The Canadian Innovation New Startup Award is presented by NEXT Canada.
Creating a new idea for a business is incredibly difficult. There are tens of thousands of companies, all competing with one another for funding and a spot in increasingly competitive markets. But every once in a while businesses come out of the woodwork with refreshing ideas that quickly find success, almost as if they had been around for decades.
The Canadian Innovation Awards’ New Startup award recognizes burgeoning companies that have not had a chance to cement themselves in the tech landscape, but are well on their way to changing the face of their respective industries, whether that be AI, robotics, or fintech.
Chatbots have become so widespread that almost every big business will greet a potential customer with a quick ping and “how can I help you?” when they visit their site. Automat recognized that e-commerce is changing fast and created a business model catering exactly to the space that retail is quickly hurtling towards.
The Montreal company is leading the conversational AI and one-on-one marketing conversation through their ability to develop cutting-edge chatbots and ways to interact with everyday customers in recognizable and intuitive ways.
“Conversational Marketing is definitely the next big thing in digital marketing. Through personalized one-on-one conversations, brands can genuinely get to know their customers over time and adapt to each of them individually. Automat is proud to be pioneering this new category along with visionary brands like L’Oréal and CoverGirl.”
The ability to interact with customers in a personal manner is becoming incredibly important as consumers begin to demand more personalization and options to shop and ask questions. Automat is vying to make sure that their brand of conversational marketing can subsist with any kind of retailer.
Automat came into their own in 2017, taking home the Startup Cup after being named as one of Canada’s most innovative companies. They also forged a massive partnership with the National Bank of Canada, and to top it all off, secured an $11 million funding round to expand their presence with globally-recognized brands.
It’s hard to think that a recently founded company can dominate an entire niche of the financial world in Canada, but Flinks has managed just that. As the only financial data aggregator in the country, the Montreal startup works with every kind of financial institution and app in Canada, embracing the notion that the fintech world needs more partnership and fewer fences.
Flinks covers more than 98 per cent of all Canadian bank accounts through the top five financial organizations in the country and beyond. The company is always there to make life easier for both the user and the business.
“Flinks is behind the most innovative FinTech companies in the world. Where there are headaches, things suddenly become crazy simple. Flinks is a data-driven technology company that makes the lives of consumers simpler by allowing them to link their bank with one click.”
Banking and financials can be a slow process, but Flinks helps streamline almost any kind of process in the field. By supplying account information and enabling banks to quickly access what they need, typically slow and traditional services can catch up with the users themselves.
Take for example Flinks’ recent partnership with Merchant Advance Capital, which allowed consumers to access business loans and be approved faster than ever before. Or even their work with TransferWise to enable more Canadians to trade and send money. A pre-seed round of $500,000 let Flinks grow, and 2018 will be all about scaling to bigger partners and users.
If you can walk to go grab a coffee, Trexo Robotics probably isn’t for you. Don’t worry though, that doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention; in fact, quite the opposite. It’s hard to look away when someone sees Trexo’s products in action for the first time.
Iron Man comparisons are probably fine, but that does a bit of injustice. Iron Man is fake, but Trexo’s exoskeleton robotics, designed and built completely in-house, are real and changing lives. The Toronto company is only one of its kind in the world constructing powered mobile robotic devices entirely for children.
“We are on a mission to redefine enabling technologies for people of all ages and abilities. Trexo Robotics is building one of the first mobile robotic devices designed to help children with disabilities experience walking.”
The unique design behind Trexo allows the company to transform any passive walker into a fully mobile one, able to be used anywhere at any time, at a fraction of the price of currently available alternatives.
Trexo has Health Canada approval and recently sold and shipped their first commercial device. The startup has five more letters of intent in place and is looking to create more devices to get more kids on their feet. Trexo will partner with one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the U.S. in early 2018, likely signalling a massive year of growth for the young robotics company.
Chat-based tools can help retailers, but they can also enable companies to work better inside their own walls. Zoom.ai is a chat-based productivity tool that lets employees shrug off the small things and get back to making an impact on what actively drives their business.
Zoom.ai is an AI-powered virtual assistant that lives in existing enterprise chat tools. A worker can offload tasks and access all of their information, applications and more from a single interface. This includes searching for files, scheduling meetings, generating documents and other things most employees would rather delegate to a virtual assistant.
“Zoom.ai is thrilled to be nominated in the New Startup category for the 7th Annual Canadian Innovation Awards. This recognition supports our vision to enhance every employee’s experience at work. It’s an honour to be alongside other exciting new startups coming out of our country’s great technology ecosystem, and we’re looking forward to what the future holds for us and the future of AI in Canada.”
Automating workflows can lead to a productivity increase of 14 per cent—a massive number for any size company. Zoom.ai is a tool that a lot of different companies can use to introduce AI into their workflow, revolutionizing the way they spend their time doing less-than-fun admin tasks.
Zoom.Ai had a busy 2017, winning an OpenText pitch contest then turning right around to acquire SimplyInsight a few months later. The startup also secured a funding round of $2.1 million to begin scaling and building new relationships with partners.
Vote for your Favourite
Which of these new and cutting-edge companies do you believe should win the 2017 Canadian Innovation Awards’ New Startup category? Make sure you vote for your favourites before February 2 at midnight to have your say in which startup should win.
The winners will be announced at the live gala on February 22 at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
The New Startup Award is presented by NEXT Canada.
NEXT Canada’s mission is to increase national prosperity by providing an ecosystem to support the country’s most exceptional entrepreneurs and innovators. They believe that harnessing the potential of big thinking Canadians is key to success on a global stage.