Canadian Innovation – Reflections on CIX2014

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The 2014 Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) was incredibly inspiring, and we were happy to be involved as partners for the event.

 We were in great company, among Canada’s top tech entrepreneurs, investors, leading companies, and industry partners. It was standing room only for many sessions, with over 500 attendees. The highlight of the day were 5 minute presentations from each of the CIX Top 20. These represented Canada’s hottest innovators, and they did not disappoint!

 

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Diverse Technologies: We were amazed by the diversity of the top 20 companies, representing a wide variety of industries such as: medical, manufacturing, energy, imaging, advertising, hospitality and financial. There was a recurring theme around driving actionable insights with big data and analytics, along with a focus on machine learning and the Internet of Things. It was great to see solutions for more mature industries such as utilities and construction, typically not associated with innovation.
  • Wearables = the new “it” thing: This comes as no surprise, but there was a lot of buzz about wearables, with 3 unique companies represented: InteraXon, MightyCast and VitalSines. Keep your eye out for more wearables and richer applications.
  • BIGGER and more established: The CIX panelists discussed how, compared to prior years, these top companies had already reached big milestones. Not only were we impressed at the innovation, but also the customer acquisition, metrics and go-to-market plans that are well underway. Refreshing that innovation is being measured by commercialization and not just technical invention!  WealthSimple, for example, is just 8-weeks old and already picking up a lot of traction for their disruptive investment management platform.
  • Waterloo representing: Alright, we are biased, but we loved hearing the overwhelming praise for Waterloo’s tech community – a reccurring theme throughout the day. Bridgit Inc, a local top 20 winner, represented well, pitching their mobile SaaS solution for managing deficiencies at construction sites.

The day was really about valuable one-on-one conversations and the partnerships, friendships and business opportunities that will continue to unfold after the event. Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner at iNovia Capital said it well, “It’s not about having a contact list, it’s about having relationships.”

Overall, there was great excitement for Canada’s growing tech community. It’s amazing what happens when you get that quality and quantity of talent and innovation in the same room. We’re looking forward to attending the event next year, and fully expect to be blown away!

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