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10 of the hottest startups to watch in Waterloo, Canada

10 of the hottest startups to watch in Waterloo, Canada

Posted by PanamericanWorld on December 02, 2015

The little city that could, Waterloo is making tech-savvy hipsters check themselves before they wreck themselves. A tech-saturated Canadian city that’s boasting the densest startup population outside the Valley, the Waterloo-Kitchener-Cambridge tri-city is already pushing the national government to throw down $3 billion for a new high-speed rail between the region and Toronto for all the foreign venture capitalists who want to invest.

Kik.com earned the city’s first $1 billion valuation earlier this year, pumping speculation as to which company could be next to grab that headline. Here are 10 of those candidates. If you can think of another company in Waterloo that deserves a profile, suggest it in the comments.

1. Pebble

 Pebble

Photo Credit: Pebble

A smartwatch for people who hate smartwatches, Pebble is legendary as a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $10 million in 2012. Instead of worrying about the emergence of the Apple Watch, the company still offers a battery that lasts an entire week vs. Apple’s 24 hours. It’s the brainchild of Eric Migicovsky, a former systems design engineer at Blackberry’s manufacturing headquarters in Waterloo. He recently launched a second Kickstarter for a new product — this time crossing the $20 million threshold.

2. Thalmic Labs

 Thalmic Labs

Photo Credit: Thalmic Labs

Focused on smart wearables that recognize gestures as signals, Thalmic Labs has raised over $15 million — $14.5 million of it in Series A in June 2013 from Intel Capital and Spark Capital. Its Myo armband hopes to outdo Tony Stark’s engineering haven in terms of seamless computer control. The company was co-founded by CEO Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant. Lake was named one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 in 2007.

3. MappedIn

 MappedIn

Photo Credit: MappedIn

The company offers a navigation solution for event spaces like pointing out vendor and exhibitor kiosks. It provides crisp 3D imaging and offers special branding with its customizable API. MappedIn goes back to 2012 but has doubled its initial investment so far in 2015, including $1.5 million in seed funding in March which doubled its initial backing.

4. Sortable

 Sortable

Photo Credit: Sortable

Sortable markets a “decision-making engine” to compare and recommend purchases of appliances and software. It also utilizes machine learning to shift the focus of your ad networks automatically to aim at the best performing channels. They’ve already founded or acquired 30 content sites including Iron Rank, Geekaphone and Snapsort. The company purports over $500,000 in angel funding and at least $1 million in total funding according to the Velocity Incubator.

5. Vidyard

 Vidyard

Photo Credit: Vidyard

Vidyard markets itself as the world’s leading video marketing platform that offers software to host and analyze video performance. Initially a senior year design project at the University of Waterloo, the company broke out with $1.65 million in seed funding in 2011. They’ve gone over $25 million in four rounds with a major Series B led by Bessemer Venture Partners in January 2015.

6. TritonWear

TritonWear provides immeidate analytics about performance for swimmers (screenshot)

TritonWear provides immediate analytics about performance for swimmers. Photo Credit: TritonWear

Perhaps one of the more obvious business ideas you’ve never thought of, TritonWear is a wearable that gives real-time performance metrics to swimmers. It’s an invaluable tool for training, water resistant for swimmers, and measures over a dozen stats, including pace, turn time, speed, stroke count, breath count, and kicks underwater, among other things. They scored $1 million in seed funding in January 2015 from the MaRS Accelerator Fund, Real Ventures and list of angel investors, such as Mike Stork, Jay Shah, and Aditya Bali.

7. SparkGig

 SparkGig

Photo Credit: SparkGig

Another spin-out from the University of Waterloo, SparkGig is a new platform for live performers and organizers that sorts users by skill: emcees, pianists, dancers, guitarists, violinists, quartets, DJs, magicians, singers, speakers, harpists (yes, harpists) and of course, bands. It’s kind of like what Myspace has tried to do in reimagining itself, except with more press and enthusiasm. It was co-founded by CTO Samuel Yuan, Designer Jessica Ho, CEO Desmond Choi and CFO Adrian Wong.

8. Kaizena

 Kaizena

Photo Credit: Kaizena

Representing the Canadian edtech community, Kaizena is a platform that gives students continuous, sometimes interactive and more detailed feedback on their work from their teachers. Kaizena brought in over $900,000 in seed funding from the NewSchools Seed Fund, Horizons Ventures, and a few angels, including Umang Gupta, (VP Oracle, CEO Keynote), Jeff Weiner (CEO, LinkedIn), Tom Williams (Better Company) and Victor Alcantara (Mountain 7).

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