Canada's top tech startups: Kraken Robotics, Patriot One Technologies, Drone Delivery Canada
Calgary, Alberta-based stock exchange TSX Venture Exchange this week released its list of the top 50 Canadian startups as part of its annual 2019 TSX Venture 50 event. According to a Betakit report, the industry event recognizes leading companies from five sectors: clean technology and life sciences, diversified industries, energy, mining, and technology. Here are the top three companies in the TSX Technology category.
Kraken Robotics, a marine technology company with headquarters in Newfoundland, clinched the top spot this year. Primarily engaged in the design and manufacture of advanced sensors for underwater vehicles, Kraken Robotics provides its services to both commercial and military clients. In an interview earlier this year, Kraken CFO Greg Reid said: “2019 is really a story of two fronts. One is execution on our existing backlog of orders with a large part of it being the batteries for Ocean Infinity. That’s a key driver that we think will have very strong revenue growth again this year. The second part of the story is the number of multi-year contracts that we’re bidding for —we’re talking north of $125mn in business to Kraken. You never know until you win it but we think we’re in a really good position for some of them.” Kraken’s stock rose by 118% over the course of 2018, with a continued rise of 81% since January, according to The Cantech Letter.
Patriot One Technologies, based in Toronto, placed second on the technology list. The company specializes in the development of sensor equipment and systems that enable military and civilian security personnel to detect hidden weaponry. According to the company, “the technology, which is intended to be placed in key access points, utilizes radio wave emissions to safely target, identify and notify of concealed threat potential through software recognition of specific wavelength patterns.”
Drone Delivery Canada placed third. The Toronto-based tech startup designs, manufactures and markets unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial and logistical use across Canada, with a focus on establishing beyond-line-of-sight transportation routes. In December, 2018, Drone Delivery Canada signed a US$1.9mn commercial agreement with the Moose Cree First Nation to deploy its drone delivery system between the remote communities of Moose Factory and Moosonee. In January 2019, Drone Delivery Canada unveiled its latest offering: the Condor, a drone capable of carrying 400 lbs of cargo.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.