Earlier this year, the Narwhal Project released their annual Narwhal List, which tracks Canadian technology companies that are on their way to unicorn status based on their billion-dollar annual revenues.    

The Narwhal Project has evaluated more than 900 Canadian technology companies that have received more than $10 million dollars of capital. Recognizing four Waterloo companies — ApplyBoard, Avidbots Corp, Auvik Networks and eSentire — as some of the fastest-growing Canadian technology companies. 

The University of Waterloo is recognized as a market leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. Waterloo’s innovation ecosystem is unique because it provides budding student entrepreneurs with access to for-credit programs along with support, mentorship, funding and connections in a collaborative environment of more than 45 programs, which includes Velocity. 

Among the four recipients, ApplyBoard and Avidbots are alumni companies incubated by Velocity. Now, the four Waterloo startup companies are on track towards billion-dollar annual revenues.    


ApplyBoard is an educational technology company co-founded by Waterloo alum Martin Basiri (MASc ’13) along with his brothers Meti and Massi Basiri. The company provides an online platform for international student recruitment with representatives in more than 30 countries across the world. 

ApplyBoard has been featured within the top 10 unicorn companies every year since acquiring its unicorn status in 2020. The company currently ranks at number six on the Narwhal List as a world-class technology firm. 

"There is tremendous growth and maturity flowing through the Canadian tech community that is resonating globally,” says Martin Basiri, CEO of ApplyBoard. “ApplyBoard has been an active part of that and seeing so many founders in the Waterloo Region ecosystem grow impactful companies right here in the community is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that the University of Waterloo and other organizations instill. This must only be the beginning, however, Canada and the Waterloo Region tech ecosystem have more to accomplish in order to stand higher and compete on a global scale."  

Avidbots Corp. 

Avidbots is an autonomous machinery manufacturing company co-founded by Waterloo alumni, Faizan Sheikh (BASc ’11) and Pablo Molina (BASc ’11). Since 2014, the company has been specializing in designing and manufacturing autonomous cleaning robots. Avidbots’ fully autonomous floor scrubbing robot called Neo, has been widely deployed by the world’s leading facilities.   

Avidbots joins the Narwhal List for the first time and currently stands at number 37 within the “Computer Technology Narwhals” section. 


Auvik Networks 

Auvik is a cloud-based network management software co-founded by Waterloo alumni Alex Hoff (BMath ’04), Marc Morin (BASc ’87) and David Yach (BMath ’83). Since 2011, Auvik’s software has been making complex network management simple for businesses to build and manage their IT network. 

Auvik also joins the Narwhal List for the first time and currently stands at number 22 as a company accelerating the computer technology sector.


eSentire is a cybersecurity company founded by Waterloo alum Eldon Sprickerhoff (BMath ’91). The company supports businesses in anticipating and recovering from cyberattacks. Since 2001, eSentire has been helping businesses build real resilience within their security operation to prevent business disruption.  

eSentire enters the Narwhal List for the first time, currently standing at number 15 and is one of the newest unicorn companies to be founded in Canada. 

Congratulations to all the Waterloo startup companies who are featured on the 2023 Narwhal List. Read more about the Narwhal Project and view the full Narwhal List.