Toronto’s Collision tech conference kicks off amid industry downturn, layoffs


TORONTO — The first full day of the Collision tech conference got underway in Toronto this morning as the industry grapples with a downturn.

The four-day event will see roughly 35,000 startup leaders, investors and tech workers take in talks from more than 600 speakers, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and basketball star Carmelo Anthony.

This year’s conference is coinciding with a fading exuberance around tech stocks, which soared during the pandemic but are now plunging, pushing companies like Netflix and Wealthsimple to layoff workers.

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Collision CEO Paddy Cosgrave expects the downturn to be a hot topic at the conference, along with the state of crypto, after several currencies have significantly dropped in value in recent months.

Cosgrave says at least eight cryptocurrency companies, including embattled lending platform Celsius, dropped out of Collision in recent days.

Cosgrave’s travelling conference kicked off Monday night with an appearance from author Margaret Atwood and actress Lupita Nyong’o at the Enercare Centre.

This year marks the conference’s return to an in-person format, following a move online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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