Canada’s Top 11 Innovative Tech Companies To Watch in 2021
Canada is making strides in developing technologies. Their innovations arecreative, never-before-seen wonders and are bound for success. 2021 was noexception to this trend.In the past few months, we’ve seen tons of new businesses pop up and leavetheir mark in their industry, and we haven’t even gone through half the yearyet.There are also several older companies that have either created new sectors orjust consistently grown for a few years and now reached their peak. We’veincluded a few of both on this list.Most of the Canadian tech companies are based in Toronto, Montreal, andVancouver. While there are many notable new businesses in Atlantic Canada andthe Prairies, we simply couldn’t include all of them. If we tried, you’d behere all day.With that said, let’s take a look at 11 companies to watch in 2021.
Launching a payment or banking product is a tedious process. You have topartner with a bank and spend hours upon hours filling forms, having meetings,dotting Is, and crossing Ts. Most times, this input just isn’t worth it, andmany startups try to avoid it.Banks don’t like that. They want to partner with a startup business in Canadabecause it brings them profit. And even though these companies would like to,the process is just too long and incredibly arduous.Synctera fixes this issue. They create an environment where banks and Canadiantech companies can collaborate easily. How do they do it? The onboarding issimplified. Businesses can build their products on top of existinginfrastructure using API-driven platforms. This, in turn, allows quicklaunches, testing, and improvements.This startup business in Canada has completely changed the way businesses andconsumers interact with money. And such revolutionary developments need to bementioned when discussing the best startup business ideas in Canada.Even though Synctera has already made strides, its long-term goal is settingup a platform through which any company can launch a product in one day. Whileambitious, this can be done. And the team at Synctera is best suited for it.
Amin Yazdani and Shabnam Ahmadi founded Craver Solutions in 2018 and set uptheir headquarters in Vancouver. They give their customers (restaurants) apersonalized food ordering app. Furthermore, the ‘software as a service’ orSaaS solution is great for independent restaurants because they get to competewith larger chains that have considerably larger finances and social capital.By equalizing the playing field, Craver Solution is giving small businesses afighting chance. The pandemic has negatively impacted the restaurant industry,but this software gives it some room to breathe by connecting people todelivery services.
Food insecurity is a big issue, and Lufa Farms is doing its part to stem the
bleeding. It brings sustainable food practices to rooftop greenhouses in urbanareas and has its headquarters in Montreal.Ever since its founding in 2010, Lufa Farms has doubled production capacity bybuilding the fourth largest rooftop farm in the world. They’re also among thebiggest food retailers in Canada.
Fredericton, NBSmartskin provides an advanced IIoT predictive platform for pressuremonitoring technology. Smartkin’s sensors are added to packaging lines,improving efficiency, reducing wastage, and minimizing downtime. You likelyhave heard of Smartskin as it has been working with major bottling companiessince 2014, and customers like Coca-Cola see huge gains in productivity.Smartskin’s products quickly find the root cause of issues and enable remotediagnosis by experts around the world.Over the last two years, Smartskin has really grown. It launched a strategiccollaboration with Schott AG, the world’s largest supplier of primarypharmaceutical packaging containers, which enabled the company to securenearly every one of the top 20 pharma companies in the world as clients. Thetechnology is used to boost productivity for treatments, ranging from high-value biologics to vaccines, and was recently recognized as the 2020 BestPharmaceutical Manufacturing Innovation by Pharmapack. With the intense focuson boosting capacity for COVID-19 treatments, the company expects to sustainmore than two times annual growth this year.The startup has raised around $13 million to date, with backing from the NewBrunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), Build Ventures, Rho Ventures, andgovernment support through Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and theNRC’s IRAP Program.* * *
Other lists of previous and current Canadian tech companies to watch:
11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2021 Seven Prairie startups to watch in 2021 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2020 Eight Prairie startups to watch in 2020 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2019 10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2019 11 Prairie startups to watch in 2019Have a different Atlantic Canada tech company you think is one to watch in2021? Post your suggestion in the comment section below!London Green Tech companies named ones to watchFour London-based companies have been named in the Sunday Times BGF 10 GreenTech to Watch, researched by Fast Track.Published in the 20th anniversary edition of the Sunday Times Tech Track 100ranking of the UK’s fastest-growing private tech companies, the inaugural 10Green Tech to Watch list recognises private UK-based firms that are developingtechnology to help mitigate or reverse the effects of human activity on theenvironment, based on research sponsored by BGF – the UK’s most activeinvestor in growing businessesThis year’s 10 Green Tech to Watch includes four London-based companies. Theseinclude Highview Power, which stores spare energy by cooling and liquefyingair to -196˚C, releasing it to drive turbines and generate clean electricity;and EnvoPAP, which blends agricultural waste and wild grass fibres to createtree-free office paper and packaging materials.Carbon Clean is a carbon capture technology developer which is cutting thecost of CO2 capture from industrial emissions by more than half. MeanwhileWhitefox Technologies has created an industrial membrane that is used incountries ranging from Germany to Guyana to efficiently remove excess waterfrom biofuel production.Stephen Welton, executive chairman of BGF, who helped judge the finalists,said, “As we come out of the Covid-19 crisis, a major and radical shift to newsectors of the economy is now going to happen much faster. Top of the list isthe environment. Turning net-zero emissions pledges into reality is a hugeopportunity for investors, but it requires a significant amount of capital.BGF plans to increase our investments into sustainable businesses from 5%today to up to 20% in the next 18 months. The 10 Green Tech to Watch is agreat platform to showcase promising companies in this space.”
The 2020 Sunday Times BGF 10 Green Tech to Watch includes the following
companies:CompanyActivity| Location | Year end‡ | *Latest sales £000 | Funds raised | Staff | Founded —|—|—|—|—|—|— AceleronReusable battery developer| Birmingham | Dec 19 | †c1,000 | £2.9m | 10 | 2016 Claims to make the world’s first serviceable, upgradable and recyclablelithium batteries, with applications including household energy storage. Thecompany was co-founded by chief executive Amrit Chandan and chief technologyofficer Carlton Cummins, both 31. Sales, including grant revenue, reachedc.£1m in 2019. This year BGF invested £1.45m and other investors includeMercia Asset Management. Carbon CleanCarbon capture technology developer| Central London | Mar 20 | 1,508 | £24.7m | 17 | 2009 Says its process removes more than 90% of CO2 from industrial emissions andhas raised more than £17m this year – and £25m in total – from investorsincluding America’s Chevron and the Norwegian Equinor Ventures. Co-founded bychief executive Aniruddha Sharma, 33, and chief technology officer PrateekBumb, 35. CoGenWaste technology developer| Stoke-on-Trent | Nov 18 | †10,342 | n/a | 19 | 2014 Its technology produces renewable energy from waste that would otherwise endup in landfill by partially transforming it into gas. Founded in 2014 bychairman David Pike, 67, and chief executive Ian Brooking, 50. Partnersinclude Lockheed Martin andBalfour Beatty; and investors include Foresight VC and Canada’s Stantec. EnvoPAPSustainable materials producer| Central London | Mar 20 | 1,933 | £0.8m | 24 | 2015 Blends agricultural waste and wild grass fibres to create tree-free officepaper and packaging materials, with customers including L’Oréal and LloydsBank. Chief executive Kaushal Shah, 28, founded the company in 2015 while hewas a student at the University of Southampton, and retains a majority stake.Investors include Founders Factory. Highview PowerEnergy storage technology developer| Central London | Dec 19 | **£10,000+ | c£74m | 40 | 2002 Stores spare energy by cooling and liquefying air to -196˚C, releasing it todrive turbines and generate clean electricity. Led by chief executive JavierCavada, 44, the company raised £35m in February from Japanese manufacturinggiant Sumitomo, and in June received a £10m UK government grant. i2O WaterSmart water networks| Southampton | Dec 18 | 3,124 | £31m+ | 52 | 2005 More than 100 utility companies across 47 countries use its technology tomonitor and control water supplies – customers include Anglian Water and thecity of Cape Town. Led by chief executive Joel Hagan, 51, it has raised morethan £31m from investors including UK environmental tech investor Ombu. IceotopeLiquid cooling technology| Sheffield | Dec 19 | 2,007 | £14m | 42 | 2012 Its liquid cooling system reduces the need for fans in power-intensive datacentres, cutting energy costs. Raised £6m in February last year from investorsincluding UK environmental tech investor Ombu and French venture capital firmAster. The company is led by chief executive David Craig, 56. MonodraughtSustainable ventilation specialist| High Wycombe | Dec 19 | 11,300 | £2.7m | 82 | 1974 Waitrose, Ford, and IKEA use its ultra low-energy ventilation, lighting andcooling systems, which it says has saved 400,000 tonnes of CO2 over the pasttwo decades. It is led by managing director Andrew McCubbin, 51. The companyhas raised £2.7m in funding to date, including from BGF. OXIS EnergyLithium-sulphur battery manufacturer| Oxfordshire | Dec 19 | 2,288 | £49m | 80 | 2005 Developing lithium-sulphur batteries, which it says pack in 5x more energythan lithium-ion batteries. Run by chief executive Huw Hampson-Jones, 65, ithas raised £49m from investors including Brazilian private equity firm Aerotecand South Africa’s Sasol, and is building a factory in Brazil opening in 2023. Whitefox TechnologiesIndustrial membrane solution developer| Central London | Dec 19 | 5,687 | £8.9m | 29 | 2000 Its filtering technology is used in countries ranging from Germany to Guyanato efficiently remove excess water from biofuel production. Founded in 2000 bychief technology officer Stephen Blum, 59, it has been led by chief executiveGillian Harrison, 46,since 2009. It is backed by private investors.11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2021Every January for the past few years, thanks to the team at BetaKit, I’ve hadthe opportunity to share my thoughts on some of the companies I’m excitedabout in the Canadian technology and startup landscape. As always, it’sincredibly difficult to limit the list to just eleven companies, so treat thisas more of a sample rather than an exhaustive list of great companies to keepan eye on this year.The list is specifically, but not exclusively, focused on the regions aroundVancouver, Montréal, and Toronto (BetaKit has forthcoming articles forstartups to watch in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada).If you want to see how companies from last year’s list fared over the courseof 2020, you can check out my recent update article.* * *
Website | www.craverapp.com —|— Headquarters | Vancouver, BC Year founded | 2018 Key People | * Amin Yazdani Salekdeh, Co-Founder & CEO * Shabnam Ahmadi, Co-Founder & CMO Notable | * Experienced record growth in 2020 Craver provides restaurants with a customized mobile ordering app. Through anaffordable software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, independent restaurants areable to compete with much larger chains’ digital experience for meal orderingand delivery. Given the ongoing pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry,Craver offers a much-needed solution to many independent restaurants andcafes. * * *
| Website | www.synctera.com —|— Headquarters | San Francisco, CA & Toronto, ON Year founded | 2020 Key People | * Peter Hazlehurst, Co-founder & CEO * Kris Hansen, Co-founder & CTO * Domink Weisserth, Co-founder & CPO Notable | * Raised $15.8 million CAD seed financing in 2020 * Founders include the former head of Uber Money, and former CTO of Portag3 and Canadian challenger bank Koho Synctera is closing the gap between community banks and FinTechs by providinga seamless integration layer that takes care of all of the complexity relatedto such partnerships. With digital adoption in financial services continuingat unprecedented rates, solutions like Synctera should prove invaluable incombining incumbents and Fintech startups to deliver greater value toconsumers. * * *
Previous Canadian tech company to watch lists:
11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2020 Eight Prairie startups to watch in 2020 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2019 10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2019 11 Prairie startups to watch in 2019 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2018 10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2018 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2017 10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2017 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2016Have a different Canadian tech company you think is one to watch in 2021? Postyour suggestion in the comment section below!10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2019In recent years, BetaKit has presented curated lists of the top Montrealstartups to watch. As with previous years, there is plenty going on inMontreal’s startup scene, so it was hard to narrow down the 2019 list to justten.This year, BetaKit reached out to the Montreal tech community, asking forrecommendations on the companies we should be keeping an eye on. Along withsome of our own suggestions, here are the companies — in no particular order —that we think are worth watching this year.We hope this list was worth the wait!* * *
HumanFirst AI has a couple of serial entrepreneurs and PasswordBox alum on itsmanagement team, Daniel Robichaud, the company’s chairman, and GregoryWhiteside, its CEO, who have proven they can scale a company. And HumanFirstis taking off.The company makes life easier for human chat agents by using artificialintelligence to predict and automate the response shortcuts they need, whenthey need them. HumanFirst is also one of the companies joining theprestigious Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (Mila) and the Caissede depot et placement du Quebec’s new partnership for accelerating AIdevelopment in Quebec, called the Espace CDPQ | Axe IA.
Breathe Life is another startup founded by a PasswordBox alum, co-founder andCEO Ian Jeffrey. Jeoffrey was PasswordBox’s VP of product marketing, and sincethen a serial founder, as well as an impressive backer in financial servicesgiant (and Wealthsimple parent) Power Corp.Breathe Life aims to improve the insurance industry with digital products andanalytics. Earlier this year it announced a $4.5 million seed round to helpwith its expansion into the US.Beyond Power Corp, Breathe Life has found a fan in National Bank Insurance,which announced a partnership with the startup in December to provide lifeinsurance products to consumers online, with a focus on customers using mobiledevices.
Previous Canadian tech company to watch lists:
11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2019 11 Prairie startups to watch in 2019 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2018 10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2018 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2017 10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2017 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2016Have a different Montreal tech company you think is one to watch in 2019? Postyour suggestion in the comment section below!