When it comes to companies who build and manage mobile apps, it’s tough to stand out from the crowd.
According to Statista, Apple’s app store boasted more than 2 million different applications while Android’s Google Play store offered 2.2 million as of June 2016. With that much noise, app makers have to create something pretty special to get the notice of mobile device users.
But the three finalists in the 6th annual Canadian Startup Awards have managed to accomplish just that: each has gone above and beyond to create an outstanding experience for their users.
Here’s how they did it.
Any frequent traveller knows the struggle is real when it comes to hunting down reasonable airfare. But Montreal-based Hopper is endeavouring to simplify the travel experience when it comes to purchasing flights.
“Flight pricing is highly complex and opaque so travelers often don’t have the information they need to get the best deals on flight,” says Brianna Schneider, Hopper’s Director of Communications. “Every traveler fears being the person who paid too much for their flight so we constantly hear from travelers that they are frustrated with the flight buying process.”
The team of 50 is working to remove the guesswork from the process of shopping for flights by offering users data-driven research and insights to help them make more informed purchasing decisions. And their mission is resonating with travellers — the app has been downloaded more than 12 million times and saves an average of $50 on airfare.
And while they took a risk by making their tool mobile only, their tool is getting noticed. The team has racked up accolades like Apple’s App Store Best of 2015, the Google play Award for Standout Startup of 2016, and the Webby Award for Best Travel App. And now they’re a contender for the title of one of Canada’s top startups.
“Canada’s startup scene has been thriving and there are so many companies doing amazing work,” says CEO and co-founder Frederic Lalonde. “It feels amazing to be recognized alongside all these other incredible nominees.”
Deciding what’s for dinner is the perennial struggle for busy city dwellers. And the time crunch is really on when urban professionals have to zip to a restaurant or take-out joint for lunch. Between waiting in line, ordering, paying, and heading back to the office, half your lunch hour is often wasted just getting the food.
But that’s where Toronto-based Ritual comes in. The app streamlines the meal ordering process, allowing users to order meals in advance from nearby restaurants, then provides live updates when the order is ready. Then hungry patrons can simply walk into their preferred eatery, grab their meal, and go.
In just two years, the company has expanded their reach from their original King West neighbourhood to all of Toronto’s downtown core, as well as Chicago and New York City.
The company attributes the app’s success to the enthusiasm of their team members and a commitment to constant improvement.
“The passion and energy our team has towards our business and growth is what fuels us as a company,” says Craig Hunter, General Manager, TO. “We’ve built a high-calibre team of problem-solvers who love people, tech, and food. We’re a team that is passionate about providing the best solutions to the everyday problems of people just like us, and we take user experience very seriously.”
There are many among us who have wallets full of reward and loyalty cards for our favourite stores. From the ubiquitous Shoppers’ Optimum cards to AirMiles and beyond, Canadians are well versed in the viability of reward programs—but it’s often cumbersome to carry around so many cards to whip out at each respective till.
Toronto’s Drop Loyalty helps users cut through the wallet clutter while still allowing users to collect those valuable reward points. Shoppers simply connect their debit and/or credit cards with the free Drop app, then spend as they would normally to earn rewards.
As each user spends, an algorithm also learns from a user’s spending behaviour and provides tailored recommendations on where they can spend their cash to earn more points. From there, they simply collect and redeem for merchandise.
This efficiency is not only helping lighten your wallet, but also earn those rewards relatively pain free. And that’s worth celebrating.
Ready to Choose Your Favourite?
Which deserves to rule the roost in the app space? Make sure you vote for your favourite before February 19 at midnight to have your say in which startups should win in their respective categories.
The winners will be announced at a live gala on March 2 at Steamwhistle Brewery in Toronto.