Invest Ottawa and the Accelerator Centre Put Two Decades of Collective Scale-up Success to Work and Launch Accelerator Program in Canada’s Capital

September 20, 2018 – Waterloo, Ontario: Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for Canada’s Capital, together with the Waterloo Accelerator Centre (AC), strategic partner and award-winning accelerator founded by His Excellency The Right David Johnston in 2006, today announced the official launch of The IO Accelerator, a new Invest Ottawa Accelerator program that leverages best practices from both organizations to rapidly accelerate the development, scale-up and commercial success of high-growth technology firms.

Employing a model of pan-Ontario collaboration and co-creation, Invest Ottawa and the AC have established a rigorous, milestone-based acceleration program that combines key elements of:

  • The AC’s award-winning business acceleration methodology which was ranked the #4 University-Linked Accelerator Program in the world by UBI Global following the assessment of more than 1,300 incubators and accelerators worldwide
  • Invest Ottawa’s venture development, market insight and analysis services, including its novel client lead generation offering which helps firms identify high potential prospects, create a targeted customer acquisition strategy; and accelerate time to revenue; and
  • Invest Ottawa’s global expansion and trade services that help companies go global, and gain traction in target international markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. As assessed by KPMG in 2018, the global expansion activities undertaken by Invest Ottawa over the last five years have contributed $684 Million to the provincial GDP and helped to create 3,030 direct jobs and 2,054 additional jobs.

Since the launch of the competitive application process in May 2018, Invest Ottawa has received more than 100 applications for this new accelerator program. Leveraging a robust adjudication process, a panel of expert evaluators assessed each submission based on criteria including: the value proposition of the firm; technology and product readiness level; product validation to date; and commitment of the founding team.

Following the model and methodologies from the AC’s signature offering, The Accelerator Program, the IO Accelerator addresses all key areas of business, including: product development and design; sales and marketing; accounting and finance; human resources and culture; public relations and communications; and legal frameworks (including IP).  In addition to collaborating on the creation of this program, Invest Ottawa and the AC have worked together on implementation, enabling the integration of dynamic ideas from both teams and participating founders.

The creation of the IO Accelerator represents the first step in a broader pan-Ontario strategic partnership with the AC.  Building on Invest Ottawa’s five-year strategic plan, the organizations are now exploring opportunities to help high-growth technology firms capitalize on the $3 trillion global govtech market.

“It is a pleasure to collaborate with the AC and bring our complementary expertise to bear on the entrepreneurs and firms we serve through The IO Accelerator,” said Michael Tremblay, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “By combining our strengths and resources, we can help firms scale faster and more sustainably, and achieve greater economic outcomes for each region and our province.  Our cooperation will enable more technology firms to get to revenue faster; create more high-value jobs; and generate greater wealth.  We are far more competitive together in the global economy.”

“We are delighted with the strategic collaboration established with Invest Ottawa, and the outcomes we have achieved to date,” said Paul Salvini, President and CEO of the AC.  “Since 2006, the AC has worked with more than 400 startups and produced 59 graduates. These include Canadian-grown, global powerhouse firms such as Kik, Axonify, Magnet Forensics, SSIMWAVE, Sortable, Clearpath Robotics, Alert Labs, and Intellijoint. These firms have created 2,500 jobs and have a combined valuation of more than $3 billion.  We are honoured to combine our award-winning methodology with the venture development and global expansion services of Invest Ottawa and increase our collective impact on the provincial economy.”

“I am delighted to see such a diverse mix of technology startups benefitting from the new IO Accelerator,” said Susan Richards, Chair of the Boards of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, and Co-Founder Numbercrunch and Givopoly.  “These founders are bringing disruptive technology innovations to market, and charting our economic future. I am thrilled to see eight women-led businesses among the initial firms selected. Inclusivity and diversity are proven multipliers to performance and economic growth.  As reinforced in our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Guideline, we are committed to making Ottawa the best city in the world to launch, grow and scale successful, globally-oriented and sustainable women-led firms.”

“The calibre of applications for our new accelerator program exceeded our expectations,” said Nick Quain, Vice-President of Venture Development at Invest Ottawa. “The combination of some of our brightest stars (previously incubated at Invest Ottawa), and a wave of new entrepreneurs has created an amazing first roster of companies.  We have 45 of the best scaling firms in the city.  And with targeted programming, top mentors and access to specialized entrepreneurship resources, we are really going to turn up the heat and show the world that Ottawa’s tech ecosystem is at the forefront of innovation”.

The Growcer is among the first companies selected for the IO Accelerator.  Lauded by Fast Company as one of the top 12 world changing ideas in food in 2018, the firm empowers communities to take control of their food systems by enabling local food production. By manufacturing modular plug-and-play hydroponic systems in retrofitted shipping containers, each unit can produce more than four tonnes of produce annually in temperatures as cold as -52°C.

“Our team has worked closely with Invest Ottawa for the last two years on business development, customer and investment acquisition,” said Alida Burke, Co-Founder and COO of The Growcer. “We are excited to build on the business results we have achieved to date in North America, and leverage The IO Accelerator program to develop and implement new global strategies in target markets such as China.  The opportunity to leverage the expertise of top mentors and Invest Ottawa teams, is invaluable for us as we scale and strive to establish the next $100 million company in Ottawa.

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in the City of Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally-recognized, innovative and future-ready city, and the best place to learn, work, live, and play, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development and global expansion programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include: small business training; mentorship; acceleration for technology firms; foreign business and investment attraction; local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors; commercialization; and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life.  Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of startups, scale-ups and SMEs; helped firms to attract $322 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 6,350 jobs; and attracted $293 million in Foreign Direct Investment. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca

About the Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre, an award-winning startup accelerator headquartered at Waterloo’s David Johnston Research + Technology Park, is dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive companies.Through a suite of evidence-based programs, service offerings, and unique one-to-one mentorship model, the WAC gives startups the highest probability of long-term success. For additional information, please visit: http://acceleratorcentre.com/

For more information contact:
Tabatha Laverty
Accelerator Centre
Manager, Marketing and Communications
tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

ApplyBoard CEO, Martin Basiri, Grows Canadian Startup Powerhouse with International Roots

Martin Basiri was a student in Iran when he came upon the inspiration for what would become an incredibly successful startup venture. Martin knew he wanted to study in Canada and was looking for the best possible place to advance his education.

There were many obstacles Martin had to overcome before being able to study in Canada, and the process wasn’t always easy. Not only did he need to apply for a visa, but he also needed to search for the best school and chose the program that best fit his career goals. Information on academic programming is sometimes fragmented, making it very challenging for prospective students to find the information they need.

With a firm belief that students everywhere have a right to the best possible education, Martin had high standards. Eventually, he chose the University of Waterloo based on its reputation for excellence and inclusive programming. Martin soon graduated with a Master’s in Mechatronics Engineering and began looking towards the next phase in his life – entrepreneurship.

Inspired by a passion for innovation and his experience immigrating to Canada, he set out to help his brothers get visas as well so they could join him in Canada to pursue his business idea. “It’s in my nature to build cool things”, says Martin. “I wanted to help my brothers with their visas. Using what I had learned, I was able to get their process down to only a few months.”

In 2011, the brothers got their visas and by 2015 they had used their combined experiences to create ApplyBoard, an artificial intelligence-enabled educational marketplace designed to help match international students with the best universities and programs that meet their unique needs.

“Our mission is to give people the power to access the best educational opportunities from around the world,” says Martin. “Students have a huge impact on the economy and we know students, particularly ones from diverse backgrounds, create a positive impact for a brighter future by combining their knowledge and skills with their cultural experiences. Canada is a welcoming community and it was the perfect place to launch ApplyBoard.”

The Technology

ApplyBoard is a solution-focused tech company revolutionizing the international student application process. Their product and expert staff connects with students worldwide, helping them find the best educational opportunities available to them, curated to fit their goals and preferences

ApplyBoard constructed its platform as a service (PaaS) with students and educational partners in mind. Its AI aligns the interests of students and partner schools by matching each student with their most suitable program. The platform is intuitive, personalized and designed to help everyone succeed.

ApplyBoard has partnered with over 800 institutions and is rapidly expanding their global presence.

The process starts with a screening with ApplyBoard experts to ensure the students are serious about looking to continue their education and helping them start to identify what they are looking for in an institution or an academic program. From there, students can submit their profile and information to the platform, and the AI will consider those inputs and suggest a list of highly correlated schools and programs.

The ApplyBoard team walks the student all the way through the process, including helping with visas and post grad work permits. The company has a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant on staff who is an expert on partnerships with universities and governments. This ensures ApplyBoard’s recommendations are up to date with any changes in legislation.

The platform has a 95% success rate attaching students to academic institutions.

The International Student Education Industry is impressive. In fact, it is the fourth largest export in the Canadian economy and ApplyBoard is responsible for contributing over $100 million to the Canadian economy so far. “In 2016, international students contributed $15.5 billion to the economy in tuition, books and accommodations.” says their PR Specialist Adrianna Dyczkowsky.

Early Support from Innovation Ecosystem

Along the way, the innovation ecosystem in Waterloo gave ApplyBoard a tremendous amount of support. “Velocity gave us a home and the Accelerator Centre helped us with our visas and gave us funding.” Martin recalls. 

“With the help of Clinton Ball, [Director of Client Programs and Initiatives] and the staff in the AC’s Startup Visa Program, we were able to get Canadian permanent residency status in six months and through AC JumpStart we were able to get the critical funding to get us started.” Martin says.

“It would have been impossible to build ApplyBoard without the support of the AC to obtain permanent residency.”

“I met many times with Martin and the founding team,” recalls Clinton. “They showed real commitment to growing their company, and every time we would have a coffee they had more business traction. We are happy to see the team and business growing, and this is a great example of how the Startup Visa program is helping build Canadian technology companies.”

A Growing Team with Their Eye on the Future

From the initial team of brothers: Martin Basiri, CEO; Meti Basiri, Co-Founder and CMO; and Massi Basiri, COO, the team has grown to 75 people and continues on a growth trajectory.

Diversity is a key pillar of their talent strategy. In an industry where typically only 22% of women are represented in the tech workforce, 50% of ApplyBoard’s team are women.

In the coming months, ApplyBoard will be moving into a new, larger office in Kitchener-Waterloo and growing its existing international presence in India, China, Vietnam and Nepal. The company will also be attending various global industry conferences and local events in the near future with the goal of sharing its story and expanding its customer base. Martin sums up ApplyBoard’s goals well, “Students are the future, and the journey begins now. Student by student we are helping thousands of people realize their dreams: attending the best schools while building a better future for the world.”

We’re Hiring: Accountant

JOB DESCRIPTION – Accountant

The Accelerator Centre requires a qualified, energetic and organized person to fill an exciting position in a fast paced and dynamic entrepreneurial workspace. The ideal candidate must have a critical financial eye, be a master of multi-tasking, enjoys owning their role and loves Excel!

Reporting to the Director, Finance, the Accountant will be responsible for performing all daily accounting functions, payroll, HR & benefits administration, forecasting, budget and Board report preparation.  The duties described below are for Waterloo Accelerator Centre and Waterloo Accelerator Program Inc.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Perform all daily accounting functions, including, but not limited to, payables/receivables, invoicing, employee expenses, inter-company and bank reconciliations, as well as CRA remittances.
  • Manage the corporate credit card system.
  • Work closely with the Director, Finance to compile monthly, quarterly and annual financial reporting and variance analyses (for both internal & external sources).
  • Support the annual audit, including compilation of working papers, liaising with auditors, and preparation of financial statements and audit committee presentation.
  • Assist in the preparation of annual budget that is aligned to objectives in the Annual Plan.
  • Set-up all accounts as necessary for special projects and Government funded programs.
  • Prepare all monthly, quarterly and/or annual financial reporting.
  • Support the financial portion of applications for government grants.
  • Support government program audits.
  • Work with the Community Manager (AC metrics), Program Manager & Client Experience team (client metrics) to coordinate metric collection (monthly, annually, quarterly) and preparation of related Government reporting & requests.
  • Bi-weekly input of staff payroll ensuring any changes are compliant with legislation and internal policies
  • Administer the employee benefit program. Support & set-up new team members (employee files, TribeHR, Ceridian, Manulife, HR Downloads, etc).
  • Maintain finance and HR related process documentation.
  • Be the Chief Everything Officer (CEO), find opportunity in every task and support the entire Accelerator Centre/Waterloo Accelerator Program Inc. teams as necessary (“other duties as assigned”).

DESIRED SKILLS & EXPERIENCE 

  • You have a post-secondary education in accounting and/or financial management, are a designated accounting professional (or working towards) and have 3+ years related workplace experience.
  • Previous payroll experience is considered an asset
  • You are proficient in Microsoft Office, QuickBooks Premier and are eager to learn new things. You have the capacity to work full-time.
  • Previous experience with Federal/Provincial/Municipal Government programming is a definite asset.
  • You take initiative and can manage multiple tasks and multiple directions. You demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • You can function with ease in a team environment and are ready/willing/able to help in all areas of the business.

HOW TO APPLY

Please submit your resume and cover letter to careers@acceleratorcentre.com before 5pm on September 19th. We thank all interested candidates for their applications, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
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.

Waterloo Region Startups Find Success Focusing on Seniors and Patient Centered Design

With 5.8M Canadians aged 65+, seniors now outnumber children in this country. It is estimated that by 2041, 25% of Canadians will be over the age of 65.

An aging population presents new challenges for an already struggling healthcare and social service system. Healthcare providers must work even harder and smarter to deliver care and additional resources to a swelling population of seniors without increasing their staff or budgets.

Waterloo Region’s startups are working hard to solve this dilemma, in partnership with healthcare providers, seniors, and their families. Inspired by personal experience with the challenges surrounding senior care, these entrepreneurs are tackling everything from dressing, to medication delivery, to dementia care  – offering innovative solutions that improve care and the quality of life for seniors.

Innovation that improves care and quality of life

“Seniors don’t see themselves as tech users,” says Mary Pat Hinton, founder of Emmetros, a startup focused on streamlining care for people living with dementia. “But then, you ask them if they use the internet, and they say that they do. Then you ask them if they have a smartphone or tablet, and they’ll respond that they do. Then when you ask them if they have apps on their tablets, they’ll say that they do.  By the end of the conversation, we will both be laughing about how they’re just as “techie” as I am!”

Driven by her own personal experience with her grandmother’s dementia, Hinton is fueled by a unquenchable passion to make things better for others afflicted by memory loss. She and her team have built a mobile app, MemorySparx One, that allows people with dementia to organize their days with the support of family members and their care teams. The solution, which will be provided through healthcare partners such as home care service providers and residential retirement homes, will allow people to live more independently.

Sharing Hinton’s passion to help people with dementia, Rachel Thompson a University of Waterloo grad, is bringing the gift of reading back to people living with dementia. After watching her book-loving grandmother lose her ability to read, Rachel set out to solve the problem, founding Marlena Books, a company dedicated to creating simple and accessible reading material tailored for individuals experiencing memory loss. With a mobile-based version of her books now in development, Thompson is gaining traction within long-term care facilities, healthcare enterprises and public libraries.  She also has the pleasure of seeing her tools at work, while watching her grandfather read to his wife. “It’s a true love story,” she says. “He visits and reads to her every day.”

Kristine Goulet, co-founder of Monarch Clothing was both heartbroken and frustrated. Her proud mother, who lived in long-term care, was often dressed in a way that left her looking undignified. The dressing process was painful for her and even once dressed she would continue to seem uncomfortable. Determined to make this daily ritual easier on everyone and bring dignity and fashion back to seniors like her mother, Goulet, a chiropractor, set out to create a new and vastly improved adaptive clothing line. “I knew there had to be a better way. I was determined that no one else should have to experience these same dressing challenges that my mother had”, says Goulet.

Goulet was soon joined in her mission by Pat Quinn, a close friend and experienced business professional who, herself, has an aging mother living with dementia. Together, the two have created Monarch’s unique system of dressing that is much easier to put on and is a time saver for caregivers. Fabrics are chosen specifically to make dressing comfortable and pain-free for wearers while providing the added bonus of being bright, cheerful and fashionable. Monarch recently partnered with long-term care provider Revera’s, Innovation in Aging team, to pilot their adaptive clothing line with some of their residents by organizing a truly memorable fashion event at a Revera home.

Spencer Waugh, CEO and founder of AceAge, is tackling the challenging issue of medication delivery. Sharing a similar story to his fellow entrepreneurs, he watched first hand as his grandfather struggled to stay organized with daily medications. Blister packs and other vehicles used by pharmacies are simply insufficient especially for seniors struggling with cognitive impairment.

AceAge has created Karie, a personal health companion to organize, schedule and dispense life-saving medications, ensuring seniors take the right medication at the right time. The company has partnered with pharmaceutical provider Centric Health as its fulfillment partner in an i2p2 study led by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI). The program will help accelerate the testing and evaluation of products and services designed for aging populations.

“Centric Health was not only a natural choice as they are our strategic partner, but they are a great addition to the team in a clinical research setting, where we will be validating our product,” says Waugh. “We are thrilled to be working with one of the top Canadian pharmacies for safe, secure and high-quality medication dispensing.”

Innovation focused on our aging population takes many forms, but the startups and founders involved share a common inspiration – to engage in patient and caregiver centred design to improve quality of life. They also firmly believe that innovation does not necessarily have to come in the form of a low-tech solution in order to be adopted by seniors. Family members, often middle-aged children, are the ones who will make the purchasing and care decisions, for their parents, and these tech-savvy individuals welcome tech-based solutions. They are also tomorrow’s senior population.  Rachel Thompson explains, “We’re creating solutions that suit the current needs of today’s seniors, but we’re also designing with an eye for future needs.”

The biggest barrier: adoption and scale

Like most startups, companies focused on building solutions for an aging population face challenges of adoption and scale. The health system in Canada is notoriously slow to innovate, which can drive Canadian innovators south of the border into the US in order to gain early market traction. An overcapacity, cash strapped healthcare system has to somehow carve out time and money for innovation. With patient needs rightfully pulling to the forefront, much needed innovation can get left behind. The paradox lies in the fact that investment into innovation can fuel new products, processes, and technologies, that allow our healthcare system to do more with less. More compliance with prescriptions means less visits to the hospital. Better quality of life while living at home rather than in long-term care means shorter wait times for a long-term care bed. Easier dressing and a lower occurrence of pressure sores means personal support workers have more time in their day to assist more patients with quality care.

Supported by the Accelerator Center and its partners including Velocity, Communitech, the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network, the University of Waterloo and local clinicians, startups such as Emmetros, Monarch Clothing, Marlena Books and Ace Age are creating better supports for seniors and gaining important market traction.

“At the heart of our support system for startups is collaboration,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre.  “Our innovation ecosystem needs clinicians willing to give their time to advise startups and provide access to the problems at hand. We need investors willing to play the long game and provide the capital required for inventory and product development. And we need more champions within service providers and government that actively look for opportunities to connect entrepreneurs, innovative ideas and patient care.  If we are successful, not only will we support entrepreneurs to keep their innovations here in Canada. We’ll create a better quality of life for our grandparents, parents, and a better health system for future generations.

 

Clean Technology Hub, evolvGREEN, Comes to Life with Its First Collaboration: A Three Story Living Wall

At the heart of the David Johnston R+T Park lies Canada’s greenest office building, evolv1. The building, developed by the Cora Group, is North America’s first economically replicable LEED Platinum, net-positive energy workplace and the first building in Canada to receive a Zero Carbon Building – Design Certification from the Canadian Green Building Council.

With a goal of demonstrating that the building’s ultra-sustainable systems are financially viable to developers and tenants, this scalable model gives back to both the environment and the economy.

The bold plan is setting a new standard for sustainable development and will soon be home to a mix of big business, tech powerhouses, startup ventures, and academia.

Welcome to evolvGREEN.

Within the state-of-the-art office building, you’ll find evolvGREEN, an innovative collaborative partnership between Sustainable Waterloo Region, the University of Waterloo, Laurier, the Accelerator Centre, the City of Waterloo, and the Region of Waterloo. Together, they are working to make the vision of a community hub, focused on innovation, sustainability and the clean economy a reality.

One of the primary goals of the partnership is to bring academic research, industry partners, and entrepreneurs together to drive the development and growth of a local clean economy and to create opportunity for community members to collaborate in new and exciting ways – all focused around a culture of sustainability and a collective commitment to the environment.

This week, as construction on evolv1 reaches a pivotal point, the first collaboration from the evolvGREEN project has come to life.

Building Developer and Startup partner to make a statement

When Adrian Conrad envisioned the evolv1 building, he imagined a warm and welcoming office space where large corporations, not-for-profits, and startups could come together and form a community centered around one thing – sustainability.

Inside the entrance of the building is an inspiring atrium that welcomes tenants and visitors. It sets the stage for the culture of sustainability and collaboration found within. As the design of the space was being done, Adrian knew he needed a statement piece that reflects the bold vision of evolv1; he needed a living wall.

That’s where Livescape comes in.

One of the first startups to join the Accelerator Centre’s cleantech program, which is funded through the Ontario Trillium Fund, Livescape designs and builds the most creative, state of the art living walls in the industry.

Through the AC, Livescape was able to connect with the Cora Group, learn about the vision for the space, and design a structure fitting of the innovative space. After a competitive bidding process, Livescape secured the deal with Cora Group and began working on the impressive, three story structure.

“Being a part of the AC’s cleantech program is being a part of a community that can introduce us to other forward-thinking businesses like the Cora Group. 

A 40 ft high living wall in the atrium of the most progressive building in Canada needed a design that reflects its statement for sustainability. Our circular pattern design symbolizes the community, commitment, and integrity that is evolv1. It’s not just a building, it’s a space for collaboration. We’re so happy this wall will be one of the features facilitating that vision.” 

– Ashley DeMarte, CEO, Livescape

The completion of the wall marks a milestone for the construction of evolv1 and demonstrates the value of collaborative projects like evolvGREEN in bringing people together under a common vision.

What’s Next

The evolvGREEN collaborative space and cleantech incubator are scheduled to open within evolv1 in the fall of 2018 and the partners envision even more collaborations to take place. A public grand opening event is in the works. It is sure to be a great beginning to many years of innovation and will mark the start of a new way of thinking about office buildings, about innovation, and about driving economic growth.

We are inspired by the early success of the evolvGREEN partnership and are looking forward to moving into this incredible new space. The potential for cleantech startups to succeed in this region represents an incredible opportunity for Waterloo to lead in the development of a Canada-wide clean economy, and we are excited to be supporting those startups through The Accelerator Program™.
– Dr. Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre

 

“We are so thankful for the partnerships that have brought this community vision to life and especially to those we have worked most closely within its development and will continue to work within the building, fulfilling this now common, shared vision. And we have to say, the future looks bright.”
– Tova Davidson, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region

 

Changing the Way We See the World and Transforming the Way We See Disease

Elucid Labs is one of Waterloo region’s fastest growing medtech companies and they are changing the way we see disease, literally.

Their AI dermatology assistant (AIDA™) is an AI powered computational imaging device that has transformed the detection and early diagnosis of skin cancer and other diseases – providing non invasive testing and clinical decision support that reduces the number of unnecessary tests and biopsies.

“We want machines and humans to work together for improved performance,” says co-founder Dr. Farnoud Kazemzadeh. “The revolutionary technology enables unique AI-powered deep tissue analysis allowing the physicians to ‘see’ below the surface of the skin and detects skin cancer without performing a biopsy – making it a game changer for point-of-care impact assessment.”

Their Story

As an astrophysicist, Farnoud studied the stars and focused on how he could make an impact globally as a scientist. His expertise in optics and photonics was a natural stepping stone into biomedical imaging.

Inspired by the gaps in the medical system, Farnoud began looking into better ways to detect skin cancer.

“The instances of skin cancer are on the rise worldwide,” says Farnoud. “Skin cancer instances worldwide are actually greater than the other most frequent cancers combined.  But access to specialist care depends on where you are located. In some cases, you may be waiting a year to see a specialist and that may be too long of a wait.”

In May of 2017, Farnoud pulled together an interdisciplinary team that includes respected Ph.Ds Alexander Wong and Iman Khodadad. Together, they formed Elucid Labs. Using an instrument that had originally been designed for astronomy, they built their first device and began testing.

Shortly after, they received the AC JumpStart seed funding grant and started receiving mentorship from the Accelerator Centre team.

“The AC has been great to us. The funding and mentorship have been instrumental in helping us to build Elucid into the company it is today. It’s always nice to have those checks and balances with the mentors. Every time we go to the AC we learn something new.”

A chat with Farnoud:

What are your goals with Elucid Labs?

With many people waiting too long for specialist care, our goal is to bring lab-grade testing as well as tertiary and secondary specialist care, to the primary care level so patients can receive accurate diagnoses and start getting the treatment they need as soon as possible.

What are some of your challenges working in a highly regulated space?

The space we operate in is highly regulated for good reasons, healthcare isn’t improved by building an app. Dealing with the FDA or Health Canada and the stacks of paperwork, takes a lot of effort, but it is a necessary step to demonstrate the clinical efficacy of a medical device. While it can be a challenge, the function is absolutely necessary and we are happy to take part in the process. 

As a founder, how do you keep yourself motivated?

What motivates me is being able to somehow make a positive difference in this world, however small. Myself and my co-founder have decided that building Elucid was how we could do that. Personally, my family is a great motivation as I’d like to be able to create a better world for them.  

Do you have mentors who helped you to succeed and get where you are today?

Absolutely, I have different mentors for different areas of my life. I think it is important to have people around you who support you and who you can relate to and at times rely upon. Although my wife is not my mentor, she’s my best friend and her support is incredibly important. On the business side, whether it is mentors at work, through the AC, or peer mentors, it is good to have people around you who have walked the path before you and can support you along the way.

Will you be attending any conferences in the next year?

The next year is going to be a very exciting year for Elucid. We are going to conferences in Ireland, China, Australia, and a few in the US. It’s going to be a great showcase of our technology and an opportunity to bring more partners on board.

What is the future of Elucid Labs?

We’re on a good track to be on the US market in six months with our first version of the product. In the next year, we will be increasing our customer base and adding more features and building on the AI technology.

We are also growing the company and are always on the hunt for capable and hard-working individuals who share our vision in trying to change the world for the better. We are projecting to double the size of the team by the end of next year. By that time we will be moving into our own space with dedicated manufacturing and lab facilities in Waterloo.

We want to stay in Waterloo because exciting things are happening in tech and AI here and we want to be a part of that. As well, we would want to stay close to the world-class talent at the University of Waterloo as well as the community who supports us.

In five years, I can see us expand beyond the application of dermatology into further reaching medical uses, improving our healthcare systems. We will always be thinking about how our academic research can impact mankind and make a difference in the world.

Centric Health Selected as the Pharmacy Fulfillment Partner for Upcoming i2p2 Study

CABHI-funded i2p2 study will prelude product launch for AceAge’s medication delivery solution Karie
 
GUELPH, ON | August 7, 2018AceAge Inc., the company behind the creation of the automated medication delivery appliance Karie, will collaborate with Centric Health Corporation (“Centric Health”) as the pharmacy fulfillment partner for its upcoming Industry Innovation Partnership Program (i2p2) study, led by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation(CABHI). The program helps accelerate the testing and evaluation of products and services designed for aging populations.  
 
“Centric Health was not only a natural choice as they are our strategic partner, but they are a great addition to the team in a clinical research setting, where we will be validating our product,” shares AceAge CEO Spencer Waugh. “We are thrilled to be working with one of the top Canadian pharmacies for safe, secure and high quality medication dispensing.”
 
Karie schedules, monitors and delivers medication for its users, leaving no room for human error leading to medication mix-ups. Karie was developed to improve health outcomes, enable older individuals to age in place and relieve caregivers from the task of medication management.
“We are very pleased to be collaborating with AceAge in the i2p2 study,” says Tim Matthews, COO of Specialty Pharmacy at Centric Health. “We have believed in the vision and efficacy of Karie from the outset as an early partner of AceAge and are of the view that it will become an important tool in managing the health of seniors. We are excited at the clinical validation that we believe will be demonstrated through the study.”
 
The study, funded by CABHI with matching funds from AceAge, will take place in two provinces at West Park Healthcare Centre in Ontario, and CapitalCare in Alberta. The study will be conducted with rehab patients and early onset dementia patients with an in-home caregiver, demonstrating how adherence and health outcomes improve when patients take their medication using Karie.
 
The value that Karie’s automated system brings to the healthcare system will be explored in a cost-effectiveness analysis. The objective of the study is to provide clinical evidence, building towards a more informative decision on paid benefit for insurers and the government.
 
“We are thrilled to see AceAge collaborating with Centric Health Corporation to test Karie through CABHI’s Industry Innovation Partnership Program. Partnerships like these are at the core of everything CABHI does,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, Vice-President Research and Sandra A. Rotman Chair at Baycrest, and Managing Director of CABHI.  “When innovators and healthcare partners work together, we can get innovative products like Karie into the hands of  older adults – in Ontario, in Alberta, and across Canada – and help them live longer and live better.”
About AceAge Inc.
AceAge Inc. is a healthcare technology company, creating intuitive products to ease the aging process and improve health outcomes.  Its upcoming product Karie is a home health appliance designed to help people take their medication safely, as directed by their physician. In addition to the release of Karie in 2018, AceAge has been working on various other upcoming initiatives, including i2P2 Studies.
 
Facebook: AceAge
Twitter: @AceAgeKarie
LinkedIn: AceAge
 
About Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI)
The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, led by Baycrest, is an innovation accelerator for the aging and brain health sector, providing funding and support to innovators for the development, testing, and dissemination of new ideas and technologies that address unmet brain health and seniors’ care needs. Established in 2015, it is the result of the largest investment in brain health and aging in Canadian history. Spearheaded by Baycrest Health Sciences, CABHI is a unique collaboration of healthcare, science, industry, not-for-profit and government partners. CABHI’s objective is to help improve quality of life for the world’s aging population, allowing older adults to age safely in the setting of their choice while maintaining their cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being. For more information on CABHI, please visit: www.cabhi.com.
About Centric Health
Centric Health’s vision is to be Canada’s most respected and recognized provider in the independent healthcare sectors in which it operates, world renowned for delivering the highest levels of quality care and outcomes, innovative solutions and value to patients, clients and stakeholders. To this end, Centric Health primarily focuses on two core healthcare businesses:
 
  • The Specialty Pharmacy division is a “Seniors First” model composed of a growing national network of fulfilment centres that deliver high-volume solutions for the cost effective supply of chronic medication and other specialty clinical care services, serving more than 28,000 residents in over 440 seniors communities (long-term care facilities, retirement homes and assisted living facilities) nationally. The Specialty Pharmacy division also provides pharmaceutical dispensing services for employees insured by corporate health plans.
 
  • The Surgical & Medical Centres division is Canada’s largest independent surgical provider operating five facilities across four provinces. It serves a diversified customer base with private paid non-insured surgeries and diagnostics, government outsourcing of insured surgeries and diagnostics and other procedures funded by third-party payors (including Workers Compensation) and is the proud owner of Canada’s first Centre of Excellence in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
 
With national networks of facilities in each of its businesses, deep knowledge and experience of healthcare delivery and extensive, trusted relationships with payers, physicians, and government agencies, Centric Health is uniquely positioned to address current and future healthcare needs in growing markets as the Canadian healthcare industry goes through a major transformation over the medium to long term. www.centrichealth.ca

STAC Zero: Innovation Through Simplification

As the doors open to the warehouse of STAC Performance’s manufacturing and assembling facility in New Hamburg, you see a perfectly stacked row of their new bike trainers ready to ship out. Just released last month, they are flying off of the shelves. Significant pre-orders for their new product have rolled in after the traction they received as guest exhibitors for the Eurobike Conference in Germany last month. This is the world’s largest bike show with over 1,300 exhibitors and 50K attendees and they won the award for the new trainer – The Zero Halcyon Smart Trainer.

At Eurobike, the team attended the exclusive Zwift Summit – hosted by Zwift and invite only – where industry players have confidential discussions. “We met with lots of media, distributors and other industry players throughout the 3-day conference. We had a lot of booth traffic from people who saw our trainer in the Awards display area. Eurobike is an industry bike show that is not open to the general public. It’s designed for companies to meet with each other and understand the latest trends and products,” co-founder Shane Pegg recounts.

“The Stac Zero is a textbook example of innovation through simplification.” -Zwift Insider

Last fall they also won the Interbike Award at the largest bike show in North America, for their Virtual Wind Tunnel service. Their service provides 3D scanning, aerodynamic analysis and reporting. A fluid dynamicist Ph.D. analyzes the reports and then advice from the STAC team is given to triathletes and cyclists. The service is licensed and offered by coaches and bike fitters globally and allows athletes and cyclists to compare themselves to other riders while using Zwift. Currently, they have partners in 6 countries offering the service.

The Team

Andrew Buckrell started the company with a Kickstarter fund back in June 2016. STAC was able to get funding from 158 backers to raise $68,350 CAD to help bring this project to life. Soon after they also received $30,000 in funding from ACJumpstart that has helped them get on track to becoming one of the next big Canadian manufacturing companies in the Waterloo region. “The AC and the seed funding grant provided us with lots of great support from the all-star team of mentors,” says Shane.

The STAC team is a mix of Engineers and Business partners from UW and WLU. Andrew Buckrell (engineering) came up with the original concept and is finishing up a Ph.D. in Fluid Dynamics at UW. Art Hare (software) is a Computer/Math grad from UW. Shane Pegg, a WLU Business Grad, and Sean Peterson who also has a Ph.D. in Fluid Dynamics round off the team.

The Product

“The STAC Zero can be summed up as Zero Noise. Zero Tire Wear, Smart Trainer. Through a unique arrangement of magnets interacting with your brake rim, it creates resistance while avoiding all the problems with conventional trainers,” Shane explains.

Photo Credit: Logan Fuller

It’s a wheel-on trainer, but there’s no contact between the wheel and the trainer. As a result, it’s the ultimate sound-free trainer. It’s also one of the most affordable trainers on the market with a built-in powermeter. Most importantly, it does not wear out your tires and your bike is always 10 seconds from being road-ready. Because there are no moving parts, it will never wear out or require maintenance.

Their slogan is “STAC Zero – letting people train while their family sleeps – says it all. This is the World’s Quietest Bike Trainer. Zero Noise. How did they accomplish that? – the beauty of electromagnetic force! The way this trainer works is by using magnets.

Eddy currents result in a resisting motion on the electrical conductor. In the Zero’s case, the conductor is your wheel, and it results in a silent, zero-contact bike trainer. Eddy currents are also used to stop roller coasters and thrill rides.

The powermeter model uses a measurement of force on the magnet array in order to determine how much power the rider is putting out. Power is simply force multiplied by speed, and the beauty of the STAC Zero Powermeter is that it does not require any wear parts that heat up or stretch during usage: no belts, no tires, no chains in the mechanism means a minimal need to recalibrate over time and unparalleled consistency.

Made in Canada at their factory in New Hamburg, they have sold trainers to 40 countries and counting.

Photo Credit: Logan Fuller

Size

You could store it in a tiny bachelor apartment as the kit folds flat easily and can slide under your couch. You could take it in a suitcase and fly with it around the globe. It’s only 3 inches tall.

Portability

The new trainer is 100% portable and lightweight. At 17 pounds it’s much lighter than other trainers, making it simple to travel to work or further. Shane tells the story of one customer who was able to transport it easily in his vehicle and carry it to his campsite to set it up on an outdoor rock surface.

The Future

STAC is currently fundraising $500K from investors with the goal of being able to provide innovative, outside-the-box products and services that open up new possibilities for cyclists.

From the STAC Zero letting people train while their family sleeps to the Virtual Wind Tunnel that lets athletes learn their CdA at their local bike shop, they are excited to bring to market many more exciting concepts. Digitalization and electrification are mega-trends that have a sustainable impact on the future of the global bike industry, and STAC will be shaping that future.

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.

Startup Open House​ is opening startups to Canadians nationwide

MONTREAL, July 31st, 2018 – The organizers of ​Startup Open House are proud to announce the return of the biggest tech community event in Canada, for a 6th edition, in September. Participants will have the opportunity to visit the offices of hundreds of startups, meet some of the most inspiring CEOs and founders in the technology hubs across the country, and discover the culture of startups redefining Canadian entrepreneurship and shaping the future of business.

This year, the event will take place in 7 Canadian cities: Waterloo Region on September 15th, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Quebec on September 20th, and Toronto and Vancouver on September 27th. Big players in the technology ecosystem including ​Busbud (Montreal), Careteam (Vancouver), and ​Shopify (​National: Ottawa, Waterloo, Toronto and Montreal​) have already confirmed their participation. Startup community leaders across Canada, including Shopify (​National: Waterloo, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal​), Startup Calgary and Calgary Innovation Technologies (Calgary), the Accelerator Centre (Waterloo), Montreal NewTech (Montreal), Invest Ottawa, L-Sparks, Startup Ottawa, Collab Space (Ottawa) are rallying to help organize the pan-Canadian edition of ​Startup Open House​.

Promoting connectivity in your local startup ecosystem

With a growing number of success stories and increased awareness for the startup sector, both nationally and internationally, the mission of Startup Open House of getting companies and people connected has become more essential than ever. The event opens the startup community to attendees from a broad range of backgrounds to inspire future risk-takers and create a local community of support for innovative companies.

“Startup Open House is one of the most important annual startup events in Canada, exposing companies nationwide to thousands of new people each year,” says Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify and an ambassador of Startup Open House in Toronto. “The broad awareness and in-person engagement that the event facilitates is critical to help homegrown companies find talent, partners, and customers all around them. By opening doors

for anyone to learn about startups in Canada, this event is also simply a celebration of the diversity and richness of our ecosystem.”

Reserve your free spot for the event !

Registration is now opened ​for startups and visitors alike on our new website www.startupopenhouse.com

It is a mandatory step for startups to be featured on the map and to get their dedicated public page, and for visitors to access the hundreds of startups opening their doors and to create their itinerary for the D-Day.

About Startup Open House

Startup Open House is a nationwide open house event where hundreds of startups offer free, special tours and rare behind-the-scenes experiences to the public for one night. Founded in 2013 and instigated by Montreal community leaders, Startup Open House is growing bigger every year, with 500 participating startups and 10K across 5 Canadian cities in 2017. This community event is a chance for members of the public, job seekers, and students to discover some innovative companies in their community in a friendly and inspiring atmosphere. For startups, it is an opportunity to increase their exposure among the general public and to make meaningful connections.

Are you a clean technology expert? We’re looking to add specialist mentors to our team!

Specialist Mentor – Clean Technologies

The Accelerator Centre requires a qualified, energetic and experienced clean technology expert to fill an exciting position in a fast paced and dynamic entrepreneurial workspace.

The Accelerator Centre is an award-winning startup accelerator dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive companies and giving startups the highest probability of long-term success.

In 2018, we were ranked the #4 Accelerator Program in the world due, in part, to our reputation for meaningful, one-to-one mentorship and helping entrepreneurs go from the idea stage to high-growth enterprises.

Our mentors are central to our program and are a critical part of our clients’ success. With specializations in finance, design strategy, sales and marketing, human resources and employee culture, public relations and communications, and technology, our mentors act as an experienced and dedicated management team – walking our clients through our program and helping them navigate challenges along the way.

We are looking to add 2 Specialist Mentors to our clean tech program. This role is part-time, contract based, to a maximum of 20 hours per month.

The ideal candidate must be personable, have experience coaching/mentoring, and be motivated to help startups succeed.

Key Job Functions

  • Mentoring/Coaching experience
  • Sales experience (selling CT product whether it be hardware or software)
  • Experience selling/marketing B2B/B2G
  • Previous experience dealing with CT startup or reverse corporate experience
  • Successfully coordinated pilot project(s)
  • Demonstrated experience in one or more of the following areas:
    • Agri-tech
    • Green Manufacturing and Materials
    • Energy (Solar, Wind, Water, Biofuel)
    • Energy Management
    • Green Transportation
    • Waste Management
    • Smart Cities
  • Experience utilizing Impact measurement framework to help companies achieve sustainability goals

How to apply
Please submit your resume and cover letter to careers@acceleratorcentre.com. We thank all interested candidates for their applications, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
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 us noting the job title in the subject line of the email.

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