Miovision Celebrates 10 Years of Innovation and Success

Looking back at the success of the AC’s first Graduate

It’s been almost 7 years since Miovision became the Accelerator Centre’s first graduate and started down the path of defining what the next generation of tech companies looked like in Waterloo Region.

The company came into the AC when three students were looking to commercialize an idea that would change how cities think about tracking and managing traffic flow. CEO, Kurtis McBride had spent one too many days sitting in a chair at an intersection with a clipboard counting cars – he knew it could be done better.

Since then Miovision has evolved as a pioneer in city planning technologies, allowing planners to map the flow of traffic at key intersections and make better decisions about how to create smart cities.

The AC is extremely proud to see our first Graduate celebrate their 10th anniversary, marking them as a leader in smart city engineering and a pillar in the Waterloo Region tech community.

“I knew when Kurtis and his Co-Founders first applied they were ideal candidates for the AC,” said Gary Pooley, CFO and initial board member of the Accelerator Centre. “They were truly engaged with the program and showed tremendous focus and dedication to building a great business. It is a great pleasure to see how far they have come and an honour to celebrate their success.”

“The Accelerator Centre has played a huge role in Miovision’s success,” said McBride. “They provided us with the mentorship, guidance and resources that have helped us build the company we are today.”

Miovision has also played a tremendous role in the success of the AC. During their time here the founders were always focused on giving back, sharing knowledge and acting as advisors to other AC Clients. Today that tradition continues with McBride sitting as member of the AC Board helping to guide the success of the AC itself.

The AC Staff and Mentors congratulate the team at Miovision on continuing to raise the bar and define success for Waterloo Region!


Highlights from the AC Client Showcase

This past September we brought the Region’s business, academic, and technology community into the AC to connect with the brightest and most promising entrepreneurs in Waterloo Region and beyond. The 2015 AC Client Showcase was a tremendous opportunity for people to plug-in and learn about the big ideas and game-changing technologies that will shape the future.

From nanotech to big data; smarter cities to a smarter world, the Clients at the AC have always pushed the barriers of what we thought possible and sparked change across the globe.

Here are some highlights from this year’s AC Client Showcase.

AC JumpStart Client Suncayr Plans Broader Product Line


This post originally appeared on entrevestor.com

By Peter Moreira

Suncayr CEO Rachel Pautler sums it up best when it comes to the obvious appeal of her company’s skin protection product, joking that her team initially wondered, “Why has no one done this before?”

The product—a marker that tests the effectiveness of your sunscreen using ink that only becomes visible when your skin is exposed to UV rays— has a literal pain point, allowing users to avoid sunburns and skin damage. Pautler says it is also more precise than competing products like the Netatmo June wristband and Goodlux Sunsprite lapel clasp, which measure the overall amount of UV exposure received, but cannot gauge sunscreen coverage.

Pautler and fellow co-founders Derek Jouppi, Andrew Martinko and Chad Sweeting are nanotechnology engineers who began working on the idea as a senior class project at the University of Waterloo in 2013. Development started in Waterloo’s Velocity Science accelerator program before half the operation moved to the Velocity Foundry, a hardware incubator. It has also received mentorship at Communitech.

In the span of about two years, Suncayr’s innovative technology has already started turning heads internationally. In 2014, the company was the only Canadian team shortlisted for the prestigious James Dyson Award. Most recently, Suncayr was named one of the Kairos Society’s K50 companies, an international network that spotlights companies that have founders under 25 and a revolutionary, market-ready product.

At the K50 Global Summit held this month in Hollywood, Suncayr was selected out of the group as one of the most promising 13 startups, receiving a resource prize from the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center which includes a week of retail space in San Francisco for consumer testing.

Pautler says that while getting the Suncayr marker to market is their chief focus, the medical implications of their technology reach far further.

“Our core technology is not really the UV sensing at all,” she said. “It’s more so how we keep it on the skin. Sun screen has a lot of solvents– it dissolves a lot of things– so we developed our technology to keep a very thin film on the top of your skin.”

Future applications of their technology, Pautler says, could include better skin-contact drug delivery for things like nicotine or birth control, and use as an alternative to surgical tape.

“We’re hoping to build out the company to a whole suite of skincare products.”

For now, the Suncayr marker is still in the process of going through Health Canada’s regulation process. Once the company gets the greenlight they will be able to start pre-sales this spring, in anticipation of a full launch in to the Canadian market by July. Pautler says the company’s first round of funding could occur as early as this December.

Learn more about Entrevestor.

Two AC Grads Named to Deloitte’s Fast 50 list

Magnet Forensics and Miovision continue to show incredible growth and impact


This article originally appeard in The Record

Six firms in Waterloo Region are on this year’s list of Canada’s fastest growing technology companies.

Magnet Forensics, Miovision Technologies, Aeryon Labs, Dejero Labs, eSentire, and Igloo Software are on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 list, which is based on revenue growth over the previous four years.

Magnet, a Waterloo provider of digital forensics tools, is eighth on the list with four-year revenue growth of 1,154 per cent.

Miovision, a Kitchener company that develops traffic data collection and analysis systems, ranks 32nd with revenue growth of 305 per cent.

Waterloo drone maker Aeryon ranks 10th with revenue growth of 1,032 per cent.

Dejero, a Waterloo firm that provides a platform for live-to-air broadcasting, is 18th with revenue growth of 590 per cent.

Cambridge-based eSentire, a provider of cybersecurity tools and services, is 42nd with revenue growth of 202 per cent.

Igloo, a Kitchener firm that develops social networking software for businesses, ranks 45th with revenue growth of 159 per cent.

Topping this year’s list is Frank & Oak, a Montreal-based menswear brand and online retailer. It had revenue growth of 18,480 per cent.

Deloitte said the companies on the Fast 50 list achieved average growth of 1,293 per cent.

Ontario is home to 23 of the companies on the 50 list. There are 13 from Quebec, 10 from British Columbia, two from Alberta, and one each from Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

TrustPoint Innovation Technologies [another AC Graduate], a Waterloo startup that develops products for secure machine to machine communications, is among 12 firms on Deloitte’s companies to watch list.

This year’s survey of Fast 50 CEOs indicated that securing talent is a significant issue for two-thirds of the companies on the list.

“Young Canadian tech companies from coast to coast are experiencing staggering growth,” Robert Nardi, Deloitte’s technology, media and telecommunications managing partner, said in a news release.

“However, for these firms to maintain their trajectory they need to have the right talent mix. For today’s fast-growing companies, finding and attracting talent is of great importance.”

AC JumpStart Client Voltera becomes first Canadian winner of James Dyson Award

This story originally appeared in The Globe and Mail

A group of University of Waterloo graduates has become the first Canadian winner of the international James Dyson Award, a prestigious engineering design competition judged by the British inventor.

The winning invention is called the Voltera V-One, a compact device that can print prototype circuit boards in minutes. Right now, when engineers are designing a circuit board, it can take days or weeks to get a prototype manufactured, and it usually involves a pricey minimum order of multiple units as well.

“I can’t tell you how many times we faced the problem we set out to solve,” says Alroy Almeida, co-founder of Voltera Inc., who is also preparing this week to ship the first early-bird units of the device to backers of the company’s crowdfunding campaign. About two dozen of the machines are shipping to backers who helped the company raise more than $500,000 in February, 2015. An additional 300 are expected to deliver in early 2016.

The Voltera falls into the category of 3-D printing, but it is far from a simple hobby machine.

“We’ve got customers now from all walks of life. In our early-bird backers, there’s a professor at a local university. He’s going to use it to run courses, and he runs an international electronics competition,” Mr. Almeida says. “Pebble [the California-based smartwatch maker with roots in Waterloo] purchased an early-bird unit. They are looking to use it in their prototyping.”

Production units are expected to cost in the $2,000 range, and come with the special conductive and insulating ink used to print the two-layer circuits. There’s also a solder-paste dispenser, allowing other components to be attached to the board.

In the future, the company is looking to create a marketplace where Voltera owners can download existing circuit-board designs that they can add to or modify.

Mr. Almeida says the team found out it won via a video message from Mr. Dyson. In it, he says: “As an engineer, I know the frustration of waiting for circuit boards to be printed, and the Voltera elegantly solved this problem. And that’s why I’ve chosen you as the International Winners of the James Dyson Award, well done!”

Mr. Almeida and co-founders Jesús Zozaya and James Pickard are mechatronics engineering graduates from Waterloo; fellow founder Katarina Ilic is a graduate of nanotechnology engineering.

Since 2008, the award has been won by British, American, Australian and German student projects. The winners get $45,000 (U.S.) and an additional $7,500 goes to their university.

AC Grad Intellijoint granted new patents in the US


Intellijoint Surgical’s Patent Portfolio Gains Strength Through the Issuance of New US Patents

AC Graduate Intellijoint Surgical Inc., a medical technology company committed to developing and commercializing low-cost miniaturized surgical smart tools, announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company a key patent related to its core technology in miniature 3D surgical measurement. The patent, number 9138319, is entitled “Method and system for aligning a prosthesis during surgery”.

Intellectual property development is a strategic cornerstone for Intellijoint Surgical. The company continues to build its patent portfolio through new applications and several recent issuances. The issuances include Intellijoint’s core technology and the surrounding instrumentation enabling it to be placed in a sterile field. Another key patent, entitled “System and method for intra-operative leg position measurement” is expected to issue in early 2016.

“Our miniaturized smart tools are setting the new standard in 3D measurement for surgery,” says Armen Bakirtzian, Chief Executive Officer of Intellijoint Surgical. “Patent issuances are rewarding milestones recognizing the novel technology our organization has created. We will continue to aggressively pursue patents to protect our innovations and build business value”.

Intellijoint graduated from the Accelerator Centre in 2014. The company’s technology provides quantifiable, accurate, intra-operative feedback helping surgeons and hospitals to potentially improve surgical outcomes through accurate implant positioning and selection, ultimately improving patient satisfaction and healthcare economics.

Plum wins Buffalo startup prize, sets sights on U.S. market

This post originally appeared on Communitech News.

Waterloo Region’s Plum won a $250,000 prize from Buffalo-based business competition 43North, a prize the company plans to leverage as it builds a sales force in the United States.

Plum was one of 11 winners – chosen from 11,000 applicants – and it earned a lot more than money. Each year 43North gives out $5 million in cash prizes, but it also awards incubator space, mentorship opportunities and tax incentives to young companies with interesting ideas.

Plum is a talent-acquisition tool: software that helps recruiters find candidates based on ability and personality. Using questionnaires, Plum analyzes both the role and the candidate, then finds the best fit. It started out as CreamHR, moving to Waterloo Region in 2013 to join the second cohort of startups in Communitech’s Hyperdrive accelerator program. Hyperdrive has since been wound down, and a new sales-focused accelerator, Communitech Rev, was launched earlier this year.

“This is a huge honour for us,” said Caitlin MacGregor, co-founder and CEO of Plum. “The prize money is building on some great funding momentum we’ve had with local angels, but what’s really exciting is that this represents our beachhead in the U.S. market.” 

There’s a lot of talk lately about how Waterloo Region’s companies need to do a better job of tapping international markets,with a Compass report released this week on the Waterloo Region tech ecosystem.

The report cited three key growth areas: adopting a global sales mindset (particularly with respect to the nearby U.S. market), close a gap in seed-stage funding, and nurture stronger ties with Toronto.

“That advice is bang-on,” said MacGregor. “Our home and headquarters are staying in Waterloo Region; that’s where our development happens. But Buffalo is a warm, welcoming city for startups and an incredible sales connection,” MacGregor said. “When you’re a startup, you’re asking people to take a risk on you and trust something new. Picking up marquee customers at events like 43North is key to showing off what your product can do, and can really boost international adoption.”

Even on the question of the Toronto-Waterloo Region corridor, MacGregor sees room for Buffalo: “Waterloo Region and Buffalo are a great, natural partnership. They’re only two hours away – a logical extension of the corridor we’re developing – and a way to connect great Canadian companies with the U.S. market. More than that, they’re really excited about it down here in Buffalo. People talk about the “Golden Triangle” of Toronto, Waterloo Region, and Buffalo.”

The excitement MacGregor refers to comes through in a video posted by 43North just yesterday, with a neighbourly holler across the border.

For MacGregor, the warm reception was welcome, but not expected.

“When we came to Waterloo Region, everyone was so welcoming and supportive we felt instantly at home. I wasn’t expecting that from Buffalo, but it’s the same here. That same feeling of family. It felt a little like getting married, and being welcomed in to a whole new family of in-laws. Our parents are in Waterloo, but we just got a big, extended family in Buffalo we weren’t expecting, and we can’t wait to get started.”