11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2021

Kevin Sandhu

Every January for the past few years, thanks to the team at BetaKit, I’ve had the opportunity to share my thoughts on some of the companies I’m excited about in the Canadian technology and startup landscape. As always, it’s incredibly difficult to limit the list to just eleven companies, so treat this as more of a sample rather than an exhaustive list of great companies to keep an eye on this year.

The list is specifically, but not exclusively, focused on the regions around Vancouver, Montréal, and Toronto (BetaKit has forthcoming articles for startups to watch in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada).

If you want to see how companies from last year’s list fared over the course of 2020, you can check out my recent update article.



Craver Solutions

Website www.craverapp.com
Headquarters Vancouver, BC
Year founded 2018
Key People
  • Amin Yazdani Salekdeh, Co-Founder & CEO
  • Shabnam Ahmadi, Co-Founder & CMO
  • Experienced record growth in 2020

Craver provides restaurants with a customized mobile ordering app. Through an affordable software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, independent restaurants are able to compete with much larger chains’ digital experience for meal ordering and delivery. Given the ongoing pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry, Craver offers a much-needed solution to many independent restaurants and cafes.



Website bluedot.global
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2013
Key People
  • Kamran Khan, Founder & CEO
  • Lindsay Bryson, COO
  • Amongst the first organizations in the world to identify spread of COVID-19
  • Signed deal with the Canadian government to help track the spread of COVID-19
  • Named a top Canadian startup to work for in 2020 by LinkedIn

BlueDot uses artificial and human intelligence to track the spread and impact of more than 150 infectious diseases globally. The company was one of the first in the world to identify the spread of COVID-19. The startup’s tracking platform picked up a cluster of cases around Wuhan, China on December 30, nine days before the World Health Organization released its statement alerting people to the emergence of COVID-19. Given the increasing focus on current and potential future pandemics, BlueDot is at the centre of an important and growing space.


Ollie Order

Website www.ollieorder.com
Headquarters Vancouver, BC
Year founded 2019
Key People
  • Ryan Wilson, Co-founder & CEO
  • Mike Macquisten, Co-founder
  • Jesse Bannister, Co-Founder
  • Karl Campbell, Co-Founder
  • Closed seed financing (undisclosed size) in 2020

Ollie Order is a multichannel sales software for the liquor industry. The company empowers breweries, wineries, liquor stores, bars, pubs and restaurants to better manage customers, orders, inventory, payments, accounting and government reporting in a simple single mobile and web-enabled tool. The last year has seen a dramatic acceleration in the digitization of the food services industry, and the liquor industry is no stranger to the trend. Ollie Order should be in a great position to capitalize on increasing digitization and modernization in the alcohol industry.



Website www.clutch.ca
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2016
Key People
  • Dan Park, CEO
  • Stephen Seibel, Founder & COO
  • Raised $7 million seed round in 2020
  • Expanded presence beyond Halifax and began operating in Toronto in 2020, after receiving regulatory approval

The team at Clutch is reinventing the way people buy cars by ensuring trust and transparency are central to the experience. With detailed online galleries and no pressure sales tactics, the company hopes to create a new type of car dealership. While e-commerce has fundamentally transformed many consumer-facing industries, the car buying experience remains relatively unaffected by digital transformation. Here’s hoping Clutch manages to crack the code!



Website www.showbie.com
Headquarters Edmonton, AB
Year founded 2012
Key People
  • Colin Bramm, Co-founder & CEO
  • Roy Pombeiro, Co-founder & CTO

As an emerging leader in the EdTech sector, Showbie combines all of the essential tools for assignments, feedback, and communication in one easy-to-use digital platform. With many students, teachers and families increasingly reliant on digital tools for remote learning, Showbie is well-positioned to service the growing digital learning industry.



Website symend.com
Headquarters Calgary, AB
Year founded 2016
Key People
  • Hanif Joshaghani, Co-Founder & CEO
  • Tiffany Kaminsky, Co-Founder & CMO

Symend is on a mission to transform the engagement and collections experience for financially at-risk customers. By using behavioural science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, the startup has developed a unique engagement platform to better engage, treat, and retain customers. The ongoing global economic crisis has shone a light on the need for more empathetic and effective collections tactics such as Symend’s offering, which should bode well for the company in the coming years. In 2020, Symend’s team grew from 50 people to over 225.


Elastic Garage

Website www.elasticgarage.com
Headquarters Vancouver, BC
Year founded 2020
Key People
  • Chris Payne, Founder & CEO
  • Launched services in the Vancouver area in 2020

Elastic Garage is re-thinking how consumers own and use home and outdoor gear. The company offers on-demand rentals of the things you would want to have in your dream garage, without having to incur the exorbitant cost of buying, maintaining and storing everything. The company launched last year, and is looking to expand its rental service to include additional products, as well as begin servicing additional cities over time.



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
  • 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 providing a seamless integration layer that takes care of all of the complexity related to such partnerships. With digital adoption in financial services continuing at unprecedented rates, solutions like Synctera should prove invaluable in combining incumbents and Fintech startups to deliver greater value to consumers.



Synex Medical

Website www.synexmedical.com
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2017
Key People
  • Ben Nashman, Founder & CEO

Synex Medical sells a wearable device that tells users how their body is performing by measuring metabolites that affect everything from weight gain to athletic performance, to the likelihood of developing diabetes in real-time. While health-focused wearables are certainly not a new segment, advances in technology combined with changes in consumer attitudes towards personal health management have given rise to a new boom in solutions that help monitor individuals’ health on a proactive basis, such as Synex’s devices.



Website lifespeak.com
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2004
Key People
  • Michael Held, Founder & CEO

LifeSpeak’s wellness platform helps employers keep their employees present, healthy and thriving. Employees can easily access the support they need to overcome life’s unexpected hurdles, keeping their minds and bodies productive at work. With the number of employees working remotely having ballooned over the past year as a result of the ongoing pandemic, LifeSpeak’s services are in more demand than ever before. If increased remote working levels continue as widely expected, the company is excellently positioned to capitalize on the trend through its ever-expanding services.


Lufa Farms

Website www.lufa.com
Headquarters Montréal, QC
Year founded 2010
Key People
  • Mohamed Hage, Co-founder & CEO
  • Lauren Rathmell, Co-founder & Greenhouse Director
  • Doubled production capacity with the launch of fourth and world’s largest rooftop farm
  • Listed as top ten online Canadian retailer for 2020 as part of a shoppers survey by market research and analytics company Lege

Lufa Farms is bringing sustainable food practices to urban environments through their rooftop greenhouses located in close proximity to their customers, minimizing emissions related to transportation. The company also partners with hundreds of local farmers and food makers to create a sort of online farmer’s market, rich in high quality and sustainably grown food. With increasing societal focus on climate change and growing consumer demand for online food delivery, Lufa’s innovative offering is more compelling than ever.

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 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

Have a different Canadian tech company you think is one to watch in 2021? Post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Kevin Sandhu

Kevin Sandhu

CEO and co-founder of ControlHQ, and previously CEO and founder of Grow Technologies (exit 2019). Active angel investor, board member and strategic advisor. Geriatric Millennial. Fan of dad jokes and pizza.

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