Reading time: 7 minutes.
Ottawa is home to both Canada’s political headquarters and the second-largest concentration of scientists and engineers in North America. Combined with its wealth of tech talent and highly educated population, it’s no surprise that Ottawa’s startup ecosystem makes it into Canada’s top 5. With over 60% of the population holding post-secondary credentials, the country’s capital is one of the most educated cities in Canada. It’s also home to a host of fast-growing startups in industries from agriculture to tech.
Founders in Ottawa don’t just have access to political hotspots and a high quality of life. The city also offers its startups access to resources from both the private and public sectors. With incubators and economic development programs supporting the city’s talent pool, Ottawa’s startup ecosystem deserves to be on investors’ radar for years to come. Here are some of the best offerings that call Canada’s capital home:
Year Founded: 2023
Ottawa-based startup Leynek Medical is a prime example of how support from both the private and public sectors has the potential to supercharge startups. Having received funding from both the Federal Development Agency of Ontario and an undisclosed angel round, Leynek is well-positioned to take on the future of Canada’s digital health.
This is precisely what the company hopes to do. Leynek’s founder, William Jones, is a veteran developer of medical devices. After a career spent creating and deploying cardiology equipment, Jones turned his talents towards cancer care. The result is Leynek, a digital health startup, working to revolutionize how patients navigate their treatment. By providing patients and their caregivers easy, transparent access to medical data such as vital signs, Jones hopes to make the treatment process smoother for everyone involved.
Using machine learning and advanced equipment, medical providers of all kinds can collect, analyze, and diagnose faster. This results in a better quality of life for patients. The combination of preparation and purpose has paid off, as Leynek has attracted a $68k pre-seed total from the Federal Development Agency of Ontario, as well as $50k in an undisclosed angel round.
Year Founded: 2022
Anti-virus software has been around for decades, along with tools to protect users from internet threats like malware or phishing. However, the introduction of digital finance, like blockchain or cryptocurrency, means new layers of risk. How can you protect your assets in a new digital economy? Skylock’s smart-monitoring product hopes to offer a solution.
By using machine learning and AI-powered detection for anomalies or malicious transactions, Skylock is designed to prevent hackers from intercepting your smart contracts (programs that run over the blockchain and execute whenever criteria are met). After reverse engineering a threatening transaction, Skylock will drain your protocol’s funds and send them to a safer spot. The tool can detect malicious activity over 70% of the time, with a false positive rate of just 0.0005%.
Skylock has already demonstrated impressive results, which is probably why their seed round attracted the interest of investors in the industry. The participants in the $1.3M seed round were undisclosed, but the round itself was sizeable. All of this means investors should keep their eyes peeled for Skylock’s offerings to come.
Year Founded: 2022
What does the ‘energy of the future’ look like? According to Ottawa-based startup Enurgen, it starts with the renewable sources we have today. Using an open-access, cloud-based software application, Enurgen enables solar panel engineers to optimize their assets. This means getting improved performance faster while using the bifacial systems already designed to take in as much solar energy as they can.
Bifacial systems use dual-sided solar panels to harness more sunlight, capturing both direct and indirect rays. Enurgen’s software helps engineers control the angle and tilt of these panels relative to the axis of the sun. This means making the most of each hour of daylight and, they hope, making it easier to pump out enough solar power to reach utility scale. The software was used to demonstrate an 18% bifacial gain at the 44th Photovoltaics Specialists’ Conference in 2017. In 2023, the tool became Enurgen’s first product, and the company took a coveted spot in the Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator.
Investors at 2048 Ventures led a pre-seed round in an undisclosed amount in March of 2023. They were joined by Techstars and Sand Hill North.
Year Founded: 2022
Remx is a digital hub for artists of all kinds. Most importantly, the Ottawa-based startup is a marketplace for those who create intangible art like 3D wearables and NFTs. It’s designed to give creators a no-code way to develop these items and monetize their work, which helps with audience engagement, community creation and growth.
Using the Remx software, creators design a reward: say, a hat for your character in a video game. They leave some parts of the artwork for the code to decide (like a gradient colour), which makes it possible for the collection to look different each time. Now, when the buyer purchases it, they can ‘remx’ the reward for themselves. Instead of a pale pink hat, they get a bluish-green one. It’s the only bluish-green hat of its kind.
Creators can offer these ‘one of a kind’ products to their audience, among other exclusive perks. The ‘one of a kind’ appeal is what built the market for NFTs, which is expected to reach over $200 billion.
Year Founded: 2021
Navigating the formal legislation, compliance measures, and social pressure around accessibility can leave organizations overwhelmed. Compliant, accessible communications are essential, but developing them isn’t always easy. This is where Ottawa-backed startup Allyant comes in.
Although its product is a combination of three accessibility solutions that existed in the past, Allyant is an entity of its own. To make accessibility seamless, the company uses tools from existing companies (such as popular accessibility software CommonLook) to create a solution organizations can rely on from beginning to end. For example, instead of jumping between platforms to check if a document is accessible and then converting it into Braille, Allyant users can finish the whole process in one place.
According to Allyant’s CEO, the company is rooted in “a legacy of working with the world’s largest organizations” while also being an innovator in the field. Allyant is the first one-stop-shop solution of its kind, and lead investors at Thompson Street Capital Partners are banking on the idea, having financed the venture in an undisclosed funding round last year.