Canadian companies continue to be global innovators in the artificial intelligence fields.
In their annual global rankings of the top 100 most promising AI startups, CB Insights ranked eight Canadian companies among the list of startups from 13 countries. These Canadian companies are pushing boundaries in the focus areas of neo-biotechnology, quantum computing, AI model development, personalized learning, energy grid optimization, deep neural networks optimization, customer relationship management, and protein therapeutics.
The Canadian startups featured in the 2020 AI list cohort are:
Xanadu (quantum AI, Toronto)
Darwin AI (model development, Waterloo)
Cyclica (drug discovery platform, Toronto),
Deeplite (neural network optimization, Montreal)
Invenia (energy grid optimization, Winnipeg)
Integrate.ai (CRM, Toronto)
Korbit (personalized learning platform, Montreal)
ProteinQure (protein therapeutics, Toronto)
Globally, the 2020 cohort raised $7.4 B USD in funding across more than 300 deals in 2019. Canadian AI startups on the list raised $91 M USD (1.2% of total) in funding, of which the largest amounts raised were by Integrate.ai ($38 M) and Xanadu ($34 M). U.S.-based companies comprised 65% of the featured companies, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom, which tied with eight startups each.
Healthcare was the most represented industry for AI deal activity, followed by retail and warehousing and transportation.
The lowdown on AI firms in Canada
There are more than 650 active AI firms in Canada, and Toronto has the densest cluster of AI startups in the world. Numerous multi-national enterprises have established AI-specific R&D centers in Canada (almost all of them in Toronto). In the Canadian AI industry, more than 50,000 jobs were created since 2010 and more than 26,000 of which since 2015.
Canadian AI firms raised nearly $3 B in funding since 2010 ($2.8 B of which since 2015) that will support commercialization of AI and eventual economic value-add through domestic applications and service exports.
Canada is 2nd only to the U.S. in the number of higher education institutions offering AI-related majors, a boost to the national talent base. Since 2015, Canada has outperformed most nations in field-weighted citation impact of AI research publications as well as academic-corporate collaborations in AI, despite being less funded than the US, China, or Israel.
Canada’s pioneering fundamental research has spawned many of the essential open-source frameworks for AI, lowering the barriers to entry for start-ups. Researchers are ahead of the world in pushing AI out of narrow applications into more multi-domain and multi-context settings.
Canada excels at AI software, but risks lagging on innovative AI hardware. Without potent next generation hardware, next generation software breakthroughs will be a difficult challenge.
Read more insights about Canada’s AI ecosystem in our briefing deck here, which summarizes the results of our assessment of AI activity, performance, and impact over the past decade.