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Top Tech Startups in Canada to Watch

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Canada is one of the top tech economies in the world because of its strong startup scene. It’s home to large tech companies like Hootsuite and Shopify.

But what are the top Canadian startups you should keep an eye on in 2023, and what problems do they solve?

In this article, I’ll go over the top startups in Canada to watch in 2023, the value they provide, and their latest funding.

Top Canadian Startups (Quick Summary)

Here’s the list of the Canadian tech startups we expect big things from in 2023:

  1. Protexxa – a B2B cybersecurity startup founded by a woman that raised $4 million in a seed funding round just after launching.
  2. 1Password – the most popular paid-only consumer password manager.
  3. Xanadu – Canada’s leading provider of quantum computing supported by the Canadian government.
  4. Thrive Health – a HealthTech Blockchain company with revenue growth of 4,221%.
  5. BlueDot – a leader in AI detection of infectious diseases supported by the Canadian government.
  6. LifeSpeak – a leading well-being platform for employees.
  7. Blossom Social – a fintech startup with a mission to create Canada’s first social brokerage.

Planning to launch a startup in Canada? Keep reading to find out more about the success of these startups!

Top Tech Canadian Startups In-Depth

1. Protexxa - Top Women-Led Cybersecurity Startup for Seed Funding

protexxa cybersecurity startup
Founded Founder Size HQ Last funding round Key offering Unicorn?
2022 Claudette McGowan 11-50 Toronto Seed $4 million, October 2022 AI-based SaaS solution to companies’ cybersecurity vulnerabilities No

Protexxa software uses AI to identify and assess issues arising from the human element of cybersecurity within an organization. This AI is also used to predict and resolve resulting potential problems.

Protexxa also offers cybersecurity training and consulting. By identifying the blind spots with AI and building a business-tailored approach towards resolving their cybersecurity problems, Protexxa connects the dots between employees’ cyber hygiene and business risks.

Overall, Protexxa is a women-led Canadian startup to watch. It addresses very acute cybersecurity issues for businesses that result from employee behavior

Protexxa is currently in the process of filing several patents for its cybersecurity solutions. They’re being piloted in the healthcare and education industries and the government.

2. 1Password - Top Consumer Paid-Only Password Manager

1password password manager tech startup
Founded Founder Size HQ Last funding round Key offering Unicorn?
2005 Roustem Karimov Over 500 Toronto Series C $620 million, January 2022 Generation and storage of secure passwords Yes, valued at $6.8 billion

Widely considered “the best password manager for iOS,” 1Password is a paid-only password management software (although it offers a free trial).

An exciting update for 2023 comes from 1Password’s upcoming changes for iOS users. 

It improves several features like Face ID and VoiceOver integrations

It also adds several new features, such as PIN unlock, drag-and-drop for credentials fields, options to turn off file storage, and Emergency Kits.

These updates come from 1Password listening to feedback from their clients. 

They reflect that even though the startup’s not new, and its last funding round was in 2022, 1Password should be watched. It’s a unicorn that doesn’t stop innovating

It also has several celebrity investors, including Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey, and Robert Downey Jr.!

3. Xanadu - Leading Provider of Quantum Computing With Grant Funding

xanadu cloud tech startup
Founded Founder Size HQ Last funding round Key offering Unicorn?
2016 Christian Weedbrook Over 160 Toronto Government grant $40 million, January 2023 B2B quantum computing and open-source software for quantum ML PennyLane. Yes

Xanadu’s mission is to build quantum computers useful and available to people and companies everywhere. It builds photonic quantum computers and popular open-source software “PennyLane” for quantum machine learning.

Xanadu is also the startup behind Borealis – the world’s first fully programmable photonic quantum computer available in the cloud. It can perform operations in 36 milliseconds that would otherwise take 9,000 years!

Finally, Xanadu has two exciting partnerships in 2023:

  • Xanadu & South Korea Institute of Technology partnership will widen the industrial use cases for quantum computing.
  • Xanadu & Rolls-Royce partnership is developing a new quantum algorithm tool for the PennyLane software. Using Xanadu’s quantum products by Rolls-Royce will potentially be groundbreaking for the aerospace industry.

So, given its exciting partnerships and the work in quantum computing supported by the Canadian government with huge potential applications, Xanadu is certainly a Canadian startup to watch in 2023!

4. Thrive Health - A HealthTech Blockchain Company With Top Revenue Growth

thrive health healthtech blockchain startup company
Founded Founders Size HQ Last funding round Key offering Unicorn?
2016 David Helliwell, James Helliwell Around 50 Vancouver Seed Undisclosed amount, June 2020 Blockchain-based digital healthcare solutions that improve the delivery of healthcare No

Thrive Health’s blockchain-based software equips healthcare providers with robust healthcare solutions capacities. The patented, scalable permissioned blockchain technology keeps patients’ data secure and allows for high-functioning and high-speed operations – a must for the healthcare industry.

The single source of health data allows both patients and healthcare professionals to form better relationships and have more control over the patient’s healthcare journey. Additionally, better patient data access lets providers build custom care workflows tailored to a patient’s specific needs.

Thrive Health’s revenue also grew by 4,221% in 2020-2022. That resulted in the startup being named the winner of Deloitte’s Top Companies-to-Watch award

Given this award, plus the fact the healthcare industry is ripe for innovation, Thrive Health is a Canadian startup to watch in 2023!

5. BlueDot - Leader in AI Detection of Infectious Diseases With Grant Funding

bluedot ai detection startup company
Founded Founder Size HQ Last funding round Key offering Unicorn?
2013 Dr. Kamran Khan 51-100 Toronto Grant $3 million, January 2023 AI detector of infectious disease outbreaks No

BlueDot gathers data on infectious disease outbreaks in different languages worldwide and uses AI to generate insights from it. Such insights can be used for time-sensitive action-taking by governments and the private sector.

During the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, BlueDot was the first to pick up the virus spread. It gathered early coronavirus data from China and Thailand and saw it was a lot worse than the official lines of communication led people to believe. 

It also predicted where the virus was likely to go next. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, BlueDot shifted its focus to public health threats.

Infectious diseases aren’t going anywhere – and as a result of a more connected world, there will be more outbreaks. For that reason, BlueDot is an important Canadian startup to watch in the next few years.

6. LifeSpeak - Leading Well-Being Platform for Employees

lifespeak well-being platform
Founded Founder Size HQ Last funding round Key offering Unicorn?
2004 Michael Herd Around 50 Toronto VC $17.2 million, March 2022 Digital wellbeing SaaS subscription platform for employers No

With more employees prioritizing their mental health and work-life balance, organizations need to do more to support them or risk losing them. 

LifeSpeak provides solutions that help with that. They include a library of wellness resources on fitness, mental health, nutrition, and other aspects of personal health from the company’s experts. Users also get opportunities to ask the experts any questions.

In addition, LifeSpeak provides access to a caregiver-support SaaS product, Torchlight. It acquired Torchlight in 2021 to support employees with carer responsibilities, which constitutes a vast majority of women in the workforce.

With more companies supporting the mental health of their employees and their changing needs and priorities when looking for a job, LifeSpeak could do very well in the next few years!

7. Blossom Social - Canada’s First Retail Investing Social Network

blossom social retail investing social network
Founded Founders Size HQ Last funding round Key offering Unicorn?
2021 Annika Ng, Maxwell Nicholson, Kartik Bhutani Around 10 Vancouver Angel CAD $750,000, December 2022 Community-driven social network for Canadian retail investors No

Blossom Social’s mission is to make retail investing more accessible by allowing Canadians to share their experience and promote financial literacy on the platform.

The users’ experience and knowledge are backed by real activity from their brokerage accounts. That’s possible thanks to the platform’s integration with Canada’s biggest banks’ brokerage systems. This feature helps prevent fraud and makes a huge difference to people looking to break into retail investing but don’t know where to begin.

With retail investments gaining momentum and investment scams also increasing, there’s a very acute need for a platform like Blossom Social! Judging by its several funding rounds and being chosen for Google’s Women Founders accelerator in 2022, the industry leaders agree!

Top Tech Canadian Startups - Recap

Here’s a brief recap of the top Canadian tech startups.

Startup Protexxa Xanadu 1Password Thrive Health BlueDot Lifespeak Blossom Social
HQ Toronto Toronto Toronto Vancouver Toronto Toronto Vancouver
Founded in 2022 2016 2005 2016 2013 2004 2021
Founder(s) Claudette McGowan Christian Weedbrook Roustem Karimov David and James Helliwell Kamran Khan Michael Herd Annika Ng, Maxwell Nicholson, Kartik Bhutani
Number of employees 11-50 Over 160 Over 500 11-50 51-100 11-50 1-10
Field Cyber security Quantum computing Cyber security HealthTech AI, HeathTech Wellbeing Fintech
Latest funding Seed Grant (post-Series C) Series C Seed Grant (post-Series A) VC round Angel
Interesting Reads:

FAQ

Canada is the world’s 4th-biggest startup ecosystem, with more than 3,000 tech startups, most of which are concentrated in large cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Together, they raised over $9 billion in 2022.

A unicorn is a startup valued at over $1 billion. As of January 2023, Canada has 20 start-ups that are considered unicorns. Four of them, including Xanadu and Axelar, became unicorns in 2022. Dapper Labs is a Canadian unicorn with the highest valuation – $7.6 billion.

In 2022, the average VC investment in Canadian startups amounted to $23 million. The median amount is $4 million. In 2021, funding rounds of over $25 million accounted for over three-quarters of all funding raised by Canadian startups.

The industries with the most startups in Canada are healthcare/health-tech and fintech. Edtech and retail are also strong sectors, and the industry with the most unicorns is internet software and services, with 6 out of 20 unicorns in Canada hailing from that industry.

Conclusion - Top Canadian Startups to Keep an Eye On

The top Canadian startups in this article solve acute business and societal issues in Canada, such as cybersecurity, healthcare data, access to quantum computing, and investment support. Two of these startups – Xanadu and 1Password – are unicorns.

If you’re considering launching a startup in Canada, this list contains examples of the startups to watch and learn from. And remember that whatever industry you launch in, the security of your data is a must.

Want to see more examples of successful SaaS startups from around the world? Check out our article on SaaS statistics!