This season’s winter cohort at Silicon Valley’s accelerator Y Combinator pitched their startups over the course of two days this week. Five Canadian companies, all operating across different verticals, were part of this season’s cohort. From a satellite launch system to B2B ecommerce, here are five Canadian or Canadian-founded companies that participated in Y Combinator this season.
Convictional is a Waterloo-based multi-channel B2B ecommerce platform for high-growth suppliers. Founded in 2017, Convictional began by automating drop-shipping for suppliers who wanted it to be easy for online retailers to sell products without carrying physical inventory. Now, Convictional’s B2B commerce platform helps suppliers who want to wholesale to trading partners.
“If software is eating the world, then it’s coming for B2B commerce next.”
This week, founder Chris Grouchy and Roger Kirkness, two former Shopify employees, pitched as part of YC’s Demo Day. Grouchy said B2B trade generates over $5 trillion per year, mostly through electronic data interchange (EDI), a process that was invented in the 1960s.
“If software is eating the world, then it’s coming for B2B commerce next,” Grouchy said. “EDI was not built for the modern age of commerce. That’s why we’re rebuilding it from the ground up.”
Convictional now spans two of Canada’s major centres for technology, Toronto and Waterloo. It serves over 100 suppliers and retailers as customers, and builds all the tools and infrastructure on its own to help B2B companies succeed in the online world.
Over the course of YC, the company has closed $81,600 USD in annual contracts, has grown by 45 percent in month-over-month revenue, and its pipeline includes Walmart and Staples, among others.
Loonify is a bespoke launch system meant specifically for carrying small satellites into orbit. The company, founded and based out of Toronto, allows a stratospheric balloon to take satellites in a custom-designed ultra-light rocket to high altitude, where it is launched in near vacuum conditions, avoiding the stress and costs of the high-speed travel through dense layers of the atmosphere.
The company says its software-focused approach enables it to iterate fast, be asset-light, and become the first company to guarantee on-schedule launch service for small satellites. The company plans to carry live payloads for orbital and suborbital flights as early as May of this year, as it was granted launch permit from the Canadian government last week.
“This market is massively underserved. Even Space X cannot meet up to this demand,” said co-founder Haghighat. “We are building a launch system specifically to meet this demand.”
During the company’s Demo Day pitch at YC, Sohrab Haghighat said the small satellite launch market will grow to $62 billion, from its current market of $3 billion. The company currently has letters of intent for 155 satellites worth a total of $77 million.
Fuzzbuzz is a platform that continuously tests code for bugs and vulnerabilities with fuzzing. Fuzzing is a software testing methodology that detects obscure bugs that developers often miss. The company was co-founded in 2018 by Sabera Hussain, Andrei Serban, and Everest Munro-Zeisberger.
Fuzzbuzz integrates with source-control and CI tools like GitHub, Jenkins and CircleCI, to ensure that the latest version of your code is always being tested. The company says it can compress a long, complicated process into something that takes only 30 minutes. Whenever code is updated, Fuzzbuzz automatically checks to see if bugs have been fixed, so developers don’t have to spend time closing out bug reports.
“Being first to market allows us to generate a huge dataset of vulnerabilities.”
Since its launch three weeks ago, Fuzzbuzz has begun fuzzing code for organizations Ethereum, Google and IPFS, and is setting up POCs with Cloudflare and HashiCorp, which will convert to full enterprise contacts. The company completed one $25,000 CAD seed round from Waterloo-based incubator Velocity.
“Being first to market allows us to generate a huge dataset of vulnerabilities, that we can use to make Fuzzbuzz the most efficient platform, giving us a competitive advantage that makes it difficult for anyone to catch up,” said Munro-Zeisberger.
Switchboard is a fleet management and compliance solution based out of Vancouver. Its current products include an electronic logging device and hours of service compliance tool, a fleet management platform, asset tracking hardware, and a tool that allows vehicles to bypass weight stations.
The company was founded in 2015 by Sagar Malhi and Michael Ip. Switchboard provides technology for managers and dispatchers to manage transportation operations, by optimizing operations and reducing time and money spent on administrative tasks. As of two weeks ago, Switchboard is installed in 7,200 trucks in the US and Canada, and is collecting data for 13 hours per day.
“There is a massive opportunity in leveraging all of this data we’re collecting,” said Ip. “All of this data allows Switchboard to match available trucks to freight in real time.”
In its first month, Switchboard closed over $5,000 in gross merchandise volume (GMV), and last month it closed over $40,000 in GMV, bringing its total $60,000 GMV in three months.
Toronto-based Trexo Robotics also participated in the cohort and presented its pitch on the first day of demos. Trexo is a robotics company looking to redefine mobility solutions for people.
Apart from Y Combinator, Trexo has also participated in Techstars’ accelerator program in New York and raised $720,000 in seed funding. Trexo Robotics was also awarded $35,000 from Sunnybrook Hospital Next Generation’ Hawk’s Nest, a healthtech-focused pitch competition.
Waterloo-based AuroraQ, a company that said in its pitch that it is hoping to become the “Dell” of quantum computing, is attempting to build the world’s first practical quantum computer.
“Right now, quantum is a tiny toy market,” said AuroraQ co-founder Raina Olsen. “But if it’s potential can be achieved, it will eat up large chunks of healthy, existing markets and create vast swaths of new market space.”
Olsen noted the problem is that with the rate of progress for Quantum computing so far, it will be nearly a decade until the world will see quantum computers scale enough to realize their potential.
AuroraQ’s solution to this problem is to conduct a bigger calculation with the same size quantum processor. The company’s core intellectual property in integrating quantum systems is leveraging its quantum manufacturing partners to build integrated computers from quantum components. Olsen said doing this could cut development costs in half, compared to its competitors, who conduct all production in-house.
Some of AuroraQ’s partners include both academic labs and industry players, like Horizon Quantum Computing, Qunnect, and Bleximo. The company, formerly QSpice Labs, has participated in the Creative Destruction Lab in Toronto, and is currently a part of Velocity’s incubation program at Velocity Garage.
Image courtesy Y Combinator.