Move over, Tobias Lutke and Michael Katchen.
With all due respect to two of Canada's newest tech barons, Mr. Lutke, who founded the e-commerce platform Shopify, and Mr. Katchen, who started the robo-advisory Wealthsimple, are no longer up-and-comers in our nation's technology sector. They have arrived.
Mr. Lutke's net worth is estimated at more than $1-billion. And after launching in 2014, Mr. Katchen's firm has quickly grown to manage more than $1.9-billion in assets from roughly 65,000 investors.
But these five individuals could quickly become household names if their businesses continue their torrid pace of growth. Meet Canada's next titans of tech.
Ryan Holmes, founder of Hootsuite Media Inc.
The Vancouver-based programmer's company, which he launched in 2008, has been named one of Canada's most promising tech firms by Bloomberg.
Its social-media dashboard allows companies to manage their feeds on Twitter and Facebook and is "used by a lot of big brands in Canada and beyond," says Brian Jackson, editorial director of IT World Canada. "Basically, this is a company with global reach."
Hootsuite had a record year in 2017, Mr. Holmes has said. In 2014, the company turned heads when it raised $60-million in financing and was reportedly valued at $1-billion. That figure was debatable, however, and industry watchers have since estimated its worth at $700-million to $750-million.
An anticipated initial public offering, or IPO, would likely garner a lot of interest, which in turn could generate a lot of wealth for its founder, Mr. Jackson says.
Ben Zifkin, founder of Hubba Inc.
The head of Toronto-based Hubba told an audience at Venture for Canada's Scale-Up Speaker Series a year ago that his company would soon be worth more than $1-billion. Today the online platform, which helps retail buyers find and purchase new consumer products, is estimated to have more than 13,000 users and 60,000 brands.
Hubba, which has received key financing from Goldman Sachs, counts among its clients Unilever NV and Procter & Gamble Co. on the brand side, and Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. among retailers.
In an interview with Forbes, Mr. Zifkin said he is modelling the company after LinkedIn Corp. by offering the platform free of charge for basic use and charging a fee for enhanced features.
John Baker, founder of D2L Corp.
Mr. Baker's company is a leading provider of e-learning software for schools, universities and corporations in Canada and around the world.
He stands out among up-and-coming tech innovators in the country, says Robert Watson, president of the Information Technology Association of Canada. "I have no doubt he will continue to push the envelope and make a real and positive difference in the lives of people around the world. His potential is limitless."
The company, which has 700-plus employees, has a big runway for growth, Mr. Baker says. The education market is worth almost $6-trillion, and his firm has just scratched the surface, he told Forbes last year. The company serves about 13 million individual learners and counts Fortune 1000 companies among its clients.
Considered one of Canada's top entrepreneurs, Mr. Baker has received several awards, including the Top 40 Under 40 for Waterloo region.
Frederic Lalonde, co-founder and CEO of Hopper Inc.
Before starting Hopper, a flight-booking app, Mr. Lalonde was already a high-profile player in the online travel segment, having been vice-president for Expedia after the travel booking giant purchased one of his startups in 2002. He is based in Montreal and Boston.
Mr. Lalonde's latest venture, Hopper, has raised more than $100-million in funding and attracted investors such as the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and Brightspark Ventures.
"Hopper is selling over $500-million worth of flights annually and over $1.5-million per day," says Sophie Forest, a managing partner with Brightspark. At the start of 2018, its app had been downloaded more than 20 million times, she adds.
Hopper is the top travel app in more than 37 countries, and it's a hit with millennials. Hopper is looking to expand into the hotel-room booking business, Ms. Forest adds.
Mike Silagadze, co-founder of Tophatmonocle Corp. (Top Hat)
Mr. Silagadze and co-founder Mohsen Shahini launched Top Hat in 2009 after recognizing that the postsecondary classroom hadn't changed in decades and needed a tech makeover.
"None of these new technological advances [for consumers] had any impact on a student's experience," Mr. Silagadze told Techvibes, a Canadian technology e-zine, last year. Today Top Hat is a market leader in educational software and is used by millions of students at roughly 75 per cent of the top 1,000 postsecondary institutions in North America.
Based in Toronto, the company recently raised more than $20-million in venture capital to expand its software, which allows teachers to organize classroom materials and communicate with students.
"It's certainly more early-stage, so he's not a billionaire or anything like that," says Mr. Jackson of IT World Canada. "But they're scaling up big time this year, hiring a couple of hundred more employees."
Top Hat's business is growing quickly. In an interview with The Globe and Mail last year, Mr. Silagadze said the company had doubled in size in each of the previous five years and now expects to double in size annually.