CLASS OF 2020
BUSINESS AS... VIRTUAL
At NEXT, we uncover Canada’s next generation of entrepreneurs and accelerate their trajectory with access to education, mentorship and funding. And 2020 is no different… with one exception. Just one week before our programs were scheduled to begin, we made the decision to close our (physical) doors due to COVID-19. Less than 24 hours later, NEXT was mobilizing our faculty, mentors and team to deliver our first fully virtual program.
While we miss having the opportunity to connect with our entrepreneurs face-to-face, we’ve been blown away by their resiliency, hard work and dedication to building their ventures.
Read on to discover our Class of 2020 or jump to meet our ventures
Our 2020 entrepreneurs are tackling global problems in industries including:
BY THE NUMBERS
% of Ventures with at Least One Female Founder
MEET THE ENTREPRENEURS
Co-founders: Zahra Zangenehmadar, Azadeh Dastmalchi
Program: Next AI – Montreal
VitalTracer’s smartwatch is focused on managing cardiovascular disease in the domain of personalized medicine. Their mission is to provide quality solutions to keep users alert and aware of their health at all times.
Co-founder: Natasha Dhayagude
Program: Next Founders
Chinova Bioworks has developed a natural preservative extracted from white button mushrooms for use in food and beverage products.
“The goal [with Moment] is to have a huge impact within Canada, throughout the world, and to help as many people as possible. And we didn’t really see a way of doing that without NEXT and that’s why we came here – to get your help and really kickstart and skyrocket us to the next level.”
Co-founder of Moment Technology Inc.
MEET THE 2020 VENTURES
Co-founder: Logan Underwood
Ad Auris is a machine text-to-speech tool for self-publishers. With their services publishers can unlock further value from their written content, and increase both distribution capabilities and value proposition to prospective subscribers.
Co-founder: Myra Arshad
ALT TEX creates B2B sustainable textile solutions for environmentally-conscious fashion designers and brands, through re-engineered post-industrial waste. By chemically converting landfill-destined paper waste, food waste and agricultural by-products, ALT TEX creates natural and semi-synthetic textiles, that are carbon-neutral, and biodegradable.
Co-founder: Jose David Gomez Zea
Arkangel Ai detects malaria in 3 seconds with AI for pharmaceutical companies in LATAM. Unlike other companies, their system detects the stage of infection, the type of malaria and it doesn’t require any hardware.
Co-founder: Aileen Agada
BeBlended is an online marketplace that connects black women with freelance hairstylists and tailored hair products. BeBlended’s SaaS platform provides scheduling and appointment management for hairstylists while facilitating hair product delivery.
Co-founders: Harrison Handley, Sanchit Gupta
Depth Technology provides critical environmental monitoring and management services to the deep-sea mining industry. Through a comprehensive and autonomous service, they ensure mining operations are compliant with international environmental regulations.
Co-founder: Cooper Midroni
Dubly is using state of the art machine learning technology to produce highly convincing localized versions of video content. This will allow movie and TV studios to expand the reach of their existing content to international audiences and increase their content viewership.
Co-founder: Disha Nayak
FeedmÏ believes that food has and will always be at the center of social experiences. FeedmÏ, the food app for the “young and hungry” focuses on creating the best social experiences around food via social group ordering, messaging, seamless bill-splitting and easy coordination.
Founder: Connor Wilson
At Pilot we help travellers live happier lives through shared experiences. We’re a social trip planner that removes the stress from group travel planning. By streamlining the trip-planning process we allow our users to focus on what matters most – making meaningful connections, discovering local culture, and empowering themselves through a love of travel.
Co-founder: Chipewyan McCrimmon
Faclc0n-X helps local landfills reduce their carbon emissions by providing an add on technology that captures, separates and purifies greenhouse gas emission.
Co-founders: Cole Powers, Ramin Shaikhi
IntelliCulture helps farms manage their equipment fleet with data analytics captured through IoT data loggers, enabling them to grow their farm into a sustainable and scalable business.
Co-founder: Mohammad Kamla
KitchCo is a low cost solution for chefs looking to commercialize their skills by helping them start their virtual restaurant.
Co-founders: Lauren Adolphe, Zoë Mitz
LifeLuxe is improving the quality of life and mental wellbeing for seniors. Their current product, FamilyJam, is a new and upcoming technology that enables family connection and engagement over the simplest means of communication — the telephone. Geared toward connecting seniors with loved ones, FamilyJam is the most universally inclusive platform for those who may not have access to the internet or know how to use smart technology. While piloting this technology with retirement homes, they are exploring delivering other content like games, news, and retirement home specific updates over land-line phones to seniors living in these communities.
Co-founder: David Lin
Lunavoy Inc. is disrupting the tourism space with its artificial intelligence powered online marketplace that personalizes touristic activities to each traveler’s profile and travelers among themselves. Essentially, we are a one-stop shop for millennial and gen z travelers to experience unique local travel activities in a group with other like-minded travelers at a discounted price.
Co-founder: Aaron Wanjala
Monolog is a service that allows users to create and edit websites with their voice. The user simply describes the next desired change in natural language and Monolog applies it, providing instant feedback.
Co-founder: Zainab Jangda
Playcoco is an employee discovery and management tool that helps enhance the work experience through effective relationship management. It works by matching employees based on their professional and personal interests and then provides a personal CRM for them to help remain connected.
Co-founders: Justin Larocque-Villiers, Kyle Handfield, Riyaz Khair
OutLaunch is a B2B marketplace that connects businesses with the talent needed to successfully bring a physical product to market. Their solution offers metrics and guidelines to help find the ideal contractor, as well as the tools needed to work with talent remotely.
Co-founders: Hannah Le, Montgomery Ngan
Ascend‘s mission is to help the world design better cities, faster. By providing mapping visualization and the auto-generation of architecturally sound buildings, they enable developers and architects to validate their land development opportunities in minutes – instead of days.
Co-founder: Sasha Ivanov
HandJam is a rhythm-based educational game that teaches players fundamental American Sign Language concepts on their phone. As players sign in front of the camera on their device, the subtleties in their body movements are analyzed by our app’s AI to provide encouraging feedback on their form. As HandJam grows, our mission is to build the world’s most accurate Sign Language translation model for improving human communication for all.
Co-founders: Alykhan Kara, Jason Wong
Shomigo is a social shopping platform that aggregates upcoming and established brands, keeps users up to date with the latest fashion trends and your friend’s activity, and allows users to interact with the Shomigo community.
Co-founders: Hamayal Choudhry, Matthew Ferreira
smartARM is democratizing bionic hands for upper limb amputees by using current advances in artificial intelligence and 3D printing to create an affordable and fully articulated prosthetic hand at less than 10x the cost of any competitor. smartARM uses cameras embedded in the palm to detect any object an amputee wishes to interact with and automatically determines the most appropriate grip pattern based on the object’s geometry.
Co-founder: Ian Saunders
Socialab is a self-development application that helps users train essential social skills such emotional intelligence, charisma, and nonverbal communication. Personalized training pathways are created using research-backed methods from industry experts, allowing users to develop their skills effectively in a comfortable environment.
Co-founder: Eve Staszczyszyn
WellnessWorld is a B2B SaaS venture creating digital wellness solutions for educational institutions. We are developing an online one-stop-wellness-shop that will support students in better navigating resources and services, while providing actionable data to institutions so they can optimize their existing mental health and wellness systems. Customers are university administration/student unions, and end users are students.
Next AI – Toronto
Co-founders: Bolis Ibrahim, Sagar Jaiswal
Argentum Electronics is building an intelligent direct current (DC) power distribution system that saves buildings up to 40% on their energy bills, using patented technology. Their power distribution system comes complete with a wireless multi-sensor network, power factor correction, and machine learning based building automation software.
Blue Lion Labs
Co-founders: Jason Deglint, Katie Thomas
Blue Lion Labs believes everyone deserves to know what is in their water. They are developing an AI system to rapidly identify microorganisms in water helping managers to better safeguard water resources.
Co-founders: Louis Vainqueur, Patrice David Saha, Min Zou
Credib.AI automatically detects and extracts predictions from online and local sources and evaluate their credibility to improve decision making.
Deep Biologics Inc.
Co-founders: Mina Kaviani, Shraddha Dubey, Mostafa Nategh
Deep Biologics specializes in AI enhanced discovery of biologics to fast track therapeutic and diagnostic product development in areas of unmet need. They provide end to end solutions, not only part of the solution, with the thoroughness and speed that can be empowered only by AI.
Co-founders: Amir Hoss , Mojtaba Hajihasani
EAIGLE is a computer vision and AI solution for data-driven facility operations through real-time occupancy monitoring. EAIGLE utilized its AI platform to measure body temperature non-intrusively to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Co-founders: Arjun Mali, Bin Liu
iMerciv leverages crowd sourcing and AI to empower pedestrians with personalized navigation and actionable data in real time for safe, accessible and convenient trips. With the help of fellow pedestrians, get the best routes for YOU, with MapinHood – The New Navigation App for People, not Cars.
Co-founders: Zach McMahon, Aaron Labbé
LUCID is an AI-Music Therapy company building products that increase access to effective and safe methods for improving mental health and wellness. Their first product VIBE is for young adults suffering from moderate to severe stress and anxiety who want a fun and personalized alternative for maintaining their mental health.
Co-founders: Jennifer Arnold, Damian Tran
MinervaAI predicts who poses money laundering and terrorist financing risk to banks. They provide automated, accurate and audit-proof AML investigations at a fraction of the cost of compliance.
Co-founders: Rafael Libardi, Vinicius Santos
NoLeak Defence applies video analytics intelligence to identify, predict and prevent criminal behaviours. Their leading gait recognition technology can identify any person by their body movement without requiring a visible face.
Co-founders: Alannah O Neill, Erik Peterson
Origami XR is a cloud computing tool that makes it easy to create and share volumetric augmented and virtual reality experiences. As the first truly scalable spatial computing workflow, they enable the future of remote work for 3D professionals.
Co-founders: Patricia Thaine, Pieter Luitjens
Private AI simplifies privacy regulation compliance through on-device text, image, and video anonymization. Making it easy to maintain customer trust through seamless private data storage and cloud processing.
Co-founders: Rashmi Bhambhani, Siddharth Bhambhani
Summatti makes EVERY customer interaction count by analyzing 100% of customer interactions and giving you unique consumer insights while saving time and money.
Co-founders: Tobias Martens, Sven Krueger
WhoElse.ai develops vendor agnostic standards for natural language processing and conversational AI. In pilots/POC they work with telcos and OEMs (e.g. automotive industry, fintech) to set-up ISO standards for AI interoperability.
Next AI – Montreal
Co-founders: Aakarsh Shekhar, Hisham Hawara
7Square helps real estate investment companies find low risk investments by finding appreciating properties. The platform finds undervalued real estate properties that are primed for high growth by leveraging various sources of data, such as traditional past sales, urban data and satellite imaging with finely tuned state-of-the-art predictor models.
Co-founders: Amanda Arciero, Pape Wade
Airudi combines human resources (HR) knowledge, artificial intelligence and machine learning expertise to create an augmented HR function, obtain efficacy gains and help organizations reach their full potential. Their solution, PAM, is a virtual assistant that follows companies in their decision-making and is capable of having intelligent conversations with a human concerning all HR-related subjects.
Altius Analytics Labs Inc.
Co-founders: Abdelhamid El Bably, Benjamin Lee
Workplace injuries are a $54 Billion dollar economic burden. Altius Analytics Labs helps workplaces enhance the efficiency and efficacy of their injury prevention programs. Our proprietary software analyzes job task performance, identifies injury risks and trains workers to adopt safer work habits using objective data on 3D human motion by simply filming with a smartphone camera.
Co-founders: Alexandre Vanier, Mathieu Plante
B2B Quotes is a web platform helping businesses get in touch with the most relevant providers for their business needs such as web and marketing. B2B Quotes qualify and curate both parties with the help of a matching algorithm in order to ensure the quality of every referral.
Co-founder: Muhammad Sohail
Drug target discovery and development of therapeutic approaches is a time-consuming and costly process. Intelligent transcriptomics data analysis tools can accelerate biological data analysis by detecting aberrant RNA processing events involved in pathogenesis. BioBenchAI is developing machine learning-based tools to accelerate biological data analyses for the development of therapies and to support therapeutic modulation of RNA splicing.
Co-founder: Matthieu Darracq
Brainalytics is developing an AI-powered software that easily integrates in existing wearable hardware and infrastructure. The solution provides health insurance companies with predictive tools to prevent workplace related health hazards, thus protecting employees, ensuring continued productivity and cutting down on premium cost. The first market being tackled is viral infection detection to protect people at risk of COVID-19, detect asymptomatic cases, and ensure a healthy workforce can get back to the office when the time is right.
Co-founder: Amin Zavieh
Although data collection has become easier for road and land surveyors, huge amounts of data must be processed for each project. The data processing is done manually, draining cost and time. DEFINITECHS provides a solution for surveyors to help them save money by automating the data processing using its AI-powered platform.
Élite Neurokinetix Inc.
Co-founders: Michael Tola Denis, Pamela Champagne, Vincent DiStefano
To reduce high rates of head injury, football needs a proactive solution to injury prevention at all levels of play. Elite Neurokinetix offers a data-driven approach to football safety by combining neuroscience, movement analysis, and artificial intelligence. Through their unparalleled passion for science and football, the founders give all players and coaches the tools they need to improve athletic performance and safety on the football field.
Co-founders: Amir Sharif, Zahra Yousefli
ExtergyAI offers an AI-Based Building Energy Optimization Tool for energy advisors intended to provide a detailed energy assessment in a split second while maintaining the accuracy. Unlike the current building energy models, which are very expensive and complex, ExtergyAI provides the results of a detailed model using its trained brain.
Co-founders: Yacine Mahdid, Felix Belisle
GRAD4 is a management digital assistant for your supply chain. It helps buyer and supplier to take the right decision by providing insightful information. GRAD4 addresses the growing complexities of the manufacturing industry.
Co-founders: Dominic Morin-Proulx, Samy Zarour, Matthieu Clas
HookMotion leverages existing security cameras in casinos in order to detect every event occurring on gaming tables. Thanks to their computer vision software, they know in real-time what cards are played, who won, who lost and if someone cheated. They also expose all this digitized data to casinos so it can be used in their operations. Casinos have a pressing need to collect this data, as they are only collecting a tiny fraction of it by hand.
Co-founder: Charles Lesieur
iagree AI helps consumers understand the infamous Terms & Conditions that they are forced to accept to access many online services. Our ML algorithm reads these endless pages of legalese and red-flags them so consumers can make better decisions regarding their personal data and avoid non-obvious financial penalties.
Co-founder: Selcuk Guven
LinguAI aims to detect speech and language disorders in children accurately and also rapidly. These developmental disorders are persistent conditions and affect around 15% of children all around the world. Their solution uses cutting-edge speech recognition that is sufficiently accurate in disordered speech and it also uses a deep learning algorithm for detailed error analysis which is applied to children’s speech samples.
Co-founders: Katrina Albert, Vincent Lachance
Lux specializes in the design, manufacturing and operation of atmospheric satellites for Earth observation. Lux leverages its unique data sets from satellites to build an online platform where its high-res. imagery can be stored and enables any external software company to build impactful decision-making tools for civil and defence organizations.
Co-founders: Hoang Ngo, Edward Ko
Mely.ai uses artificial intelligence to automate repetitive processes and tasks for project managers, allowing them to be more effective in their daily operations and having more time for their clients and stakeholders. Through their innovative platform, they allow companies to deliver more projects successfully, to satisfy and to win more businesses from clients.
Co-founders: Boris But, Zeyu Li
Mixonset is the best music app to discover, DJ, and dance! Just tap ‘smart mix’ and their AI will automatically beat-match your playlists, transition between songs smoothly, and discover your next favourite song.
Co-founder: Kashif Khan
PLAKK harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to improve how patients are diagnosed with atherosclerosis, the leading cause of death and disability in the world today. They aim to equip researchers and clinicians with a diagnostic tool that will improve clinical decision making by providing a more comprehensive profile of the atherosclerotic plaque. By creating a more accurate method of diagnosis, they can prevent heart attacks and strokes from happening in the future.
Co-founders: Mehrdad Mir Shafiei, Farshad Mirshafiei
Sensequake is revolutionizing structural engineering by combining vibration sensors, AI, and IoT platform to help engineers designing reliable and cost-efficient structures.
Co-founders: Armstrong Murira, Nardin Nakhla
Simmunome builds AI-driven computational disease models for use in simulation of clinical trial outcomes. Their platform focuses on the accuracy of the biological target rather than drug-molecule optimization. Using this approach, clinical researchers can therefore identify clinical efficacy in the pre-clinical stage and avoid costly losses due to late-stage failure of clinical trials.
Co-founders: Julien Roy, Jean-Christophe Roy, Steven Fandroana
Sparkbay helps managers and HRs predict and prevent employee turnover. It uses continuous employee feedback and employment data to understand segments at risk of leaving. It generates data-driven solutions for critical issues.
Co-founder: Stéphanie Bouchard
Stockholm Syndrome.AI implements game AI systems for client studios. Their R&D Branch is building a tool (Synthetic Souls) that allows clients to use ML to build these systems themselves without hiring costly AI expertise. They aim for this technology to unlock new types of gameplay that redefines the video game industry forever.
Co-founders: Olivier Tastet, Elise Tastet
Tastet is the number 1 interactive guide of the best local eats and drinks in Montreal with over 2M readers per year. To best serve their ambition to match the right consumer with the right establishment at all times and in all the top foodie cities of the world, they are building an AI-powered recommendation engine.
Co-founders: Mathieu Gratton Leclaire, Olivier Brassard, Benjamin Marquis
Tooly is a software recommendation system, that helps businesses scale by matching them with the most reliable, suitable and secure tools. Tooly is the intelligent decision support driving you forward.
Co-founders: Ege Karabuk, Chad Sarrouf
Tote is a mobile marketplace that aims to provide an efficient and pleasurable shopping experience by narrowcasting products based on users’ individual tastes. Tote utilizes its capability to predict the attributes that make a clothing desirable to consumers, to sell actionable product insights to the merchants.
Co-founders: Zahra Zangenehmadar, Azadeh Dastmalchi
VitalTracer is focused on managing cardiovascular disease in the domain of personalized medicine. Their smartwatch continuously monitors vital signs such as blood pressure and oxygen saturation and is able to provide health assessment reports for high-risk individuals. Their mission is to provide quality solutions to keep users alert and aware of their health at all times.
Co-founder: Jayiesh Singh
Able Innovations‘ automated patient transfer technology makes transfers effortless, safe and dignified. Today, they are developing technology to conduct transfers in hospitals, tomorrow their technology will assist in helping individuals age at home.
Co-founder: Mikayla Wujec
alder apparel is an e-commerce, direct to consumer line of outdoor apparel designed for women. alder’s core differentiators are inclusive sizing (XS – 4X, double the size range of typical outdoor and athletic apparel brands) and female focused design, sustainable and ethical production and a playful brand that starkly contrasts the performance-driven, hard-core athletic brands that currently dominate the outdoor space.
Co-founder: Trung Pham
AXIS creates devices to motorize existing installed window shades and automate them to improve comfort and energy efficiency. Once installed, users can control and schedule their shades via a mobile app, on-the-device, or integrate with leading home and building automation platforms.
Co-founder: James Rockwood
CapIntel is an investment sales platform used by hundreds of financial advisors and asset management sales teams. CapIntel’s platform combines investment analytics with online collaboration tools to make it easier for asset managers to work with advisors, and advisors to work with retail clients.
Co-founders: Daniel Moll, Marissa Vettoretti
EarthSuds offers single-use dissolvable tablets of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash to replace the millions of plastic toiletry bottles sent to landfills every year. Beyond environmental benefits, their tablets are convenient to take with you on-the-go and they’re made from top quality ingredients that moisturize your hair and skin.
Co-founder: Kristi Soomer
Many women are frustrated by having to sacrifice what they really want when shopping for clothes — whether that’s swapping style for comfort or sustainability for convenience. Encircled is a direct-to-consumer brand that gives customers a wardrobe that does it all. You’ll feel confident in clothing that is stylish, sustainable, comfortable and ethical — you won’t have to sacrifice anymore. Proudly a certified B Corporation and 100% Made in Canada.
Co-founder: Effie Anolik
Epilog builds digital products to simplify the death of loved ones through online funeral planning and estate management. Their products include a marketplace for families to purchase everything they need to plan a funeral and close accounts.
Co-founder: Jesse Abrams
Homewise automates the mortgage process online, enabling clients to apply in minutes to get the best mortgage from over 30 banks and lenders. Homewise’s data intelligence technologies power a tailored experience that is a faster, easier and more transparent process to help Canadians save time and money when securing their home financing.
Co-founder: Anik Seth
HUEX is building AiDA, the Automated Intelligent Digital Assistant. AiDA is a voice enabled digital assistant that helps businesses handle customer conversations in live industry environments to assist in tasks such as order taking, inquiries or requests all in a human-like manner to create an unparalleled guest experience.
Co-founder: Kristy Ehman
Hyon is enabling communities to better manage the influx of used goods that are surfacing as a result of COVID-19. People are home going through their closets and garages, community donation bins are overflowing (in our cities they’ve asked people to stop donating household items and clothing). There is a massive opportunity here for active power-sellers on existing buy and sell marketplaces to help keep items in circulation. This not only reduces items in landfills, it will also help to put cash in the pockets of individuals who need it most through this crisis.
Co-founder: Mohamad Sawwaf
Manzil offers fully compliant financial products including mortgages and investment opportunities that are locally structured and available to Muslim Canadian’s who are looking to build wealth and assets. At a time when financial health is at the forefront of Canadian’s minds, the Manzil team is ensuring that financial advice and opportunity is ethically available for all.
Co-founder: Ashkan Beigi
Qoherent is a software company that will change how new wireless technologies are made. They are building a platform for communications engineers to rapidly design, prototype, and deploy solutions for RF communications problems with the power of machine learning and quantum computing.
Co-founder: Carl Pigeon
Ribbit is building software to replace commercial pilots and creating the world’s first pilot less airline.
Co-founders: Pooya Saberi, Roozbeh Safavieh
Sensoreal has developed a microfluidic device that was successfully commissioned at the International Space Station. They made Canada the first country to do rapid POC blood tests in space, and now, they are building the next generation diagnostics here on earth!
Co-founder: Viler Lika
SingleKey takes the stress out of renting. They offer a Rent Guarantee program to secure rental income, even when tenants are unable to pay; and a Tenant Credit & Background Check to help landlords find the right tenant.
Co-founder: Karen Wong
TakuLabs is moving retail chain stores to the cloud. TAKU is the only retail platform that allows multi-location merchants to sell offline and online seamlessly with a single view of data across their entire business.