multiple Canadian Angel and Venture Funds.