Tag Archives: waterloo

14 AI Companies Hiring Now in Toronto

Update: We have recently learned that both Amazon and Uber are hiring for AI tech jobs in Toronto such as AI Research Scientist (Self Driving), Computer Vision & Machine Learning Engineer/Research, and Data Scientist.

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Artificial intelligence took off like a wild fire in the last few years with Federal Government of Canada supporting the industry with millions of dollars in grants.

Not surprising Toronto has taken a lead in this AI domain, and has over 45 active artificial intelligence organizations employing over 1,500 employees and raised more than $170 million dollars.

Below we list the most prominent 14 leaders in AI space in the Greater Toronto Area as well as Waterloo.

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Top Artificial Intelligence AI Companies Hiring in Toronto

AisleLabs 

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Aislelabs’ technology transforms brick and mortar locations to smart venues, resulting in effective marketing, increased sales, and better customer satisfaction. We serve enterprise customers globally including major shopping centres, airports, transit hubs, big box retail chains and venues.

Angoss Software 

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Angoss is a global leader in delivering predictive analytics to businesses looking to improve performance across risk, marketing and sales. With a suite of big data analytics software solutions and consulting services, Angoss delivers powerful approaches that provide you with a competitive advantage by turning your information into actionable business decisions.

BenchSci

For biomedical researchers who are starting experiments, BenchSci is a reagent intelligence platform that transforms published data into experiment-specific recommendations to reduce time, money and uncertainty in planning materials and methods.

Canopy Labs

Every customer reaches a buying decision in their unique way – Canopy Labs helps businesses to track and optimize their customer journey.

Hubba

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Our goal for the Hubba Discovery Network is to be the first place buyers and influencers start every journey to learn about interesting and new brands and products. We are product people, too, and we built a site for product people like you.

PumpUp

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PumpUp is a positive community to share and achieve your health goals. The PumpUp community is a safe and supportive space to share your journey toward a healthy body and healthy mind. Share your challenges and triumphs, track your fitness, and receive unparalleled support from a global community of like-minded people. PumpUp equips you with the tools you need to live a healthy lifestyle in a positive way. With millions of inspiring people cheering you on, it’s never been easier to become the best version of you!

Rubikloud

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We believe that making intelligent decisions can be made easier with AI and today we have multi-billion-dollar clients with retail brands operating in North America, Europe, and Asia.

StackAdapt

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StackAdapt is the no. 1 performing native advertising platform helping brands accelerate customer engagement and acquisition. This state-of-the-art platform is where some of the most progressive work in machine learning meets cutting-edge user experience. Ranking the highest in customer satisfaction and performance by G2 Crowd in the DSP category for the fourth time, StackAdapt is one of the fastest growing companies in Canada and ranks 6th in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 ranking and 23rd in Fast 500 in North America.

Kognitive Marketing

At Kognitive Marketing we create engaging experiential marketing campaigns that consumers actually want to participate in, thus increasing customer conversions and maximizing sales and brand equity for the client.

Maropost

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Maropost is a B2C cloud-based revenue optimization suite that gives companies the ability to increase multi-channel customer engagement to maximize revenue. Through integrated marketing and sales automation, Maropost provides essential tools, strategic guidance, and support needed to create more personalized customer experiences through a 360-degree business view – from marketing automation to CRM, commerce, and customer support.

Naborly

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Naborly has reinvented how credit reports and scores work for the rental industry to help landlords know who they’re renting to, while helping tenants build credit by just paying their rent!

Nanoleaf

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Together with its global team of creative problem-solvers, Nanoleaf is ushering in a new era of beautifully personalized lighting experiences. This brave new world extends far beyond the lightbulb and into a new reality where lighting transforms to meet your needs for every moment of every day. Every product created by Nanoleaf embodies our philosophy of ‘Smarter by Design.’

Viafoura

Viafoura empowers over 600 media brands to engage, discover, and grow their audience through seamlessly integrated user registration, engagement, moderation, and analytics modules–all in one platform.

Zoom.AI

Zoom.ai is SaaS start-up, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to enrich all employees’ work experience while increasing workplace productivity. Zoom.ai operates like a virtual helper, chatting with each employee in their favorite chat application and off-loading repetitive, low-value, day-to-day tasks. Key tasks include document generation, corporate information discovery, and full lifecycle calendaring.

Fly from Toronto to Waterloo in 18 minutes: Silicon Valley North United

Waterloo as you know is dubbed as Silicon Valley of the North. With over 1,200 new ventures for a population of around 600,000 is the region that has the highest startup density of any area globally.

That is a good thing – but a lot of times Waterloo startup community is connected tightly with Toronto area startup community, especially when it comes to financing and recruiting.

So how can Toronto visit Waterloo and vice versa on daily basis? Well now you would need to be stuck in traffic of around 4 hours round trip. Or take Go Train for around the same time of about 4 to 5 hours wasted.

Do not fret, starting November 6, FlyGTA will offer daily flights to the Waterloo region from downtown Toronto from Monday to Friday. Their planes will seat eight passengers, and only cost $129. No need to be a big hustler to afford one of these trips. And if you travel a lot – the tickets can become as cheap as $105 one way. The flight itself will only take 18 minutes.

Amazon – are you listening? Time to open your HQ2 here.

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This is on top of their Niagara Falls flights – only 10 minutes (vs 2.5 hours in traffic round trip) and Muskoka – The Malibu of the North according to NY TImes (ummmm.. I mean Barrie flights) – about 18 minutes.

Vancouver and Toronto Ranked in Top 20 Startup Ecosystem around the World

The Startup Ecosystem Ranking report is out for another year and they have been some significant changes – London went up 3 places to #3, and Berlin went up 2 places to #7, and Beijing came in at #4.

Things look good for Canada as well especially if you work and live in Vancouver or Toronto region (Waterloo included). Toronto went up 1 spot to #16, and Vancouver went up 3 spots to #15. Unfortunately Montreal did not make the list.

Startup Genome is a global collaborative effort to help regions everywhere nurture and maintain thriving tech startup ecosystems. Insights gathered from 10,000+ startup companies and 300 partner organizations, provide a starting point for founders, employers, local leaders, and policymakers in 50+ cities around the world to make informed and timely decisions that drive innovation and economic growth.

In regards to Vancouver, report said:

Vancouver is leveraging its unique combination of assets: Hollywood North, a strong industrial foundation, enterprise data and cloud underpinnings, and a remarkably diverse talent pool, with over half its residents having a first tongue other than English.

The city may have the fewest number of startups in top 20, but their valuations are highly competitive. Its funding metrics point to the Vancouver ecosystem holding steady, not rising or sinking greatly.

Toronto was another story, the report said:

An estimated 2,100 to 2,700 startups thrive thanks in part to world-class engineering talent, strong entrepreneurial culture, an affordable rental market, and a global base of customers. It benefits from multicultural talent drawn from sixteen academic institutions…alongside generous tax credits, government grants, and favourable currency exchange.

 

Top 20 Startup Cities  as according to Startup Genome for 2017

  1. Silicon Valley (unchanged)
  2. New York City (unchanged)
  3. London (up from #6)
  4. Beijing (new entry)
  5. Boston (down from #4)
  6. Tel Aviv (down from #5)
  7. Berlin (up from #9)
  8. Shanghai (new entry)
  9. Los Angeles (down from #3)
  10. Seattle (down from #8)
  11. Paris (unchanged)
  12. Singapore (down from #10)
  13. Austin (up from #14)
  14. Stockholm (new entry)
  15. Vancouver (up from #18)
  16. Toronto – greater Waterloo area (up from #17)
  17. Sydney (down from #16)
  18. Chicago (down from #7)
  19. Amsterdam (unchanged)
  20. Bangalore (down from #15)

Toronto or Waterloo / Kitchener for tech startups?

We always want a great place to start our business. In deciding where to bring your business, you must define your priorities on several factors like operating and developer costs. Both, Toronto and Waterloo are considered very business friendly cities but which one is better?

The question below was asked on Quora recently on where it is better to create a technology startup. See the answers given below.

Which is the better place to start a tech startup in Ontario: Toronto or Waterloo? Why? It seems like it would be easier to attract people to Toronto, but Waterloo has a strong support community.


Stavros Rougas , Co-founder Expertise Finder (expertisefinder.com), journalist, writes:

I co-founded a startup that is based in both Waterloo region (downtown Kitchener at Communitech) and in Toronto.

Waterloo region is better for an early startup:
– cheaper
– engineering talent pool
– far easier to connect with people and get support (ie people more more helpful and open)
– tech is the big industry in town

Where Toronto excels:
– need to raise money (more Canadians with money live here, VCs…)
– partnerships: Canadian head offices are normally in Toronto
– connecting with prominent people beyond tech
– have a bit of traction and need to grow (more of everything available if show a little success)
– pool of creative people beyond engineers (marketing…)
– Toronto is more interesting, this attracts people even though it costs
more, Kitchener-Waterloo remains a nice glorified suburb where you
must have a car to have much of a life (light rail and other pending
projects are changing this slowly)

Jesse Rodgers, Building startups in Toronto. Co-founder of TribeHR. Built up VeloCity:

That is a really complicated question that gets even more complicated by the fact that you don’t hear about the activity in Toronto and *everything* startup or tech related gets coverage in Waterloo. I don’t think either place is better than the other but each has it strengths, you decide which you value more.

What I think Toronto’s strengths are:
High net worth individuals that have built $100M+ companies in Canada, have a track record of investing in and helping tech companies grow, and will likely found another company themselves.
Research and talent – there is $1.2 Billion in research annually at the University of Toronto alone and 17K grad students from the top schools across North America.
The city is coming of age and offers a heck of a lifestyle for young adults. You can rent a condo right down town where you and the founding team can live/work… it is a more common practice than people think.

What I think Waterloo’s strengths are:
There is a tight community of founders that know how to get from the idea stage to seed level with a great support network to make the scary ‘founding a company’ feel less scary. This is a huge plus btw.
You can easily access the Co-op student talent at the University of Waterloo which is *the best* talent you will find at an undergraduate level anywhere in North America. It is also extremely cost effective talent.
You can still access Toronto’s ecosystem from Waterloo — this one is diminishing quickly as the transit situation is rapidly deteriorating (it now takes over 4 hours for a round trip, it was 2 hours) however there are ways to still make it work.

Have fun with your choice… and remember location won’t make you successful unless you are in retail 😉

Source: https://www.quora.com/Which-is-the-better-place-to-start-a-tech-startup-in-Ontario-Toronto-or-Waterloo-Why/answer/Stavros-Rougas

Waterloo Axonify, helps companies train / better retain their employees, raises $27 million to date

Axonify is the world’s first Employee Knowledge Platform that uniquely combines brain science, gamification, micro-learning and personalized knowledge to deliver a highly effective learning experience to corporate employees. Through a daily, 3 minute session on any device, Axonify creates memory and changes employee behaviour in positive ways that can drive significant business outcomes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYjrs_w2yNk

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

The company was started in 2011 by Carol Leaman and Christine Tutssel who acquired the IP and one customer from the original founders. Carol is a CPA and a serial tech entrepreneur while Christine is a senior Executive Sales professional. Neither has a tech background other than running and working in tech companies for 20 years. The overall team is now comprised 30% of developers.

How are you being financed?

We’ve raised venture capital and private equity.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

The biggest obstacle is always creating brand awareness when you are selling to large corporate enterprise. As a small company with fewer dollars to spend on marketing, it’s a challenge to build the business one customer at a time, while balancing cashflow and the need to grow. That challenge never goes away, but it does get easier.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

We have used our networks to find great developers. We’re fortunate to have a really good reputation in Waterloo Region as an employer, and it’s allowed us to attract amazing talent.

Who is your biggest competition?

Our biggest competition is the “do nothing” customer. We are disrupting old, established processes and technology that our customers have typically invested millions in. They can be reluctant to take the leap to a completely modern approach. We’re still in the early adopter phase, but I sense the tipping point is coming.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in
revenues? In what markets?

2017 is a year where we are doubling down on the markets and applications we know work best for us, which are retail, plant and logistics (industry heavy on deskless workers). Our marketing dollars and sales teams will be laser focused on those targets, and leveraging the results from our existing customers to replicate. We expect to see increased velocity of sales and lots of other good things come out of that.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this venture.

This is my fourth technology company and I can say that the hard lessons I learned in previous experiences have helped me avoid most of the same problems this time around! Axonify has been a significantly smoother build, and I can’t say that there have been any huge lessons that jump out at me. But I do keep having to remind myself how long it takes to get customers when you’re selling to Fortune 1000. I guess my biggest lesson at Axonify has been having patience in the face of driving urgency.

 

Website: www.axonify.com

Montreal / Waterloo Maluuba, AI deep learning startup, has been acquired by Microsoft

Microsoft has agreed to acquire Maluuba, a Montreal Waterloo based company with one of the world’s most impressive deep learning research labs for natural language understanding. Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help Microsoft advance their strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to everyone — consumers, businesses and developers.

No purchasing costs were disclosed.

Two Maluuba co-founders could not be happier – they wrote:


“Back in 2010, as classmates in our AI class (CS 486) at the University of Waterloo, we started to think about the way humans interacted with machines. Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) had been in use for 30 years and yet, they hadn’t changed much. For simple tasks they were easier to use than the command line interfaces, but for complex tasks we still resorted back to programming. We wondered why was this the case? Why couldn’t we just interact with computers the same way we interacted with each other everyday? We had to go to first principles and came to the realization that in order to achieve this level of natural interaction, we had to first develop algorithms that understand the way human beings communicate. Therefore, we had to have a very deep understanding about the fundamentals of human language; our memory and reasoning capabilities; as well the decision making process in our brain.

A couple of years later, we started to develop technology that could solve some of the basic problems of language understanding. At the time, the language understanding community (both academia and industry) was very intrigued by the early success of statistical machine learning algorithms in Personal Assistant systems like Siri. Users could make voice commands and do simple tasks like finding the weather, making a restaurant reservation or even playing some music from the phone. Besides the fact that these systems were extremely unscalable (built by engineers in a domain-by-domain fashion), brittle (keyword style queries worked) and gave users a very poor experience, these systems had a more fundamental flaw – they lacked the intelligence that humans have. In fact, this fallacy didn’t just hold for Personal Assistants, this was true for every machine out there. Machines just don’t think, reason or learn from their mistakes like we humans do. Machines neither have any common sense reasoning, nor they do have short-term, long-term or working memory like us.

In early 2014, we observed that great leaps had been achieved in the fields of computer vision and speech recognition through the application of Deep Learning algorithms. We were excited – if deep learning techniques could enable machines to see and hear like humans, then why not communicate like humans? As we all know, understanding human language is extremely complex and is ultimately the holy grail in the field of Artificial Intelligence. We finally saw a great opportunity to apply Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning techniques to solve fundamental problems in language understanding, with the vision of creating a truly literate machine – one that could actually read, comprehend, synthesize, infer and make logical decisions like humans. This meant we had to heavily invest in research, therefore we started our Research lab in Montréal in late 2015 (in addition to our awesome engineering team in Waterloo). Our research lab, located at the epicentre of Deep Learning, is focused on advancing the state-of-the-art in deep learning for human language understanding. We have built a team of top Deep Learning Research Scientists and Engineers from around the world and built partnerships with leading academics in the field. We are extremely proud of the breakthroughs we have accomplished over the course of the year. So where are we in our quest for achieving ‘Machine Literacy’? Well, we are just getting started and are excited about the long road ahead.”

Harry Shum, EVP of Microsoft’s AI and research group, said :


“Maluuba’s impressive team is addressing some of the fundamental problems in language understanding by modeling some of the innate capabilities of the human brain, from memory and common sense reasoning to curiosity and decision making,” said Shum. “I’ve been in the AI research and development field for more than 20 years now, and I’m incredibly excited about the scenarios that this acquisition could make possible in conversational AI.”