Toronto Ada Support, chat automation software firm, raises $2.5m

Ada raised $2.5m from Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Version One Ventures.

Ada Support is based in Toronto with about 10 employees. Ada is a customer support automation software that enables companies to easily leverage machine learning to provide instant answers to their questions in chat. They make automating and scaling customer support simple. With chatbots powered by AI, software provides instant support to customers.

Mike Murchison, CEO and co-founder at Ada Support, said:


“The customer support industry will be one of the first to adopt AI to improve productivity, responsiveness and customer satisfaction. Like previous technological breakthroughs before it, artificial intelligence will create new occupations that we didn’t foresee. It’s been exciting to see evidence that Ada Support is already beginning to facilitate this.”

 

Tucker Schreiber and his team at Shopify use Ada to provide fast, engaging bot-first support for their app Frenzy, a new kind of flash sale experience.

Tucker Schreiber of Shopify said:

“Ada is a tremendous tool for our team; it has saved us from hours of support tickets, informed product decisions, and is a delight to use.”

 

Watch the video below.

 

Montreal Startup TickSmith, Big Data for Finance, raises $2m

Montreal firm, TickSmith,  with about 16 employees that specializes in in Big Data applications for Capital Markets and financial services, has raised $2m Canadian.

TickVault is a comprehensive software platform that leverages Hadoop and is highly scalable Its various modules include ETLs, business logic, analytics, workflow, process monitoring and data delivery. Trading groups typically use it to centralize Terabytes and Petabytes of data received from quote feeds, trading systems, event feeds and more. With multiple specialized tools and modules, the platform provides easily access to files, data, analytics, time-series and reports via point and click interfaces and APIs. TickVault can be deployed on a firm’s Hadoop cluster and in the cloud, on AWS.

Francis Wenzel, CEO and co-founder Co-Founder, TickSmith, says:


“Market participants recognise the competitive advantage that can be gained from a next generation capital markets data lake, not just in Europe and North America, but increasingly on a global basis.  As venture capital specialists within the capital markets technology space, Illuminate Financial are well positioned to help us further develop our flagship product, Tickvault, as we continue to build an international client base.”

Toronto Travel Website SnapTravel Raises $10M Series A

SnapTravel announced today an $8M USD Series A round led by iNovia Capital. SnapTravel allows users to find and book the perfect hotel room over SMS and Facebook Messenger.

Financing was provided by iNovia Capital as well as Lightbank, Bee Partners, and Hedgewood.

What is Snap Travel?

SnapTravel gives you access to great hotel deals over SMS and Facebook Messenger. No app to download. Send a message, book a room. We use a combination of machine learning and natural language processing to surface the best hotel recommendations at the best price. We are enabling commerce via messaging – the most natural environment on mobile.

SnapTravel CEO Hussein Fazal said:


“We are still in the early days of conversational commerce. But the trend is growing. Users want to chat with businesses, conduct commerce, and get things done within messaging apps – where they already spend most of their time.”

View booking video demo here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ySC_o4y67k

Toronto Financial Tech Borrowell Secures $12m in Funding

Borrowell raised $12m Canadian in funding , this is on top of $4.2m they have already received.

Financing was provided by Portag3 Ventures LP, Equitable Bank and White Star Capital, with participation by FirstOntario Credit Union among others.

Borrowell is a Canadian fintech lender that offers fast, fair, and friendly personal loans, and credit scores for free. Its affordable, fixed-rate loans give Canadians a smarter way to access credit.

A wholly online application instantly provides personalized loan quotes to Canadians with good credit who want better alternatives to expensive credit card debt.

Andrew Graham, co-founder of Borrowell said:


 

The funding and credit will be directed towards increased marketing and providing more loans, as well as credit score monitoring. We’ve reached about 300,000 Canadians with our business, and we’re really looking to scale that number… we’re also continuously evolving our technology and making it better. That includes increasingly applying artificial intelligence in its technology.

One of the cool features of Borrowell? You can learn your credit score for free:

Guelph Ontario Time.ly Helps Manage Your Events

Timely is advancing the calendar into a distribution and promotional platform. Unlike other calendars, Timely offers our users an inspiring calendar for their own website that can also import & export events to other calendars – whether those other calendar are Timely or others. We aim to fix the fragmented events space by connecting & improving the functionality of calendars around the world.

We sat down with Bradley Roulston to ask him some questions:


Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?
Founded by Rik Logenberg and Bradley Roulston. Rik was our CEO for the first 3 years, Bradley is VP Sales. Rik was a developer, Bradley was a speaker with a background in finance. Both cofounders have deep roots in entrepreneurship and community building.

How are you being financed?
We are in revenue and being financed by Treemark Capital based out of Vancouver, BC

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
People to open their minds about what calendars can do. Calendars are human’s oldest and most popular social technology. We ourselves and stewards that are helping a 4,000 year old technology (think Stonehenge) advance to a connected state.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
We moved out office (May 2016) to Guelph to take advantage of the Waterloo University grads, Communitech, and other developers in the tri-city & Toronto area.

Who is your biggest competition?
CitySpark. However, Timely not only runs on community sites (media/tourism) as they do – we also run on venues (those creating events)

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?
Community hubs (media/tourism/associations) push us out in their respective communities as a connected calendar supplier – in that our customers promote us to their network. Though we have beachhead in every country, we’ll be making strategic partnerships this year to open up new channels.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
Get an in-house team. We tried a distributed staff model and lost a lot hours in miscommunication, time zones, overall failing to stay on top of our developers. We may open up this route in partial down the road as we need specific tasks completed and have the resources to manage. Until then, keep your team under one roof.

 

Watch explanation on how Time.ly works:

https://vimeo.com/183538558

Montreal Startup Retinad VR Tracks Virtual Reality

Retinad is the leading VR analytics platform for VR/AR and 360 videos. We help marketers, advertisers and creatives measure human behavior in immersive media through head movement.

We sat down with Alexander Haque to talk more about his startup:

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?
Kevin Ouellet is the CTO and Alexander Haque is the CEO. Kevin has 16 years of VR development experience, having build some of the earliest haptic prototypes and experimenting with pre-Oculus headsets. Alex previously founded a company called Igloo, which was a platform for viewing and managing 360 virtual tours in the real estate space.

How are you being financed?
We have received two rounds of financing from angels and investors both locally in Montreal and internationally in Silicon Valley, Japan and New York.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
The VR industry itself. It has been a slow uptake from a consumer point of view and has thus resulted in us shifting away from being VR-only focused to focusing on the gateway media, 360 video, which can be consumed on smartphones today.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
Recruiting at meetups and word of mouth from friends.

Who is your biggest competition?
Video platforms already offering VR analytics such as Jaunt or Littlstar — and the VR market itself.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?
We can scale with programmatic advertising and marketing campaigns optimized for 360 distribution. The largest markets for this are the United States and China.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
The biggest failure has been not adapting fast enough to external circumstances. The biggest success has been surviving the ups&downs of the VR market. In short: Learning how to never stop moving forward while being punched in the stomach.

Future of Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Business (Montreal Event)

Semeon Analytics will be hosting an event to bring together university students and young professionals across Montreal, to discuss the impact of Artificial Intelligence in the new world market, while also rolling out its own AI product, Digi Seer. The main focus of the event is to provide value to students interested in the field and to close the gap between working professionals in AI and the community. We have gathered the top AI experts to share their knowledge, experience and outline their vision of what the AI future is going to look like. The event is presented via a panel discussion format, to allow freedom of topics, and an opportunity for active audience involvement.

 

Where? When?

July 26 2017 / L’Avenue, 5th Floor · 6:00PM – 8:00PM

1275 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal, Montreal

RSVP: https://www.wework.com/locations/montreal