Assent Compliance, MindBridge Ai join Ottawa companies on 2019 Narwhal List of high-potential firms

Editor's Note

This story was updated to include MindBridge Ai, which joined the list midway through 2019. Other firm’s rankings were also affected in the updated.

This story was previously updated to include the full value of Assent Compliance’s series-C round.


An annual ranking of Canada’s highest-potential private firms welcomes Ottawa’s Assent Compliance and MindBridge Ai to the list in 2019 alongside a couple of familiar faces in the National Capital Region.

The Narwhal List, compiled by University of Toronto’s Impact Centre, ranks 50 private firms based on how likely they are to become the next billion-dollar Canadian company. To do so, it calculates “financial velocity,” or the amount of capital a firm has raised over its total years in business.

In an update to the list halfway through the year, the Impact Centre added local artificial intelligence company MindBridge Ai to its rankings. MindBridge, which develops an AI-based solution to help auditors and bookkeepers detect signs of fraud, raised a $29.6 million series-B round in June. The firm’s latest raise was good enough to lift it onto the Narwhal list at No. 31.

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

Assent Compliance, which develops software for enterprise customers to keep up with regulation demands, initially ranked 19th out of 40 companies on this year’s technology list. The mid-year update put Assent even higher, however, at No. 8.

It should be no surprise that Assent is considered financially attractive – the company has garnered nearly $200 million in venture capital across more than a decade in operations, bolstered by a massive $160-million series-C round last fall.

Elsewhere on the list is fellow Ottawa firm Ranovus. Originally it was slotted at No. 23, up two places from its ranking on last year’s report, but the mid-year update puts the firm a little lower at No. 26. The cleantech firm, which develops energy-efficient fibre optic cables, also ended 2018 with an influx of capital – the federal government gave Ranovus $20 million to develop a new R&D facility in Ottawa.

Ottawa also makes an appearance on the health-care side of the rankings with Turnstone Biologics at No. 5, down one spot from the year before but unchanged in the mid-year rankings. The company has raised more than $50 million in its quest to turn viruses into cancer-fighting agents through the emerging field of immunotherapy.

Taking top spot on this year’s list is Montreal’s Element AI. Toronto, once again, has the biggest share of the 2019 list with 23 firms earning the Narwhal nod.

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