ZayZoon, Symend, Peggy named to CIX’s top early-stage, growth startup lists

This is the first edition of the lists since Elevate acquired CIX in September 2023.

The Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has announced its list of top 20 early and top 10 growth Canadian startups for 2024.

Canadian tech startups in a variety of sectors made each of the lists. The early-stage list saw a heavy presence of cleantech and internet of things (IoT) startups, while FinTech firms made their mark on the top 10 growth-stage startups list. 

CIX claims it attracts over 500 investors, entrepreneurs, and advisors from the North American tech ecosystem. 

The lists were determined by 150 global investors and experts on the CIX selection committee, which evaluated the startups on their business model, quality of product and service offering, innovation, market opportunity, management depth, and diversity, equity, and inclusion of leadership. 

Founded in 2008, CIX is an annual conference aimed to showcase and award Canada’s most promising early-stage and scaling startups. This will be CIX’s first show since fellow tech conference Elevate acquired it in September 2023

The recipients of the awards will get to pitch in person at the CIX Summit on March 26 and 27, which is being held at the Design Exchange in Toronto. CIX claims the last event in 2022 attracted over 500 investors, entrepreneurs, and advisors from the North American tech ecosystem. 

Among the top 20 early-stage startups is online art marketplace Peggy. The Toronto-based startup was co-founded by entrepreneur duo Craig Follett and Adam Meghji following the sale of their social ticketing platform, Universe, to Live Nation Entertainment in 2015. Peggy secured $10.8 million CAD in an equity seed funding round led by Real Ventures in February 2023.  

RELATED: Vinod Khosla headlines CIX 2024 investment summit 

Another early-stage startup on CIX’s list is Hamilton, Ont.-based industrial inspection drone startup Skyguage Robotics, as well as Kitchener-Waterloo-based biotech software platform, which previously participated in Y Combinator’s summer 2021 demo day. 

While no FinTech firms made the early-stage list, three made it onto the top ten growth startups list, including accounting API platform Railz, money management platform Relay, and wage access provider ZayZoon

Based out of Calgary, ZayZoon closed $34.5 million USD in debt and equity Series B financing in September 2023. It was also recently recognized by Kitchener-Waterloo innovation hub Communitech as one of six new Canadian tech companies that have the potential to reach $1 billion in revenue by 2030.

Customer engagement platform Symend also made the top 10 growth startup list. The Calgary startup raised $73 million CAD in May 2020, one of the largest Series B rounds in Canada at the time. Symend ended up laying off 25 percent of its staff last year, fourth months after closing an additional $54 million CAD in funding. 

Other growth-stage companies on the list include live shopping marketplace Shopthing, as well as health startups Xandar and PurposeMed.  

The full list of CIX Top 20 Early and Top 10 Growth Award Winners can be found here

Feature image courtesy CIX via LinkedIn

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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