Every day, we move closer towards an AI-first world. While personal assistants such Siri, Cortana and Alexa are making Artificial intelligence a part of our daily lives, more and more companies are dedicating resources to incorporate AI into their product offering and workflow. And so it comes as no surprise to see many AI startups sprouting and thriving in Canada, and British Columbia is no exception.
AI has played a vital role to help save human lives over the past year. From developing vaccines to helping medical professionals combat the virus spread, the AI industry was at the forefront during the pandemic. Healthcare is only one of many areas that have been enhanced by AI.
AI startups have proffered solutions to diverse, complicated real-life problems quickly through advanced technology and brilliant innovations. Some of the areas that have benefited from their incredible innovations and knowledge include Fraud detection, Agriculture, E-commerce, Forecasts, Security, etc.
While Ontario houses great AI startups and renowned research centres such as the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, BC is a strong contender with many companies to bet on. Here are a handful of the AI Startups in British Columbia that you should keep an eye on this year.
Year Founded: 2015
Ever wonder what your competitors are up to? Founders Jason Smith and Sarathy Naicker have a Klue. The company has a team of almost 100 members who have developed a platform that allows businesses to analyze their competitors. The platform collects, curates, and distributes actionable competitive intel that helps businesses win more competitive deals. With this AI technology, you can easily update your battlecards, track the competitors in your industries and markets, and share insights with your teams across the organization.
In addition, Klue helps you collect and sort information about your competitor’s website, reviews, changes or updates in their products, etc. The Sun Tower-based company aims to promote their clients’ businesses by providing access to their competitors’ worlds.
From a Series A funding in September 2020, the tech startup raised $15 million. After that, they raised more capital from several investors such as BDC Ventures, existing investors OMERS Ventures, Frederic Kerrest (co-founder of Okta), and Zach Coelius (top Angelist syndicate). The total round amounted to $19 million.
Year Founded: 2017
Intuitive AI is a tech company founded by Hassan Murad and Vivek Vyas, both Simon Fraser Alumni. Focused on waste recycling, the company built a sensor-based AI technology called Oscar which aims to create a safe and sustainable environment for humans in different industries and spaces.
The AI has an inbuilt camera and ultrasonic sensor. These devices help it detect what the waste is and tell people via a screen the correct area of the bin to put the garbage.
The company is headquartered in Vancouver. Many industries that have enjoyed their services include Merk, Aramark, Cushman and Wakefield, Vancouver International Airport, and other top spaces. Their investors include leading companies like Alchemist Accelerator, Creative Destruction Lab, NEXT Canada, and NextAI.
Year Founded: 2017
Lumen5 Technologies Ltd is an AI technology company based in Vancouver. The company was established in 2017, and it maintains a team of 40 members. Its technology allows users to create simple and engaging video content from their previous content – articles or blog posts, even without any video-making experience. These video content are helpful marketing strategies for various businesses.
Without any stress, AI technology helps businesses craft out their ideas creatively and excitingly. The video maker determines the proper layout to present the content and provides suitable music and images to create an engaging video for target audiences. The platform also allows companies to add their style and branding to the videos. Users can record and add their voices, and they also have various choices of templates and designs to select.
Lumen5’s investors are Creative Destruction Lab, New Ventures BC, and Next Canada. With minimal external funding, the company now has over 5,000 customers.
Year Founded: 2016
Headquartered in Victoria, Certn is an AI startup with a team of 87 tech professionals. The company was established in 2016, and its technology has served over a thousand clients. Their AI software allows clients, employers, contractors, property managers, etc. to run fast and affordable background checks.
The company’s software offers quick access to people’s data using Artificial Intelligence, unlike the typical long and time-consuming process. They provide you access to both local and international background checks from over 200 countries. This AI technology is an easy way to check for people’s criminal records and verify their identity. This helps to identify fraudulent people or people who claim to be someone else.
This technology helps employers and contractors to hire the right employees.
Certn is funded by several investors including Telstra Ventures, Panache Ventures, Scribble Ventures, Inovia Capital, and Basement Fund. During its last fundraising in December 2020, Certn raised about $9.5M in series A.
Year Founded: 2010
Terramera is an Agritech startup, founded by Karn Manhas, a UBC graduate. With a vision for a healthier planet, Terramera uses AI to develop safer and more effective organic alternatives to the global synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
With its Actigate technology, Terramera aims to reduce the synthetic chemical load and make bio-pesticides more effective in order to make agriculture more sustainable and productive. It also aims to mobilize and quantify regenerative agriculture. This involves the use of various tools and techniques to transfer atmospheric carbon into the ground. This will pull several gigatonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, and store it in the ground, thereby improving soil health each growing season.
In September 2019, Terramera raised $45M from a series B funding round.
Year Founded: 2011
Two Hat Security is a software company founded by Chris Priebe. It’s a leading AI company that developed an effective content moderation platform for different organizations. The AI-powered content moderation software allows for a real-time filtration and classification of human interactions like messages, videos, images, usernames, etc.
They aim to provide a safe and healthy experience for users by curbing online vices like cyberbullying, assault, threats, hate speech, and profanity. Their products include a chat filter for social networks powered by AI to detect child sexual abuse, and a network to sort reported content, providing a safer environment for children. In 2019, Two Hat announced a $7.5 million Series A round.
Note: Venbridge had no financial relationship with any of the companies featured at the time the article was published.