Reading time: 6 minutes.
Montreal has long been a hub of startup activity. From cleantech to healthcare innovators, the city’s startup environment plays host to some of Canada’s top innovators. No surprise since Montreal sits at a nexus of world-class universities, foodie hangouts, and cultural traditions. The city ranks #9 on Time Out magazine’s list of best cities in the world, beating out all other Canadian contenders. It’s also home to many accelerators, incubators, and investors, making it the perfect home for startups of all kinds.
All of this leads to Montreal taking the honour of being one of the best places in the world to start a business. So what does world-leading entrepreneurship look like? Here are some of the best new startups Montreal has to offer:
Year Founded: 2022
Montreal-based Bravo Ready is planning to reinvent the revenue model for gamers. The startup straddles the line between NFTs and prize pool payouts with its first offering, BR1: Infinite Royale. Gamers who beat out competition in the third-person shooter will take home funds, but it will cost them to play. However, taking down competition will give them a chance to earn.
This risk-based gameplay makes Bravo Ready’s first offering operate like a fast-paced poker tournament. To enter one of BR1: Infinite’s battle-royal style matches, players pay $1. If they take down another player, they claim their loot. Loot value is the greater of either 10% of the player’s character value or their $1 entrance fee.
As NFT gameplay takes off, Bravo’s founders hope this ‘loot’ means even bigger stakes. Players with $20 on them (from winnings) mean a $2 payout instead of a $1 entrance fee. They can then enter one of the free, $0.25, $1, or $5 Servers for more gameplay. Bravo Ready co-founder Jon Cohen says this gameplay model can provide players “tangible value” for their playtime.
BR1: Infinite is already backed by names like Twitch co-founder Justin Kan, whose Fractal platform raised $35M for NFT gaming investment. Aptos Labs, Solana Ventures, 6th Man Ventures, and Shima Capital led a recent $3.5M seed round.
Year Founded: 2021
Montreal-based health company AssistIQ is using AI to tackle medical waste. Medical disposable devices and supplies (such as syringes, catheters, or other surgical implements) are critical to patient care and the bottom line. “Medical disposable devices and supplies is the largest variable cost a hospital has to deal with after wages,” according to Assist’s CEO Lisa Israelovitch. “It’s a huge line item for hospitals.”
COVID-19 and other healthcare supply chain challenges have pushed up costs. Now, optimizing the medical supply chain is more critical than ever. The current market for medical disposal devices in North America is $188 billion USD. This is expected to rise to $330 billion by 2029. Demand from developing countries for medical supplies means the medical supply market is increasing worldwide as well.
In order to help lower costs, AssistIQ’s software works in the operating room and procedure labs (for endoscopes or other everyday operations). The software assists doctors and nurses in understanding how many supplies they use to make more efficient decisions around their orders. Tracking the usage of disposable items makes it easier to avoid cases of supplies being opened and unused, reducing overall costs.
It’s a strategy investors can bet on, and they have. StandupVentures led a $2.5M funding round this February, and AssistIQ is also partnering with healthcare providers at Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) Research Centre in Montréal.
Year Founded: 2022
A new entrant to the Canadian cleantech industry, Obeo Biogas is one of Montreal’s ‘greener’ ideas. Obeo specializes in designing and constructing systems for converting organic waste (like manure) into renewable energy or fertilizers. The company’s technology is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices leading to waste. It’s also designed to lower costs for the farmers who use it.
Right now, greenhouse gas emissions on farms make up 10% of all emissions in the United States. However, cutting back on these emissions isn’t easy for farmers. Other options require the farm to invest in the ‘digestion’ system for their manure, change their farm operations or need a new facility. Obeo’s approach works with the manure alone, making cutting emissions and costs easy.
Investors have noticed, as the company (founded in 2022) has just announced a $3M seed round with Diagram Ventures in May of 2023. They plan to use the funding to accelerate growth in the company and expand their list of offerings.
Year Founded: 2023
Spectrums.ai is another health-related innovation out of Montreal. Designed to better support the needs of people with neurodevelopmental disorders, Spectrums.ai creates the tools and resources for people with conditions like autism, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, or Down syndrome. Using AI algorithms to track symptoms, behaviours, care reports, or visits from medical providers, the tool offers more insight to everyone on the care team.
Spectrums targets individuals, families, and organizations hoping to meet their needs. By providing organizations with more data on their employees, they help retain them and meet their needs. They also improve the employee’s experience at the organization and offer strategies to boost performance.
Year Founded: 2023
With over 500 public works projects taking place every year in Montreal, the city is home to plenty of construction solutions. One of the newest in this cohort is Leny. Founded in 2023 and operating out of Montreal, Leny offers organizations and contractors in the industry an opportunity to pay (and get paid) more easily.
With Leny’s collaborative platform, owners, contractors, and subcontractors can have a broader picture of their payments. Vendors and contractors integrate their payments into an AI-powered system by snapping an image of their invoice. This gives everyone involved a better view of their compliance and payment status and helps resolve issues before they arise.
Slow payments can make up as much as 12% of construction costs. With the construction industry in Montreal buzzing, it comes as no surprise that Leny was chosen for the ACET accelerator and has received equity financing in an undisclosed amount. A new entrant in a busy industry, Leny is one Montreal startup to watch.