3 Startups founded by women that combine innovation and ecology
by Chloé Freslon
According to the 2016 Montréal Startup Ecosystem Report, there are somewhere between 1,800 and 2,600 startups in Montréal, 20% of which are founded by women. While women may not form the majority of startup founders, their companies are some of the most innovative and forward-thinking. Here are three green startups founded by Montréal women who have created avant-garde technologies that not only benefit people, but the planet as well.
CANN Forecast: Managing water with artificial intelligence
CANN Forecast specializes in the assessment of water quality. It collects data related to contamination and uses artificial intelligence to analyse it. It can then make remarkably reliable forecasts in very short periods of time, which is critical when it comes to water contamination. People don’t want to know if the water in pond they swam in yesterday was contaminated. This startup first came into the spotlight in Montréal with its flagship product, the “Infobaignade” app (which translates roughly as “Infoswim”). The app lets users to know how clean the St. Lawrence River is and whether it’s safe to swim there.
Startup: CANN forecast
Area of focus: Water analysis
Co-founder: Naysan Saran
ÉAU: Aquaponics everywhere, for everyone, all the time
ÉAU (the acronym for Écosystèmes Alimentaires Urbains, or Urban Food Ecosystems) is an urban agriculture company specializing in vertical aquaponic farms to grow fruits and vegetables year-round, regardless of the climate. Plants feed on the rich waters where the fish grow, filtering the water to allow the fish to live there. This creates an almost self-sufficient system that it extremely ecological, requiring very little intervention. ÉAU wants to empower people, allowing them to harvest crops even in harshest climates, like the Far North. The company generated a lot of buzz when it installed two containers converted into an educational vertical farm, open to the public, in the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie neighbourhood of Montréal. The ÉAU startup also wants to make a difference by organizing workshops to raise public awareness about environmental protection issues.
Area of focus: Urban agriculture in aquaponics
Co-founder: Émilie Nollet
Xpert Sea: Revolutionizing aquaculture to feed the planet
Xpert Sea uses the technologies of machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) by providing the aquaculture industry with a tool for analyzing their aquatic populations. The tool is called the XperCount smart device, and it looks a lot like an ordinary plastic bucket. When the device is connected, it allows for a quick measurement of aquatic organisms. The data is then exported and analyzed. Feeding the planet has become a challenge, with the loss of marine biodiversity and the weakening of the ocean ecosystem. Aquaculture farms are an answer to the problems of overfishing and food production issues and, given that this industry has seen few innovations in recent years, it was need of a technological boost to assist in managing its populations. And that’s where Xpert Sea comes in.
Startup: Xpert Sea
Area of focus: Aquaculture management
Co-founder: Valérie Robitaille