Over the last few weeks I have had a number of people approach me asking about what is going on in Waterloo’s startup scene and who they should be watching. It is a bit of a complicated question to answer and I am sure to leave some folks off the list but here are the startups I think are going to shine in 2012 and have a presence in the Waterloo Region.
The 100+ employee company that is going to blow everyone away:
- Desire2Learn (D2L) – If you heard the story of D2L from John Baker you would have heard the howto in creating a great company. Lots of hard work, a little luck, and some bold moves gives this company the position it has today. Technology in education is a hot market and these folks are poised to take the leadership spot in a space where the leader, Blackboard, sold for $1.64 Billion in July of this year. D2L’s customer base growing by the day, they are poised to take over the leadership role with some great technology.
The 30-100 person company that is ready to take off:
- Well.ca – Guelph based ecommerce shop, Ali Asaria has built an amazing company with leading ecommerce technology behind it. These folks are going to drive ecommerce in Canada for some time to come but for 2012 they seem ready to make a big move.
- Enflick – Millions of users, really smart team, know how to grow revenue, and a $1Million raise.
The obvious ones that recently raised capital:
- Kik Interactive – Ted Livingston raised $8Million with Fred Wilson as one of the big investors… need I say much else?
- VidYard – Freshly back from Y-Combinator these folks announced a $1.65Million raise from Softech VC, YouTube Co-Founder Jawed Karim, YCombinator, SV Angel, Andreessen Horowitz, iNovia Capital, Gmail creator and FriendFeed founder Paul Buchheit, NV Investments’ Vivi Nevo, former RIM COO Dennis Kavelman, David Nikzad and others. Nicely done.
- TribeHR – Announced a $1 Million raise form Matrix partners in Boston with David Skok. This team will be making some serious waves in the HR space in 2012. Disclosure: I am a co-founder.
- Qwalify – Not sure they have raised anything outside of Angels yet but this is one of the smartest teams on this list with some awesome technology.
The lessor known but great companies in my mind:
- esentire - the coolest security company I know of.
- Miovision – they automate a lot of things around traffic monitoring building both the hardware and the software.
- 17 muscles – recently added Carol Leaman as CEO, fresh off the success at PostRank.
Scrappy upstarts with amazing teams:
- MappedIn - they have their stuff deployed at malls and a growing customer list, so much awesome here.
- Bookneto - the education technology space is hot, these folks are building amazing software to make the education experience better.
- BufferBox - annoyed with standing in the 1 hr + line at FedEx this holiday season? These folks fix that.
- TitanFile - keep stuff secure. Smart team from Halifax that are currently set up at the Communitech Hub.
- Willet - I have a soft spot for this team. They were one of the first companies to enter the VeloCity workspace and they are awesome people. Fresh off a term at FounderFuel, expect to hear lots from them in 2012.
- Lumos - Metrics and insights for your games. Watch for this team to find their place in 2012.
This is by no means an exhaustive list for Waterloo but it is the list of the folks that are really stepping up their game going into 2012 as StartupNorth suggest we must. Who do you think belongs on here? Who did I miss?
Also, if you are just getting started or have been working for a bit and have something to show off… StartupCampWaterloo12 is January 18th, you should come out.