As tech investors the world over search for elusive unicorns (start-ups valued at over $1 billion), acclaimed business journalist Gordon Pitts asks whether there can be a place for high-tech innovation and unicorn-like value creation outside of major urban centres, whether in Atlantic Canada, rust-belt New York, or Northern Ontario.
Journeying back to the origins of Radian6 and Q1 Labs — two New Brunswick companies that sold for a combined $1 billion — in the basements and offices of a group of geeks and dreamers, Pitts tells a story of two remarkable companies and the legacies that continue to this day. But theirs was not a simple tale of overnight success; there were sellouts and firings, comebacks and vindication, and still unfulfilled promise.
This is a story of high-tech value creation far from Silicon Valley, a story of the mythical unicorn in the woods. Are the stories of Radian6 and Q1 Labs outliers, rogue datapoints that should be discarded, or the foundation for a new knowledge economy outside of the mainstream?