AC Grad Karos Health fosters health-care collaboration

In a remote part of Northern Ontario, a patient shows up at a hospital with symptoms that mystify the doctors.

After getting images from a CAT-scan, as well as blood work and other tests, doctors need to consult with a specialist in Toronto. Fortunately, that specialist is just a few mouse clicks away, thanks to software solutions from Karos Health Inc., a growing Waterloo company that makes it easy for doctors to share information and collaborate, no matter where they are. The best idea is to “move the data, not the patient” whenever possible, says Karos president and founder Rick Stroobosscher. If the patient does need to be moved, the entire medical file, including images, notes and lab results, should instantly be at the disposal of the team at the next facility, he adds.

Stroobosscher founded Karos Health in 2006, launching it from his own home. He previously worked for nine years at Mitra Imaging, a medical information technology company based in Waterloo that was acquired in 2002 by Belgium-based Agfa-Gevaert Group and renamed Agfa Healthcare. Mitra was an early player in the technology used to store, archive and display radiology data and other clinical images electronically, and connect all of that to the rest of a hospital’s information system. After Mitra, Stroobosscher began to think about the next step — how to better enable health-care providers to work together not just within a hospital, but “across a city, a province, a state or even countries.”

That led to Karos, which initially moved into the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo and now is located in office space on Father David Bauer Drive. In August, Karos acquired its first company, Medical Insight based in Copenhagen, Denmark, a move that gives the company “a fantastic base to work from in Europe,” as well as complementary technology, Stroobosscher says. Karos now employs 50 people, including 30 in North America, mostly at the offices in Waterloo, but also in the United States, as well as 20 in Europe.

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AC Grad Clearpath Robotics is changing the world with its life-saving robots

It started with a singular goal: to prove that robots weren’t evil. It was 2008; Clearpath Robotics CEO, Matt Rendall, and his co-founders Ryan Gariepy, Patrick Martinson and Bryan Webb, were students at the University of Waterloo. At the time, armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan shaped the public’s perception of robots. “Everyone was talking about drones and bomb-disposal robots,” explains Rendall. “We wanted to show that you can use these same systems for a much more humanitarian purpose.”

The team never commercialized their initial concept—a landmine-clearing automaton—but stuck with the idea of using robots for jobs too dangerous for humans. Five years later, Clearpath is a bustling, multimillion-dollar concern with 70 employees at its Kitchener, Ont. headquarters. The company now has a high profile in robotics circles, anyway, thanks to its yellow-and-black unmanned Kingfisher vehicles, which are used in commercial applications such as mining. (You can now find the Kingfisher measuring tailings in potash mines—a procedure that would otherwise expose people to harsh chemicals.) Clearpath has also gained big inroads selling robot technology to research laboratories. Clients include the Canadian Space Agency and MIT.

Clearpath is one of 10 corporations named by Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions and Richardson GMP Ltd. to its current list of Canada’s Passion Capitalists, which recognizes organizations for their energy, intensity and sustainability. This year’s winners don’t just rely on their intellectual, human and financial capital to get ahead, says Paul Alofs, a former Disney and HMV executive who inspired the awards with his book Passion Capital. They have something more: “Not just passion, which is an emotion, but a tangible asset called passion capital,” says Alofs. Passion capital, he contends, is built by channeling the emotion into concrete actions that are energetic, intense and sustainable. Alofs believes Clearpath has this kind of capital “in spades.” “They believe very deeply in their product and what they’re doing,” he explains. “In their own way, they have changed a small corner of the world.

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Discovery Channel's How It's Made showcasing AC Client TeTechS

Lights, camera, action! It was an extra exciting “Hollywood” kind of week here at the Accelerator Centre, as we welcomed the filming crew from the Discovery Science Channel’s How It’s Made program to our Waterloo facility.

The How It’s Made team was in town to spend the day with Accelerator Centre Client, TeTechS, documenting how to manufacture and assemble a terahertz vision sensor system – specialized technology that leverages terahertz light to find previously undetectable objects and defects in advanced manufacturing processes.

The final assembly of the TeTechS terahertz vision sensor system was filmed right here at the AC.

The program is expected to air in the Spring of 2015. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as we learn more.

AC Grad Kik raises $38 Million in Funding, buys GIF startup Relay

Kik Interactive, Inc., maker of chat network Kik, announced it has acquired Relay, a leading GIF messenger, and raised a $38.3 million Series C round of funding. The addition of Relay brings Kik to the forefront of visual messaging, an increasingly popular form of communication, especially among teens and young adults. This is Kik’s first acquisition, made with a combination of cash and equity at undisclosed terms.

Kik now has more than 185 million users. Each day, more than 50 percent of active users share content with their friends, including photos, videos and mobile websites developed specifically for Kik. In August 2014, the company launched Kik Promoted Chats, enabling brands to chat and share content with Kik users in a one-to-one setting, while tracking and optimizing their results.

To read the full article, click here.

AC Grad Clearpath Robotics poised to double size of workforce

As the demand for mobile robots ramps up, jobs for humans at Clearpath Robotics are growing as well.

The Kitchener-based company got a big boost on Wednesday from a federal financing program to help it more than double the size of its workforce to 140 people over the next two years.

Clearpath, which is getting up to $950,000 in a repayable loan, was one of three companies in the area to share in up to $1.53 million in contributions from the federal government’s FedDev Ontario program.

The other companies are:

In the Chat Communications,which is getting up to $400,000.

Linkett (previously known as WestonExpressions Inc.), which is getting nearly $180,000.

Clearpath, a company started in 2009 by three University of Waterloo students, has become one of the stars of Waterloo Region’s technology sector.

It has shipped about 1,000 of its robots all over the world. It grew this year from about 34 people in February to about 70 people who now occupy part of an industrial building on Strasburg Road in Kitchener.

To read the full article, click here.

AC Grad BigRoad builds technology truckers love to use

There’s an old adage in the trucking industry that says: “If you bought it, a truck brought it.” It’s an accurate statement. Close to 70% of commercial freight in North America today is transported by trucks, with more than 11 million tons of goods valued at $9.075 billion travelling annually over US and Canadian highways. The North American trucking industry is valued at more than $600 billion.

Trucking is also one of the most regulated industries. From weight and emission restrictions, to hours of service limiting the number of hours a driver can spend on the highway, trucking fleets and owner operators must remain constantly vigilant and compliant with safety regulations as set out by the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Truckers and fleets have relied upon technology such as telematics and fleet tracking systems for decades to aid truck performance, track driver behaviors and streamline business processes. However, these traditional technology options — delivered by large technology vendors — have been hardware heavy, requiring in-vehicle installation, as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrades. These hardware centric solutions have never really appealed to the driver. The technology is viewed by truckers to be restrictive and controlling; in other words, a hindrance rather than help. They are also expensive, and require information technology expertise to manage, which has often put them out of reach for small fleet owner/operators, who make up the bulk of the North American trucking market.

The emergence of low cost, powerful smartphones and tablets, however, is changing the trucking technology game forever. Eighty-five percent (85%) of drivers today use cell phones. More than half of those devices are smartphones, and now seven out of 10 drivers report they are using those mobile devices to conduct business. Going hand in hand with this proliferation of smart phone devices is a host of new business and productivity apps aimed helping fleets and truck drivers better and more efficiently manage their business operations.

BigRoad, founded in 2011 by seasoned experts in the transportation industry, is a rapidly growing technology start up with the best interests of truckers at its heart. The company’s highly popular BigRoad app allows truckers to electronically capture and document their hours of service (HOS) – a key metric required for FMCSA compliance. The app, which is available for Android and iPhone platforms, also helps fleets connect with drivers more easily, manage critical information such as driver location and availability, and track state mileage reporting and vehicle inspection reports. In just two years, BigRoad has earned the business of more than 1,000 fleets and more than 160,000 drivers today use the app for HOS tracking.

In July 2014, the FMCSA broke down any remaining barriers to mobile device-based electronic logging with a newly revised guidance (49 CFR Part 295). The guidance confirmed that electronic logs produced by apps such as BigRoad are indeed considered official records of duty under Federal Law, removing any lingering ambiguity related to the regulations. This means truckers using the BigRoad app will no longer face questions or objections from Department of Transportation (DOT) roadside inspectors.

With the road ahead smooth and clear, BigRoad is focused on executing its strategy to bring to truckers the most user-friendly electronic logging system on the market today. The app, which already has a five star ranking on the app stores, continues to capture new users daily as news of its usefulness spreads through truck stops and fleet depots.

Just the Deets

Name: BigRoad
Industry: Transportation
Management Team: Terry Frey, COO; Willem Galle, CEO; Dan Collins, CTO
Founded: 2011
Graduated Accelerator Centre: 2013
Employees: 16
Customers: 1,000 fleets, 160,000 drivers
Twitter: @bigroad

AC Grad Perspecsys expands global footprint with new Canadian office

Perspecsys, the leader in enterprise cloud data protection gateway solutions, today announced the opening of its new Canadian office to support global demand for its cloud security solutions. The new Mississauga, Ontario office will house a growing team of engineering, sales, product and marketing personnel that bring Perspecsys’ AppProtex Cloud Data Protection Gateway to market. The solution, part of a fast growing category that Gartner has coined “Cloud Access Security Brokers,” is deployed at some of the most innovative and largest enterprise organizations across the globe.

According to Gartner, cloud adoption will reach $285.7 billion by 2018, as enterprises look to reduce IT costs and streamline operations, from customer service to big data analytics. The new state-of-the-art, collaborative 12,000-square foot Mississauga office will provide Perspecsys much needed growing room to enable the cloud adoption plans of some of the largest brands in the world. These customers rely on Perspecsys to keep sensitive and regulated data under their complete control, even while adopting public cloud applications like ServiceNow and

To read the full article, click here.

AC Grad ChangeIt inks major deal with BMO

We are incredibly proud of AC Graduate ChangeIt, who today announced a strategic partnership with BMO Bank of Montreal to deliver a first of its kind charitable giving program to Canadians. Using ChangeIt’s innovative, secure technology, Canadians will be able to easily make a donation to their favourite charity using their credit card.

The official partnership announcement, which took place at Sick Kids Hospital today in Toronto, featured Robin Cardozo, COO of SickKids Foundation, Mike Kitchen, CEO, ChangeIt, Nick Mastromarco, Managing Director, Acquisition, Loyalty & Partnerships, BMO Bank of Montreal, Jay Hooper, Vice President of Development, WWF-Canada, and Sharon Wood, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone.

Read the full press release here.

AC Grads populate Deloitte Technology Fast 50™

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ is an annual recognition celebrating innovation, entrepreneurship, achievements and evolution in the Canadian technology industry. Companies are ranked in three categories: Technology Fast 50™; Companies to Watch and the prestigious Leadership awards.

This year’s group of 2014 winners grew an average of 4736% over five years, and produced the highest revenue growth rate for Canada’s fastest growing companies since 2011. This year, Deloitte is also recognizing a record 15 companies in the Companies to Watch category.

Once again, we’re thrilled to brag (just a bit) that AC grads are represented in this the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 50™. Miovision, one of the first companies to graduate from the Accelerator Centre, ranked 19th on the Fast 50™ list, putting up an impressive 749% growth rate. AC graduates Axonify and Kik also make the Companies to Watch list.

Here’s Deloitte’s web site with all the details.

AC Grad Clearpath Robotics founders are 40 Under 40

Canadian robot makers accompany Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on 40 Under 40 list.

Clearpath Robotics’ co-founders, Matt Rendall (CEO), Ryan Gariepy (CTO) and Bryan Webb (COO/CFO) are included in Business Insider’s “40 Under 40: People To Watch In 2015” list, released today. The team is recognized for being inspirational entrepreneurs within the robotics industry.

Of the “40 Under 40” list, Clearpath Robotics’ CEO Matt Rendall said, “We’re honored to be in the company of such remarkable people. Our company stemmed from our passion of building robots, and we’re proud to see that our solutions continue to enable researchers in the robotics industry.”

Clearpath Robotics designs and engineers robotics solutions for research and development departments around the world. The company’s robotics are used to research the automation of dull, dirty and dangerous jobs. Rendall (age 30), Gariepy (age 27) and Webb (age 28) started the company when they were students at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Business Insider developed the list based on inspiring innovators, entrepreneurs, and activists under the age of 40 around the world. The international online magazine writes, “These people disrupt industries – spanning finance, tech, sports, entertainment, media, science, food and retail – with their revolutionary new companies, products, and ideas.”

To read the full press release, click here.