WATCH: Vantage points panel with four Canadian tech founders

Vantage Points panel BetaKit Town Hall
Leaders from Cohere, MedEssist, Transformer Lab, and Socratica shared their stories at BetaKit Town Hall.

Kicking off the BetaKit Town Hall last night, new BetaKit CEO Siri Agrell told the capacity crowd that storytelling is essential to the success of not only Canadian tech companies, but the sector as a whole.

“It’s hard to stay in Canada if you want to be the best in the world at something. We need to change that.”

Ivan Zhang 

In service of an event dedicated to providing a pulse check on the state of Canadian innovation, productivity, and optimism, the BetaKit Town Hall showcased the stories of four entrepreneurs at varying stages: an early-stage founder, a scaling founder, a seasoned repeat founder, and a newcomer to the ecosystem.

Joining BetaKit editor-in-chief Douglas Soltys on stage was Joella Almeida, CEO and co-founder of MedEssist, a digital health platform committed to elevating patient care and solving critical pain points for pharmacists; Ivan Zhang, the co-founder of AI enterprise platform Cohere, which is reportedly on track to raise its next funding round at a $5-billion valuation; Ali Asaria, founder of, Tulip Retail, and most recently, Transformer Lab; and Jocelyne Murphy, an engineering student at the University of Waterloo, organizer of Socratica, and founder of Wygo.

RELATED: Shopify CEO says Canada must overcome “go-for-bronze” culture at BetaKit Town Hall 

Taking place prior to the headlining fireside with Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke, the vantage points panel asked each Canadian tech founder to answer two main questions: what challenges and opportunities are they focused on right now? What do they think needs to change in Canada’s tech ecosystem?

Given the diverse group, the panel conversation featured some surprising commonalities, such as the overlapping headaches of talent and sales for early-stage startups like MedEssist and scaleups like Cohere. It also featured pointed contrasts, such as Murphy’s direct ask to the audience for a renewed sense of community (Wygo was founded to address the loneliness epidemic), which came moments after Asaria warned of the perils if Canadian tech stays locked in its own bubble.

Watch the full vantage points panel conversation below.

On May 7, The BetaKit Town Hall provided a pulse check on Canadian innovation, policy, and optimism.

Please enjoy this selection of highlights and insights from the town hall:

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.

0 replies on “WATCH: Vantage points panel with four Canadian tech founders”