Toronto’s DNAstack and Horizon Blockchain Games are on the World Economic Forum’s list of tech pioneers

the World Economic Forum (WEF) has named two Toronto-based companies to its annual list of technology pioneers, companies tackling issues ranging from sustainability and climate change to health care and food production. The international organization best known for its annual gathering of world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, has named 100 companies to the list, and nominees will have access to initiatives, activities and events, where they will bring their cutting-edge ideas to critical discussions about the world.

Based in Toronto DNA stack was selected for establishing centralized genomic data networks and fueling information on pandemic surveillance, neuroscience, rare diseases and oncology.

To Horizon Blockchain Gamesthe team has been recognized for making blockchain easy, fun, and powerful for users and for their work to drive adoption of Web3, a term used to describe the emerging blockchain-based internet.

A slight dip: In 2020, six Canadian companies made the WEF’s annual list of technology pioneers. The drop in the number of Canadian companies could be due to the greater global representation in this year’s cohort, including debutants in Vietnam, Rwanda and the Czech Republic.

Why this list is important: The global recognition of two Toronto-based companies proves that the future of tech talent is alive and well in Toronto. Horizon Blockchain Games has 48 people spread across 15 countries with the highest concentration of staff in Toronto. Co-founder and CEO Peter Kieltyka explains, “Toronto has incredible contributors to AI, machine learning, biotech, e-commerce and so many other industries. Horizon’s five co-founders are all from Toronto.

Did you know? DNAstack and Horizon Blockchain Games join an impressive group of former WEF technology pioneers that include international names, such as Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Spotify, TransferWise, Twitter, and Wikimedia.

One of Canada’s largest mechanical contractors seeks to reduce its carbon footprint in the province

With the announcement of the recent emission reduction plan To meet our 2030 emissions targets, companies are increasingly looking for ways to decarbonize their energy supply. For Modern Niagara, one of Canada’s largest mechanical contractors, with operations in six major markets, integrating renewable natural gas (RNG) into its network seemed a natural choice.

Quick fact: More … than 60 percent of municipal carbon emissions come from buildings.

Modern Niagara recently signed a 10-year contract with the Ontario company StormFisher, which recovers organic waste and transforms it into renewable natural gas and organic-based fertilizer. This new partnership will help the commercial contractor, which builds mechanical systems like electrical, heating and plumbing infrastructure, become a net zero organization by 2030.

What is Renewable Natural Gas? Methane is a greenhouse gas that is as much as 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period, and up to 34 times more potent over a 100 year period. It is produced from the decomposition or decomposition of organic materials. StormFisher uses a process known as anaerobic digestion (AD) to convert organic waste into biogas and this biogas can be used to generate electricity or it can be purified into renewable natural gas (RNG).

How will this work? StormFisher will create the RNG at its anaerobic digestion facility in London, Ontario. It is then captured, cleaned and injected in the existing network within the natural gas consumption of Modern Niagara’s Ontario buildings. According to Modern Niagara’s Director of Construction Services, Stefan Ritchie​, “Integrating RNG into our existing infrastructure was not a difficult process. The RNG is injected into the same storage and distribution system as the existing natural gas.

At first glance : “There is an element of leap of faith required for this initiative. RNG is a new concept for most consumers, including us. But we truly believe that we all need to step up and invest in new solutions to fight climate change,” Ritchie says.

Next steps: Modern Niagara has already begun integrating StormFisher’s RNG into its Ontario buildings. According to Ritchie, the next step is to start having conversations with customers as partners in their carbon reduction strategies and planning. He says, “RNG is not a final solution for decarbonizing space heating, but it is a cost-effective intermediate step with no capital cost investment that can be immediately integrated into carbon reduction strategies. . We see RNG as a great opportunity to effectively achieve some of these goals.

Wattpad’s Allen Lau turns the page

Allen Lau knows all about storytelling. In 2002, he began to develop mobile reading application on a former gray-scale Java phone with five lines of text display capability. This concept eventually morphed into Wattpad, a leading social storytelling platform. Today, over 94 million people use the platform to comment on a book being written and published, message the creator, join communities, and follow their favorite authors or genres.

After more than a decade at the helm of Wattpad, Lau is stepping down as CEO and says. He will become an executive advisor for both Wattpad and WEBTOON, a South Korean webcomic publisher launched in 2004 by Naver Corporation, which acquired Wattpad for more than $754 million in 2021.

Next steps for Lau: Web novels have a massive global market, with huge potential for growth. According to Lau, Wattpad has brought the web novel category into the mainstream for millions of Gen Z readers and writers. People are reading on their phones like never before and web novels are becoming an important fiction category for readers. Westerners.

Lau hopes to leverage his experience and skills to work on strategic projects that support the continued growth of Wattpad and WEBTOON’s overall web novel business.

He will also continue to lead the seed investment fund Two small fishing projects and is a board member of the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as MaRS Discovery District.

Greatest Achievement: “We pioneered storytelling technology, releasing several apps that let people read, write, and engage with fictional stories in new ways,” Lau says. “At the time, we raised record capital from leading investors in Canada, the United States and Asia. We were one of the first to commit to growing our business in Toronto, and then we successfully proved that you could build a world-class technology business here.

Did you know? Many Wattpad stories have been turned into blockbuster movies, TV shows, and bestselling books. The popular After the series was written by 24-year-old Anna Todd, who used her iPhone and Wattpad to post the story chapter by chapter. Todd quickly rose to fame with After becoming Wattpad’s most read series with more than 2 billion readings. It then morphed into a series of novels and films.

Advice to other entrepreneurs: Simply put, Lau’s advice is, “just start.” He points out, “You won’t know the answer until you try. It is better to make reversible decisions quickly because speed is important when starting out.

In other news:

  • Toronto-based smart home pioneer Ecobee launched a new double radar-equipped thermostats that can be used to improve temperature readings, as well as occupancy and motion detection.
  • Fable Tech Labs, a Toronto-based accessibility platform, secured $13.4 million in Series A funding. Five Elms Capital led the round with participation from investors like VC John Ruffolo, which the company said is widely considered Canada’s largest investor and an advocate for accessibility and inclusion.
  • French Tech Toronto announced the first La French Tech America summit for June 2. The organization advocates for greater collaboration between French startups and innovation communities in Toronto and around the world. Click on here to register for this gathering of VCs, founders and innovators at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
  • Ideon Technologies recently deployed its X-ray-like technology on Oak Island, Nova Scotia on The History Channel’s The Curse of Oak Island. The Richmond, BC-based company uses energy from supernova explosions in space to gather images below the Earth’s surface. The technology can capture images up to a mile underground and could potentially reveal exactly where the treasure is on the infamous Oak Island.

  • Fairwhich created an online wholesale marketplace connecting retailers to brands, raised $416 million (US) through an extension of its Series G funding. The company intends to use the additional funding to invest in product development, global expansion and continued hiring.

Amanda Whalen writes about technology for MaRS. Torstar, the parent company of the Toronto Star, has partnered with MaRS to shine a light on innovation in Canadian business.

Warning This content has been produced in partnership and therefore may not meet the standards of impartial or independent journalism.

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