Alert Labs Announces Intact Ventures as a Strategic Investor

Originally published by Alert Labs

KITCHENER, ONTARIO, April 19, 2017 – Alert Labs Inc., designer of easy-to-install, cellular-connected home protection technology, is thrilled to announce an investment by Intact Ventures, the strategic venture arm of Intact Financial Corporation, Canada’s largest provider of property and casualty insurance. BDC Capital, Garage Capital, Hedgewood Inc., and several angel and private investors have also invested in Alert Labs in order to accelerate marketing activities and scale business operations.

In 2015, Canadian insurance companies spent approximately $2.6 billion repairing homes due to water damage. In the USA, 45 per cent of the $41.2 billion in home insurance claims were due to water damage and freezing pipes. In the next 5 years, it’s expected that North American insurers will spend over $100 billion to repair water damage in customers’ homes. Alert Labs is committed to helping the insurance industry reduce preventable expenditures.

“This represents Intact Ventures’ first investment in Canada. It’s exciting to support a company like Alert Labs that is developing technology that will help protect homeowners and mitigate risk,” says Karim Hirji, Senior Vice President, Intact Ventures, “We appreciate the importance of providing homeowners and businesses with innovative solutions that are easy to use, cost effective and reliable. The value of this type of technology will continue to grow as we adapt to climate change.”

Alert Labs’ Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor work together to protect homes from flood damage, and to provide minute-by-minute water use information. This allows Alert Labs’ analytics engine to identify leaks from the municipal water supply, like a leaky toilet or malfunctioning furnace humidifier, and to share insight into water conservation opportunities. Homeowners receive email and mobile alerts for floods, leaks, high or continual water use, and power outages. Alert Labs’ sensors are cellular-connected with a built-in battery backup, which means they don’t rely on WiFi and will continue to operate during an ice storm or power outage. Flowie also reports basement temperature and humidity which gives early warning about environments with higher potential for mould or freezing pipes.

“It is inspiring to have Canada’s leading insurance company believe in our vision and goals, and we’re grateful for the financial support of our investors. This will ultimately enable us to share our products with more customers,” says George Tsintzouras, CEO of Alert Labs. “We’ve designed our sensors with our customer’s experience as the top priority. Our sensors are as easy to install as a watch or a Fitbit – everyone can do it with no tools or professional installers.”

Alert Labs also recently announced a program with the City of Guelph, Ontario. As the largest city in Canada that relies solely on groundwater for its water source, Guelph is promoting Alert Labs’ Flowie Water Sensor Kit as a tool to drive water conservation, and is offering a rebate to its residents for purchasing Alert Labs’ leak and flood protection solution.

Sources:
http://assets.ibc.ca/Documents/Facts%20Book/Facts_Book/2016/Facts-Book-2016.pdf
https://www.cia-ica.ca/docs/default-source/2014/214020e.pdf
http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/homeowners-and-renters-insurance

About Alert Labs Inc.
Alert Labs is an IoT technology company based in Kitchener, Ontario. They were the $100,000 winners at Communitech’s Rev Demo day in November 2016. Alert Labs builds affordable monitoring solutions for residential and commercial property owners. Alert Labs’ simple-to-deploy sensors can be placed on water meters, sump pumps, near toilets and other appliances to detect water leaks, floods, power issues, abnormal temperatures, and other events. Customers receive real-time alerts and insightful data analytics via SMS, email, and the Alert Labs app. Visit www.alertlabs.com.

AC Grad Alaunus Unveils Bloom

New Platform Puts Ontario Patients and Families in the Driver’s Seat When Accessing Home Healthcare Services
April 10, 2017 (WATERLOO, ON) — Alaunus, an emerging leader in technology-enabled care solutions today launches Bloom, a new technology platform to directly connect Ontario patients and families with caregivers, accelerating access to high quality home-based care.
Targeting the 1.46 million people, mostly seniors, in Ontario today who receive community support such as meals, transportation and caregiver services in their homes, Bloom gives patients and family members more choice, using modern technology to connect and match patients to high quality, fully vetted caregivers. The platform streamlines the existing home health care delivery system, empowers full patient-choice, enhances accountability, and elevates the quality of accessible caregivers, all while strengthening the voices of patients and families in their own healthcare planning.
In Ontario today, 93% of eligible home care patients receive their first nursing visit within five days of being approved and 84% of home care patients with complex needs receive a visit from a personal support worker (PSW) within the five day target[1].  The ultimate goal of the Bloom platform is to narrow that time window even further, says Andrew Ringer, CEO of Alaunus, Bloom’s creator.
“With the home health care market expected to grow internationally to reach $400 billion by 2021, our healthcare system can expect to see more cost constraints, more hospital admissions and more “aging in place” preferences. Bloom is a much-needed platform for the time,” says Ringer. “It puts flexibility, real-time communications and on-demand service directly in the hands of patients and their families, while leveraging proven evidence-based practices for increased client satisfaction and care outcomes. At this time of growing demand, we want to provide fast, safe, secure, and affordable home care for everyone.”
Bloom Capabilities:
●   Full alignment with Patients First Act and Better Care Closer to Home
●   Patient choice of personal support worker (PSW) or health care provider (HCP) on-demand, with real time notifications
●   Easily search PSW or HCP by geography, skill-set, experience, & ratings/reviews – ideally matched based on Bloom’s matching algorithm
●   On demand service capability, easily scheduled by patient, family, or care team
●   Geo location time and attendance verification to increase caregiver accountability, alleviate over-billing & reduce administrative burden.
Bloom’s Advantages:
●   15-20% reduction on home care services spend
●   Provides more care and control to more patients
●   Encourages faster, more accountable and efficient care
●   Increases at-home quality of care, motivating caregivers to do better work
●   Adds value to the community, and
●   Supports an increased number of caregiver jobs in order to provide better care closer to home
Fuelled by Ontario Health Technologies Fund (HTF)
Bloom’s innovation is fuelled by the Ontario Health Technologies Fund, a $20M Fund developed specifically to support the development of leading, market-ready, made-in-Ontario health technologies. The first priority area for the HTF is Better Care Closer to Home, enabling Health Innovation Teams from across Ontario to work on projects related to home and community care through virtual, digital and mobile health-care technologies. Alaunus is one of 15 health innovation projects selected province-wide for HTF funding.
Pilot Projects in Hamilton, Waterloo Region.
Bloom will be piloted in partnership with Brain Injury Services of Hamilton and the Waterloo Wellington LHIN/CCAC.
“We have the ability with Bloom to leverage technology transform the traditional home health care delivery model,” says Laurie Graham, Director, Residential Services, Brain Injury Services. “Patients and their families are provided with greater control over their health care decisions and more expedited care. This drives better outcomes. Care workers as well, are provided with better support to succeed in their roles. Across the board, quality goes up.”
“The Waterloo Wellington LHIN was pleased to support Alaunus’s application for funding from the Ontario Health Technologies Fund, given its potential to facilitate a better connection between patients and caregivers, while reducing costs and increasing transparency and accountability. This is directly aligned with Ontario’s  Patients First Action Plan,” says Bruce Lauckner, CEO, WWLHIN.”
The Hamilton pilot kicks off in June 2017.  For more information visit joinbloom.com
For more information contact:
Andrew Ringer
CEO Alaunus
OR:
Ellyn Winters
Ignition Communications
PR for Alaunus

GainX is on a mission to eliminate billions in wasted innovation spending for global financial services companies

Across the innovation landscape, agility matters. Fast innovators are 42% stronger, 27% more disruptive, get new products to market quickly and generate 30% more revenue from those products.[1]  And yet, 90% of CEOs across all industries remain unsatisfied with their year/over/year progress and returns on innovation. They are plagued by a lack visibility across their complex innovation portfolios and processes. This poor transparency translates into billions of dollars in waste and Innovation DragTM across the industry.

Entrepreneur Angelique Mohring founded her company GainX in 2012 after spending two decades as a technology executive, working for large enterprise software organizations such as OpenText.  “After working with Global 1000s for 20+ years as a tech executive and global change agent, I realized I had the skills, passion and expertise to help the world’s biggest businesses better understand and overcome the innovation challenge and finally realize real financial payback from their efforts,” says Angelique.  “I want people to understand that innovation is so more than simply counting ideas. It is about cultural and digital transformation, and it is about producing measurable business impact.”

GainX, a fast-growing leader in the FinTech market (the company will target other sectors but is initially focused on Financial Services) is leading and defining the Innovation Strategy Management (ISM) market, providing financial services companies with the critical bridge between innovation happening at the edge of business and the core enterprise.

“By combining predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, semantic analysis and in-depth behavioural analytics to drive cultural change and improve innovation capacity, our ISM platform ensures creativity and delivery stay in balance, and allows businesses to achieve sustainable market success and drive greater return on innovation investment (ROII). This results in increased productivity, improved employee engagement, greater clarity of vision and reduced risk of in-market failure,” says Mohring.

Recently, GainX released the findings of a benchmark survey it conducted on behalf of the Canadian financial services industry assessing the innovation capacity of Canada’s leading financial services institutions (FSIs). More than 375 executives and employees participated in the analysis, which captured both data and semantic analytics on innovation derived from their respective organizations. More than 27,000 data points were analyzed through the GainX platform, and FSIs were plotted on an innovation maturity curve, measured against the critical gains necessary for innovation and transformation, including strategy and clarity of vision, appetite for risk, digital enablement, culture, and engagement and collaboration.

While the Canadian FS executives and employees surveyed all identified innovation as a top priority, our analysis found that the sector’s capacity to achieve those goals remains limited. 77% of Canadian FSIs surveyed indicated they lacked an integrated innovation process, and only half (51%) believed their organization to be innovative. More than 90% of those surveyed indicated they lacked a clear, actionable digital strategy and effective tools and technology systems, representing significant barriers to innovation and growth.[2]

After joining the Accelerator Centre in 2015, Angelique has been able to drive the business forward, landing key deployments of the GainX platform in several Canadian banks. Thanks to critical AC JumpStart funding made available through FedDev Ontario, she’s also expanding her presence into the US, the UK and other international markets.

“It’s been powerful to be at the Accelerator Centre and to be able to tap into the fantastic network to draw on the resources most needed to help our company grow. The JumpStart funding provided yet another critical stepping-stone in our company’s development and growth.

“We are on the brink of massive change in the innovation market,” says Mohring. “The emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will provide a critical catalyst for innovation, by allowing organizations to unburden smart people from administrative tasks, and to put the right people on the right project to accelerate innovation. It is going to be a huge year for GainX, and I’m so excited I could just about explode.”

 

[1] Boston Consulting Group, 10th Annual Survey, Most Innovative Companies 2015

[2] GainX Insights™ benchmark analysis data.

Fleet Complete acquires BigRoad

Originally Published on YahooFinance.com

TORONTO , March 22, 2017 /CNW/ – Fleet Complete®, a leading global IoT provider of fleet telematics and mobile workforce technology, continues its growth through the acquisition of BigRoad, a leading provider of hours-of-service (HOS) and regulatory compliance solutions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. This partnership will enable Fleet Complete to offer the industry’s best electronic logging device (ELD) compliance platform in North America

Based in Waterloo’s thriving tech hub, known as Canada’s Silicon Valley, BigRoad was founded to address the new HOS regulations imposed on the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry. The company released one of the first mobile HOS applications, BigRoad Mobile App, and today, with over 480,000 downloads, it is the most downloaded HOS application available. It continues to receive rave reviews on Google Play and iTunes, solidifying its premier position in the market.

In advance of the ELD mandate, BigRoad launched DashLink, an engine-connected electronic logging device that provides owner-operators and commercial fleets with a scalable, affordable, and easy-to-use solution to meet the upcoming FMCSA and Canadian Ministry of Transport requirements. Today, over 30,000 fleets in North America rely on BigRoad to achieve ELD compliance ahead of the mandated deadline.

“We are very excited about this acquisition,” said Jake McGuire , Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Success at BigRoad, “BigRoad is an established leader in the HOS and ELD compliance space and now, supported by the Fleet Complete IoT platform, I am confident we will continue to exceed customer expectations by providing the best ELD and connected vehicle solution on the market.”

Fleet Complete’s acquisition of BigRoad is part of the company’s explosive growth, following its expansion into Europe in 2015 and Australia in 2016. Fleet Complete recently received the Greater Toronto Area Top 100 Employer award, ascertaining its position as one of the most forward-thinking workplaces in the tech industry. Striving to lead the global market with a superior and the most comprehensive telematics platform, Fleet Complete’s partnership with BigRoad squarely positions its ELD and HOS solutions as the best in the industry.

“BigRoad is an impressive organization that has had a laser focus on creating the industry’s leading product for ELD compliance,” said Tony Lourakis , CEO of Fleet Complete. “Outperforming the competition in usability and connectivity, BigRoad’s driver-friendly and feature-rich application will be a great complement to our integrated platform, giving Fleet Complete customers the most reliable top-of-the-line HOS solution.”

Supported by Fleet Complete’s expansive IoT infrastructure, BigRoad will continue to operate and sell directly to owner-operators and fleets, maintaining the BigRoad brand. Whereas the integrated Fleet Complete BigRoad platform will be offered through the North American partner channels, AT&T and TELUS.

“Leveraging BigRoad’s immense success and combining it with Fleet Complete’s strong partnerships with North America’s mobile carrier elite, we can capture the largest share of the 4 million+ truck driver market,” says Lourakis. “Through this integration, all of our customers, from individual truck drivers to large commercial fleets, will be equipped with the industry’s best ELD compliance solution before the December 2017 deadline.”

Finding a solution for in-home bike training ACJumpStart client STACPerformance

Originally Published on CTVKitchener

For generations, manufacturing has been the economic backbone of our area.

In the 20th century, Waterloo Region was a leading manufacturer of shoes, clothing, furniture, auto parts, televisions and other products too numerous to mention.

More recently, the emergence of the local tech sector has prompted a switch in what’s being produced locally — but it hasn’t stopped manufacturing from employing tens of thousands of people.

In the weekly segment Made Right Here, Max Wark profiles manufactuers from across our area.

Everything from mattresses and canoes to robots and submersible vehicles is produced here. Each week, Max brings you inside another factory to show off another product made right here at home.

Made Right Here is sponsored by The Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and Heffner Toyota.

 

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

Originally published by BNN.ca

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

David Payne, CEO and founder of Invent Dev, joins BNN to talk about why the virtual showroom is set to revolutionize the real estate and home-building industries.

NEWS RELEASE – Accelerator Centre Announces Strategic Partnership with EY Canada

Media Release

Accelerator Centre Announces Strategic Partnership with EY Canada

 

March 10, 2017

The Accelerator Centre (AC) is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with global professional services firm, EY.

The partnership demonstrates the two organizations’ collective commitment to supporting the Toronto Waterloo corridor startup ecosystem and to facilitating economic growth in the region.

As the exclusive professional services partner for our Graduate Program, EY’s partnership allows our graduates to leverage EY’s broad expertise and international network to further accelerate their growth at a local and global scale.

The partnership also facilitates a series of learning events that provide current AC clients with access to advice from best-in-class professional service leaders across industries and sets them up for long-term success.

“I am excited to welcome EY as an Accelerator Centre Innovation Partner – they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will greatly benefit our clients and graduates as they grow and scale their businesses,” says Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre.

About the Accelerator Center

  • The AC is a world-class startup incubator dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive companies and to commercializing talent and advanced research technologies emerging from academic institutions.
  • The AC offers milestone-based programming alongside a proven mentorship model to help our clients grow their business
  • With 55 program graduates, AC companies represent some of the most successful startups in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, translating to more than 1,500 new jobs, over $500 million in revenue and a collective $2 billion in valuations.

For more information, please visit acceleratorcentre.com and follow us on Twitter @AC_Waterloo

About EY

About EY’s Growth Markets Network

EY’s worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high- growth companies. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many of the world’s most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early-stage venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed.

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

For more information contact  

Tabatha Laverty

Accelerator Centre 519-497-7784

tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

 

Sasha Anopina EY

416-943-2637

sasha.anopina@ca.ey.com

 

Inksmith’s STEAM+ Education Solutions for 3D Printing are Empowering Canadian Kids to Tackle Big Ideas


From businesses, to manufacturers, to everyday hobbyists 3D printing offers an accessible, safe and cost effective way to bring designs off the page and into life. Desktop 3D printing is igniting a new wave of innovation in the education sector, where 3D printing presents an incredible opportunity for STEAM based learning opportunities that span virtually every discipline from K-12 and beyond.

Jeremy Hedges and his team are capitalizing on that goldmine of opportunity with their company InkSmith. A University of Laurier grad, Jeremy initially founded InkSmith a couple of years ago to improve the sustainability of 3D printing feedstock. But like many startups, he found himself pivoting the company toward the education market after realizing the untapped opportunity for learning presented by the 3D technologies he represented.

“I estimate only 20% of Canadian schools today have access to 3D printers, but in the next few years they’re going to become a standard tool in every classroom and library,” says Jeremy. “It’s a real blue sky market and a powerful legacy to be a part of empowering future generations to tackle the world’s biggest problems!

Jeremy, the son of a teacher, is quick to point out that this isn’t a story about 3D printer hardware. “At the end of the day, the 3D printer is just the tool. InkSmith is an edtech company focused on inspiring kids and teachers to use STEAM-based learning technologies in the classroom. We don’t want to throw a 3D printer into the school and hope it works. We want to enable STEAM programming with a turnkey solution for education that provides professional development, curriculum based course projects, 3D printers, materials, the technical support and everything else they need to make it happen.”

Jeremy, the son of a teacher and Wilfrid Laurier University grad, spent his formative years leading community and youth programs. “I was always looking to make an impact,” he confesses. With 3D printing, he saw a cool niche where he could build a company and at the same time empower kids not just to learn about the world’s problems, but to become the innovators that solve them as well.

“With 3D printing and modelling technologies, we can get kids learning environmental science to design their own aquaponics system, or build 3D printed catapults to test physics theories. There are so many applications for learning engineering principles, mathematics principles, and even the arts,” he explains, noting that Inksmith is working currently with the Stratford Festival to use 3D printing for prop making, and to construct mini stage replicas to understand and test how props move, and how actors use the physical space.

One of the most exciting developments for Inksmith in the last year has been a budding partnership with the York Region District School Board. The company and school board have jointly applied for a funding grant to pilot the Inksmith solution into dozens of schools. Should the grant funding get approved, this project will serve as the pilot test for the federal government and provincial education ministries to invest in Canada wide deployment. In anticipation of a successful application, Jeremy is building out his team and beefing up the company’s academic credentials. A recently posted job description for teachers to help Inksmith develop course materials brought in 20 highly qualified applicants in a single day.

Inksmith, a client of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre’s Hardware Innovation Lab at 44 Gaukel, was able to tap into $30,000 in AC Jumpstart funding through FedDev Ontario to build out its vision.

“JumpStart is a great program and it was super valuable to have access to mentors and call us on bad ideas says. It gave us the time to prototype and build a business model that works. Because of the ACJumpStart funding, we were able to really research and understand the market and hire our first employees to build out our product and sales. As a result, we’re at the leading edge of this industry and are the only company in Canada providing this kind of solution. I can confidently say we wouldn’t be here at all without ACJumpStart.” – Jeremy Hedges

TrustPoint finds a culture fit with ETAS Embedded Systems

Originally Published in Communitech News

Written by Craig Daniels

It was the autumn of 2015 and TrustPoint co-founder and CEO Sherry Shannon-Vanstone knew she had a decision to make.

TrustPoint, which develops secure products for the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine communication, needed to grow. And it needed to grow fast. The IoT was booming. Security, smart cities, connected critical infrastructure, all the areas in which TrustPoint was working, were generating unmet demands.

“It takes a lot of resources,” Shannon-Vanstone explained recently.  “We had bootstrapped the company, and we weren’t going to be able to move fast enough. It was time to go out and get a huge investment, and work with a VC, bring in lots of cash, hire people. But even then we would have had to disrupt some of our current projects, just to try to grow. We had to move faster.”

And then opportunity presented itself.

Shannon-Vanstone learned that ETAS Embedded Systems, which provides secure diagnostic and calibration solutions for the automotive industry, was going to open an office in Waterloo Region. A subsidiary of the Bosch Group, ETAS was well known to Shannon-Vanstone and her late husband and co-founder, Scott Vanstone.

Discussion began.

“At first it was just a conversation,” said Shannon-Vanstone, “just a general information gathering of what they were looking for and what we were looking for. At that time, we were interested in a strategic partnership or an investment.

“The conversation was on a casual basis until June (2016) when ETAS Canada opened their office in Kitchener. And at that time, they indicated an interest in TrustPoint.”

Fast forward through many more conversations, and a process of technological and legal due diligence, and you reach the events of last week, when TrustPoint agreed to be acquired by ETAS — when Shannon-Vanstone agreed to sell her “baby.”

“Emotionally, yes, it was tough,” she said. “It’s my baby, and it’s hard to let go of it.”

But the time was right. The fit was right. “There’s a huge opportunity in the Internet of Things right now,” she said.

TrustPoint grew out of a company called Certicom, which was founded by Scott Vanstone in 1985 along with two professors from the University of Waterloo. Certicom worked closely with Research In Motion in the late 1990s, providing security for the company’s smartphones. In 2009, RIM acquired Certicom, and Vanstone and his wife, recognizing the market for secure devices that was building around the rise of IoT, left in 2012 and started TrustPoint.

For Shannon-Vanstone, the decision to throw in with ETAS — other suitors were also interested, she said — was in large part motivated by culture.

“We found the cultural alignment was high on the list. Bosch is a private corporation. They are owned by a foundation. That foundation uses all the profits to build hospitals around the world.

“When Scott and I started TrustPoint, one of our objectives was to be philanthropic. To be a positive influence, globally and locally. So this aligned perfectly with our founding principles.”

The deal with ETAS is still subject to antitrust approval. When it’s finalized, TrustPoint’s 30 people will join ETAS in a yet-to-be-determined location in Waterloo Region.

“I’ll be staying involved for the time being,” said Shannon-Vanstone. “The work, the focus will be the same. Most of the people will have the same job description. We may fine tune over time.”

She doesn’t need to fine-tune her commitment to local tech ecosystem, which she has watched grow since the mid-80s — before there even was a local ecosystem.

“It’s tremendous. We decided to set up in K-W because of the access to talent. The access to the university. The access to the resources for a startup.

“This is my fourth startup but my first as a founder.

“It’s supportive even for people who are little more grey-haired than others.”

FindBob Helps Canadian Financial Advisors Grow and Protect their Practices

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Roland Chan is a matchmaker of an entirely different kind. Rather than pairing up lonely hearts, Chan, a serial entrepreneur, technologist and financial advisor, is seeking to help other financial advisors working in the financial services and insurance world find the right match for their book of business with his company FindBob.

“Financial advisors in Canada today are responsible for managing over $1 trillion in wealth. At the average age of 59, many themselves are nearing retirement age, and yet, for all the retirement counsel they give others, more than 80% of financial advisors have no succession plan of their own,” says Chan.

Chan understands the financial service industry very well. He grew up in the business, so to speak. His father established his own successful financial services and insurance practice 26 years ago, and was joined by his son in the business in 2008.

“I began my career as a software architect, but after stepping into the financial services industry to help my father I grew to love the industry and the millions of dollars it puts back into the community and the economy,” says Roland Chan. “There are some terrific people working in the business who have committed their lives to their clients and to educating the public on the best way to build savings and protect wealth.”

Chan also knows too well the consequences of poor succession planning.

“Around the same time I joined the family practice, we had an advisor who had been with the firm for 15 or 16 years pass away suddenly.  He didn’t have a continuity plan to protect his book of business. In financial services, both the firm and the individual own a percentage of recurring revenue flowing in from clients. Because there was no succession plan in place, it took me over a year to transfer the value from that book of business to our advisor’s widow. And unfortunately, by that time, close to 50% of its value had eroded, due to clients moving on and/or or other agents poaching his business.”

It is a story that Chan has heard repeated over and over again through his work in the industry, and as VP of Advocis, the Financial Advisor’s Association of Canada’s, Toronto Chapter. He also learned why advisors were so reluctant to plan for their own future. “Most advisors don’t participate in succession planning not because they expect to live forever, but rather they can’t find an adequate partner, or find the whole process too daunting.  Their firms want to support and encourage them to do so, yet they lack effective and scaleable processes.”

Realizing there was an unmet need for a more effective solution to aid advisors with succession, he decided it was time to put his decades of technology experience to work to build FindBob, a unique marketplace that pairs advisors looking to scale back or retire, with others in the industry (ideally in the same firm) who are looking to enter the industry or expand.

FindBob’s platform has strongly resonated with the financial advisory community. Since becoming a client of the Accelerator Centre in 2015, Roland Chan’s venture has achieved steady market traction. The company is on the brink of closing its fourth Canadian enterprise client, and now represents the largest insurance practices in the country and the second largest trade association for investment and insurance advisors. “We provide real value to these firms,” says Chan. “We help them protect their existing assets, generate new revenue, recruit new talent and meet their fiduciary responsibility to clients. Currently, FindBob is the only platform focused on on assisting financial institutions with internal transitions. Our marketplace is allowing advisors to discover opportunities within their own firm and connect with others seeking to buy, sell, merge or find a successor. “If you are able to move a block of business internally within a single financial institution that achieves the best outcome for advisors, for industry and for client.

To fuel its next stage expansion, FindBob was able to tap into $30,000 in AC JumpStart funding, made possible through FedDev Ontario.

“Obviously getting an injection of non-dilutive money is tremendously helpful,” says Roland Chan. “It allowed me the freedom to hire a person devoted to customer success, a role that creates real value for the company and for our clients.  Thanks to the AC we added a critical non-technical hire, and now Sylvia is our point person on many enterprise engagements.” – Roland Chan

Based in Toronto, Chan travels the Toronto-Waterloo corridor as often as possible to also connect with the Accelerator Centre’s team of mentors.

“From Kevin Elop, who sends me a five page email response to my question; to Kevin Hood who has saved me from jumping off a cliff on 3 or 4 occasions; to Bob Rushby and Steve Fyke who always offers poignant technology and design advice; to Jackie Lauer’s hiring expertise; to Ellyn Winters, who has forced me to focus on inbound marketing and PR – areas that are decidedly not in my comfort area; the mentors have helped me look at my business from many different points of view.” – Roland Chan

ACJumpStart 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, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.