BetaKit isn’t particularly fond of awards for entrepreneurship.
For example, how can anyone reasonably name an ‘entrepreneur of the year’ when every entrepreneur is at a different stage of their journey, undergoing different struggles on their ultimate path to success (or failure)? Is the four-year-old company that just closed a Series A doing ‘better’ than the two university students that snagged their first customer? No, it’s just farther along the path.
Celebrating Canadian companies inspires the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs.
Which is why BetaKit was so happy to sign on as the media partner of the Spotlight Awards. The Spotlight Awards are not arbitrary, or subjective, but they do discriminate. Each award celebrates a milestone, a tangible line startups cross on their way to being globally competitive companies.
As Razor Suleman, event organizer and recently named Next Canada CEO, explains, celebrating these Canadian companies has residual benefits, “inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs on that track.”
We decided to play our part with the BetaKit Next, highlighting those companies we think are on track to one day be Spotlight Awards winners. To arrive at our inaugural selection, we consulted not only our archives, but with VCs and RICs across Canada. Each BetaKit Next selectee will receive a coveted ticket to the Spotlight Awards Gala, taking place September 15th (if you’re a little jealous, why not join us at the afterparty?).
Congrats to each BetaKit Next selectee, and all those that continue to walk the entrepreneurial path.
Who: Meta is an artificial intelligence company specializing in big data analysis of scientific and technical literature.
Why: Recommended by more of our consultees than any other startup selected for BetaKit Next (very telling). AI is an exploding space and Meta has the data to save scientists from information overload.
“Meta has worked under the radar for many years, developing leading-edge AI solutions for the scientific and innovation-driven companies we now serve. To be recognized, first at the Spotlight Awards, and now as a BetaKit Next selectee, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our world-class team.”
– Sam Molyneux, CEO & co-founder
Who: Bridgit produces construction apps for residential and commercial builders. Co-founders are not named Bridgit.
Why: The Disruptors season 2 winner. The only Canadian company selected for Google Demo Day Women’s Edition (which they also won). One of the few startups invited to the super-secret summer meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We feel fortunate to be named one of BetaKit Next’s future unicorns. The Bridgit team has taken a user-centric approach from day one and know this has played a role in building a strong foundation for future growth.”
– Mallorie Brodie, CEO and co-founder
Who: Hubba a product database aimed at connecting brands, retailers, and influencers.
Why: Backed by Allen Lau. Over 10,000 companies listing products on Hubba’s site. Aggressively expanding in the US and UK markets – as it looks to raise a $45 million round.
“Hubba is very happy to be recognized as part of Betakit Next. We specifically moved back to Toronto to start Hubba because we feel that it is the best place in the world to create a new technology company. We see it as our responsibility to build a world-leading company here and it is something that we take very seriously.”
– Ben Zifkin, CEO and founder
Who: CareGuide is a family of online marketplaces for senior care, child care, pet care, and home care services.
Why: Largest seed investor network in Canada. 400% YoY weekly sales growth. Gobbling up and investing in Canadian companies. They do things… differently.
“The CareGuide team is delighted to be included on this list and in the event. We should definitely be celebrating the successful startups that have paved the way for us to follow. BetaKit has a keen eye for winners–thanks!”
– John Philip Green, founder and Chief Executive Dad
Who: Sampler helps major consumer packaged goods brands like Kraft send product samples online.
Why: Part of the 500 Startups family. DMZ Next Big Idea winner. Only Canadian startup selected by Unilever to attend Foundry50.
“We’re incredibly honoured to have been selected as one of the BetaKit Next companies. We can’t wait to celebrate the impressive list of tech companies making a mark right here in Canada on Thursday!”
– Marie Chevrier, CEO and founder
Who: Crew is a freelance design and development marketplace. Think Match.com for all your web/app needs.
Why: At the forefront of the the new job economy. Apart from main service, Crew has created an online publication, an experimental workspace cafe, and free tools like Unsplash.
“We’re honored to be included alongside these great companies. A big thanks to BetaKit and Spotlight Awards for recognizing us. Three years ago, Crew was nothing more than an email newsletter hooked up to a Google Doc. Now, Crew operates in over 30 countries, connecting millions of dollars in contracts with acclaimed designers and developers.”
– Mikael Cho, founder
Who: Mappedin produces an interactive indoor navigation system. Think of it like Google Maps for your mall.
Why: Velocity and U Waterloo pedigree. Recently snatched major sales and marketing talent from Microsoft and Target. 500 percent increase in ARR in 2015, expects to triple that by the end of 2016.
“We’re honoured to share this spotlight with such great company. There’s a long way to go still for us and we’re looking forward to executing our plans. It’s great to have the community’s ongoing support – the best in the world.”
– Hongwei Liu, CEO and co-founder