Sebastian Manchester, right, and Jeff Schnurr at a Jaza Energy installation in Africa.

Sebastian Manchester, right, and Jeff Schnurr at a Jaza Energy installation in Africa.

Two Atlantic Canadian companies – Fredericton-based SomaDetect and Jaza Energy, which based in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – have been named to the prestigious CIX Top 20 by the Canadian Innovation Exchange.

Jaza is a solar energy startup that operates in Sub-Saharan Africa. By building solar charging stations in off-grid communities, Jaza powers households by selling their customers batteries, which are used to power lights and mobile phones. The company is on track to power 30 communities by the end of the year.

“Jaza is working to solve a huge problem and it’s great that the Canadian innovation and startup community is behind us,” said CEO Jeff Schnurr. “There are 1.2 billion people living without access to electricity around the globe and we believe that we can solve that problem with clean and affordable solar energy.”

The company was founded by Schnurr and Sebastian Manchester and has powered more than 500 households using affordable solar energy. The company aims to serve the 600 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity.

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Founded by CEO Bethany Deshpande, SomaDetect is on a heck of a roll lately. Its inclusion in the CIX Top 20 comes weeks after it won $50,000 from the Fierce Founder Bootcamp at Communitech in Kitchener, Ont. Earlier this year, the company won the $180,000 second-place prize in the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s Breakthru competition.

SomaDetect helps dairy farmers check the health of their herd quickly, accurately and precisely while testing the quality of their milk. Deshpande’s patented technology sends a laser beam through the milk as each cow is milked, instantly recording the fat content and somatic cell count, both of which indicate the presence of the disease mastitis and the quality of the milk. The farmer has the data instantly for each cow twice a day.

"The CIX Top 20 Program had a record number of applications this year, with a high proportion of early-stage companies with less than $100,000 in revenue,” said CIX Executive Director Lauren Linton in a statement. “It is exciting to see so many young tech companies with such great potential to contribute to Canada s success as a global innovation leader.”

The CEO of each CIX Top 20 company will present at CIX 2017 on Oct. 17-18 and share their story and innovation to a crowd of more than 750 investors and peers in the North American technology ecosystem.

Atlantic Canada has done well in the CIX competition the last few years. In 2016, Gemba Software of Saint John was named to the list. In 2015, Atlantic Canada had three entries in the Top 20 – RtTech Software of Moncton, and LeadSift and SkySquirrel Technologies, both of Halifax.

The other members of the 2017 CIX Top 20 are:

Aspect Biosystems, Vancouver

Automat, Montreal

BioConnect, Toronto

Clio, Burnaby

Cloud DX, Kitchener

Dot health, Toronto

Elucid Labs,

Waterloo FI.SPAN, Vancouver

GBatteries, Ottawa

Hubdoc , Toronto

integrate.ai, Toronto

Litmus Automation, Toronto

MindBridge Analytics, Ottawa

Pyrowave, Montreal

SecureKey Technologies, Toronto

StackAdapt, Toronto

Tealbook, Toronto

Top Hat , Toronto