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These are the Canadian startups you need to watch, according to LinkedIn

The professional networking site released its first-ever annual ranking of the top 25 most sought-after startups in Canada on Friday.

A brewery, a company that sells water by the box, and a video game-maker tricking kids into enjoying math round out a tech-heavy list of top Canadian startups from LinkedIn.

The professional networking site released its first-ever annual ranking of the top 25 most sought-after startups in Canada on Friday.

To qualify, companies must be Canadian-headquartered, independent and privately held, with a staff of 50 or more, and have been in business for no more than seven years.

Toronto-based robo-advisor Wealthsimple claimed the number one rank, with Coinsquare, Element AI, League Inc. and Kira Systems rounding out the top five.

The social media site measured employment growth, engagement, job interest and ability to attract top talent to compile the list.

Wealthsimple, which lures customers with the slogan “investing on autopilot,” launched a zero-commission stock-trading service last month in order to attract active investors. Since its launch in 2014, the company has amassed more than 75,000 clients across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and currently manages over $2 billion in assets.

Runner-up, cryptocurrency trading platform Coinsquare, is touted as the fastest-growing company on the list. Coinsquare’s headcount ballooned by 92 per cent in the 12 months leading up to June, according to LinkedIn data. An expansion into Europe is slated for later this year.

Artificial intelligence research firm Element AI is taking aim at tech industry giants Google and IBM. The Montreal-based company recently announced a partnership with the Singapore government through an initiative called AI Singapore to work on supply chain and financial services applications. 

Health benefits disruptor League Inc. works with companies to build cost-saving wellness programs leveraging digital wallets and instant claim reimbursement using smartphones. The company counts Facebook, Unilever and Shopify among its clients.

Artificial intelligence software-maker Kira Systems was founded by a former merger and acquisitions lawyer and a University of Waterloo computer science PhD. The company applies machine learning to the tedious business of reviewing legal documents, and claims to reduce time spent on such task by between 20 and 90 per cent. Kira Systems announced it secured US$50 million from Insight Venture Partners on Wednesday.

If selling water in paper boxes sounds like a far out idea, it may be worth mentioning that Flow was conceived at Burning Man. Struck by how a mountain of discarded plastic water bottles flies in the face of the festival’s “leave no trace” ethos, founder Nicholas Reichenbach decided paperboard-based boxes was a better way to pack alkaline water. The Toronto-based company ranked at number 10.

Prodigy is betting that learning to multiply is more fun when it involves powering up a character in a Pokemon-style video game battle. The fantasy inspired math game for grade one through eight students has grown to 30 million users seven years after its launch. The Burlington-Ont.-based company ranked at number 14.

As if to remind readers that this is a Canadian list, Hamilton, Ont.-based Collective Arts Brewing hopped into the number 16 spot. The craft beer-maker enlists a rotating tap of artists to showcase their work on its cans. If drinkers like what they see, they can scan a code with the phones to see more and support the artist. The company sells $10 million in suds annually in markets as far away as Sweden, Australia and Italy, according to a report in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper.

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