Content by Lidia Vijga, co-founder at DeckLinks
Get ready to be inspired and amazed at this year’s Collision Conference! The rapidly expanding tech exhibition is returning to the lively city of Toronto, bringing together startups and brilliant minds that are actively shaping the global tech landscape.
It’s more than just a gathering, this event serves as a launchpad for emerging tech startups, providing them with a platform to shine and display their inventive products. Yet, the true heart of this narrative lies in the exceptional founders behind these startups. They’ve moved mountains to turn their dream into something real, starting with nothing more than a spark of an idea and a whole lot of grit. These are the trailblazers who, against all odds, have built their companies from the ground up.
I’d like to spotlight some of these inspiring founders who are the beating heart of the startup ecosystem. I’m genuinely excited to meet them, hear their stories, and get a firsthand look at the incredible work they’re doing. I encourage you to join me on this journey and connect with these extraordinary founders to witness their contributions to the tech world.
Bebe Bitez – Allergenistic Solutions for Future Generations
Imagine a world that places prevention at the forefront of healthcare, right from the moment of birth. This is the world that Bebe Bitez is diligently working to bring to life. They are spearheading a revolution in infant nutrition, leveraging the power of data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to combat obesity, diabetes, and allergen sensitivities at their root.
Their groundbreaking platform, INAP (Intelligent Nutrition for Infants), stands as a beacon of innovation in infant nutrition. It uses the latest technology and extensive data to empower parents, healthcare professionals, and caregivers with personalized, data-driven solutions that put prevention and optimum health first.
“We believe that early intervention and proactive measures are key to safeguarding our children’s well-being.”
Nichola Buckley, Founder at Bebe Bitez
But Bebe Bitez’s ambition doesn’t stop at creating personalized nutrition plans. They firmly believe in the power of early intervention and proactive steps for the health of our children. The advanced AI and machine learning algorithms in INAP sift through a plethora of data – dietary preferences, genetic factors, and medical history, to detect potential risks early. Their goal is to provide early detection and eventually eliminate the threats of obesity, diabetes, and allergen sensitivities, thus reshaping the future of food-related diseases.
AAVAA – A New Way to Experience The World
AAVAA is a Montreal-based startup developing smart Bluetooth earphones, hearing aids, smart glasses, and headphones. Their groundbreaking technology tracks eye movement, brain activity, facial expressions, and head movement, enabling users to operate devices without using their hands or voice, but instead using only their attention and subtle commands. AAVAA’s technology has applications in augmented reality, virtual reality, and assistive technology markets.
“I grew up with Grandparents who were hearing aid users. And every time we were at the family gathering, my grandparents had a hard time hearing. They were frustrated that they wouldn’t participate in the conversation and they would stop using their devices.”
Naeem Komeilipoor, Founder at AAVAA
The initial goal of the project was to solve the “cocktail party problem” by enhancing desired sounds and suppressing distracting noises in noisy environments. AAVAA’s technology decodes auditory attention by understanding what sounds users are paying attention to, allowing for sound enhancement and source separation.
AAVAA’s technology is ready for commercialization in the assistive technology market to help people with mobility impairments, as well as in the consumer electronic market to turn regular Bluetooth earphones into brain-computer interface earphones.
Raised80s – Conscious Gifting and Branding with Purpose
Raised80s, a woman-owned corporate gifting company, is on a mission to break free from the ordinary and deliver unique, memorable gifts that make a statement. Founders are dedicated to providing unparalleled ethical solutions that align with their clients’ values and support diversity and inclusion initiatives. At this year’s Collision Conference, don’t miss the opportunity to meet the founders of Raised80s and discover an innovative approach to B2B corporate gifting.
“Say goodbye to single-use swag that ends up in the landfill – we’re here to streamline your gift solutions with cutting-edge technology, ensuring your gifting merch is both branded and unforgettable.”
Raised80s stands out for their commitment to championing small, diverse vendors who offer ethical gifts. Their extensive list of clients includes major banks, technology companies, and industry leaders such as Google, Capital One, RBC, and PWC, making them a reliable partner in the corporate gifting landscape.
Bidmii – Home Renovations Made Easy
Bidmii was born out of a combination of passion, necessity, and a deep desire to drive positive change in the home improvement industry. Co-founder Jon Christensen, with his background in restaurant development and extensive experience in renovating century homes, brought valuable insights into best-in-class operating procedures and the challenges faced by contractors and homeowners alike.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shut down of restaurants, Jon needed to pivot his career and find a new way to make a meaningful impact. This led him and the Bidmii team on a mission to revolutionize the home renovation sector. They identified long-standing issues such as stolen deposits, payment disputes, and inefficient processes prevalent in the traditional model. Bidmii was created as a response to these challenges, aiming to bring trust, transparency, and efficiency to every home improvement project.
Through the development of streamlined technologies and innovative solutions, Bidmii offers a platform that connects homeowners with community-vetted contractors and provides essential features like payment protection.
Their goal is to empower homeowners to make informed decisions, hire reliable contractors, and provide contractors with the opportunity to showcase their skills and win new projects.
With their relentless pursuit of positive change, the Bidmii team is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the industry. They are fostering a community where homeowners and contractors can thrive, creating a transformative platform that brings together the best of automation, trust, and efficiency. At the Collision conference, Bidmii stands as a shining example of a startup making a significant impact and reshaping the home improvement landscape.
Nowy – AI Travel Social and Planning app
Nowy harnesses AI and real-time data collectively to help travelers who struggle with taking a long time to plan their trips by searching and putting into a detailed trip plan. You only need to choose how many days you want to go, where & how to spend it, Nowy will show you a whole plan in JUST 1 minute with maps, routes, each place to visit and bookings all in one place, making it fun and easy to see the what your adventure will look like! Nowy also provides a virtual travel assistant to answer questions to tailored experiences and customized travel needs 7/24.
Planning a trip 30 years ago was a true challenge: thinking about a world without www, Google, navigation but merely a paper map. Even now in 2023, planning a trip still takes hours of research across days to finish. Online booking systems are generally still the same as 20 years ago – a fragmented process for each phase of planning and journeys.
“What if we let AI do all the leg work and create seamless travel experiences from inspiration to destination? We just focus on making memories and enjoying our experiences.
Now let’s go and don’t wait! – that’s the meaning and spirit behind the name Nowy.”
Branda Fan, Founder at Nowy
Nowy is also a global social hub with an incentive program for locals to be live recommenders and share their memories and experiences to inspire travelers.
DotsLive – Automating Talent Recruitment with Generative AI
DotsLive is a career development platform that automates talent recruitment. It also offers CRM tools for employers to build and manage relationships with schools and talents. The platform’s secret sauce is its personalized career assistant, DotsPal, powered by GPT4. This feature can help talents with most of their career-related questions and get recommendations for job postings. Employers can also tell DotsPal about their job postings, then get suggestions and feedback on talents.
The platform is being built because its founder and CEO, Anferny Chen, has seen the pain points firsthand from over ten years of working with career centers, employers, and students.
“Career centers want to help more students and connect with more companies, but it needs more staff and resources; employers always ask them to recommend talents and connect them with schools; students are often lost and need more timely help. That’s why DotsLive and DotsPal were built.”
Backbone – Email Strategy Automation Tool for DTC E-commerce Brands
Backbone helps DTC e-commerce brands to unlock the power of an email marketing team, at a fraction of the time & cost. It’s the first email strategy automation tool on the market that helps brands custom plan an email marketing calendar, recommend email flows, generate campaign ideas, and create custom email templates unique to each DTC brand.
“We’ve taken the years of experience & methodologies we’ve built and put it in software because DTC brands can’t afford to spend hours a week on email marketing to grow. Over the next 3-5 years, we see Backbone automating the job of an email marketer through machine-learning & AI including: strategy development, planning, idea generation, project management, email copy & design, reporting, analysis & A/B testing.”
Jess Chan, Co-founder at Backbone
After 7+ years in the DTC industry as an in-house Chief Marketing Officer and as the founder/CEO of Longplay, an email marketing agency that has generated $300M+ in revenue for DTC e-commerce brands.
We-Watch – Improve Safety & Accountability – one Neighbourhood at a time
We-Watch is the next generation of neighbourhood watch. Users can report an incident to the mobile phone app and other nearby users will be notified and promoted to upload pictures and videos of the incident anonymously. We-Watch helps Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) provide community safety support to their member businesses and their employees. BIAs are also armed with powerful statistics to have the data on exactly what is going on in their community.
We-Watch was started by Colin Rees after getting into a car accident. The police ruled the accident was 50/50 liability after there were no witnesses who stuck around to provide evidence of what actually happened on the road. Currently there is no easy way to share evidence with other people in a local and targeted way. We-Watch solves that issue in a way that respects privacy.
Immitracker – Immigration Application Tracker for Canada and Australia
Immitracker is an immigration application tracker and service marketplace for immigrants relocating to Canada and Australia. As the largest application tracker for both of these countries, this startup helps immigrants gain a better understanding of government processing times. Additionally, the company connects immigrants with service providers and offerings specifically tailored to their needs through their Canadian marketplace.
Nino Melikidze, Co-Founder at Immitracker
Immitracker was started by an immigrant and immigration consultant who clearly saw some of the main issues immigrants experience during their move to another country. In fact, one of the co-founders Nino used an earlier version of the platform for her own immigration process in Canada! The platform helped Nino navigate the immigration steps and processing times as she went through the process on her own.
Doormat – Making Real Estate Transactions Dead Simple
Doormat is a digital real estate legal service that supports Ontarian’s with their property closing needs. When you’re buying and selling a property in Ontario, you need a real estate lawyer but current solutions are confusing, inefficient, and expensive. With Doormat, clients get total transparency into their closing via a personalized dashboard, fair pricing, and a supportive real estate lawyer.
“We built Doormat because we personally experienced the pain of the property closing process when buying our own homes. We saw a huge opportunity to improve the experience with technology and by putting client needs front and centre in our build.”
Interested in learning more about real estate lawyers in Canada? Read this comprehensive guide by Doormat to learn more about property closing process and what real estate lawyers do for home buyers and sellers.
Folderly – AI-Powered Email Solution
Folderly is an AI-based email solution platform for maintaining email deliverability and increasing email marketing performance. The product established itself as a strong proponent in the industry as it helps businesses achieve over 50%-70% email open rate, thus making email marketing efforts more worthwhile and effective.
Folderly was the first who built new technology behind, trained AI, and reached a 99.9% inbox placement rate.
Vladislav Podolyako and Michael Maximoff, co-founders at Folderly
Folderly was launched in 2019. It all started when Folderly’s parent company, Belkins, encountered a problem that compromised their B2B lead generation service. There was an unexpected drop in Belkins email open rates from 60-80% to 10%. And it was critical for the team, as the company helps businesses acquire leads through cold email outreach. The problem is that cold emails have a higher chance of landing in the spam folder or even being banned by an ESP if not set up properly.
“I’ve started digging into what was going on and discovered there were lots of tech details one needed to configure before sending emails — domain settings, protocols, DNS records, etc. The question was – how to avoid the same pitfall in the future, so I summoned a team to resolve those issues and think of possible automation. You see the result: we trained AI and launched a new product.”
Vladyslav Podoliako, Founder at Belkins and Folderly
ClearCOGS – AI Operations for Modern Restaurants
ClearCOGS is the future of restaurant management, empowering businesses to make informed decisions, streamline processes, and achieve unparalleled operational excellence. By harnessing the incredible capabilities of AI and machine learning, ClearCOGS supports hundreds of restaurants with actionable insights and data-driven decision-making tools to optimize every facet of their operations.
ClearCOGS proprietary machine learning demand forecasting system powers answers to prep, ordering, inventory management, and labor allocation, driving 1%-3% improvement in our customer’s profit margins.
Osayanmo Osarenkhoe and Matt Wampler, co-founders at ClearCOGS
ClearCOGS recently announced its ‘Restaurant Copilot’, an AI-powered tool designed to assist restaurant operators by providing insightful, data-driven recommendations around the clock. Built on top of the ClearCOGS demand forecasting system, operators can ask complex questions about their operations, such as inventory status, best-selling items, and forecasted sales, receiving real-time responses. This technological advancement, acting like a digital operations manager, enables restaurants to enhance efficiency, minimize waste, and increase profitability through strategic, data-informed decision-making.
Many Seeds – A New Way to Support the Charities and Causes
Many Seeds is an app that lets you raise money for your favourite causes by watching quick ads right from your smartphone. Supporters pick up to three of their favourite charities and get to have an impact with each ad they watch, raising real money for those organizations. Charities get a new, free way to connect with supporters and a new revenue stream. Companies can advertise on a positive platform where they’re not interrupting to share their message and get a big brand boost from supporting the causes that matter most to each viewer.
Jordan Hambleton, founder at Many Seeds
Many Seeds was created from the idea that many small positive actions can add up to something great. It’s an easy way for everyone to do a little bit of good in their day for the causes that matter the most to them and watch that add up to have a great big impact!
myLaminin – Securely Sharing Sensitive Research Data
The World Economic Forum recently reported that the biggest target of cybersecurity attacks is sensitive research data in higher education/research organizations. myLaminin uses blockchain to securely manage and share these national assets to reduce the risks of data loss/breaches and operational inefficiencies for researchers, their teams, external collaborators, and their institutions.
myLaminin is designed to deliver trust networks for organizations to issue and share important documents as verifiable credentials leveraging the security and immutability of blockchain technology.
“When we were asked by a leading higher education research institution – one of Canada’s U15 – to apply our technology to research data management practices in response to growing security concerns and data privacy challenges, we felt it was a challenge of national and global significance and worthy of our best efforts.”
Ash Bassili, Founder at myLaminin
Moduluc – Build Your Own Metaverse World
Based in Toronto, Moduluc operates in the expanding field of metaverse technology. Their primary focus is the development of applications for the metaverse, allowing users to construct photorealistic, immersive environments. This startup aims to democratize the creation of metaverse experiences by offering user-friendly tools that facilitate high-quality design.
“The concept refers to the name – Moduluc, or modules, which are the building blocks of the Metaverse.”
Ehsan Salarikhaniki, Founder at Moduluc.
Moduluc holds the viewpoint that when intuitive design tools are made accessible to imaginative individuals, the metaverse can become a space filled with uniquely engaging experiences. Later this year, Moduluc plans to introduce a new application that is intended to make metaverse creation achievable for a broad audience.
Eros – Influencer Marketing Made Easy
In a bid to transform the influencer marketing landscape, Eros Influencer Marketing has launched an innovative two-sided software platform. Designed for both influencers and brands, it streamlines collaboration. Its unique dual-portal system enables brands to effortlessly design campaigns that populate onto a dynamic marketplace, in turn, providing an accessible platform for influencers to engage with these campaigns. Eros Influencer Marketing simplifies the traditionally long and convoluted process of influencer marketing, reducing it to a matter of minutes.
Drawing on over a decade of experience in freelance and corporate environments, the founder identified a significant gap in the industry – the scarcity of opportunities for those in the nascent stages of their influencer careers. This issue is especially pronounced in the influencer marketing sphere. While a select few influencers experience exponential growth and manage to monetize their passion, many nano-influencers, despite boasting higher engagement rates and demonstrable influence, find it challenging to secure partnerships with brands and events.
After working for over a decade as a freelancer and in traditional corporate settings, I noticed a glaring issue in the industry: the lack of opportunities for those just starting out.
Apostolos Toptsis, founder at Eros
Eros Influencer Marketing was conceived to address this discrepancy. It aims to assist budding content creators in realizing their potential by fostering meaningful relationships with brands. Catering not just to established figures, but also to nano-influencers, Eros provides a platform for talents waiting to be discovered to exhibit their capabilities through their content. Eros Influencer Marketing is therefore shifting the paradigm for nano-influencers worldwide.
HiredHippo – Interviews in a Click
After spending more than 10 years assisting startups and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in their growth from the early stages to reaching success, Adam Gillert, founder at HiredHippo, came to a realization. The job application process was far from ideal for both companies and candidates, and it hadn’t seen any significant improvements. Top candidates grew frustrated with having to repeatedly explain their job requirements when considering new opportunities. On the other hand, SMBs and startups wasted countless hours attracting and sourcing candidates from the wrong talent pool, resulting in slow hiring processes and, at times, making poor hiring decisions.
“To address these issues, we created HiredHippo—an exclusive hiring marketplace that brings together pre-vetted, high-potential candidates. Our platform ensures alignment between candidates and companies based on their interests and skills, making the hiring process incredibly easy. With just a click, both candidates and companies can arrange interviews, streamlining the entire process and saving valuable time for all parties involved.”
WiseSponsor – Find Your Perfect Sponsorship Match
WiseSponsor is the one-stop platform that simplifies the process of finding sponsors. It connects event hosts with a curated network of interested sponsors, providing a seamless way to manage sponsorship for both parties. The WiseSponsor platform acts as a dedicated marketing department specialized in sponsorships for small businesses or startups, connecting them with opportunities that generate brand awareness and promote their services. With WiseSponsor companies can find relevant events, workshops, and masterclasses in their industry that are seeking sponsors and leverage the platform to facilitate partnerships.
“Having been in the startup space for years, we understand the importance of reaching the right audience to present your products and services, especially in the early stages where “Trust” is crucial for building a reputable brand and growing your company. This is why we started WiseSponsor, with the aim of building the “Airbnb of Sponsorships” – a platform that would not only provide an additional stream of revenue for events but also create brand awareness and facilitate customer development based on trust for startups and small businesses.”
Arsalan Noroozzadeh and Khashayar Noroozzadeh, co-founders at WiseSponsor
Naborino – Build Local Community with Neighbours. Save When You Buy as a Group.
These days, we’ve somehow managed to find a way to connect with people thousands of miles away, yet we’ve lost touch with those living right next door. It’s a peculiar paradox, isn’t it? Well, Naborino is stepping up to bridge this gap!
Naborino is looking to cultivate a sense of community amongst neighbours living in apartment buildings and condos and empower them to save some hard-earned cash through collective purchasing.
Their Group Buying Marketplace offers exclusive deals, helping people save even more and discover products and services from local vendors. Once enough community members jump on a deal, everyone gets to enjoy a discount, and the goods are delivered right to your community. They’ve even got a virtual “Lobby” to keep people in the loop about all the happenings in the building, fostering a sense of unity.
Triage Tickets – Triage Github Tickets with AI
Triage Tickets was started by open-source founders who were frustrated with maintaining their repo. Users simply don’t have the time to crawl through old issues, wasting the core teams’ time by answering repetitive questions. Triage tickets uses AI to crawl through open and closed issues, as well as PRs, to instantly advise users on related issues to troubleshoot issues quicker.
Hippoc – Uncover Winning Ads in Advance
Hippoc is a leader in the field of neuroscience and AI technology for predictive ad performance. Their mission is to empower businesses to optimize their advertising strategies, improve conversion rates, and reduce customer acquisition costs. By leveraging cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience and advanced AI algorithms, Hippoc offers a unique solution that predicts ad creative performance before launch.
“Our proprietary technology analyzes key factors such as attention, memory recall, and cognitive impact to provide valuable insights into ad performance. By understanding what aspects of an ad attract attention, create lasting memory recall, and make a cognitive impact, businesses can optimize their ad campaigns for maximum effectiveness.”
Jean-Maxime Larouche and Kévin Combe, co-founders at Hippoc
AutoMetrics – Building the Machine Brain for Industrial Automation
AutoMetrics offers Inspection 4.0 system for industrial fabrication operations to enabling proactive quality monitoring to detect defect-prone deviations and enhance production efficiency and sustainability by replacing the traditional late defect detection. While offering Inspection 4.0 for welding as plug&play, the modular and sensor-agnostic platform enables custom applications and integrations to meet unique client needs. AutoMetrics serves a diverse spectrum of manufacturing industries backed by a strong track record in tier-1 automotive for welding and validated modules for plasma cutting and laser welding.
Mike Mohseni, Founder at AutoMetrics
Dwellcome – Onboarding Marketplace for Welcoming New Residents
Dwellcome is here to make the process of moving, relocating, or visiting a new community easier. It offers personalized recommendations based on the user’s lifestyle needs and interests. Users have complete control over their data and can choose what information to provide. Dwellcome uses AI to filter local data and provide customized recommendations that cater to specific requirements, such as accessibility needs and dietary restrictions. This ensures that users have the best experience possible.
“I experienced the challenges that come with moving and relocating firsthand, that’s why I built Dwellcome to help individuals adjust to new communities.”
Tom Pischel, founder at Dwellcome
I hope you have the chance to meet these incredible founders at the exhibition floor, along with many others. The full list of exhibiting startups can be found here. I also want to express my appreciation to the Collision Conference for organizing this event in the hometown of many Canadian startups. Let’s raise a glass to a future where technology continues to inspire, innovate, and most importantly, bring us closer together.