In our day-to-day, we have the opportunity to meet and work with companies who know how to set themselves apart. We also have a real passion for entrepreneurship and we love to learn more about companies that innovate and excel.
As 2019 comes to an end, we wanted to share our love for 18 companies (big and small). Obviously, this list is very subjective and far from being based on a rigorous methodology. However, as an entrepreneur, it is always rewarding to see your work being recognized and appreciated by others.
And, that’s the whole purpose of this article. We simply want to share a few companies that deserve to be recognized for their unicity and hard work. Without further ado, here are the 18 companies that amazed us in 2019 (in no particular order).
1. Unscented Co.: A Sustainable Company
Our agency had the opportunity to collaborate with Unscented Co. when they were launching their new website, this year. Very quickly, they won us over with their amazing mission: offer natural and fragrance-free products while focusing on packaging designed to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle. In October, just after the launch of their new website, the B Corp company appeared on Dragon’s Den. We have witnessed a real enthusiasm among viewers for this brand that cares about the environment and the local community. Plus, the company just launched a brand new range of body products. What a year!
2. BMR: An Example of a Successful Digital Transformation
BMR, a hardware store from Québec, is on its way to a successful digital transformation. It is not easy for retailers to compete with Amazon and Wal-Mart. The BMR team has reinvented its omnichannel business by developing its Web platform while offering unparalleled in-store service. We also loved their initiative to open La Shop, an urban version of their hardware store in Montreal’s Griffintown district. Without a doubt, BMR’s team knows how to meet the needs of its target customers!
3. OnCrawl: The Best Search Engine Software in the United States
We couldn’t write this list without mentioning the SEO tool OnCrawl. The company was founded in France, but their first Montreal office opened in the last few years. OnCrawl is a powerful SEO tool, extremely useful when auditing websites. Don’t just take our word for it, OnCrawl won the “Best Search Software Tool” at the U.S. Search Awards 2019. Well done!
4. Panache Ventures: Supporting Local Start-ups from the Beginning
Panache Ventures is a Montreal-based company that finances startups across Canada. Since 2018, this venture capital has helped 52 Canadian startups grow their businesses. Investing in companies that are just starting out is risky, but Panache Ventures seems to attract success. The company raised $58 million in inaugural funds, exceeding its initial target by $40 million.
5. Classcraft: Motivating Students Through Gamification
Classcraft, a video game company from Sherbrooke, is going after the international market. With more than 7 million followers in 75 countries, Classcraft is a perfect example of a company that knows how to meet consumers’ needs. This fun and engaging game makes it easier to manage classes, promotes mutual support and increases student motivation. Their last round of funding allowed them to raise $10 million to invest in artificial intelligence. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this innovative company.
6. Staples: Reinventing Their Stores by Following Consumer Trends
Staples experienced stagnant growth in recent years, so they decided to invest in a new shopping experience inspired by the world’s best retailers such as IKEA and Apple. Our favorite part: the new stores, completely redesigned and much more user-friendly. They include conference rooms where customers can attend conferences, training sessions and even video game events. What a great innovative way to attract customers to their brick-and-mortar store!
7. SOLIOS: Sustainable Solar Watches Designed in Quebec
It takes a lot of guts to launch a brand in the hyper-competitive watch market. By creating a solar watch with a minimalist look, SOLIOS was able to quickly stand out from their competitors. In fact, Solios raised a total of $120,000 in pre-launch funds, crushing their initial $25,000 target. In addition to offering a very high-quality product, the Montreal-based company is committed to making a positive change: the brand promotes sustainable fashion with style.
8. Cookit: The Meal Kit Delivery Service that Keeps on Growing
We have always loved Cook It’s desire to reduce food waste and offer game-changing environmentally-friendly packaging. And, 2019 was a big year for the Montréal-founded company. In early December 2019, Cook It announced the recent acquisition of their rival company, Miss Fresh. This transaction is part of the company’s ambitious growth plan. After the recent changes, the meal kit delivery service instantly doubled its size and forecasted sales of $100 million in 18 months. What a great success!
9. Breathe Life: Reinventing a Market that Has Remained Unchanged for 100 years
Life insurance is an essential investment, but it is certainly not very glamorous. The Montreal-based company, BreatheLife, is successfully modernizing the way insurance is sold through a simple, user-friendly, online platform. Major Québec financial companies are already using the platform and BreatheLife plans to enter the international market in the upcoming years. We can’t wait to see their next accomplishment!
10. TUX: A Creative and Collaborative Agency
We are very lucky to collaborate with the creative agency, TUX, on several projects. Their creativity, professionalism, and determination to create unique pieces of content is very inspiring. We also wanted to acknowledge their recent B Corp certification, awarded to companies that meet the highest standards in terms of social and environmental performance, transparency and legal responsibility. Good job!
11. Smart Reno: A Leader in the Renovation Industry
Our digital agency has been working with Smart Reno for years, but this platform continues to amaze us. Smart Reno connects owners and contractors and allows users to compare offers for renovation projects. The Montreal-based company quickly became a leader in its market. In fact, the platform was acquired by RBC Venture in May 2019. This investment will allow Smart Reno to expand its activities on a larger scale and improve the user experience on its platform. We look forward to seeing these upgrades!
12. Dashthis: Simple and Effective Digital Reports
Dashthis offers an automatic reporting solution for digital marketers and businesses. Their dashboards are visually appealing, customizable, easy to understand and straight to the point. Plus, based on our experience, the company, based in Quebec City, offers unparalleled customer service. This year, Dashthis ranked No. 64 on the Growth 500 list with a 1382% 5-year revenue growth. Wow!
13. Mylo: Small Investments, Big Success
Mylo offers a simple application based on an amazing concept. Each time a user makes a purchase, the application rounds up the amount and invests the difference. For example, if you pay $3.25 for a coffee, 75 cents will be invested in your Mylo account. Isn’t that great? This ingenious way of doing things allows millennials to create an emergency fund easily. Since its launch in 2017, more than 400,000 Canadians have used the application and, in 2019, Mylo received $10 million in additional funding to expand its activities. In addition to all this, their COO, Jennifer McDonald was named one of the Top 50 Women in Fintech and their CEO, Philip Barrar, was a finalist for the EY “Entrepreneur of the Year awards”. What a year!
14. Coveo: Innovating to Stand Out
Since 2005, Coveo, a Quebec company specializing in artificial intelligence, has been offering a solution that helps its customers in their data search and in the customization of their services. In 2019, Coveo’s value exceeded $1 billion (!) following a major investment of $227 million in new capital. Obviously, this accelerated growth is very impressive, but what inspires us most about this Quebec company is their desire to innovate and push the boundaries of artificial intelligence.
15. Émard Couvre-Plancher: 60 Years to Celebrate!
Congrats to Émard Couvre-Plancher’s team for celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2019. Over the years, the family-owned business has been innovating to stay ahead of the curve. Moreover, Émard Couvre-Plancher stands out from its competitors thanks to its state-of-the-art and 100% automated tools. In addition, 2020 bodes well for the SMB: they’ll launch their new e-commerce store. We are very excited to see the impact this new platform will have on the company’s growth… to be continued!
16. Polysleep: Thinking Outside the Box Pays Off!
Polysleep develops and manufactures memory foam mattresses delivered in a box. Their exceptional quality and their very competitive prices set them apart from the competition. After working with Polysleep for a while now, we’ve noticed their desire to try out new things and think outside the box (we are not the only one noticing, Shopify also mentions their creativity in this article). In addition, during the 2019 holiday season, Polysleep decided to open an ephemeral boutique in downtown Montreal. Another original way to present their products to potential customers while reducing the risks associated with purchasing. We love these kinds of initiatives!
17. Clearbanc: Affordable Growth Capital for Online Brands
Clearbanc is a Toronto-based company founded by Andrew D’ Souza and Michele Romanow, of CBC’s “Dragons’ Den. Since 2015, the company has been helping startups finance their marketing activities, such as advertising on Facebook and Google, in exchange for a share of their revenue. This funding allows startups to focus on the development of their products while still being able to promote their business online. In addition to helping startups reach their goals, Clearbanc uses artificial intelligence to quickly determine the potential of an investment, therefore, taking the bias out of their investment decisions.
18. Fiix Software: An Asset to Digital Transformation
Since 2008, Fiix, a Toronto-based company, has been offering software that revolutionizes the way companies plan, organize and monitor their maintenance processes. This computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is easy to use and allows brands to know, in real-time, who is working on what and who is managing inventories. Just in 2019, Fiix was ranked on Deloitte’s Fast 50 and Fast 500 lists, the Globe and Mail’s Canada’s Top Growing Companies and the Growth 500. Wow! Seeing a successful SAAS company changing an industry where digital transformation is very complex and difficult is very impressive. Good job!
Quebec and Ontario: Inspiring Markets
Quebec and Ontario are overcrowded with passionate and inspiring SMBs, our list could have gone on and on. We’d love to know which companies really stood out for you this year? Let us know in the comments below!
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