Sometimes referred to as “Chicago of the North”, Winnipeg is typically not the first Canadian city that comes to mind when it comes to technological innovation. But this may not be the case for long.
A myriad of innovative tech startups have been popping up in the Manitoban capital over the past few years, with several showing quite a bit of promise for further growth. Here is a list of the top 11 tech startups from Winnipeg worth checking out this year.
Lumo Interactive is paving the way for dynamic, real-world marketing programs powered by the creative use of interactive displays. Because these displays are interactive, the technology can be applied to a variety of applications: from storefront ads that respond to passersby to catch their fleeting attention to easily programmable floor games for children.
Many of us can think back to our school days and remember that one field trip where we could have sworn we had our permission slip in our backpack, when it was sadly left on the kitchen counter that morning. Permission Click is striving to make sure no child ever had to go through that experience again, providing digital permission slips and payment collection services for schools. Slips are simply created using provided templates or pre-existing forms, reviewed by admins, and sent to parents for approval. Any payments can handled online, instantly— saving both trees and time.
Some tweets are virtually ignored, while others explode with retweets for some mysterious reason. Bloatr takes advantage of your most successful tweets by selectively favoriting other users’ tweets that follow a similar pattern, greatly increasing engagement. The service separates itself from crude spam bots by requiring users to personally approve each tweet before being scheduled to be favorited.
AdVolve Media is putting excitement into pubic washrooms with its attention-grabbing Mirage Mirrors. These mirrors, custom-designed to match the look/aesthetic of any venue washroom, display crystal-clear animated images and text where patrons’ eyes are most likely focused. AdVolve Media emphasises the way these messages and ads can be styled in such a way that the viewer pictures themselves with the brand itself, since they’ll be seeing their face right next to it. They also provide an online-based metrics platform to review results and maximize investment returns.
Umbrela (spelled with one “l”) is introducing the concept of the Smart Home by replacing ordinary light switches with interactive LED touchscreens which control a multitude of professionally-installed programs and features. Some of its abilities include day and night cameras, noise cancelling microphones, motion sensors and multiple communication technologies. Lighting can be automatically adjusted depending on the time of day, and the system can even “simulate your presence” when you are away from home, turning on lights and music at certain intervals to deter against potential break-ins.
IQmetrix is a centralized commerce platform, combining various forms of technology to provide real-time metrics for retail stores. Focusing on creating an inviting user experience, IQmetrix’s point of sale system becomes integrated with CRM, inventory, reporting, metrics and accounting. Through the placement of large digital touchscreens in store aisles, their “endless aisle” feature blends together the absorbing experience of in-store shopping with the unparalleled selection of online marketplaces.
One of Neovation’s flagship services is BinaryCanary, a website monitoring service that sends alerts you if your domain goes down for any reason. Named after the domestic canaries that detected deadly gas in coal mines, this virtual bird checks your website for connectivity once a minute, totalling nearly 1500 checks per day. The service monitors websites, email, servers and routers, and—because it’s cloud-based—can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Dota 2 is one of the most popular online video games out right now; BecomeTheGamer has created a service that synthesises the game’s myriad of statistics to give players a powerful edge. Specifically, the app helps players decide the best characters or “heroes” for their team to combat their opponents’ selections. Average advantages over enemy heroes are displayed in percentage values and a “synergy” percentage indicates how well a hero works with the other characters on their team.
Sometimes you don’t have a helpful co-pilot and trusty smartphone to let you know about incoming speed traps and red light cameras. TrapTap is a small, puck-shaped device that sits on your dash and warns you of upcoming hazards by flashing different colours. School zones and red light camera locations are pre-programmed into the device and speed trap locations are crowdsourced dynamically.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revolutionized the medical industry, giving doctors and professionals clear pictures of the inner-workings of the body without the need for invasive procedures. Cubresa’s Positron Emission Tomography (PET) technology augments MRI systems with the ability to perform precise molecular imaging subjects. With PET, the clinical data obtained by the MRI remains perfectly intact, with the added bonus of being able to observe metabolic processes on the cellular level without affecting the MRI’s performance.
Robots are becoming increasingly ubiquitous—in response, Cogmation is aiming to make the design and application of robots more accessible to everyone. The firm has developed software for designing, controlling, and simulating robotic creations in a virtual environment. Cogmation is geared towards educators, students, game developers, programmers, and others actively involved in this growing area of the technology sector.
Manitoba’s technology sector may tend to fly under the radar a lot of the time, but the offerings of regional upstarts are just as robust as those of its other Canadian counterparts. And as Winnipeg’s startups continue to reinvent and grow, the wintery city may be on the cusp of global prominence.