ControlHQ’s co-founder is back with his #CDNtech crystal ball.
Every January for the past few years, thanks to my friends at BetaKit, I’ve had the opportunity to share my thoughts on some of the companies I’m excited about amongst the Canadian technology and startup landscape. In that time, I’ve grown and sold my company Grow Technologies, and most recently become one of the three co-founders of ControlHQ, which offers a modern banking experience for freelancers and independent workers (look for us on a future tech companies to watch list!).
As always, it’s incredibly difficult to limit the list to just eleven companies, so treat this year’s as more of a sample rather than an exhaustive list of great companies to keep an eye on this year. If you want to see how companies from last year’s list fared over the course of 2021, you can check out my recent update article here.
I covered Damon in 2020, but lots has changed in the EV industry and for Damon specifically. Designed for performance, every Damon motorcycle is powered by HyperDrive, the world’s first all-electric multi-variant powertrain platform. Additionally, they are fitted with our proprietary on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics technology, Shift, and 360° Advanced Warning System for Motorcycles. Damon is preparing to open a Vancouver factory and begin delivery of HyperSport motorcycles in 2022. It revealed its latest motorcycle, HyperFighter Colossus, at the 2022 Consumer Electric Show (CES).
Founded by serial entrepreneur Matt Spoke, Moves is a financial services platform for gig workers. Often overlooked or ineligible for products offered by traditional financial institutions, this rapidly expanding demographic needs modern financial products designed to support them on their paths to career fulfillment.
The startup expedited the planned launch of its platform in 2020 in order to offer loans to gig economy workers during the difficulties faced by COVID-19. The company launched its iOS and Android apps last year, and has seen its user base grow across the United States.
TealBook provides supply chain data to buyers through a procurement intelligence platform. It uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help companies more easily source and access their suppliers’ data. The company sees itself as a category definer in procurement, and found product-market fit as the pandemic caused supply chain issues. TealBook has signed partnerships with S&P Global and Workday Ventures to build solutions within those companies’ networks. The company was also a recent participant in BetaKit’s ‘soonicorn’ panel at SAAS NORTH, featuring companies on the path to a $1 billion valuation.
Barley offers smart compensation solutions to hire faster, retain talent, and monitor pay equity throughout an organization. Barley’s CEO Jafar comes from Loopio, which he helped create in 2014 and raised $252 million CAD last year. Jafar departed around that time to start Barley.
I’m personally excited about Barley’s ability to help companies ensure more equitable pay practices amongst their employees, and how that can help address unconscious biases that systemically under-compensate women, people with disabilities, people of colour and other underrepresented or marginalized people (disclosure: I am an investor in Barley).
Big Whale Labs
Big Whale Labs is a Web3 social startup with the mission to enhance human-to-human connection online to make social more safe, fun, secure, and free. The company is developing multiple products with this objective, including Dosu (a Web3 social app) and StreetCred (a pseudonymous credential protocol), and SocialGraph (portable on-chain list of connections owned by users, not by corporations). Its pre-seed round saw participation from Samsung Next, the innovation group within Samsung Electronics (disclosure: I am an investor in Big Whale Labs).
Snack is a video first dating app focused on Gen-Z customers. The company pitches itself as a kind of TikTok meets Tinder, capitalizing on the rise in video-based social networking alongside the growing usage of dating apps.
The company was founded by Kimberly Kaplan, a dating-app veteran and former executive at Plenty of Fish, now owned by Match Group.
I covered Certn a few years ago in 2019, but the company has been up to great things since then so it warrants a revisit this year. Certn is a leader in people intelligence solutions, focusing on providing real-time comprehensive background checks and ongoing risk monitoring for employees, contractors and tenants around the world. Last month, Certn acquired Credence, a provider of background checks solutions from the United Kingdom.
Flahmingo is a commission-free fractional investment app that utilizes an automated Pies and Slices model, which the company claims is the first of its kind in Canada. With the Flahmingo app, users can fund their accounts with scheduled deposits, automatic roundups, and one-time deposits.
Flahmingo is set to launch its trading app, as well as a gamified experience where users can learn more about the stock market through educational videos, this year (disclosure: I am an investor in Flahmingo).
7shifts is simplifying team management, one shift at a time. Built exclusively for restaurants, it helps owners, managers, and team members stay in sync to deliver amazing guest experiences. Used and trusted by over 700,000 restaurant pros all across North America and around the world. The company just closed a $100 million round led by SoftBank after adding 10,000 restaurants to its platform last year.
OneShot Golf (formerly known as 54e Dev Studios) is revolutionizing the gaming industry with its ultra low-latency Connected Reality technology, allowing anyone to control robots in real-time from their mobile phone. Its first release, OneShot Golf, uses this technology to build a new Esports vertical, allowing users to play competitive robotic minigolf from their phone and win real prizes. OneShot Golf exploded in popularity after launching in January 2021 and closed the year with more than one million downloads and 25 million robot golf shots taken.
Helcim is on a mission to be the world’s most loved payments company. The company provides Canadian and American businesses an opportunity to accept credit card payments at affordable and transparent rates. The startup saw its sales increase amid the pandemic after it launched a payment solution designed to help businesses easily accept payments and operate online.
There you have it. Eleven great startup and technology companies from across Canada worth keeping an eye on over the next year (and hopefully much longer). I know I’ll be watching closely, and cheering them on every chance I get.
Previous Canadian tech company to watch lists:
11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2021
Seven Atlantic Canadian startups 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 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 2016