Meet the Canadian startups participating in Y Combinator’s Winter 2023 Demo Day

A total of 282 companies participated globally.

Around six Canadian-related startups are participating in Y Combinator’s Winter 2023 cohort.

For Y Combinator’s 36th Demo Day, the Silicon Valley accelerator said that its winter 2023 batch received over 20,000 applications and invited 282 companies from that pool to present their pitches to an audience of investors on Wednesday and Thursday.

Y Combinator listed six startups as having Canadian connections. However, three of those appear to be based solely in the United States, but with Canadian founders or ties. With just three startups appearing to be based in Canada, the number of Canadian companies in this year’s cohort is significantly lower than years past.

The Winter 2023 cohort number is in line with Y Combinator’s summer 2022 batch, which had five Canadian startups. However, both cohorts represent a significant drop in Canadian participants since Y Combinator cut the number of startups in its summer 2022 batch down 40 percent compared to its previous group, in light of the market downturn and current fundraising environment.

To compare, the winter 2022 group and the summer 2021 cohort each had 16 Canadian startups.

Here are the six Canadian-associated startups taking part in Y Combinator Winter 2023.


Montréal-based biotech startup Modulari-T has designed a new family of synthetic genes that the startup claims can reprogram cells to better sense their environment and modify their behaviour accordingly.

Modulari-T said this platform can be used to engineer immune cells to efficiently recognize and kill cancer cells or to create stem cells that are able to regenerate any tissue.

Founded in 2021 by Stephanie Mok (COO) and David White (CEO), Modulari-T aims to expand its technology to reach every area of cell therapy and “become the platform of reference for cell engineering.”


Vancouver-founded startup Ariglad provides tools for internal teams to support with business operations like HR, payrolls, and legal.

Ariglad was founded by Sophie Wyne and Ali Avci. According to the startup, it integrates with human resources information systems to auto-triage employee messages to the right person and shows real-time data to help answer employees’ inquiries. It has over 1,000 integrations with other business softwares including BambooHR, Workday, Slack, Gmail, and Outlook, among others.

Wyne previously participated in Microsoft’s first female-focused startups accelerator in 2020 as one of 25 participants. Prior to co-founding Ariglad, she was a customer success manager at Absolute Software.

Avci served as a developer for multiple companies including i-Sight Software, The Ottawa Hospital, and CloudMD.


Vancouver-based IcePanel provides a collaborative diagramming tool that helps software engineering and product teams create a map of their software systems, meant to give them full context about how they work.

IcePanel was established by Victor Leach and Jacob Shadbolt. Before creating IcePanel, Leach worked as a software developer for Bournemouth University, Indigon, and Cudo. Shadbolt worked as a UX designer at payments tech company Vocalink, which was acquired by Mastercard in 2017 in a $920 million deal.

Finni Health

Finni Health is a United States-based company with a Canadian founder in Bucky Khan. Created by Khan and Yilun Chen, Finni Health provides a platform for autism care providers to start, run, and grow their practices.

Finni Health’s platform provides multiple tools for autism care providers such as scheduling and billing, as well as marketing and client support. It currently has locations in two cities in New Mexico and Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Prior to launching Finni Health, Khan worked for several years in Toronto as a lead marketing instructor at General Assembly and chief marketing officer at Jack Health. Chen was a software engineer at Redfin as well as Canadian companies Shopify and Swyft.


Sidekick is also a United States-based company with a Canadian co-founder. It was co-founded by repeat tech entrepreneurs Jason Fan, who is Canadian, as well as Ayan Bandyopadhyay. The startup provides an open source and AI powered technical support bot for customer experience teams. It uses open source tools to fetch, index, and store documentation from a variety of sources, and GPT (generative pre-trained transformers) to generate responses.

Fan, who was previously based in Toronto, was a software engineer at IBM. Fan also co-founded healthtech startup Hypercare, which was the sole Canadian startup selected for Amazon Web Services’ 2023 healthcare accelerator. He also worked as a product manager at Top Hat, Wish, and Robinhood.

This represents Bandyopadhyay’s second appearance at Y Combinator. In 2020, he co-founded RTCanary, a networks analytics tool for video conferencing platforms. RTCanary took part in Y Combinator’s summer 2020 batch. He previously worked as a software engineer at Niantic, Robinhood, and CoinTracker.


SpeedyBrand was listed in Y Combinator’s directory as a remote startup operating between San Francisco and Toronto. Its only apparent connection to Canada is that Jatin Mehta, one of its co-founders, worked as a software developer for Salesforce in Toronto for about a year.

Founded in 2022 by Mehta, Ayush Jasuja, Ranti Dev Sharma, SpeedyBrand provides marketing content generated by AI. The startup trains custom AI models for businesses to create hyper-personalized marketing content.

Jasuja, Mehta, and Sharma also previously founded payroll company Vetan, which they claim has served over 30,000 small and medium sized businesses. The co-founders have also shipped AI products at companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Nextdoor.

Featured image courtesy Y Combinator.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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