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As Canada’s second-largest city and home to some of the world’s best universities and top restaurants, Montreal has a lot to offer. This metropolis doesn’t just have a wealth of cultural tradition in “La belle province.” It also hosts a large pool of talent, a high quality of living and a thriving art scene.
Amid the centuries-old architecture, a blend of creativity and tradition supports a vibrant tech landscape for large and small startups. Companies big and small thrive in Montreal, which is forecasted to have the best economic growth in Canada in 2022.
Since its most profitable industries were already computer-based, Montreal’s digital landscape helped it make the best of the pandemic. This winning combination of market access, talent, and low costs help keep the city’s startups full of buzz.
Here are a few Montreal startups we’re keeping our eyes on in 2022.
Year Founded: 2021
Founded by biotech entrepreneur and neurology Ph.D. Clarissa Desjardins, Congruence Therapeutics is designed to operate at the intersection of machine learning and experimental drugs. The biotech’s ‘drug hunting’ molecules are small but could have a massive impact on treating rare diseases with unmet medical needs.
“Our industry faces a watershed moment,” says Desjardins, “the application of novel computational tools, including machine learning, is poised to disrupt traditional drug discovery.”
Congruence combines Desjardins’ expertise with a cutting-edge suite of tools designed to discover drugs quicker and more efficiently. This work is good news for the medical field, as the company’s proprietary platform Revenir™ has already demonstrated its ability to uncover some of the main factors causing disease.
Congruence’s lead investor, Amplitude Ventures, who backed a $63M Series A round this year, is equally excited about the potential impact of Desjardin’s work on the healthcare industry.
Year Founded: 2019
Founders Marian Borca, Charles Assaf, and Edouard Clement created Novisto to be an all-in-one software solution designed to track a company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts. Although sustainability might be hard to define, CEO Charles Assaf is using his background as a software engineer to put some data behind the term.
“ESG data is very fragmented,” he says, “It’s diverse. It’s quantitative.”
While generating analytics around financial performance or customer service is easy, tracking sustainability metrics can be challenging. Novisto’s platform includes the ability to extract and compile this data automatically and compare it to industry benchmarks and peers.
In the coming years, Novisto is looking to triple the size of its engineering and product teams and expand into Europe. Business leaders suggest the pandemic will be a long-term catalyst for ESG investment, and Novisto is ready to jump into the space. After attracting significant customers like Jet Blue, the company aims to become a global leader in the field.
Novisto has caught the eye of lead investors White Star Capital, whose $9.6M Series A round closed in 2021.
Year Founded: 2017
Montreal startup Silofit’s founders proved they were ahead of the curve in 2017 when the company rolled out its model of converting small office spaces into high-end, private micro-gyms. Through the Silofit app, gyms can attract workout fiends and fitness trainers alike while providing an easy booking process. Users select locations across Toronto and Montreal and use a code to unlock their private space once they arrive.
“A third of gyms are expected to be closed or completely shut down post-pandemic,” says CEO Wilfred Valenta. “And that’s where Silofit comes in.”
With demand for private gyms expected to keep rising, Silofit secured 12.75M in Series A funding from Whitecap Venture Partners. The company now aims to expand into the United States with initial locations in Miami and Chicago.
Year Founded: 2021
Are you thinking about living a digital nomad lifestyle? Boundless Life is there to help individuals and families transition to the digital nomad lifestyle. With communities in destinations around the world, Boundless Life offers private homes, co-working spaces, and an integrated school system for digital workers abroad. These relocation packages allow families to connect, work, and explore the world, all in a sustainable way.
“As remote work has exploded, several companies have looked at creating experiences for singles,” says Christopher Langford of IDEA Fund Partners. “No one was addressing the complexities of being a digitally nomadic family.”
Their first offering in Sintra, Portugal, is already fully booked, with plans for an additional community in Syros, Greece. Investors and customers already excited by initial offerings, Boundless Life is worth putting on your radar.
Year Founded: 2021
With virtual healthcare still on the rise, there’s been no better time for telemedicine provider OROHealth to jump into the market. After the success of the virtual dermatology clinic DermaGo, Dr. Émilie Bourgeault, Dr. Marc-André Doré, and Jean-Philippe Doré went on to found ORO, incorporating artificial intelligence into virtual consultations.
“Many of the other telemedicine companies focus more on a traditional care model,” says Bourgeault, who believes ORO will work differently. Instead of scheduling an appointment with a physician, ORO doctors consult a file submitted by the patient. ORO will then provide the patient with a treatment plan to review on their own time.
“We want to quickly grow and quickly take the market,” Bourgeault says. With so many investors on board already, ORO’s founders believe this is only the beginning. And with virtual care and digital health exploding in the wake of the pandemic, we’re inclined to agree.
A recent seed round of $3M included health tech giant MCI Onehealth, investors from TGIC2, and Desjardins Capital.