Last night we announced the winners of the sixth annual Canadian Startup Awards at a gala in downtown Toronto.
The top awards of the night went to education platform Top Hat for Startup of the Year; Wealthsimple’s Michael Katchen for Entrepreneur of the Year; and Shopify’s COO Harley Finkelstein for Angel Investor of the Year.
Winners were awarded in 11 categories, including six new categories like top social impact startup, top hardware company, and best enterprise transformation.
“2016 was a big year for Top Hat, between securing our latest funding round and introducing more educators and students to our platform. We’re honoured to take home the top award of the night for Startup of the Year,” said Mohsen Shahini, Top Hat’s cofounder. “This year will be even bigger for the company as we try to change the way academic content is created and distributed.”
Top Hat’s education platform provides students with mobile-friendly versions of learning materials, and last month the company announced $22.5 million in Series C funding. The platform is used by over 500 educational institutions around the world, including the University of Toronto and Cornell University.
Angel Investor of the Year was awarded to Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify, who has invested in over a dozen companies, including SkiptheDishes, a finalist for Startup of the Year, and Akira, an app that uses video to connect patients and doctors. He’s also one of the Dragons on CBC’s Next Gen Den.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 17, and I know that without capital, startups don’t have a fighting chance to succeed. In recent years my work with Shopify has allowed me to invest in up-and-coming Canadian startups, and I’m excited to be recognized for those investments tonight,” said Finkelstein. “This award means a lot to me because it highlights the need for entrepreneurs to pay it forward to the next generation of startups, something I’ve committed to doing throughout my career.”
Several new categories were added for this year’s awards, including an award for Social Impact, which was presented to Toronto-based Figure 1, a social network that allows healthcare professionals and students to share medical cases with others in the medical community.
The award for Best New Startup went to Smooch, a Montreal-based messaging platform that raised $7.6 million in funding in August 2016.
Michael Katchen, CEO of fintech company Wealthsimple, was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year.
“We’re thrilled to present some of the country’s top companies and entrepreneurs with an award that recognizes their contributions to the startup community,” said Robert Lewis, Editor-in-Chief of Techvibes. “This year’s awards program was the largest yet, and that reflects the growth in Canadian tech and innovation in 2016.”
The Canadian Startup Awards were founded in 2011 by Techvibes. The awards celebrate the best and brightest in the Canadian tech space, bringing together talent from varying sectors of the industry, including investors, new startups and established brands.