The Canadian tech ecosystem is booming with startups regularly attracting some serious investment. Many of these young companies are also showing that they can overcome early challenges and grow both revenue and personnel.
When we talk about Canadian tech, people usually think of Shopify and with good reason. Based out of Ottawa and publicly listed on the U.S. stock exchange in 2015, the company shares have grown fivefold.
However, while it might take some time before the next unicorn emerges, there are plenty of firms vying to be the next big thing. So let’s dive right into it and take a look at the top 10 Canadian tech startups to pay attention to in 2018.
Founded in 2011 and headquartered (like us) in Vancouver, Article aims to simplify the process of buying furniture. Their price point is somewhere between the likes of IKEA and brick and mortar stores and the company has already generated more than $120 million in annual revenue last year.
This year, they hope to hit $50 million in quarterly revenue and don’t plan to have an IPO anytime soon. In fact, they managed to reach such astounding heights with little to no investment and managed to generate profit pretty quickly.
Buddybuild is another tech startup based out of Vancouver who recently announced that they’ve been acquired by Apple and will be moving the team to Apple’s Xcode group. However, the company will continue to be based in Canada and will serve as an anchor for Apple’s presence in the country.
Founded in 2015 and raising about $11 million in funding, the company seamlessly ties together continuous integration, continuous delivery, and an iterative feedback solution on a single mobile development platform.
3. Figure 1
Often referred to as “Instagram for doctors,” the Toronto-based startup Figure 1 enables doctors to share images and consult colleagues on cases. All this is done in a privacy-law-compliant manner that draws in an engaged user-base.
With approximately two million healthcare professionals already on the platform, the company recently secured $10 million in Series B funding totally $20 million altogether. As the company continues to experiment with monetization models and works on growing its reach, 2018 promises to be an interesting year for this Canadian startup.
4. Deep Genomics
It’s no secret that Canada's a hotbed for artificial intelligence (AI) talent, so it’s hardly a surprise that the Deep Genomics came out of Toronto in 2015. This startup aims to leverage AI to develop new life-saving genetic therapies.
Backed by $21 million in funding, the founding members also have over 50 years of cumulative experience in developing AI systems that accurately incorporate genome biology. This startup believes that the future of medicine will be heavily dependent on AI because biology is just too complex for the human mind.
5. Element AI
Almost all technology companies now follow service model and Element AI is taking the same path. The company describes itself as an “AI-as-a-Service” provider and aims to offer organizations across industries unparalleled access to the latest AI technology.
This Montreal-based startup was founded in 2016 and raised a mind-blowing $137.5 million dollars in Series A funding. Backed by some major corporations, Element AI promises to keep Canada at the cutting-edge AI research and development.
Hopper is another Montreal-based startup that was founded by a travel industry veteran. The app uses historical flight data to predict changes in airfare prices while facilitating bookings.
It’s one of the fastest growing travel apps in history and the company is now expanding into the hotel business. This is evidenced by over 17 million installs since the company’s inception in 2015 (and I’m one of them).
Hopper has received the following accolades:
- Apple's App Store Best of 2015
- Webby Award for Best Travel App
- Google Play's Best Apps of 2016
With about $82 million raised in funding, you can be sure to hear a lot more from Hopper this year.
Vancouver-based Kindred is an AI startup that’s a bit of a mystery. However, that didn’t stop them from raising over $35 million in Series B funding.
Kindred’s offering is said to be focused on leveraging machine learning and AI to build robots that can solve real-world supply chain problems. In other words, the goal here is to create a future where humans and machines physically work together.
Toronto-based Ritual is an order-ahead app that’s currently going through a period of significant acceleration. The company recently raised $53 million in Series B funding to continue its expansion into major cities south of the border.
Since Ritual was founded back in 2014, the company has signed up over a thousand establishments and claims to have dethroned Starbucks as the largest food and beverage loyalty program in Toronto.
At present, the app is available in the following cities:
- Los Angeles
- New York
Sensibill offers an innovative solution to a very real problem we all have to deal with – receipts. We can’t throw them away because of warranties or potential returns, so it’s something we all have to hold on to and tend to lose.
Senibill tackles this problem by working with banks across the planet to make it easier for people to manage their itemized receipts through their banking app.
Since the startup was founded in Toronto in 2013, the company has raised over $17 million in Series A funding and is already available to Scotiabank customers. The company hopes to expand into new markets like Australia, the U.S., and the U.K. this year.
10. Thalmic Labs
Thalmic Labs, the company behind Myo armbands, a gesture-based computer interface which came out during the height of the wearables hype. Since then, the company has been working on their follow-up, but the details are still held tightly under wraps.
However, the firm’s potential was enough to attract about $120 million in Series B funding to help the startup achieve its goal of blurring the lines between the digital world and reality. If you have had any experience with Myo, your expectations and anticipation will be just as high mine.
These are exciting times for Canada as the nation positions itself as a global technology leader. Going forward, things can only get even better as government policies and infrastructure are all geared toward making a massive impact.