Discover 8 Great Canadian Start Ups You Need to Know Now

We feel a sense of pride with the success stories of budding new businesses across the country. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon hear a lot more about these 8 great Canadian start-ups…

If you live in Toronto, you have a Yogatree nearby. Young husband and wife team Jason Lu and Debbie Fung founded the yoga studio chain with a vision to make yoga a more mainstream practice. They present the same classic postures in innovative ways, discarding the chanting tunes and replacing them with cool, upbeat music. Earth-conscious, the studios are equipped with energy-efficient lighting, reclaimed wood furnishings, low flow showerheads and an eco-friendly line of clothing, mats and all-purpose soaps. The studio appeals to YPs on the go, offering classes like morning core yoga, hot or reduced heat yoga, restorative yoga, and hatha flow, among others.

Play It Gaming
Play It Gaming is a Calgary-based start-up founded by Cory Cleveland that provides the ability for smartphone-like social gaming to be brought to feature phones. Feature phones are simply traditional phones that include a set amount of functions like standard calling, text messages, Internet access, MP3 and camera, but aren’t quite as advanced as smartphones. As in, they lack an operating system and apps that allow for a third party. They’re a popular alternative in emerging markets. Cleveland realized that while mobile gaming was becoming increasingly popular, there were also 5 billion underserved feature phones. Play It Gaming fills this gap as it uses cloud-based gaming and targets the new wave of gamers in countries like India, Nigeria, South Africa and Latin America, where network constraints and data costs become an issue for gaming operators.

Poppy Barley
Edmonton-based Poppy and Barley Inc. was created by sisters Justine and Kendall Barber and is a godsend for every female with disproportionate feet. The company offers made-to-measure ethically crafted women’s footwear online as they defy mass-produced footwear. The driving force behind Poppy and Barley was the lack of stylish boots that actually fit in today’s shoe market. This realization occurred when Justine was travelling in Bali and came across a pair of boots that she loved but weren’t available in her size. However, rather than leaving it at that, the storeowner measured her feet and legs and created a pair especially for her requirements. Bringing these made-to-measure services to North America, Poppy and Barley shoes are able to take into account any fit issues and can accommodate sizes 5 through 13. If you have access to measuring tape and the Internet, you’re already a step ahead towards perfectly fitted footwear.

Giftagram is a Toronto-based app started by Jason Reid to create an aversion to the mall. Giftagram targets local boutiques and makes present-buying processes faster and stress-free. The app provides ample selection in relation to what local boutiques have to offer; it can be anything from a Bison wallet, to a Yoga 889 studio gift card, or even a Fuji Instax Mini 90 Camera. Once the buyer has selected the present, you just enter the recipient’s email or phone number and click send. The recipient will receive a message specifying where it should be delivered, and voila, the gift arrives 2-3 days later. Thanks to the app, anniversaries and birthdays (so basically relationships in general) just got a lot easier.

Frank and Oak
Frank and Oak is a Montreal-based men’s online clothing company started by YP co-founders Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani. It offers a large variety of hand-chosen pieces sold for refreshingly affordable prices (around $55 or less). The company holds a simple mission: “To create the best hassle-free shopping experience for men.” Meaning: they no longer have to rely on their mom and girlfriend. Frank and Oak offers collections that change monthly and style advice, along with deliveries straight to your door. Their clothing is simplistic yet completely up to date on current trends, which is why it has caught the attention of major magazines like Esquire and GQ. Finally, with the touch of a hand-written note on a branded card with every order, Frank and Oak pushes boundaries when it comes to connecting with their customers.

With Mojio, even your car’s connected. CEO Jay Giraud founded the Vancouver-based app, which offers the ability to connect your car to your favourite “people, places and things.” In short, it makes most cars (those made after 1995) a smart car. It also features car-smart apps (meaning a car-connected app on your phone) and serves as an app store for you car. Mojio is the world’s first open platform, so anyone can write an app for your car. It also acts as a virtual mechanic as it will tell you when something’s wrong and how urgent the issue is. It allows you to share your location with selected contacts, meaning you can also let them know when you’re on your way.

Sean Ramsay founded Toronto-based Bubl in 2011. He wanted to make the technology used in creating the spherical imagery of Google StreetView available for market consumption. The resulting technology is affordable and portable, yet still able to capture 100 per cent of the spherical range through panoramic videos and photos. For all you photo-happy YPs out there, this means a revolutionary device filled with opportunities to document everything, as the tetrahedral design of the technology enables the four 190° lenses to overlap to capture the full range. The camera fits in the palm of your hand (and easily into your purse). 

Vancouver start-up Tangoo acts as “your pocket concierge” to create the perfect personalized social outing. The mobile and web app begins by asking what kind of occasion you’re planning, whether a corporate outing, date night or out with friends. From there you get to choose from a selection of moods. If you select “out with friends,” some of the options include “patio,” “celebrate,” and “upbeat.” An array of restaurants that meet your criteria will be recommended based on the moods you select and the website allows you to filter by cuisine, neighbourhood and price. Tangoo takes that frustrating 20-minute back and forth conversation about where to eat and simply eliminates it. Because hungry people don’t have time for that.

Stay tuned for more from the Apothic Wines Discovery Hub, where you will always discover something notable.