Now in its 10th year, the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list honours North America’s top players in their respective industries. Looking at the 2021 honourees, it’s clear Canada is making its presence known more than ever. Six founders at four MaRS-supported companies made the cut for their ground-breaking work in the energy and manufacturing sectors as well as the marketing and advertising category.
“These young entrepreneurs are wise beyond their years, and that shows very clearly in their ability to build great companies that are having meaningful impact,” says Jane Kearns, vice president of Growth Services at MaRS. The Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem has matured and grown in the last few years, and this list is a reflection of that, she says.
Here’s a closer look at the selected founders and their companies.
Having only co-founded her climate-focused drone company in 2019, the 29-year-old Angelique Ahlstrom has seen massive success in her vision for Flash Forest. With the goal of combatting climate change and promoting reforestation globally, the company’s automated drones are set to plant hundreds of thousands of seedlings in Canada in 2021, with the eventual goal of 1 billion trees worldwide. The company ensures that ecosystem recovery is a priority, meaning only native species will be planted.
Anouk van Pol, started this Calgary venture in 2014 when she was just 20 years old. No larger than a baseball, INGU’s sensor-filled spheres aim to prevent and detect pipeline leaks by reporting data about the condition of the pipe, making maintenance decisions more efficient. With this innovative solution that serves the oil industry, Van Pol has seen an increase in partnerships for her company across various industry challenges, and has raised $5 million to date.
Shelby Yee, 26, and Matthew Gubasta, 25, have created an industry-adopted solution for improving the mining process worldwide. Their company, RockMass Technologies, develops mining tech that can collect data in real time about the structural orientation of scanned surfaces, helping miners make faster and safer decisions. Their company has raised $3.1 million in grants and investments. During the pandemic, the company’s team of skilled engineers quickly started manufacturing face shields and PPE for frontline workers.
Tech companies from across Canada are joining forces to quickly produce personal protective equipment for front-line workers. @cbchh speaks to 2 of the people leading that effort from @MosaicMfg and @RockMassTech #cbcnn pic.twitter.com/4EbmPyQCMD
— CBC Morning Live (@CBCMorningLive) April 10, 2020
Cofounders of Toronto-based #paid, Bryan Gold and Adam Rivetz, both 28, started their company back in 2014 when they noticed a gap in the market to service word-of-mouth marketing clients online. With global-scale clients including Coca-Cola, IKEA and Starbucks, #paid matches brands with relevant creators and influencers in their repertoire for effective and unique digital campaigns. Making it onto the Forbes list isn’t the only accolade under their belt this year; the company was also a winner of the Deloitte 2020 Technology Fast 50 program, which looks to identify Canada’s strongest leaders and innovators in the tech industry. The company has raised more than $12 million to date and is expected to keep on growing.