40 women in Canadian tech worth following

For International Women’s Day, BetaKit has highlighted of some of the many women in Canada’s tech community building strong companies, creating strong networks, and taking no bullshit. Amplify their voices.

Of course, this is not a definitive list! Share in the comments below the women in the Canadian tech community that you’re celebrating today.


Janelle Hinds

Janelle Hinds, founder of Helping Hands App

Why you should follow: Hinds works with Equal Voice to help elect more women to political office, and is a #DaughtersoftheVote delegate, making recommendations on how the gov’t can encourage women into STEM.


Jeanette Stock

Jeanette Stock, founder of VentureOut

Why you should follow: Stock is creating an inclusive space for LGBTQ people and giving them the network to learn more about navigating the tech world.


Shyra Barberstock

Shyra Barberstock, Okwaho International founder

Why you should follow: Okwaho International is an advocate for Indigenous business in Canada and around the world, acting as a social network for entrepreneurs. Follow for highlights on Indigenous businesses and diversity.


Karen Schulman Dupuis

Karen Schulman Dupuis, George Brown instructor

Why you should follow: Self-described “shift disturber” Schulman Dupuis is a frequent public speaker on diversity, social justice, and entrepreneurship. She also sells amazing t-shirts.


Huda Idrees

Huda Idrees, founder at Dot Health

Why you should follow: Besides taking the lead on product at fast-growing Toronto companies like Wealthsimple, Idrees is a well-known advocate about issues related to women and people of colour in tech.


Melissa Sarriffodeen

Melissa Sariffodeen, co-founder/CEO of Ladies Learning Code

Why you should follow: Sariffodeen has grown LLC’s mission of more women in STEM into national initiatives like Canada Learning Code.


Melissa Nightingale

Melissa Nightingale, head of creators at Wattpad

Why you should follow: Nightingale works across teams — from engineering to design — to make the Wattpad storyteller experience what it is. She’s also the co-editor of The Co-Pour, giving advice to all the startup managers who are figuring it out.


Nadia Hamilton

Nadia Hamilton, founder of Magnusmode

Why you should follow: While Hamilton doesn’t have Twitter, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow what Magnusmode is doing. Magnusmode develops apps that help adults living with autism become independent in their daily life by guiding them through tasks like shopping and cleaning.


Heather Anne Ritchie

Heather Anne Ritchie, co-founder of Repable

Why you should follow: Named one of CIX’s top 20 startups in 2016, Repable provides analytics for entertainers in the video game industry. Ritchie has gone from a recovering publicist to a startup mentor in her own right.


Ashley Jane

Ashley Jane Lewis, programmer/diversity advocate

Why you should follow: Lewis spent a year leading development of Girls Learning Code, and has made diversity in tech education a key part of talks at forums like TEDx, FITC, and International Women’s Day.


Saadia Muzaffar

Saadia Muzaffar, founder at TechGirls Canada

Why you should follow: TechGirls Canada supports women of colour, LGBTQ+, and Aboriginal women, and advocates for resources and public and private-sector partnerships on their behalf. Follow her if you love no-bullshit conversations around supporting marginalized people in tech.



Maayan Ziv, founder of AccessNow

Why you should follow: AccessNow’s app allows users to pinpoint areas in their city that are accessible to people with disabilities, and Ziv, a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, is an outspoken advocate for creating a more accessible world.



Kylie Toh, founder of ChicGeek

Why you should follow: Calgary-based Chic Geek is a non-profit that works to build a community for female entrepreneurs. In 2016, Toh represented Alberta in the prestigious International Visitors Leadership Program and was a voice for women in STEM on an international stage.



Shahrzad Rafati, founder and CEO of BroadbandTV

Why you should follow: Rafati is behind the largest multi-platform network in the world and was recognized as one of the 100 most creative people in business. She thought of the idea to help brands tackle the problem of piracy and turn it into a lucrative business opportunity.



Chakameh Shafii, founder and CEO of TranQool

Why you should follow: TranQool is a platform that makes accessing mental health services from licensed therapists easier and more affordable. In early February, TranQool donated 20 sessions for students at the University of Guelph after a high rate of suicides were reported.


Arlene Dickinson

Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Venture Communications

Why you should follow: The former Dragons’ Den star and Venture Communications CEO is on the way to closing her first fund, setting herself up to continue supporting Canada’s entrepreneur community.


Alyssa Atkins

Alyssa Atkins, marketing lead at CareGuide.com

Why you should follow: A Next 36 alumni and leader of the marketing team at CareGuide, Atkins was key to launching HeartPayroll, the company’s payroll offering.


Sarah Stockdale

Sarah Stockdale, founder of Stockdale Consulting

Why you should follow: Following Tilt’s acquisition, Stockdale splits time between growth consulting and TEDx speeches. Follow for more feminism in your timeline.


Aisha Addo

Aisha Addo, founder of Power To Girls Foundation

Why you should follow: Power To Girls is a nonprofit that empowers Afro-diaspora girls in the GTA and across the world. Addo also developed the ridesharing Drive Her app, which connects women with female drivers.


Elena Yusunov

Elena Yunusov, founder of Communicable

Why you should follow: With experience as an editor at Yonge Street Media, StartUpHere, and BetaKit, Yunusov is in the know when it comes to Toronto’s startup scene. She also runs Communicable, a marketing agency specializing in startups.


Ria Lupton

Ria Lupton, founder of WomenWhoCodeTO, community manager at Rightsleeve

Why you should follow:In addition to WomenWhoCodeTO, Lupton also organizes events like Startup Open House and Community Builders.


April Dunford

April Dunford, CEO at Sprintly

Why you should follow: If you’ve ever seen Dunford speak at public events, she’s both hilarious, yet on-point when it comes to giving entrepreneurs advice on growing startups thanks to years of experience as a founder.


Emma Williams

Emma Williams, director at Notman House

Why you should follow: Leading one of Montreal’s most popular startup hubs, Williams has a daily role developing the city’s startup ecosystem.



Avery Francis, director of people at Rangle.io

Why you should follow: While the head of HR at Rangle, Francis is also outspoken about encouraging inclusion in all tech companies. Follow for conversations on combating bias in the workplace.


Eva Wong

Eva Wong, COO of Borrowell

Why you should follow: Though she doesn’t come from a financial background, Wong is leading one of Toronto’s fast-growing FinTech startups. She’s also a frequent public speaker on behalf of the company thanks to Borrowell’s policy of not participating in all-male panels.


Heather Payne

Heather Payne, CEO of HackerYou

Why you should follow: A co-founder of Ladies Learning Code, Payne’s reputation for fostering women in tech has followed her to her coding school, which enrolls 70 percent female students.


Eva Lau

Eva Lau, co-founder of Two Small Fish Ventures

Why you should follow: Lau worked on Wattpad with husband Allen Lau since the beginning. Lau left the company in September 2013, and now supports early-stage internet companies in the Toronto and Waterloo region through Two Small Fish.


Malgosia Green

Malgosia Green, Chief Product Officer, TopHat

Why you should follow: Green leads product at one of Toronto’s fastest growing startups, which recently raised a $29.5 million Series C.


Vicki Saunders

Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO

Why you should follow: Saunders’ SheEO works to get more funding for women-led companies, by asking 1,000 women to commit $1,000, which is pooled into a fund dedicated to investing in female entrepreneurs.


Nadya Khoja

Nadya Khoja, director of marketing at Venngage

Why you should follow: Khoja started part-time at Venngage with a theatre and digital media background, and climbed up the ranks as marketing director. She now regularly speaks at conferences around the world on SEO.


Carol Leaman

Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify

Why you should follow: Leaman is the CEO of one of Waterloo’s rapidly growing companies, which raised a huge $36 million round in November.


Carol Leaman

Sarah Marion, analyst at iNovia

Why you should follow: iNovia doubled down on its Waterloo presence by hiring Marion; at the time, managing partner Chris Arsenault said it felt like Marion, at only 23, had been there for five years. She was a founding team member of the Lazaridis Institute.


Haidee Thanda

Haidee Thanda, founder of Hacking Health Ottawa

Why you should follow: Thanda is passionate about health promotion. Through Hacking Health, Thanda connects people to solve health problems through tech, and also acts as lead educational technologist at the Council of Ontario Universities.


Jennifer Moss

Jennifer Moss, co-founder of Plasticity Labs

Why you should follow: Plasticity Labs is helping workplaces foster happier and healthier employees, and Moss is often recognized for these efforts. In 2014, Moss was recognized as international female entrepreneur of the year at the Stevie Awards.


Lauren Robinson

Lauren Robinson, COO of Highline Beta

Why you should follow: Robinson leads business operations at Highline, a startup co-creation company that launches new ventures. She is also a member of the Board of the Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation Association, which grows early-stage businesses.


Beatrice Couture

Béatrice Couture, GM at Innocité

Why you should follow: Innocité is a startup accelerator that brings businesses and cities together to solve urban issues. A corporate lawyer by trade, Couture was also part of the BIXI business development team which implemented the system in major Canadian and American cities.


Annalea Krebs

Annalea Krebs, CEO of Social Nature

Why you should follow: After the acquisition of her previous business, EthicalDeal, Krebs has continued her mission of helping consumers find deals on natural products with Social Nature. Her platform has a community of 100,000 influencers and raised $1 million in funding.


Kathryn Loewen

Kathryn Loewen, founder and CEO of Control

Why you should follow: Loewen has been working in the payments space for more than 15 years on solutions for Apple, Toyota, and Oakley. She is at the helm of Control, which helps businesses monitor their Payments from services like Stripe and PayPal, and consolidate metrics in one app.


Natalie Cartwright

Natalie Cartwright, co-founder of Finn.ai

Why you should follow: Through Finn.ai, Cartwright is part of a growing FinTech movement of embracing AI to create intuitive financial solutions. Cartwright has been recognized among the top 40 under 40 by Business in Vancouver, and was a 2017 Women of Distinction Nominee by YWCA.


Anna Foat

Anna Foat, director at Future Design School

Why you should follow: Through her work, Foat encourages entrepreneurship in future generations; Foat is an entrepreneur in residence at Communitech and director of executive education at Future Design School.

For this year, the DMZ has published a list of 30 inspirational women making a difference in tech. Check it out here!

  • Lol

    Wow, more than 15 people on this list have never had any success in the tech industry. It’s kind of embarrassing to put someone as godly as April on the same list as fresh grads who have a startup burning through their parents money.

    • karensd

      Thanks for showing us who the asshole is in the room! #cheers! 😀

      • Andrew Rothwell

        Truth hurts bad.

    • Anonymous

      Do you know for a fact it’s their parents’ money? At 25, I started a tech company, despite many detractors, no funding, and little coding abilities. I lived off small savings, and funded the company with freelance work. Sometimes, big customers would “forget” to pay me, and I’d have to wait an extra month. I’d often go a day without eating, or just scraping by. Everyone left in my life told me to “time block” the startup thing and move on.

      After years of struggling building the code from scratch, we now have amazing investors, a great team, growing revenue, thousands of users, and millions of page views. I’m sure a ton of people assumed I had financial help. That’s okay, I know, and appreciate, the struggles I faced. They made me unstoppable.

      Sometimes, when we are impressed by what other people have done, it’s natural to assume it was easy for them. I mean, if they started a cool startup featured on BetaKit, and you haven’t, they must have had some advantage, right? Wrong. The difference is that they have the guts, smarts, and tenacity, and that’s also why they’ll reap the bigger rewards if they hang in there.

  • Raffi

    I’m a little late to the party, but I’d like to give a shout out to a woman in tech that lives up to the descriptor of building strong companies, creating strong networks, and taking no bullshit.

    Her name is Haidee Thanda (@me_andmind), and she’s the founder of Hacking Health Ottawa.

    Why you should follow: Haidee is all about breaking down barriers to innovation in healthcare. As the founder of Hacking Health Ottawa, she facilitates the coming together of people from technical, business and medical backgrounds to solve healthcare problems with technology.

    • riariaz

      Thank you for sharing Raffi! 🙂

  • Todd Bonner

    Yes and missed Nithinan Boonyawattanapisut, largest shareholder of Axion Ventures. Though not Canadian her achievements are noteworthy. Axion trades in Canada. She founded the number current one lifestyle application in Thailand HotNow.

  • George A. Polisner

    Thank you for putting this together Jessica -I’m sure it always spawns a set of “What about …” and so sorry to be piling on -and not to take anything away from any that are covered -however Colleen Hardwick of Placespeak.com is doing work of global importance and I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t intercede here on her behalf.

    • TC_10

      George, I was just about to add Colleen Hardwick to this list and saw your comment. I could not agree more. Colleen has previously done great work in film industry startups and her work now on geo-authenticated public consultation, I think is ground breaking, especially how it aligns with IAP2 and DIACC as well.(lots of jargon – but important foundation). Forbes and Govtech have recently written up her company. It is great to see so many great Women in Canadian Tech. Jessica, I am sure that Colleen would enjoy a chat with you and I think you would also find it quite insightful.
      Cheers, Bruce Cuthbert

  • Tech Spark

    Tamar Huggins (founder of Tech Spark) is missing from this list 🙂