Posted Thursday November 19, 2020

Tech 50

COVID-19 ranked top challenge among Deloitte Technology Fast 50 winners, with majority in support of government's response

Kitchener-based Intellijoint Surgical Inc. tops the list with revenue growth of over 19,300 per cent between 2016 and 2019, Kitchener-based ApplyBoard takes second place

Deloitte is honoured to announce this year's winners of the Technology Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch, and Enterprise Fast 15 awards. Recognizing the world-class achievements of Canadian technology companies for the 23rd year, the Technology Fast 50 program highlights true resilience, commitment to innovation, leadership, and rapid revenue growth between 2016 and 2019. This year, the average three-year growth of the Fast 50 winners is 2,144 per cent, compared to 1,689 per cent in 2019.

At the top of this year's Fast 50 list, with three-year growth of 19,311 per cent, is Intellijoint Surgical Inc. The Kitchener-based company develops smart tools designed to enhance the accuracy of orthopedic surgery, increase hospital efficiencies, and improve patients' lives by providing surgeons with effective, easy-to-use technology.

Taking second place is the SaaS-enabled recruitment platform, ApplyBoard, with three-year growth of 12,597 per cent. The Kitchener-based company helps international students study at the best institutions of higher education in the world, by revolutionizing the way they experience the application process and empowering them to access the highest quality education available.

In third place, with three-year growth of 12,483 per cent, is Toronto-based Ada, market leader in Automated Customer Service (ACX). Ada's AI-powered platform enables businesses around the world to meet the needs of today's customers with thoughtful personalized interactions proven to enhance long-term value and boost the bottom line.

"This year's Fast 50 winners should be especially proud of this designation, as their role in the fabric of Canadian business—particularly during these turbulent times—is crucial," said Erica Pretorius, partner and national leader for the Technology Fast 50 program at Deloitte Canada. "Their bold vision and true commitment to innovation allow them to not only improve today's world, but also shape tomorrow's, despite the constant uncertainty. This year's winners are proving themselves resilient, innovative, and adaptable, all in an unpredictable year defined by economic instability and the continuing public health crisis."

COVID-19 posing biggest challenge

Deloitte's annual survey of Technology Fast 50 CEOs found the biggest challenge facing Canadian businesses in 2020 to be the COVID-19 pandemic. This marks the first time in four years that respondents didn't highlight the labour market as the leading challenge, which is now ranked as the fourth biggest challenge behind new competition and the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

Despite the various challenges posed by the pandemic, the majority of respondents (73 per cent) claimed the Canadian government's support for their company has been positive during those unprecedented times. Likewise, 70 per cent of respondents said they have successfully applied for some form of federal or provincial COVID-19 related support programs.

This year's results also show a high-water mark among tech companies that stated that on balance, they agree the various levels of government in Canada are doing enough to help companies in the sector (69 per cent), up from 50 per cent in 2019. This is especially important, as encouraging investments in Canadian tech companies is integral to Canada remaining competitive on the world stage and raising the country's capital stock1.


1 Catalyst: A vision for a thriving Canada in 2030, September 2020:

"Despite the uncertainties posed by the ongoing global health crisis, the consensus among this year's Fast 50 CEOs is that government support has been effectively helping businesses to cope with its repercussions," said Anders McKenzie, Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) leader for Deloitte Canada's Financial Advisory practice. "Governments play a critical role in catalyzing the success of all industries in Canada. For Canadian TMT entities, clear regulator policy, innovative funding programs, and support through procurement practices are three foundational elements for success. Not only are we witnessing positive statements regarding financial aid programs for businesses, but a significant rise in how tech companies perceive the role of government as well."

Women in tech making strides

One area of Canadian business witnessing stark results in 2020 is the rise of women in tech, with almost one third of Fast 50 winners (31 per cent) claiming that more than 41 per cent of their job applicants for all positions are women, a substantial increase of 16-percentage point from 2019. Likewise, 20 per cent of respondents noted that more than 50 per cent of their new hires for all positions are women, up from only seven per cent last year.

Another positive change this year resides in the percentage of leadership roles held by women among the Fast 50 companies. The number of respondents claiming that less than 10 per cent of their leaders are women has fallen by almost half in 2020, now lying at 18 per cent, as opposed to 34 per cent in 2019. Additionally, almost a quarter (22 per cent) noted that between 31 and 40 per cent of their leaders are women, up from only eight per cent last year. In tandem with the rise of women in leadership roles, is the increase in respondents who believe fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace is one of the top three strategic drivers of a company's success (86 per cent), versus 80 per cent in 2019.

"We're noticing quite a significant shift for women in technology in 2020, one that, frankly, has been expected for quite some time," said Erica Pretorius. "Not only is the number of women applicants trending upwards among Fast 50 companies, but the amount of new hires being women has also risen. Another positive sign here is the fact that women are increasingly finding themselves in leadership roles at these companies, having a direct impact on business decisions, and company direction. These figures make for an enticing and bright future for women in the tech sector!"

The majority of this year's Fast 50 winners are based in Ontario (29), followed by Quebec (10), British Columbia (6), with the balance from the Atlantic region (3), and the Prairie region (2).

The 2020 Companies-to-Watch category winners are AltaML, Certn, ClearBanc, conversationHEALTH, Dialogue Technologies, Drop Technologies, InputHealth, Maple, Mysa Thermostat, Neovation Learning, Owl, RIWI Corp., ShipTrack, TickSmith, Vention, and Voltera. These outstanding companies are key to the future success of the technology sector.

The 2020 winners of the Enterprise Fast 15 category are 360Insights, AcuityAds, Aucerna, Canada Drives, district m, Docebo, Doxim Inc, Eddyfi Technologies, Financeit, Geotab, Helcim, Kinova, Paladin Technologies, Sangoma Technologies, and SendtoNews. These winners dominate in their sector and join the ranks of other global leaders across Canada.

A complete list of winners of the Technology Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch, and Enterprise Fast 15 categories is available at


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ISSN 0824-45
Copyright, 2020

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