Canada is known worldwide for our kindness, maple syrup, and bacon – but, as our tech expert Avery Swartz wants to show us, we’re making an even bigger international splash than you think. Canada is home to innovative tech companies that you use all the time, probably without even knowing that they hail from your home country.
Check out these five tech companies that will make you even prouder to be Canadian, and see just how much work we’re doing on a global scale!
Slack is a communication and collaboration tool for teams that features chat rooms (called “channels”) organized by topic, plus private groups and direct messaging. Versatile and user-friendly, Slack can be used to share files and integrates with over 150 other tools that teams use. With over 10 million daily active users, Slack has replaced email for many modern workspaces.
Founded by Stewart Butterfield (a Canadian from Vancouver), who was also one of the original founders of the photo sharing platform Flickr, Slack is now headquartered in San Francisco, but it was originally Canadian. It has already raised $1.4 billion USD from investors, and went public on June 20, trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
You’ve probably seen this one around, or even used it yourself. Ritual is an “order ahead and pickup” app that allows you to get take-out from local restaurants and coffee shops, and skip the line when you arrive to pick it up. It’s very popular with office workers making regular coffee and lunch runs, and allows users to collect loyalty points on the platform. Users can also utilize their “piggyback” function, where team members can combine multiple orders, so one person can pick up for everyone all at once.
Headquartered in Toronto, Ritual has already expanded to cities across Canada and the United States. They recently added Sydney, Australia and London, England to its operations. By the end of 2019, Ritual will be in 40 cities worldwide, featuring over 2500 restaurants and coffee shops to order from.
Focals by north
Okay, this one is super cool, and you may have never heard of it. Focals by North are smart glasses with a holographic display that only you can see. Focals allow you to receive (and respond to) text messages, see turn-by-turn directions, and check your calendar and reminders. They come with a ring-shaped controller, called a Loop, that you wear on your finger, and has a tiny joystick that you use to interact with the glasses’ display. Focals with clear lenses are $599 USD, or select prescription lenses for an extra $200.
The team behind Focals by North are based in Kitchener, Ontario and this is not their first foray into high tech wearables – North used to be known as Thalmic Labs, and they made Myo: an innovative armband that detected electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer or smartphone.
Wave is a Toronto-based company making accounting, invoicing, payroll and payments software for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Founded in 2009, it first became popular by offering some aspects of their accounting and invoicing software for free. In the 10 years since, Wave has grown a customer base of over 3 million and has attracted the attention of some big names. Earlier this month, Wave was acquired by tax company H&R Block for $537 million.
Wave will continue to operate independently within H&R Block, with the leadership team in Toronto.
Headquartered in Toronto, Wattpad is a storytelling platform where anyone can be a writer, sharing their original stories and connecting directly with their readers. With over 70 million people on the platform around the world, writers can establish a global fanbase. Wattpad has formed partnerships with publishing houses and film studios to help authors – for example, the Hollywood movie After started as a story on Wattpad, where writer Anna Todd has received over a billion reads on the platform and secured publishing and movie deals. Wattpad has even attracted famous authors such as Margaret Atwood, who is active on the platform.