Creating Startups in Toronto


#1

Hi,

I want to move to Canada to create my own startup or join any startups as a co-founder. What is the best way to connect to like minded people, share ideas and connect with investors.

Thanks,


#2

Hello!

I have a similar thought, and if I may add one question related to this: if it’s purely an online business like Amazon but without any physical office, meaning all employees working from home, does legal residency matter? Just as an example, I’m currently on an H1b planning on immigrating to Canada, as far as legal concerns go, can I start an online business right now regardless of where I am at?


#3

Where will this company be headquartered? If it’s USA then you’re out of luck as in most cases you cannot start your own company unless you have a GC. You might be able to setup an LLC but you can’t work for it (many friends I know registered LLCs when they were students or on OPT but never really did anything with those). I don’t know much about Canada but I presume it has similar, if not more stringent rules.


#4

H1B rules prevent you doing this as far as I understand even if the company is not registered in the US its not allowed. If you were to say leave and move to India or Canada on a PR then you can register a company for the most part anywhere in the world and run it from anywhere you like. For example it can be registered in the Canada, US, Singapore, etc. All countries have some kind of rules around who can register a company within their borders, Singapore for example requires you to have at least 1 local director while US does not have this requirement. Even within the US you choose a state based on what your needs are in regards to state states, privacy and legal frameworks.

If you have PR in Canada registering a company here is fairly easy you don’t have the LLC option so you would have to go Corporation but its minimal overhead.

Stipe has a service called Atlas that does everything for you if you want to start a US company you will however have to leave the US if you plan on working for the company.


#5

Thank you for sharing your insight and resources. If I could ask a couple of other questions.

  1. Vik might have answered this, but just to be perfectly clear, even if I’m a PR in Canada and the company is registered in Canada, I still cannot work on it if I’m on an H1b and physically in the US?

  2. What are your thoughts about looking for partners/cofounders and projecting your startup ideas in the meantime?


#6

I second Vik on the H1B rules, my understanding is also that regardless of where the company is registered (you could be a PR or citizen of the other country) working for another entity other than your H1B sponsoring employer is considered violation of your H1B status. (I am not a lawyer).

If your startup is software related, you could create an open source version of your idea and see if it gains some following. Community contributions will make your software project more robust. And later on when the time is right, you can make a commercial product.

Of course, some ideas cannot wait very long or cannot be open sourced and moving to Canada may be the compelling option, IMHO.


#7

Hi Guys,

So living in the USA for six years, I had really hard time finding co-founders or investors apart from the Visa BS. As far as I know a company registered in Toronto, can do business anywhere in USA or the world. So why not create startups in Toronto. Also, a place where a lot of tech talent can be found easily should be the preferred choice. I know because of visa regulations, I was not able to work for any startups in USA, and no one was willing to sponsor as well. However, I am not sure how the investment opportunities available in Toronto. Is Toronto ready to be the Silicon Valley of Canada?


#8

OK I’m a bit confused. I always thought that the H1B law applies to you working in the US; for e.g. you can only work for a US employer who has sponsored the visa and have to be (mostly) physically present in the US and paid in USD and pay taxes in US.

If I own a company in Canada and I’m a Canadian PR and I’m paying taxes in Canada, why does US care that I am earning money overseas, as long as I declare it in my taxes.

Disclaimer: I’m not on H1B so these restrictions don’t yet apply to me and I’m not aware of these.


#9

@anshul.v.joshi The way I understood H1B law is when you are living in the US under this visa the regulation applies to you. To maintain status you have to continue to work only for the sponsoring company and none other also you have to pay taxes on your global income.

You are allowed to start a company anywhere in the world and have a team manage it but it’s possible that even hiring this team etc can be considered as working for the company hence not allowed. You can however invest in companies if you life ie. be an angel if you are accredited.

If you are a Canadian PR working and living in Canada then you have nothing to do with US regulations and are free to do whatever you please and start or work for as many companies as you like or not work at all.

From experience I’ve seen people in the bay area who want to launch their own startups applying for the O visa which is hard to get and it time limited.

@bhushanjss There are lots of funding for startups in Toronto and it is already a tech center in Canada and growing fast. I visited a startup event today and met some amazing young founders who launched startups right from college here. For example https://seed.run/


#10

Hello!

I’ve spoken to an immigration attorney specializing in H1 so I’m sharing what I’ve learned. As long as you are physically in the US, you can only work for the employer that hires you on some sort of visa such as H1 or L. If you want to start and work on your own startup, then you’ll have to sponsor yourself somehow. Therefore, I cannot work on a startup company, even if it’s registered outside of the US, if I’m on an H1, basically.

As a side note, reversely, if you are outside of the US and working for a US company, the paperwork/process would be much simpler or close to none, as the US company does not need to be concerned about your legal status in the US since you are not in the US. I think many US companies are taking advantage of this currently.


#11

Thanks for the info, clears a lot of things up.


#12

Most every H1B startup founder I know changed to an O visa about 50% were successful others got denied or stuck with RFPs. The O visa where freeing you to work on your own startup and potentially a basis to file for EB1 has its own set of headaches.