In true entrepreneurial style, Torstar Digital began in a small basement office with a handful of forward-thinking innovators who understood the power of digital disruption. Working together they began laying the framework for what was to become Torstar Digital.
In 2005 Torstar Corporation recognized that digital was changing the nature of media. It saw the need for an independent division that was solely focused on building new and innovative opportunities beyond its core media business and launched Torstar Digital.
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Over the next few years, Torstar Digital grew quickly by partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs and launching new businesses. A few employees became over 250. Together we assembled a group of people which included some of the finest digital innovators in Canada. And while we thankfully, outgrew that basement, we haven’t outgrown our entrepreneurial roots. You can now find us in the top floor of an old loft building in Toronto’s King West neighbourhood.
While we don’t exactly know what the future will hold, we do know that Torstar Digital will continue to evolve and adapt in order to capitalize on the disruptive power of digital.
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Housed in offices underneath Toronto.com, Torstar Digital was founded as a new business unit to grow and compete in the rapidly evolving digital media space.
The Olive Canada Network was launched to help publishers, like The Toronto Star and La Presse, monetize their digital assets. Olive quickly became successful connecting top tier digital properties to brand advertisers who were looking to connect with their audiences through online channels. To celebrate its success Olive hosted its very first summer party, a tradition that continues to this day.
Just over a year after its inception Torstar Digital hired its 50th employee.
In January, Olive went national by partnering with Square Victoria Digital Properties to offer Canadian advertisers access to French premium inventory as well as its existing English properties. With the opening of Olive’s Montreal office as well as plenty of new hires for our Toronto office – Olive doubled its staff size in just one year!
With the online advertising space in constant evolution, Torstar Digital made an important move by purchasing eyeReturn Marketing. eyeReturn Marketing is a provider of online ad serving, rich media, online campaign measurement and online promotion tools. eyeReturn Marketing continued to evolve the services that Torstar Digital could provide to advertisers, publishers and agencies.
Recognizing that Olive had become more than just an ad-network; Olive rebranded as Olive Media in December, 2008. This new name reflected the evolution of Olive’s product suite which now ranged from advertising opportunities on premium sites to innovate performance based solutions.
In July Torstar Digital moved from our basement office to the top of a beautiful loft building on King West. Good thing we made the move, by August we had 100 employees. And while some of us miss the cozy basement, our current space is so nice we haven’t thought about leaving since.
Workopolis launches a mobile version of its website, making it the first Canadian job board to do so.
With more and more Canadians using the internet to search and book their vacations Torstar Digital entered the online travel business with an investment in Travel Alerts. TravelAlerts was founded as an email aggregator and search engine connecting millions of Canadians to a hand-picked list of the best travel deals and offers across ten geographic areas. Travel Alerts was the building block for Torstar Digital’s travel business which would later grow to include: Jaunt and Target Vacations.
To keep pace with Torstar Digital’s impressive growth –a unique corporate culture was needed in order to hire and retain top talent. In 2009 Torstar Digital’s human resources team developed a set of core values through which Torstar Digital lives and works by. Our core values are: happiness, innovation, leadership, awesome people, can-do attitude, collaboration, continuous learning, ethics, focus.
In 2010 Torstar Digital made two important moves in the Canadian group-buying space. Toronto based WagJag was purchased by Torstar Digital in the spring of 2010. Torstar Digital also made an investment Quebec-based Tuango, the leader in the daily deal space in Quebec. Together these businesses have made Torstar Digital one of the leading players in group buying commerce in Canada. With these acquisitions Torstar Digital hired its 150th employee.
In 2010 Rogers Media invested in Torstar Digital portfolio company TOPS (Total Online Publishing Solution). This investment created a technology joint venture to support the entities growth. TOPS is a CMS platform designed specifically to meet the needs of online publishers. TOPS has been a service provider to various Torstar Digital and Star Media Group properties (including Toronto.com and thestar.com) since 2005.
What comes after surviving the Dragons on Dragons’ Den? For Foodscrooge, a food and consumer packaged goods focused group buying business, surviving an appearance on the CBC’s Dragons’ Den would lead to being acquired by Torstar Digital. A part of the Wagjag family: Foodscrooge became an innovative new WagJag vertical, WagJag Grocery.
Torstar Digital’s travel related business expanded in the summer of 2011 with the launch of Jaunt.ca. Leveraging our Travel Alerts business as well as our expertise in the group buying model Torstar Digital launched Jaunt to provide hand-picked, unique and often exclusive hotel and vacation packages and inspiration to millions of Canadians.
With the launch of several new businesses throughout 2011, Torstar Digital welcomed its 250th employee in August. Although we’ve gone from 2 to 250 – we’re still just as innovative, creative and entrepreneurial as ever.
Furthering Torstar Digital's investment in the online travel space – Torstar Digital acquired Target Vacations, an online travel agency. With this investment Torstar Digital’s travel business has expanded to include booking capabilities on international flights, hotels, cruises and a whole lot more!
Recognizing that advertisers were changing their buying habits and increasingly using data to drive decisions, Olive launched a Private Exchange to continue to meet the needs of its many partners. Olive’s Private Exchange positions Olive Media to continue to become a major player in Canada’s online advertising space.
It all starts with great leaders. Meet the team.
We area a growing team of passionate and enthusiastic technophiles, committed to building great online businesses in an environment that fosters and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit.
Work/Life Balance is incredibly important to us. It shouldn't come as a surprise that happy people are productive people. See how we cut loose — in and out of the office.
100% Enterprenurial Retention
Of all the startup acquisitions that Torstar Digital has made, at least one member of the founding team remains with us in a key leadership role.
20 Namastes A Week
Every Monday and Wednesday before work 20 Torstar Digital employees can be found perfecting their downward dog. Everyone is welcome – just BYOYM (bring your own yoga mat)!
70% iPhone Users
With employees and businesses that are app-happy it’s no surprise that 70% of us use iPhones for work purposes. The remaining 30% are staying true to their Canadian roots.
36% Take the Better Way
With a discounted TTC metropass program for Torstar Digital employees can you blame almost 40% for taking the better way to get to work? And while the streetcar is our most frequent method of commuting, many of us aller à pied/arrive on foot.
2014 Cups of Coffee
We clearly love our coffee. With a choice of specialty coffees available in our kitchen it’s no surprise we have our own ten minute fresh pot guarantee. As for tea lovers - we’ve got you covered and then some. Did somebody say hot chocolate?
1200 Bags of Popcorn Popped
With an in-house popcorn machine that gets going on special occasions sometimes Torstar Digital smells like a flash back to pre-digital days when the movie theatre was king. “Torstar Digital phone home”.