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Collision Conference has brought together Fortune 500 Companies and promising startups since 2014. When Irish entrepreneur Paddy Cosgrove brought the conference to Toronto five years later, it soon earned a reputation as North America’s fastest-growing hub for tech. This year’s lineup features speakers from ‘Godfather of AI’ Geoffrey Hinton to Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
Although Collision organizers are still in talks with the City of Toronto over hosting future events, Betakit insiders say the situation looks promising. Whether or not the famous conference will return to the 6ix next year, Toronto has plenty to look forward to in this one.
Sometimes seen as a ‘tech Olympics,’ Collision has plenty of contenders vying for a medal. From fintech to cleantech and innovations in AI, this year’s crop of featured startups is packed with gold. Here are some of the most exciting options at Collision this year.
The Government of Canada recently enacted standards requiring Canadian businesses to track greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The standards are meant to target major suppliers of government contracts. According to Carbonhound CEO Sanders Lazier, however, this creates a “trickle down ‘carbon-omics'” where small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are held to the same reporting standards as larger ones.
SMEs comprise over 99% of Canada’s business landscape, and many can’t afford the climate experts or consultants needed to track GHGs. Carbonhound’s platform is a self-service hub for SMEs to manage, measure, and set goals for their emissions, which they’ve done for over 100 organizations so far.
Having just received 1.3M pre-seed funding from Arcangel Network of Funds, Verdexus, and Highline Beta this May, Carbonhound plans to use the money to scale its operations. This means their 2023 Collision appearance will undoubtedly be one to watch.
Biex is a Quebec-based venture looking to improve organ transplant outcomes with AI. They plan to make more accurate matches between donated organs and those needing transplants using artificial intelligence. Overall, this should improve the allocation of donor organs, make for shorter wait times, and improve the long-term success rate of transplants overall.
After Biex received a grant from the Government of Canada to develop and test prototypes of the solution, founder Hobivola A. Rabearivelo has been busy. He recently spoke at the AI World Summit in Montreal, where he described a combination of SaaS platforms for real-time matchmaking and machine learning for transplant success rates designed to deliver optimal patient outcomes.
The Health Canada grant deploys $2M over two years to Biex for its use in development and testing. With the company’s second year of grant funding just starting, Biex Health is one Collision 2023 startup worth looking for.
London, Ontario-based Deep Breathe is another example of AI’s potential in healthcare. Founded during the height of the pandemic and bootstrapped until its first funding round this year, Deep Breathe is led by Dr. Rob Arntfield, an intensive care physician and ultrasound expert. Arntfield operates with clinical co-lead Chintan Dave, who is an intensive care physician as well as an internist. Together, they’re working on a form of ultrasound imaging that healthcare providers can use at the patient’s bedside.
Deep Breathe combines AI with traditional ultrasound technology to interpret images and automate the diagnostic process. It is designed to take the place of less efficient methods, as well as lower the risk from radiation-based X-rays. To support the project, the team has gathered an archive of expert-annotated lung ultrasounds that is the largest of its kind worldwide.
Investors at MAP Investco expect this combination of training data and expertise to make the company an industry leader in future years. The fund invested an undisclosed amount in the company in February of 2023. It’s the first funding round since Deep Breathe’s inception. The startup’s appearance at Collision Conference will be Deep Breaths’ first since the announcement, so attendees should keep their eyes peeled for updates.
Nicknamed the ‘Spotify of investing’ by its CEO, Investipal is the brainchild of co-founders Cameron Howe and Abdi Jama. Howe, formerly a quant and research analyst, says his background made him the constant target of ‘what should I invest in?’ questions from family and friends.
To meet the demand, he and Jama, a seasoned SaaS salesperson and technical recruiter, joined forces to create Investipal. Investipal allows users to view curated lists of investments by theme, such as AI or sustainability, as well as subscribe to other portfolios for inspiration. These portfolios can be from friends and family, as well as from public figures or well-known investors.
These’ investment playlists’ are what Howe says give financial rookies access to resources that help weather financial storms. With tools to create mock portfolios and research aggregated within the platform, Investipal makes the investment process both educational and fun. The approach has clearly resonated with users since Investipal now manages more than $80M since its official launch in April of 2023.
Quebec-based cleantech niosense can’t keep you from waiting at a red light, but they can potentially eliminate 500 million tons of GHG emissions worldwide. The platform uses data sources from vehicles to interact with signals controlling traffic. This way, traffic lights can be adjusted to prevent unnecessary or sudden stops.
When traffic signals are better synchronized, they reduce pollution and boost intersection safety. Niosense is the product of co-founders Patrick Lauzière and David Préville, both engineers. According to Lauzière and Préville, ‘the whole industry needs to be rethought,’ and efforts to do so are in full swing. In 2020, niosense conducted its first intelligent traffic signal management test in the City of Trois-Rivières. The experiment paid off, as municipalities that used the system to control lights saw a reduction of up to 8kg of GHGs per stop.
The technology couldn’t come at a better time, with tax incentives in Budget 2023 favouring cleantech initiatives. Niosense raised $1.5M in 2021 as part of an SDTC seed round and from the CenTech accelerator. Collision is the perfect chance to catch up on any innovations in traffic they’ve undertaken since, so investors and attendees should keep niosense on their ‘traffic radar.’