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46 Canadian Tech Startups That Raised Money Last 3 Months (04-07 2018)

We have been taking some deserved time off and neglected to update some VCs’ moves and money raised in the last few months or so (April – July 2018). Here is recap of what happened in Canadian tech when it came to raising money. Once again, Toronto and Montreal companies dominated the tech scene. Congrats to all!

* Any money raised over $10M are in bold letters. 

  • #paid, Toronto startp and world’s leading influencer marketing platform for authentic brand collaborations, raised $9m
  • Agreement Express, a Vancouver onboarding automation software for the financial services industry, received an undisclosed investment
  • Airy3d, a Montreal startup that brings 3D machine vision to any camera, all without sacrificing battery life, footprint, or image quality, raised US$10M
  • Alavida Health, a Vancouver company, offering treatment of alcohol use disorder that combines drug therapy and counselling, raised $2M
  • Algolux , a Montreal startup, empowers cameras to see more clearly and perceive what cannot be sensed with today’s imaging and vision systems, raised $10M
  • ApplyBoard, a Waterloo startup for an AI-enabled marketplace uniquely designed for international students to apply to study at the best institutions , raised $13M
  • Atomic Reach, a Toronto startup that provides content intelligence platform built to help marketers and agencies create high quality, consistent and profitable content, raised $3.4M
  • Auvik Networks, a Waterloo startup, most efficient & profitable way for MSPs to manage network infrastructure, raised $20M
  • AvenueHQ, a Vancouver startup brings together designers, marketers, engineers, writers, and other creative minds, to help marketing for REALTORS®, closed a $4.5M
  • Avrij, a Fredericton, New Brunswick company that develops a tool that lets you determine what online information is important to you, when you want to know it, and how , raised $1.2M
  • BenchSci, a Toronto startup, a reagent intelligence platform that transforms published data into relevant insights for materials and methods, raised US$8m
  • Breather, a Montréal startup that creates modern workspaces you can keep for hours, days or months — all to yourself, raised $45M in additional funding
  • Canary Medical, a Vancouver medical data company, raised an undisclosed amount
  • Coveo, a Quebec City, provider of intelligent and predictive search technologies, raised $100m
  • Cozystay Holdings, a Vancouver vacation rental platform targeting Chinese vacationers, raised $4M
  • Dooly.ai, a Vancouver startup capturing, sharing, and finding the information needed to close business made as easy as taking a note, raised $2M 
  • ecobee, a Toronto home automation company that makes thermostats for residential and commercial use, raised an additional $47M
  • Eddyfi Technologies, a Quebec company that develops and markets advanced eddy current and electromagnetic solutions, purchased M2M, a Paris, France manufacturer of ultrasonic
  • Elastic Path, a Vancouver company, the leader in ecommerce software that empowers the world’s best brands, closed a $43M in additional funding
  • Eventbase Technology, a Vancouver leading mobile event platform trusted by some of the world’s most recognizable brands, raised $6.5M
  • Fiix (formerly known as Maintenance Assistant), a Toronto startup that provides cloud-based maintenance & asset management software, raised raised $12M
  • inkbox, a Toronto startup, providing tattoo that lasts only 4-6 days, raised $13M
  • Instant Financial, a Vancouver startup, provides workers with access to their pay after every shift, raised $11.4M
  • Inversago Pharma, a Montreal biotech startup, raised $7M
  • League, a Toronto company that’s re-imagining employee health benefits, and is on a mission to empower people to live healthier, happier lives —every day, raised C$62M
  • LoginRadius, a Vancouver startup, helps companies deliver a connected customer experience, build an integrated marketing ecosystem, and centralize customer data , raised $17M
  • MedAvail, a Toronto pharmarcy company allowing automated dispensing and medication management technologies, raised $16.6M
  • MindBridge Analytics, an Ottawa analytics company using artificial intelligence to uncover material irregularities in data, raised $8.4M
  • Miovision, a Kitchener startup thtat creates intelligent solutions for in-house and outsourced traffic data collection, raised $15M
  • Motorleaf, a Montreal startup , that uses artificial intelligence to allow crop to grow themselves, raised USD$2.85m
  • NorthOne, a Toronto startup building Canada’s first mobile-first API-based banking platform that helps startups and small businesses bank, manage their finances, raised $2M
  • Polystyvert, a Montréal startup on a mission to recycle polystyrene (PS), also known as Styrofoam, raised C$11M in funding
  • Primal, a Kitchener startup that allows companies to use artificial intelligence to read and interpret text in any form , received $2.3M loan
  • Raven Telemetry, an Ottawa company, that helps manufacturers leverage their data, raised $6.1m
  • Ritual, a Toronto startup that allows social ordering from your favourite local restaurants and coffee shops, closed a $70M
  • SensorUp, a Calgary startup that empowers developers to build applications that connect with everything in the world, raised $2M
  • Stay22, a Montreal startup, providing map-based accommodation tool , raised $750K 
  • Strainprint Technologies, a Toronto startup that provides mobile app for medical cannabis, raised $3.8M
  • Terminal, a Toronto startup that helps businesses build and manage world-class remote technical teams, raised $10M
  • The Stars Group , gaming and online gambling company traded on Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange, purchased Sky Betting & Gaming, a British-based gambling company
  • TouchBistro, a Toronto company, providing an easy and smart iPad-based POS system for restaurants, cafes, bars, & more, raised additional C$72M
  • TripStack, a Toronto startup, providing customers with all 100,000 direct flights and the billions of missing itineraries in one search , raised $6M
  • Uberflip, a Toronto staartup , content marketing platform, closed a $32m 
  • Veerum, a Calgary startup, tackling a global, epidemic problem that sees $1.6 trillion wasted every year through capital project cost and schedule overruns, raised $3.9M
  • Xanadu, a Toronto startup trying to create the world’s first practical quantum computer, raised $9M
  • Zucara Therapeutics, a Toronto developer of the first once-daily therapeutic to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with diabetes, raised US$3.9m

Toronto Beats San Francisco in Tech Jobs Growth

CBRE Group just published their latest annual survey, where they found that Toronto is hot hot hot when it comes to tech jobs growth. CBRE , in their survey, ranked 50 markets across North America and took into account such things as talent supply, concentration, education and cost as well as outlooks for job and rent growth for both offices and apartments.

Toronto is so HOT that it had more job growth than the US cities of San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. combined. The city added  28,900 tech jobs,  14 % more over a year and now has over 241,000 tech workers. This is more than double of employed IT workers than 5 years ago in 2012.

But the news do come with caveat. Toronto only got 4th place when it came to competitiveness coming in after New York City, Bay Area, Seattle and the Washington, DC.

CBRE says that more than 5 million tech workers are employed in the US and 830,000 in Canada.

Paul Morassutti, executive managing director at CBRE Canada said:

“Companies looking to house operations are putting serious thought to locating in Canada. Toronto is among the best values for tech firms, due to cheaper labor and real estate and a well-educated workforce. The U.S. Midwest offers good value as well.”

Just to put it in perspective running 500 people company requiring 75,000 sq ft in Canada vs the US the cost of rent in US dollars would be:

  • $27.6 million in Montreal
  • $32.2 million in Ottawa,
  • $30.2 million in Toronto.
  • Rochester, New York, the cheapest U.S. market of those CBRE studied, amount to $36.3 million, while the Bay Area adds up to $57.4 million

Cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal provide exceptional value to US companies looking to stretch their US might dollar. As you can see on a graph below – most of the salaries in Canada are still half of what US employees get in cities like NYC and San Francisco.

Not Available in Quebec or Quebec vs The World

Quebec prides itself on consumer protection so much so that the overzealous rules that they have in place make many companies decide to opt out of doing business in Quebec.

This is on top of French language regulations where if products are not translated into French you are not allowed to ship into Quebec (even if store ships from the US or rest of Canada).

Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside our control, Spotify is not currently able to offer Spotify Premium for Students in Quebec. We hope to be able to make it available in the future. Thanks for your understanding!

as well as

Premium for Students Download & listen offline On-demand music, no ads Skip any song, any time

This offer is unavailable in Quebec. I confirm that I am not a resident of the province of Quebec.

Protection du consommateur

It does not matter that companies collect local taxes and have apps in French and contribute millions of dollars. The Quebec “Protection du consommateur” consumer protection agency has rules that are very different from the rest of Canada and the US. These rules are costing companies millions of dollars if not followed.

Look at recent class action lawsuit filed by Stephanie J. Benabu domiciled in Quebec, she has brought action suit against AMAZON.COM LLC, AUDIBLE, INC., APPLE INC., LINKEDIN IRELAND, GOOGLE INC., SHOMI PARTNERSHIP, ROGERS MEDIA INC., SHAW MEDIA INC., SIRIUS XM CANADA INC., SPOTIFY AB, AFFINITAS GMBH., et MATCH.COM LLP, and many others.

geralt / Pixabay

The law that they are breaking? Unknown to many international companies that are doing business in the US and open up in Canada (with Quebec included) is the following law that exists in Quebec:

Every consumer, pursuant to the terms of Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”), who since July 4th, 2013 (the “Class Period”), was provided services or goods free of charge, for a fixed period (the “Fixed Period”), by any of the Defendants, and who, after the Fixed Period, was required to send a notice to any of the Defendants indicating that he/she does not wish to obtain the services or goods at the regular price (the “Regular Price”).

Basically that means that companies are not allowed to give you free trial and then automatically convert you into a paying customer – that is against the law in Quebec. Quebec wants the world to respect their authority or else.

Spotify users have recently received messages like this to advise them of this class action suit in Quebec:

Dear user:

We are contacting you in accordance with a Quebec Superior Court judgment dated November 1, 2017 (File No: 500-06-000798-161) which has authorised a class action on behalf of Québec residents against Spotify and other companies for the purpose of a settlement and ordered that potential class members be contacted by email.

According to our records, you lived within the Province of Québec between July 4, 2013 and November 1, 2017 and, during this period, signed up for a free or discounted trial on Spotify.com and maintained your membership after the trial period was over. If our records are correct, please carefully read the linked notice of the class action proceeding and a proposal for the Court to approve a settlement with Spotify.

If approved by the Court, the proposed settlement will provide impacted customers who cancelled their subscription in the 30 days following the end of their free trial with a credit for one free month of Spotify Premium. In exchange, Spotify will be released from any claims related to the free or discounted trial offer. Details of the settlement approval are in the notice accessible by clicking here.

Thank you for being a Spotify user.

That is why so many companies are choosing to avoid doing business in Quebec and just write:

“Not available in Quebec.”

punttim / Pixabay

Who are at disadvantage? Users like benlandry5 who wrote:

Hi, I can’t find my school McGill University in the SheerId listen of student universities. My university is 100% a university and is one of the original ones and most well known one in Canada. Can you fix this? Best Benjamin

Spotify response:

Unfortunately, due to local circumstances, Spotify is not currently offering the Student Discount in Quebec.

These local circumstances are millions of dollars in lawsuit money that is hanging over their heads in the province of Quebec.

Not a big deal? Get big companies to adapt to Quebec

Some users do not understand what the big deal is. Law is the law they say. They say multinational companies need to smarten up when they enter “special” Quebec market:
Same reason why Amazon Prime doesn’t offer a 30-day free trial. Rather, they do 13 months for the price of 12, which you can cancel before the 31st day and owe them nothing…. so it comes out the same. So, Spotify is simply not as smart as Amazon in how they setup their pomos for QC. They could say, instead of 3 months at 99¢… they’re doing 15 months for the price of 12 or something like that. They’re just not willing, or not smart enough, to do it for what they most likely consider a “small market”. – WHO Deal Fanatic RedFlagDeals

Toronto follows Vancouver in Passing Strict Airbnb Rules

Toronto City Council has approved new rules aimed at preserving long term rentals in the city. The new rules in Toronto are similar to the recent ones passed in Vancouver. 

It will now be illegal to rent out your basement or secondary space in your primary residence. You can still rent out primary residence as before.

Alex Dagg  spokeswoman for Airbnb Canada said the company could live with the new rules.

“What’s most important here is this is truly a big step forward for the City of Toronto, in terms of really recognizing and regulating home sharing for the very first time.”

Nearly 100 Toronto leaders in tech, real estate and local business signed an open letter to Toronto Mayor JohnTory and Toronto Council in support of fair regulations for home sharing few days before the vote took place.

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of Toronto City Council,

The growth of Airbnb and home sharing reflects Toronto’s continuing evolution into a global hub for the economy of the future. Entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world are drawn to our world-class city for its diversity, its quality of life, and its openness to embracing the next generation of ideas. Toronto is the place where large and small ideas alike are being transformed into the next big thing.

The new economy is challenging old ways of doing things. Toronto must maintain its reputation as a global centre of innovation by embracing new ideas. We encourage Toronto City Council to support fair, straightforward and equitable rules that allow all Torontonians to share the home where they live – whether they are an owner or a tenant, and whether they are sharing a room, their entire home, or a secondary suite.

ArtisticOperations / Pixabay

The following rules will kick in July 1st the same day as the weed legalization across Canada:

  • Secondary residences withing primary residences would not be allowed on AirBnb even if they have their own entrances / kitchens / bathrooms unless it is rented to a tenant and he is renting it out by him or herself. What is stopping you from renting it to your uncle or a friend and then renting it through them? There might be some loop holes that need to be worked out.
  • Airbnb host would need to register with the city for $50 and keep records of their billings.
  • Airbnb host can rent out his or her entire home but only for less than half a year.
  • Airbnb itself would need to cough up $5k fee for a licence and a $1-a-night tax for each booking.
  • Airbnb would also need to make sure each listing has a City Registration.
  • Airbnb has also agreed to work with the city to reduce the noise nuisances in the neighborhoods.

Montreal Fluent.ai Startup Helping with Speech Recognition

Fluent.ai is a disruptive speech recognition startup based in Montreal, Canada.

We have sat down with CEO Niraj Bhargava to get some answers.

So what are you guys all about?

We are developing cutting-edge deep-learning techniques to enable acoustic-only speech recognition technology capable of running offline on-device without requiring a cloud connection. By associating speech to intent without requiring a speech-to-text translation, Fluent.ai offers a highly accurate and robust speech recognition system that is also able to learn or be customized by the end user. This opens a wide variety of new applications and use-cases unattainable using incumbent methods.

Who started the company?

A key co-founder of the company is Vikrant Tomar. Vikrant has a PhD in machine learning and speech recognition. Apart from Vikrant, our team consists of four other machine learning experts. I am a P.Eng and serial entrepreneur with 25 years business leadership experience.

How are you being financed?

US$1.5 million (CND$2 million) from TandemLaunch Inc., a group of Angels and VCs including Business Development Bank of Canada, Maple Leaf Angels, Creative Destruction Lab, Danhua Capital (Silicon Valley), and 500 Startups Canada.

What do you think will be/is a big obstacle to overcome?

Developing top talent has been a large obstacle to overcome, especially now that a number of big companies have opened their AI research labs in Montreal. This has created intense competition in hiring.

How do you go about finding good developers/IT guys for your company?

Networking and referrals has been important for us to find top talent.

Who is your biggest competition?

Fluent.ai offers a very different technical approach to the speech recognition problem. A number of big players are active in the speech recognition market, such as Google, Amazon, Apple etc. However, we look at these as potential partners, because our technology offers features and capabilities complementary to what the other players offer.

How are you intending on taking your company to $1 million in revenues? In what markets?

Yes to $1 million in revenues, in the markets of consumer electronics, telecom and automotive.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

While we always knew this was key, we have learned to appreciate even more the importance of having a solid plan and achieving its optimal execution. Sometimes things move at a different speed than expected—this is particularly true in a business-to-business world. Having a solid plan with multiple options has helped us to avoid tough times and maintain the company’s growth.