Iain Klugman, the Communitech CEO whose 15 years of leadership helped put Waterloo Region’s tech community on the global map, has announced he will step down in early 2021.
Klugman, who has led Communitech since 2004, will continue as CEO for the next 16 months until his current term expires on Jan. 31, 2021. Communitech’s board of directors will launch a search for his successor in early 2020.
“I am immensely proud of the growth and success of Waterloo Region’s technology community and of the role Communitech has played in that,” said Klugman, 58. “The time feels right to hand the reins to a new leader who can take us to the next level, and for me to move on to my next adventure.”
Under Klugman’s leadership, Communitech grew from a little-known local industry association into a globally recognized innovation hub, providing facilities, programming and advocacy to a dynamic and growing community of 1,400 technology companies in Waterloo Region. During his tenure, Communitech partnered with local, provincial and federal governments to open collaborative work spaces and labs in Kitchener and Waterloo; launched Canada’s first accelerator for women-led companies; built a Canada-wide network of peer organizations; and pushed for policy improvements such as Canada’s Global Skills Strategy to help companies hire top international talent.
“I am not exaggerating when I say Communitech is envied by cities around the world for the value it delivers to its member entrepreneurs, partners and the community,” said Dave Caputo, a serial entrepreneur and chair of Communitech’s board of directors from 2018-19. “That envied status has everything to do with Iain’s vision, drive and ability to rally people around a cause.”
Jennifer Smith, who recently succeeded Caputo as board chair, said Klugman’s departure will leave big shoes to fill, but she added the organization is “orders of magnitude more valuable to Waterloo Region, and to Canada, for the work Iain has done to get us this far.”
Klugman said he and his wife, Jane, will continue to live in Waterloo Region after he steps down, and that he will remain “Communitech’s biggest cheerleader.”
Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.
Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.
● Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
● Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
● Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.