Top Hat is a Canadian educational software company with its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and a second office in Sydney, Australia. Top Hat hosts a library of interactive college textbooks that students read on their mobile devices, and a platform designed for teachers to check attendance with additional products for student engagement, assignments and activities. Students pay to use the app per semester or over longer periods, and universitywide licences are also available.
Co-founders Mike Silagadze and Mohsen Shahini started Top Hat in 2009 in Waterloo, Ontario, to tackle problems with student concentration and mobile devices they witnessed while studying at the University of Waterloo.Early on, the company’s sales approach involved selling directly to academic administration "who had little incentive or interest in changing the way students access course materials," according to Silagadze. The firm changed its tactics to sell directly to educators, a strategy that, according to the company, has resulted in more than two million student subscribers across North America and beyond. The company claims that they are used in over 1000 universities. As of 2018, Top Hat charges no platform fees for students when their professors assign Open Educational Resources.
In 2017, Top Hat was recognized by numerous awards including Canadian Innovation Exchange Top 20 Program, "Best Canadian Startup of the Year" at the TechVibes Canadian Startup Awards, and Pauli Award for Company of the Year.
Educators are able to adopt, customize and sell digital textbooks and course materials on the Top Hat Marketplace. Teachers can also collaborate with one another to create and update teaching material. Currently, 90 percent of course materials in the Marketplace are free. Top Hat Test allows educators to create and administer tests and assessments.