Montreal is often recognized for being a festive and creative city, in many ways filling the role of being the cultural capital of Canada. In recent years, it has also emerged as a startup hub, especially in the area of technology and innovation. Here are some of the top Montreal-based startups to watch in the upcoming year.
Smooch is a bot-based company focused on customer service. It’s still a young company, but its world-class software platform for creating and operationalizing B2C messaging experiences has been noticed. The startup has closed a $10 million Series A, in addition to other funding.
Transit is used in dozens of cities, and it has become one of the most popular public transportation apps in the world. It has been growing rapidly since 2013, and in 2016, the company raised a $2.4 million seed and launched a crowdsourcing feature similar to Waze (enabling users to apply and receive real-time feedback about their bus, metro, or train arrival times).
Bus.com (formerly ShareTheBus)
Bus.com, formerly ShareTheBus, is a startup that focuses on re-imagining the charter bus system. Now rebranded, in 2016, the company participated in Y Combinator and closed a 1.5 million USD round while also moving over 140,000 people through 3,500 trips.
The mission of the startup Dialogue is to improve the Canadian healthcare system. The company is creating avenues for patients to communicate with healthcare professionals from a variety of specialties. Considering the increasingly overloaded healthcare systems across the country and beyond, startups like Dialogue are set to make an important impact throughout the coming years.
Local Logic is a company comprised of mainly urban planners and data scientists. The tool is able to calculate every aspect of a neighborhood or district as you plan to purchase the perfect new home—or otherwise, look for a hotel, vacation rental, etc. In 2017, the size of its team tripled, and it launched in 100 major U.S. cities.
Artificial Intelligence is one of the most rapidly expanding areas in the Montreal startup scene, and Element AI is part of that growth. This powerhouse company, which emerged in mid-2016, is intending to assist enterprise clients in creating an AI-integrated world. As one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada, Element AI was also the recipient of the first investment from Microsoft’s new AI fund.
Another startup emerging from the AI and machine-learning scene, Automat has taken a unique approach to bot development—encompassing over 15 patents in the fields of speech recognition and natural language comprehension. The company is a messaging and bot startup that was one of the 14 companies invested in by Slack in 2016, and it counts big brands such as Maybelline among its clients.
GradeSlam is part of the online learning revolution. The platform matches students with world-class tutors in a wide range of subjects. The goal is to eliminate discrepancies in academic success, in order to make every student a successful learner. In 2017, GradeSlam won awards for The Best Global Edtech Startup and The Best Tutoring Tool via The Edvocate.
Within the past year, Sonder (rebranded from Flatbook) closed a $10 million Series A that was spearheaded by Spark Ventures. The company branched into nine cities and now has over 75 employees. With a mission to re-envision the hospitality industry, Sonder saw the launch of more cities and offerings throughout 2017.
In the world of combining health tech and AI, Imagia is a company to keep an eye on. Imagia is creating an AI approach to medical imaging, which will apply deep learning techniques in order to help detect diseases—such as cancer—at an earlier stage.
Motorleaf is a new agtech startup that has developed rapidly in the past year and a half. The company, which aims to improve and automate indoor growing techniques, graduated from FounderFuel in 2016 and then raised a seed round led by 500 Startups Canada. The company was accepted into the new AgTech Hacker Unit program and also won the IBM Smart Camp Montreal prize.
If you’re interested in exploring more Montreal-based startups, be sure to attend STARTUPFEST. This festival is a global gathering of the world’s best entrepreneurs, founders, investors, and mentors, and in 2018, it will take place from July 10–14.