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Four Waterloo companies on list of potential tech “unicorns”

Four Waterloo-based companies are on a new list of potential tech unicorns.

The annual Narwhal List of top companies based on global growth prospects identified four Waterloo companies as potential unicorns.

The term “narwhal” (a Canadian version of “unicorn”) is used to describe a private company valued at more than $1 billion that has the potential to go public. The Narwhal List identifies companies with the highest potential of unicorn success using a metric they call financial velocity.

Here are the four companies from Waterloo:


Taking fourth place on the list, augmented reality innovator North has big plans for the 2020 year, starting with the launch of its second-generation Focals smartglasses. One of Waterloo’s fastest-growing companies over the last few years, North continues to be a company to watch.


Founded in 2015, ApplyBoard has the outward appearance of an overnight success, becoming one of the fastest growing companies in Canada and raising $55 million in new funding in 2019. With more than 370 employees ApplyBoard’s workforce has grown 640% in the last two years. This dynamic growth is why ApplyBoard took the 27th spot on the 2020 Narwhal List.


A leader in cybersecurity, eSentire pioneered a product segment called managed detection and response (MDR) and put an emphasis on AI-driven security. A fixture on last year’s Narwhal List, the company was once again ranked 30th. Last year, eSentire raised $47 million in new funding and moved their HQ to a larger facility to accommodate their significant growth.


Vidyard, a B2B video platform that improves business communications through strategic video utilization, snagged the 39th spot on the list. Vidyard’s growing list of customers includes well-known brands such as Citibank, LinkedIn, Honeywell, Groupon and Marketo, to name a few.

How has locating in Waterloo helped these companies grow?

The answer varies from business to business, but access to Canada’s top technology university, the benefits of growing in a mid-sized city and a strategic location in North America’s second largest technology cluster sure haven’t hurt.

Check out the full Narwhal List here.

Do you want to learn more about Waterloo’s dynamic tech ecosystem?