The Rock’n’Roll Marathon series rolls (and rocks) into Montreal this weekend. For many of the city’s runners, it is the culmination of a spring and summer of training, and the last big event before winter kicks in. Should be fun despite the inevitability of many city dwellers bemoaning city-wide road closures…

When thinking about crafting this blog I pondered, does economic development align more with the hedonistic world of rock’n’roll or the tough, laborious, infrequently rewarding world of long distance running. Yeah, probably the latter, although that is not to say it doesn’t have its good times.

ROI has several examples of introducing clients to companies that have led to success stories in less than 6 months from initial conversation. However, as most readers know, the sales cycle is typically long and seeking instant gratification will often result in disappointment. A few examples:

  • ROI first engaged with ThreatMetrix on behalf of a Canadian client in early 2016. Result: first expansion into the Canadian market announced in 2018.
  • ROI identified a lead with Wayfair for a Florida-based client in 2016. Result: establishment of three fulfillment centers creating 100 jobs in 2018.
  • ROI identified a project with OnDeck Capital for a Canadian based client in 2012. Result: Project announced in 2017.

This is where the marathon analogy is more apt than rock’n’roll. These projects were won with grit, stamina, and dedication, many of the characteristics needed to complete a 21 or 42km race. Meetings at company HQ, site tours, meetings at trade shows, and maybe the odd meeting over a beer or two.

Along the same theme, here at ROI we have seen increased interest in wearable technologies, and particularly sports tech. Through Gazelle, we have tracked over 1,300 companies with sports-related technologies that have received funding in the past 24 months.

If this is a sector of interest, one company to watch is Northern Irish-headquartered Statsports. Having operated under the radar for a number of years, the company is making a splash on international markets. Its technology is used to track athletes along a number of different criteria, sending data real-time to coaches on the sideline (or the athlete themselves) via smartphone or tablet. The company’s roster of clients is impressive, ranging from arguably the best football team in the world, Liverpool FC, all the way down to Manchester United.


In closing, if you are ever in Montreal on a Monday lunchtime, keep an eye out for a herd of gazelle-like creatures, as the ROI Running Club lopes its way up Mount Royal. You may even spot one or two of us (struggling) at the half marathon this weekend.