The fusion of innovation and cybersecurity took centre stage Nov. 27 at a showcase event where tech companies from Canada and Ukraine pitched solutions to cybersecurity challenges before an audience of industry leaders, investors and national-security stakeholders.

The Canada Ukraine Innovation Challenge (CUSIC) – led by the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), the Ukrainian Startup Fund (USF) and Communitech – invited innovators from Canada and the Ukraine to participate in a bilateral competition to propose solutions that strengthen the technological expertise of both countries, with the goal of commercialization through piloting and procurement opportunities. 

The 10 companies, chosen through an earlier submission process, were given the opportunity to pitch to Canadian and Ukrainian national-security stakeholders and participate in market-exploration discussions with them.

The virtual showcase opened with remarks from Claudia Krywiak, President and CEO of OCI.

"CUSIC aims to closely collaborate with stakeholders in Ukraine and Canada across public and private sectors, identifying and addressing security challenges,”  Krywiak said. “The goal is to connect innovative startups from both countries with potential stakeholders within each nation's ecosystem."

Two sets of challenges were developed, one each by Canadian and Ukrainian stakeholders. A description of all the challenges can be found here.

The chosen Canadian companies included:

  • Metropolitan AI Inc.
  • myLaminin Corp.
  • Palitronica Inc.
  • Quantropi Inc.
  • VanWyn Inc.

The chosen Ukrainian companies included:

  • Hideez Development LLC.
  • LetsData Inc.
  • Mantis Analytics
  • Vizority
  • State Enterprise “Ukrpetszvyazok”

Each of the selected companies received support from partners, including mentorship, funding opportunities and access to a network of national security stakeholders and potential customers.

The lineup of presentations featured a wide spectrum of solutions, ranging from a dual-use secure sensor network platform to smart automation for sustainable monitoring of a range of exposed assets, such as ports, technology and IP.

For example, Hideez Development, a Ukrainian company, proposed a solution addressing the challenges associated with passwords. Its product combines password-less and password-based authentication, supports modern authentication standards, such as Passkey and is compatible with major operating systems.

Canadian company Metropolitan AI’s solution focused on a sensor-network solution designed for real-time streaming data networks, catering to both defence and civilian applications and ensuring end-to-end cybersecurity with two layers of encryption – an outer overlay mesh network for expanding untrusted networks, and an inner layer that encrypts data at the topic level.

The event concluded with a networking session for founders to discuss potential opportunities related to funding, partnerships, integration and more. 

“One of Communitech’s superpowers is the ability to bring founders, partners and stakeholders together to collaborate for mutual success,” said Joel Semeniuk, Chief Strategy Officer for Communitech. “Through the Canada-Ukraine Security Innovation Challenge, we’ve put this superpower to work in tandem with the power of the ecosystem, allowing us all to reach across organizations and countries to collaborate and surface innovative solutions that solve really big problems.”