Rapid Novor– Biotech Company Tackles Antibody Sequencing To Help Fight Future Health Battles and Change the Industry at Large

Rapid Novor is a biotech company located at Accelerator Centre’s Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab.

The company is dedicated to developing the next generation of protein sequencing technology. The team is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of highly accomplished bioinformaticians, mass spectrometry scientists and experienced entrepreneurs. Together, they are passionate about advancing technology and offering top-notch services to speed up antibody related discoveries.

What Is De Novo Sequencing?

In mass spectronomy (mass spectrum measures the masses within a sample), de novo peptide sequencing is the method in which a peptide amino acid sequence is determined from tandem mass spectrometry.

Rapid Novor has created a technology platform called REmAb™, which provides a direct and independent insight into your antibody sample. The team has created a process that made it possible to sequence any given antibody proteins routinely. There are several potential reasons a customer may need their service or want to use this technology:

  1. In some patent application or cases, the customer wants to be absolutely sure about the antibody sequence. In this situation, they may already obtained the sequences through DNA sequencing. Our service can serve as an orthogonal method to confirm the sequence.
  2. For antibodies that were originally generated decades ago, the original cell line may be dead/changed, or simply not accessible. In this situation, our technology is the only way to rescue the exact same antibody if the customer still have some of the antibody proteins left.
  3. Biosimilar development. We can help sequence or confirm the protein sequences of those off-patent drugs.

Changing the Industry

For over a decade people have had the impression that de novo peptide sequencing with mass spectronomy is slow. However, Dr. Ma, as a bioinformatician who worked on this problem for years, wanted to make a change. Since January 2015, Dr. Ma devoted himself to a new de novo sequencing tool, Novor. The outcome of this dedication caused impressive results: Novor achieved a speed of 300 spectra per second (with a MacBook Pro laptop computer), with accuracy better than other available tools to date.

With a speed surpassing all modern mass spectrometers and software solutions in the market, the software may enable applications that were previously not possible.

The company’s REmAb™ platform is built upon this core algorithm and has helped over a hundred customers worldwide in their antibody research and development.

The Team

Rapid Novor began with three founders,  Bin Ma, President and Chief Scientist, Mingjie Xie, CEO and Qixin Liu, CTO.  Since then, the company has grown with a team armed with the expertise, experience and passion dedicated to advancing life-science for better human health with the next generation of protein sequencing.

In January of 2016, the company entered the Accelerator Programs and were able leverage the mentorship available in order to build out their company faster. In the AC’s Hardware Innovation Lab space, they have their own state-of-the-art lab, meaning they can do everything  internally and speed up the sequencing process and get results even faster. There new found success also allowed them grow their team – hiring a full-time developer and sales representatives to help scale the business.

What’s Next?

Xie, CEO shares,

“All of the clients so far have been very happy with the results and we know that the work we are doing can be instrumental to the future of healthcare. We are noticing however, that we need to put more energy into educating the market, because what we do is very complex in nature but we want to make it so that everyone understands the benefits of what we do and what we can do for them. Over the last two years we’ve been leaning heavily on marketing. Our goal for 2018 is to continue that but use an approach of educating in a non-intimidating manor.”

Rapid Novor is also looking to grow the team in the areas of research & development and sales and marketing for 2018.

To learn more about Rapid Novor, please visit RapidNovor.com


Accelerator Centre Ranked #4 University Linked Accelerator Program in the World

TORONTO, CANADA, February 23, 2018​ – The Accelerator Centre is pleased to announce that it has been ranked the #4 University Linked Business Accelerator in the world by UBI Global.

UBI Global is a Stockholm-based research and advisory firm known for its regional and global studies that map and evaluate the business incubator and accelerator landscape. The ranking, based off a benchmarking study that included over 1,400 programs, was announced last night at UBI Global’s biyearly rankings ceremony at the World Incubation Summit in Toronto.

“It is an honour to be ranked the #4 University Linked Accelerator Program,” says CEO Paul Salvini. “The Accelerator Centre’s programming has always been at the forefront of best practices and our clients and graduates have consistently produced high growth, high impact companies. This high performance results in the level of long-term success and sustained economic growth that the Waterloo innovation ecosystem is best known for. ”

Since 2006, the Accelerator Centre has worked with over 400 startups. It’s flagship Accelerator Program has produced 59 graduates that include Canadian grown, global powerhouses like Kik, Axonify, Magnet Forensics, SSIMWAVE, Sortable, Clearpath Robotics, Alert Labs, and Intellijoint and its seed funding program AC JumpStart has provided seed funding to 168 companies across Southwestern Ontario. Accelerator Centre clients have also created 2,500 full-time jobs, attracted $573M in investments and have a combined valuation of $3B+.

“Our amazing community of partners, sponsors, mentors and staff team are a big part of why we have been recognized tonight. We have been working with startups in the Waterloo region for over 10 years, and this community has made it possible to provide the services and support that have helped our clients become successful,” says Clinton Ball, Director of Client Programs and Strategic Initiatives. “We are excited to continue working with the international community through partnerships and licensing our program to share our lessons learned and help grow companies.”

The complete rankings will be made available on February 23, 2018 at: http://ubi-global.com/rankings/

Accelerator Centre Success Stories

Axonify  – Corporate elearning software designed to meet the modern learning needs of employees. Knowledge growth improving bottom-line business results.

Alert Labs – Smart home water sensors – real time water use, leak detectors & flood sensors. Protect property from water damage. Save money on water bills.

Magnet Forensics  – Global leader in digital investigative technology and was built on a foundation of helping and empowerment to help investigative teams find more evidence and empower them to uncover the truth.

SSIMWAVE – defining the future of video delivery with Viewer Intelligence TM. For the first time in history, video distributors, networks, and studios can take full advantage of digital optimization to deliver The Ultimate Viewing Experience TM to subscribers on any screen, anywhere.

About the Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre is an award winning startup accelerator/incubator dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive companies. Through our suite of evidence based programs, service offerings, and unique one-to-one mentorship model, we give startups the highest probability of long-term success.

About UBI Global

UBI Global is a Swedish-based data and advisory firm specializing in mapping, highlighting, and connecting the world of business incubation. Through a network of more than 500 member organizations from over 70 countries globally, UBI Global provides matchmaking, ranking, benchmarking, and research services to corporations and business incubation programs.

Studio1Labs: Better Healthcare Driven by AI

Studio1 Labs is an intelligent patient monitoring and documentation solution. Rather than attaching wires or devices to the body to monitor vital signs, Studio 1 Labs has developed a bed sheet that automatically monitors and records vital signs electronically. Completing clinical trials on human participants, the company has many supporters and collaborations including funding by NSERC, NRC, Ontario Centres of Excellence, SOSCIP Smart Computing for Innovation, Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN), Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN), FedDev Ontario, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ministry of International Trade, IBM, Communitech, the Accelerator Center, Innovation York, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Waterloo, York University, and Niagara College that contributed to the creation of a new medical device.

When founders, Olivia and Edward, initially met in a martial arts club they never imagined that one day they would be working together to create a healthcare company that would change the way health service providers care for their patients. Together they have been able to build solutions using biomedical fabrics and sensors to aid in monitoring vitals, maintaining health and preventing illnesses early.

Interestingly, neither Olivia or Edward have direct medical or technical backgrounds, but they took it upon themselves to learn about the physics, sensors and science behind their product and even made their own sensors to customize their solution further at a very low cost. Through that process, and now with clinical trials completed, they were able to compile a large database and transfer that data into, thus creating an end-to-end solution for health service providers.

With IBM providing the software infrastructure and a vast network, the company was able to build the software and establish a partnership with SOSCIP and scale their computing capabilities with additional support of a grant for a post-doctoral fellow to apply machine learning   with data from their clinical trials.

In 2017, Studio1 Labs was granted a $30,000 investment through the AC JumpStart seed funding grant. Olivia and Edward explain how the AC JumpStart program provided further funding for the company to file a worldwide patent on their sensor system technology, which was a real game changer that opened the door for global markets.

“We got the support to understand what we needed for the Canadian and Chinese market perspectives. We are now commercializing towards a medical device. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support we’ve been so grateful to receive from this community.”

The next big move is to provide the large number of seniors on a waiting list so they could receive remote care, with a clinical grade bed sheet monitor that is easy for anyone to adopt. The company has its first customer pilot in Canada that will commence summer 2018.

To learn more about Studio 1 Labs and their healthcare solutions, please visit Studio1Labs.com

AC JumpStart is made possible by and investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario(FedDev Ontario) and is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Laurier, and the University of Waterloo.

Smart Cocoon: Automated Technology to Keep Home Temperatures Regulated in Every Room

Have you ever had the issue of the air quality in your home causing different rooms to be drastically different temperatures? Maybe it’s winter and the basement is seemingly warmer or colder than all the other rooms in the house, it’s not what anyone wants. Or vice versa in the summer when it’s so hot out, but all your bedrooms seem to just trap that hot air and the basement remains a cool cellar. A company called Smart Cocoon has created a solution that works with your thermostat system to solve that problem. Smart Cocoon has created a smart device and application which automatically boost’s the air quality in the rooms of your home that need it most.

The Smart Cocoon solution works as follows: 

  • Your home has a smart thermostat. In the case of Smart Cocoon they connect to Nest thermostats, but will soon connect with all types of thermostats such as Honeywell and Ecobee).
  • Then Smart Cocoon adds booster fans that sit in your vents and fit perfectly within the existing grills that cover them.
  • The smart boosters connect back to the main thermostat and are all controlled through the application by Smart Cocoon which can be operated via your mobile phone.

The result is a simple solution for climate control inside your home. Most of the cost of your energy bill is due to the process of heating and cooling the home. By using Smart Cocoon technology, homeowners can save 15 to 25% on their energy bills. It helps to sustain energy usage and saves dollar on energy bills, not to mention keeps your toes warm when you need them toasty.

Founders, Sam and Kaveh began their company in 2016 focusing on heat activation in the home. A smart plug-in software to activate off-the-shelf products.

They quickly realized there was an opportunity to build their own product, so they did that as well. In August of 2017 they launched their beta product and in November of 2017 they held private testing including 40 people in Toronto. They put an ad out on Facebook looking for a test group, and had such an overwhelming interest, that they didn’t have enough equipment for everyone to test! The interest and need for a technology like this was apparent.

The team worked hard and fast on the mobile app development with help from contractors and students, leading the charge. In March the team launched in the greater Toronto area and Waterloo Region, receiving a ton of feedback and testimonials from their first customers.

Their typical client is a home owner of a two story house that has been around for 35- 60 years. These homes typically have a substantial temperature difference between floors.

The Smart Cocoon team consists of co-founders Sam and Kaveh, part-time CTO Ehsan, a few developers, two co-op students and various contractors. Being a part of the Kitchener-Waterloo Tech Community has provided positive energy to the entire team. Sam describes how incredible the resources have been here how programs like the Accelerator Program have been helpful in supporting them with their processes and systems.

“Coming from Toronto, a very competitive landscape it was so enlightening to experience such a community-based and helpful community here. Whenever we come here [Kitchener- Waterloo] we feel a sense of overwhelming support, inspiration and energy.”

Presently, the team is preparing for an important public beta launch in 2018. Their goals moving forward are to sell their Smart Cocoon Boosters, finalizing the product for sales across Canada and the United States, raising money from VC’s to scale their company production and continuing to make a difference.

When asked what keeps them going on those long and grueling days of entrepreneurship, both Sam and Kaveh echoed the same sentiments,

“Even on the hardest days, when we hear feedback from our customers about how our product is improving their lives it fires us up and motivates us to keep going.”

Kaveh followed,

“There was one customer, that told us she was able to remove all the spot heaters from her children’s rooms. That made us happy because we know how much of a health and safety hazard spot heaters can be. And there was another customer that said they were able to turn their temperatures lower, saving on their energy bill. This was particularly interesting because they had a tenant renting their basement which had a 15 degree(farenheit) difference from the main floor and the basement. A definite problem causing stress for everyone. After installing our system there was only a 3-degree (farenheit) difference between the main floor and the basement, making quality of life much better for both parties.”

To find out more about Smart Cocoon and the products available please visit: www.mysmartcocoon.com

Nicoya Lifesciences Raises $2 Million to Make Protein Testing Equipment More Accessible to Researchers

Originally published on BetaKit

Kitchener-based Nicoya Lifesciences has raised $2 million.

The funding was led by Ripple Ventures and GTAN, with participation from MaRS IAF, BDC, Garage Capital, Angel One, Maple Leaf Angels, Innovation Grade Ventures, the Laurier Startup Fund, the University of Waterloo Student Venture Fund and the Waterloo Alumni Angels.

Nicoya launched in 2012 as a spin-out company from the University of Waterloo. The company uses nanotechnology to create more affordable protein testing solutions for medical researchers, and said their instruments have been used by hundreds of researchers in over 25 countries. The funding will be used to support new product development.

“We are developing some of the most advanced biosensor technologies in the world and we are
excited about the impact they will have on human health in the future,” said Ryan Denomme, Nicoya Lifesciences co-founder and CEO.

Nicoya received $50,000 from the Communitech Rev Awards in September 2015.

“The entire Nicoya team have built a product that lets academic and private institutions run tests at a fraction of the cost,” said Matt Cohen, managing partner of Ripple Ventures. “We are confident that their data-driven sales strategy will accelerate their time to market and quickly disrupt the fragmented SPR industry. Ripple Ventures is thrilled to co-lead this investment in Nicoya Lifesciences.”

Q&A With Emily Jackson, VP of Communications at AC Grad Ecopia Tech Corporation

Originally Published in WATCH Magazine 

WATCH: As mapping technology goes – Ecopia is a whole other level of sophistication, from adding detail to 3D building models, to precision detection of specific locations, to identifying changes to the landscape in close to real time. Who are some of your customers and how are they using your mapping capabilities?

EJ: Ecopia is an industry leading artificial intelligence (AI) company. We specialize in extracting insight from geospatial big data. Millions of geospatial images are captured every day by satellites, airplanes, drones, and other vehicles. What we do is convert this flood of pixels into high definition (HD) vector maps. These kinds of actionable insights are used by industries such as energy, insurance, real estate, telecom and other location-based services to observe, analyze and monitor landscapes in far greater detail than ever previously possible. Industries include but are not limited to energy, insurance, real estate, telecom, and location-based services.

For instance, if there’s a natural disaster such as a major hurricane, a location-based service (such as emergency management) could use our products to go beyond satellite imagery which would show just the swath of land affected, to pinpointing the exact addresses of homes and infrastructure requiring emergency support. We’ve also worked with an organization called PMSA to map the entirety of Australia in tremendous detail. This experience has led to follow-on projects for Ecopia around the world.

Customer Success: PSMA: Size, scale & how well we did. Link to case study: https://www.geoscape.com.au/product/

WATCH: Ecopia has a place of honour on the Accelerator Centre (AC) grad wall. Can you tell us what the business has been up to since it graduated from the AC?

EJ: During our time at the AC, our business was intensely focused on research and development to fully commercialize our large-scale feature extraction technology. Now, after five years of work, we’ve successfully accomplished that goal, and have built out our technology into a first of its kind suite of high definition mapping products that greatly improve the ability of various industries to extract critical insight from the exponentially increasing volume of earth imagery generated by the sensors each day. Now the business is scaling in every possible way. We have 20 global partners representing every continent. We are mapping land, roads, and buildings around the world so businesses can finally gain an edge from accurate, national-scale, location-based analytics. And our team is up to 30. We’re growing like crazy.

WATCH: The company opened another office in the GTA, but you still maintain deep ties back to Waterloo Region and remain involved with UW and other initiatives. Can you tell us about some of the cool things you are involved in?

EJ: We may have expanded into Toronto for business reasons, but we’ll always have one foot in Waterloo Region. We are a company that was born in Waterloo Region. Our co-founder is a PhD at University of Waterloo and many of our employees were educated here. So it is really important to us to remain connected to the Region. Recently, Ecopia has partnered with the Region of Waterloo, Communitech, the University of Waterloo, and the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as a member of the Region’s new OCE Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network. We also regularly attend tech events and network within the region to stay top of everything happening in the Region. Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time on University of Waterloo campus, hosting employer info sessions and participating in job fairs. We also seek to hire University of Waterloo as often as possible; both co-ops and full-time employees. It’s really important to us to attract top talent, and University of Waterloo is a leading source.

WATCH; You’ve recently joined the firm after spending a number of years at the Accelerator Centre yourself, what finally tempted you to join a startup and how will you be helping the business grow?

EJ: Being at the AC gives you a unique opportunity to get a close look at the incredible businesses being built both at the AC and in Waterloo Region in general. So it is almost inevitable that, at some point,  you catch the startup bug and want to be part of building something. I’ve always loved Ecopia. I spent a lot of time with the co-founders in the early days. I found them to be an incredible group of people. They are smart, kind and work really really hard. Those are the kind of qualities I look for in a person and in a company I want to be part of. So it was just time for me to take the leap of faith and join a scaling business that I admire work with founders I admire. I also think I bring to them a really unique background. Through my work at the AC I have become really well connected to incubation hubs and government programs within Ontario and across Canada. I have my finger on the pulse of innovation across Canada. I believe I can help Ecopia penetrate the Canadian market – which is quite a challenge. The skills I honed at the AC – everything from facilities management, to operations management, to project management and fundraising will all be beneficial in this new role. And I think I can help the company grow culture within the business. The team is predominately engineering right now, but as we scale that is changing.

WATCH: What lies next for Ecopia?

EJ: Well obviously growth. We are digitizing the physical world and there’s huge demand for the intelligence and insight we provide. And we can do it with a level of speed and efficiency that is unprecedented so we are able to put great, highly detailed business intelligence in the hands of organizations who need it most – information they never thought it was possible to acquire. We also touch more industries that I could even have imagined before joining the company. I didn’t realize how this technology could be transferable across so many sectors and applications. We sit squarely in the middle of the Smart City movement. That’s a global conversation and we contribute a critical business intelligence component to that discussion.

We’re Hiring! Facility & Client Experience Coordinator – Hardware Innovation Lab

JOB DESCRIPTION – Coordinator, Facility & Client Experience

The Accelerator Centre requires a qualified, energetic and flexible jack/jill of all trades to fill an exciting position in a fast paced and dynamic entrepreneurial workspace. The ideal candidate must be personable, have excellent communication skills, a master of multi-tasking and take on projects and initiatives without much guidance. We are looking for a Facility and Program Coordinator to maintain, manage and help support the growth and evolution of our Hardware Innovation Lab in Kitchener.

Reporting to the Director, Client Programs and Initiatives the Coordinator, Facility & Client Experience is responsible for day to day management of our innovative hardware, IoT and life sciences facility. This position will play a critical role in ensuring that client, visitor and partnership satisfaction are a top priority at all times, while ensuring each facilities, including workspaces, meeting rooms and common areas are well kept and stocked. As the first point of contact for companies at the Hardware Innovation Lab, this position will be involved in setting culture and making pivotal suggestions for programming improvements and event coordination to engage the ecosystem in a meaningful and impactful way.


  • Manage first impressions – provide reception support, greet guests, direct visitors and respond to client company needs and inquires
  • Monitor client movements including preparation of space, suite signage and access/security passes
  • Support the Client Companies from onboarding through program completion including engagement with mentors
  • Provide tours of facility to prospective clients, guests and industry partners
  • Create and maintain vender relationships with suppliers for janitorial, office supplies, security, IT and service providers to provide continual support for client in both spaces
  • Events – execute programming events, manage communications, RSVP lists, food & beverage and technical need
  • Develop, execute and manage value-added events based on client needs
  • Client requested events – key contact and facilitator for setting up and running events as the AC representative
  • Make programming and event recommendations to Program Director or Manager based on observations and client conversations
  • Be the Chief Everything Officer (CEO), find opportunity in every task and support the company and team
  • Work with Arts Build Ontario to develop an events strategy for community events between the Arts & Tech Sector
  • Recruit, interview and secure new leading edge hardware & IoT companies by attending events and working with community partners
  • Assist in securing partnerships in advanced manufacturing, prototyping and assembly


  • Post-secondary education in business management, operations, event management or related discipline
  • Conducts business in a professional manner at all times, leading by example with a positive team attitude in all aspects
  • Strong commitment to providing exceptional customer experiences for clients, visitors and industry partners
  • Clear verbal and written communication skills
  • Assertive, confident and thrives under pressure
  • Excellent organizational, trouble-shooting, and interpersonal skills
  • A self-start that can work under minimal supervision


Please submit your resume and cover letter to careers@acceleratorcentre.com by February 23, 2018 at 5pm. We thank all interested candidates for their applications, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

The Accelerator Centre is committed to fostering a diverse community that is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.

A full range of perspectives, lifestyles, and passions are key to creating the inclusive, entrepreneurial environment that is necessary to help our clients build and scale globally competitive companies. Diversity and inclusion at the Accelerator Centre means we are dedicated to the elimination of discrimination, in all its forms, at all levels of our organization and in our programming.

We welcome applications from qualified candidates of all backgrounds regardless of age, physical ability, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. We will provide any requested accommodation to candidates with disabilities throughout the recruitment process. If you require assistance, please contact careers@acceleratorcentre.com noting the job title in the subject line of the email.