Symend, Drop, ApplyBoard named among LinkedIn’s top startups to work for in 2020


LinkedIn has published the Canadian edition of its 2020 Top Startups list, featuring emerging startups to work for in Canada. The 2020 list highlights startups that have been able to show resilience in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

LinkedIn noted the startups on the list have weathered through an increasingly challenging economic climate.

LinkedIn noted the startups on the list are all experiencing growth, are still in high demand amid the pandemic, and have weathered through an increasingly challenging economic climate. The startups were selected based on four criteria: employment growth, engagement, job interest and attraction of top talent. LinkedIn collected data between January and July 2020 in order to assess the companies.

Three trends were identified with the top ten companies on this year’s list, specifically focused around the EdTech, healthtech, and FinTech verticals, which have seen many developments over the last six months.

LinkedIn noted that many Canadian EdTech companies have pivoted to adapt to new virtual and flexible learning models during the pandemic. Digital health startups have gained prominence as well during the pandemic amid surging demand for virtual care solutions. FinTech startups, LinkedIn said, are building financial tools to help businesses and consumers navigate the current economic climate.

The top ten startups on this year’s list are:

1. Clearbanc

Clearbanc, which raised a $300 million USD venture round last year, specializes in funding online brands. During COVID-19, the startup launched two products. The first is a tool that helps businesses analyze cash flow and expands Clearbanc’s financing options to include B2B and SaaS companies for the first time. The second is a solution that helps startups determine their valuation.

2. Drop

Drop offers a free app that rewards users for shopping. The startup has raised more than $71 million from global investors. Drop, like many other companies, has also been adapting to a new work reality under COVID-19. The company set up virtual equivalents of in-person company events with a goal of keeping team members engaged.

3. ApplyBoard

EdTech startup ApplyBoard, which aims to simplify the study abroad process for students, has experienced substantial growth in 2020. The startup claims to have reached a $1.7 billion valuation after raising $100 million Series C and $70 million extension this year. Since March, the startup has added nearly 250 new people to its team.

4. BookJane

Toronto-based BookJane repurposed its caregiver platform this year to help the Ontario Medical Association meet the demand for physicians in the province’s fight against COVID-19.

5. Symend

Calgary-based customer engagement platform Symend raised $73 million CAD this year, closing the deal remotely during COVID-19. At the time of the raise, the startup stated plans to Symend is targeting a team size of 200 employees by the end of the year.

6. Dialogue

Healthtech startup Dialogue has launched a number of new offerings during the pandemic. One of which being the company’s Employee Assistance Program offering, which gives employees quick, virtual access to support practitioners across multiple disciplines. The startup also launched a COVID-19 public health resource and raised $43 million in equity financing from Sun Life Financial.

7. BlueDot

BlueDot uses big data and AI to provide an early warning system for infectious diseases. The company spotted some “unusual pneumonia” cases in Wuhan, China, days before the World Health Organization released its statement on COVID-19. The company later signed a deal to help the federal government track and make decisions regarding the virus.

8. League

League offers a platform for employees to manage health and lifestyle benefits. The firm has adjusted some of its own policies in light of the pandemic. The Toronto-based company has shifted catered lunches to UberEats credits and has given employees the option of permanent remote work.

9. Koho

Toronto-based FinTech startup Koho has launched several new initiatives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company partnered with staffing startup Hyr to offer early access to paychecks and government support during the pandemic, later expanding that to all is users. Koho also is set to launch a new savings account next month.

10. Maple

At the beginning of the pandemic, virtual care startup Maple began providing online COVID-19 screenings with a live physician to Ontario residents, although that offering is no longer available. The startup also recently raised $75 million from Shoppers Drug mart, after partnering with the drugstore giant to offer virtual care services to Canadians during the pandemic.

Image source Symend via Twitter.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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