Les Affaires, the french language weekly business newspaper, has named its “Five Quebec Startups to Watch in 2014“.
Writer Julien Brault put the spolight on an all Montreal-based cast in Outpost Travel, Neptune, Seevibes, Syme and Marmalades.
We’ve covered all five of these startups in some capacity this past year and it will be interesting to see what happens. There’s certainly some other Quebec-based startups that could have easily made the list, like OMsignal (wearable self-quantifying t-shirt), PPLConnect (web-based “virtual smartphone”), Transit App (David to Google Maps’ Goliath), PasswordBox (recent winners of CES 2014 Best App), Ooomf (may or may not be announcing a funding round soon), and so many more. If I forgot, feel free to remind me which Quebec startups are doing well in the comment section.
Anyways, here’s Les Affaires picks:
Brault wrote that Silicon Valley super angle Dave McClure participated in the team’s recent $200,000 seed round. Cofounders Ovi Mija and Hamed Al-Khabaz formed the peer-to-peer travel aggregator after Al-Khabaz was kicked out of his CEGEP college, Dawson College, for exposing a security flaw that compromised the personal data of thousands of students.
In September it claimed it was the biggest peer-to-peer travel aggregator on the web, while the funding round came in early November.
There was a time in Neptune founder Simon Tian’s CEGEP college days when he wondered what he would do with his life, wrote Brault, but today he sits on $800,000 worth of Kickstarter pre-orders for the Pine smartwatch. The company had a great showing at CES 2014 in Las Vegas recently and now its time to deliver the highly anticipated smartwatches.
Brault said the real test will be when the product is offered to the public in March.
The startup was accelerated by FounderFuel in 2011 and offers a platform that measures the social audience activity of television in Canada and Europe, information increasingly crucial for broadcasters and advertisers, as Brault explained.
Seevibes recently went on the offensive when it acquired the french startup TvTweet, opening an office in France as well. “The main goal for Seevibes is to help the media to better monetize the social network audience. To support this, we’ve created a standard of measurement that has already been proven in Canada among the biggest players in the industry,” CEO Laurent Maisonnave said back in November.
Syme is the startup that offers a secure, encrypted social network that is appealing to anyone who’s ever been let down by Facebook and Twitter’s rather transparent security layer for members’ personal information.
In December the startup was accepted into Santiago, Chile’s Startup Chile accelerator, but Brault wrote that in fact they’ve declined the offer to be a part of FounderFuel’s new cohort. The startup claims it’s the only social network that can offer its users complete security in knowing that their communications can only be viewed by the people they choose – not by ad agencies, not by third parties, and “not even by us”.
Marmalades is a startup that allows ebook readers to be able to look up the context of any word or phrase that they come across that they don’t understand. Lead by two absolute gems in Jeff Lee and Matthew O’Connor, the startup has all the makings for a likeable company, including a formerly unemployed mascot who “lost his way in alcohol” named Gary the Bear.
Brault wrote that Marmalades is releasing its iPad app in February, but they may have serious competition in the Oyster, a US startup with $14 million in funding. (Does a book startup even need $14 million? C’mon.)