Sienci Labs Closes Out Their Second Massively Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Closing their second successful Kickstarter campaign at an impressive $436,197 Sienci Labs has demonstrated there is an active and growing market for their unique rapid prototyping tool – the maker community has clearly shown up and said “YES we want this.”

Who are Sienci Labs?

Sienci Labs emerged out of a desire to create low-cost mechanical, rapid prototyping tools for builders, manufacturers and makers with a focus on tools like CNC machines, 3D printers and laser cutters. The team aims to make this technology and their automated tools accessible for both technical and non-technical makers alike, allowing small and large scale projects to be done faster and more efficiently – without breaking the bank or without needing to be an engineer.

Sienci Labs operates out of the Accelerator Centre’s Hardware Innovation Lab at 44 Gaukel Street in Kitchener where specialized programming and facilities completely empowers them to build, create and test their systems.

As an Accelerator Program client and AC Jumpstart graduate, founder Andy Lee remarks on the valuable mentorship and connections they’ve created, are still a big part of their success and support system.

“The Accelerator Centre has been a big part of our company since we first started, from being part of the AC Jumpstart program and now as a AC client and resident at the 44 Gaukel building. The Accelerator Centre has provided us with incredible mentors that deeply care about our venture, connections and resources otherwise difficult to access and afford for small startups like us, as well as early stage funding through AC Jumpstart and FedDev.

Being a resident of 44 Gaukel of course also provides us with a diverse and friendly startup neighborhood that promotes community and collaboration, and provides connections and shared knowledge and resources from other hardware and advanced manufacturing companies. It’s energizing to be part of a small community of successful and ambitious companies in the heart of Kitchener Waterloo and the Innovation Corridor.”

 The First Kickstarter – The Mill One

In August of 2016, Sienci Labs launched their  first kickstarter campaign with the had goal of raising $60,000 to allow them to create and launch their first product, “The Mill One”, a beginner desktop CNC machine. Designed for the maker who wants to dive into the world of CNC and automated manufacturing.

Andy explains why Kickstarter was paramount to their success, “we learned quickly that building machines and putting together kits for our early customers one by one was a very expensive and time consuming process for us, so we went to kickstarter to help us mass manufacture the Sienci Mill One. Kickstarter really allowed us to get early support with a large capital investment that it often takes to mass produce a new product that is costly to build.”

With the support of the Accelerator Centre and the funding from this first successful Kickstarter campaign, the team successfully launched their product and fulfilled their first orders making them one of the only manufacturers of desktop CNC machines in  Canada.

The Second Kickstarter – The LongMill

The second time around, Andy and the team came up with a new product called the LongMill, a larger format of the Mill One. The LongMill is bigger, faster and more powerful allowing builders and makers to use the same automated technology to build much larger scale projects.

The kickstarter campaign aimed to raise another $60,000, however closed after 30 days with an amazing $436,197 from 324 backers!

However, the work is not done once the kickstarter ends. “Raising the funds is step one, now we will move on to R&D, figuring out production, manufacturing, partnerships, fulfillment, shipping and so much more.”

His advice to others looking to leverage kickstarter to scale-up — “have a solid plan for everything that is to come after the kickstarter finishes- that is where the hard work begins, and where many struggle to finish and follow through on their promise to the customers. I am grateful that we were able to experience this entire process start to finish with the first kickstarter on a smaller scale, which allowed us to come into this second kickstarter with our eyes wide opened and with a strong strategy and execution plan.”

Now, the Sienci Labs team are looking forward to finishing launching their new product and getting The LongMill into the hands makers across Canada. Based on the interest, it is safe to say this is just the beginning!

If you or someone you know are interested in connecting with Sienci Labs or their products, please visit:


The Accelerator Centre Partners with SDTC to Support Clean Tech Companies Through Innovative Funding Pilot Program

Brisk Synergies to Receive One of Four Initial Grants

May 8, 2019 – This afternoon in Ottawa The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion announced the first 4 recipients of a new grant program developed by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to support Canada’s most promising clean tech companies across Canada.

Unique to the pilot funding program is SDTC’s decision to partner with a shortlist of trusted accelerators, including the Accelerator Centre, to help identify and vet the highest potential companies, removing the red tape and reducing the time it takes to get the funding into the hands of startups.

Among the first 4 grant recipients is AC based clean tech company, Brisk Synergies. The traffic management company is developing a technology to reduce traffic accidents and congestion. Their software platform uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to connect and analyze real-time video data to detect dangerous interactions and flow patterns.

“We are excited to receive the SDTC funding,” says Charles Chung, CEO of Brisk Synergies. “The funding will enable us to accelerate the development and full-scale launch of our software platform in automated traffic conflict analytics. Brisk Synergies provides city planners with actionable insights to improve traffic flow and reduce vehicle collisions which leads to a reduction in congestion, car idling and GHG emissions. Cities will also use our technology to improve their sustainable mobility adoption by making roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

“SDTC’s pilot project is an incredible opportunity for clean tech entrepreneurs across the country,” says Accelerator Centre CEO, Paul Salvini. “From our experience running specialized programming for clean tech startups, we’ve seen the difficulty these companies can have in securing funding and are pleased to see the SDTC program provide support to entrepreneurs. It is an honour for the AC to have been selected as an accredited Canadian incubator to participate in this program. It is a testament to the AC’s long-standing reputation for its ability to select the best-of-the-best in innovative companies and support them to grow and scale efficiently.”


“Clean technology is about more than any one sector—when we support clean technology, we support our entire economy, creating good jobs while helping to protect our environment. Through SDTC, our government is helping early-stage entrepreneurs achieve their full potential and ultimately solve some of our biggest environmental challenges.”

— The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Our government knows that the environment and the economy go hand in hand and Sustainable Development Technology Canada is demonstrating this by partnering with incubators and accelerators across the country to find 30 of Canada’s most promising cleantech entrepreneurs and investing critical early-stage funding in them. These investments will help these cleantech entrepreneurs transform their ideas into globally competitive cleantech solutions. Congratulations to the first four successful recipients of these investments. I look forward to seeing the impact of your innovations in agriculture, energy, power generation and traffic management.”

— The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

For more information contact:
Tabatha Laverty
Manager, Marketing and Communications

The Accelerator Centre and TD Launch Ontario’s Only Incubator Dedicated to Sustainable Technology Development

The Waterloo-based incubation space, known as the TD Sustainable Future Lab, will help cleantech startups commercialize solutions that drive the clean economy.

Waterloo, February 1, 2019 –Today the Accelerator Centre (AC) announces the grand opening of the TD Sustainable Future Lab with support from TD Bank Group (TD).

The new facility, made possible by a $1M investment from TD’s new corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, will be located in the evolvGREEN community hub and will give entrepreneurs access to the AC’s award-winning incubation programming as well as additional supports from facility partners, Sustainable Waterloo Region, the University of Waterloo, and Laurier.

Since launching the specialized program for clean tech entrepreneurs with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the fall of 2017, the Accelerator Centre has supported 14 companies working in Agri-tech, Advanced Materials, Energy (Solar, Wind, Water, Biofuel), Energy Management/Storage/Access, Green Transportation, Green Manufacturing, and Smart Cities. The collaboration with TD and the new facility will allow the program to expand, supporting 20 additional clean tech companies over the next 3 years.

“The development potential within the clean technology sector represents a significant opportunity for the economy and for Canada to build on its reputation for leadership in ensuring a sustainable community for generations to come,” says Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre. “The grand opening of the TD Sustainable Future Lab and our collaboration with TD is a demonstration of our commitment to working with industry to support entrepreneurs as they create the next generation of clean technology solutions. We are excited to see organizations from across the region come together to create this hub and we are looking forward to sharing the impact these startups make as they grow and scale.”

“Clean technologies represent one of the greatest opportunities to accelerate the time it will take to transition to a low-carbon economy, while also helping to grow an emerging and important market for Canada,” says Nicole Vadori, Head of Environment, TD Bank Group. “Through the TD Sustainable Future Lab, TD is excited to help entrepreneurs and startups bring their transformative ideas to life and help create a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow.”

About the Accelerator Centre

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

The Accelerator Centre has a strong history of supporting high growth technology companies and has worked with more than 500 startups throughout its 12-year history bringing over 3,000 full time jobs and 560M in investment to the region. Graduates of The Accelerator Program™ include Canadian success stories Kik Interactive, Miovision, Axonify, Alert Labs and SSIMWAVE.

About TD Bank Group

TD and The Ready Commitment

TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, it aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help build a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow. As part of this, the bank is targeting CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas it feels are critical to helping people feel more confident – not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. These are Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through The Ready Commitment TD is also aligned to nine of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit

For further information:

Tabatha Laverty
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Accelerator Centre

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:
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.

Revera to Pilot Monarch’s Innovative Clothing Line through its Innovators in Aging Program

Original Source
Published on: July 6, 2018

Monarch Collection Inc., a provider of fashion-forward clothing for aging and physically disabled populations, announced it is piloting its new line of clothing purposefully designed for people who are unable to dress themselves with Revera – a leading owner, operator and investor in the senior living sector. The pilot program is made possible through Revera’s Innovators in Aging program, a $20M investment fund established by the company to enable seniors to live to the fullest through age-supporting innovations and start-ups.

Revera ( will pilot Monarch’s clothing line with residents and care employees in long-term care homes and provide feedback to Monarch’s design team.

“This opportunity comes at an exciting time as Monarch launches its brand to market and expands its product line to bring functional comfort to as many lives as possible,” says Pat Quinn, CEO and co-founder of Monarch Collection Inc. “We passionately believe that specialty clothing should also be fashionable. With the support of Revera, we are designing and delivering clothes that allow individuals to maintain their personal sense of style, while facilitating better care because they are easier to put on and protect delicate skin.”

Monarch designs clothing for individuals who are unable to dress themselves, due to physical or cognitive impairment such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke, muscular dystrophy and other conditions. Monarch’s innovative, patent-pending designs make the dressing process easier for caregivers and the individuals who wear the clothes. Monarch founders Dr. Kristine Goulet, D.C. and Patricia Quinn have tested their women’s line over the past year, working alongside professional caregivers to ensure that Monarch’s designs ease the strain often involved in dressing while incorporating fabric, colours and styles that allow wearers to look good and feel good.

Mainstream clothing and other adaptive clothing require manipulation of the body that can be painful. Monarch’s clothing solution can reduce that manipulation by as much as 75%.

The Revera/Monarch pilot program kicked off on with a Monarch Makeover held at a Revera Long Term Care home. Eight residents were each presented with a new wardrobe from the Monarch collection and given the opportunity to choose their favourite piece to model. With their hair, nails and makeup done, these smiling and radiant residents enjoyed their moment as family members, former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, Revera’s Chief Elder Officer and Revera executives and employees looked on and took in the transformation.

“The residents were excited about how they looked in their new clothes and also about how easily they went on,” says Quinn. “One personal support worker commented that ’if we like to dress up and look good all of our lives, why would that change if we find ourselves in the care of others?’” Family members also expressed their happiness at finding fashionable adaptive clothing that makes dressing fun, quick and painless for everyone involved.

About MonarchTM

Monarch is an innovative company that designs specialty clothing for people unable to dress themselves. The clothing blends functional comforts with fashion to produce a dressing experience that is easy and rewarding.


Facebook: @MonarchAdaptive

Twitter: @MonarchClothes

Instagram: @Monarchclothes

About Revera

Revera is a leading owner, operator and investor in the senior living sector. Through its portfolio of partnerships, Revera owns or operates more than 500 properties across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, serving more than 55,000 seniors. The company offers seniors’ apartments, independent living, assisted living, memory care and long term care. With approximately 50,000 employees dedicated to providing exceptional care and service, Revera is helping seniors live life to the fullest. Through Age is More, Revera is committed to challenging ageism, the company’s social cause of choice. Find out more at or on Twitter @Revera_Inc.

Rob Evans – Backpacker College

Original Source: Five hundred sparks
By: Jackie Gill

Here are three facts about Rob Evans.

He loves business. He loves travel. And he failed his calculus class in second-year university.

Without that credit, he lost his spot in Laurier’s business program and had to enrol in a major he didn’t love. So he did something different.

“I sold my car, paid off my credit cards, bought a round-trip ticket to Australia and I went traveling,” he says.

With a credit limit of just $500, he had to work during the trip. Through his campus, he found a service that helped him set up a working holiday visa and a bank account.

He started in Coogee Beach – a suburb of Sydney – and continued on through Fiji, China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia before returning to Kitchener-Waterloo a year later.

But when he told his friends back home about his travels, he noticed something about their reactions.

“They were like, ‘that’s amazing! I wish I could do that!’” he says. “When I asked them, ‘Why don’t you go? What’s stopping you?’ essentially there were two common things.” Fear and cost.

Rob’s own experiences had been so incredible, eye-opening, and inspiring, he didn’t want others to miss out on their own journey.  So he started research for Backpacker College, a service that connects backpackers with low-cost accommodation – think beds in college and university residences, low-cost boutique hotels, quality hostels, and other affordable options – along with fun things to do once they get there.

The idea didn’t come to fruition right away, though. He first went back to finish his degree in political science, and spent found work with other software and tech businesses. (His history includes a stint with a calculus software company, ironically enough.)

During that time, he continued collecting and researching business ideas – 40 of them, to be exact. Backpacker College was one file among many, tucked away in banker’s boxes.

It was during a move when the files resurfaced. “It became a point of sadness when I first saw it,” he says. “Oh my gosh, look at how many ideas I’ve had. My first instinct was that I had failed because I didn’t turn them into a success.”

But when he started combing through the files, his attitude changed. “Some of the ideas were not great, or they failed for different reasons: not the right time, or the right partnership, or sufficient capitalization,” he says.

“Of all the ideas, there were a handful of truly great ones in there. The one that stood out the best, the most compelling by far, was Backpacker College.”

It may not have worked eight years ago when Rob first began meeting with prospective partners, but smartphones have changed and trends today support the concept even more. No longer were backpackers booking trips through phone directories or travel agents exclusively.

“The backpacker of today is very different. Almost every backpacker that I know has a smartphone. They travel independently or in small groups, are different ages, students, working professionals, families, even retirees. To make things easier, the access to technology and ubiquitous communication at your fingertips is a game-changer.”

He addressed the barrier of affordability by looking at non-traditional accommodations that could offer similar prices to a hostel. “At least $30 a bunk bed – how can we get close to that price point?” he asked. “I was thinking college residences.”

Some are shared rooms with private or semi-private bathrooms. But locations also usually come equipped with single private rooms, or suites, and nice-to-haves like air conditioning, wifi, shared kitchens, common and social space, and parking.

These locations also address the issue of safety, he says. “There’s usually a front desk staff on hand. There’s actually several more doors and locks between the outside and your bedroom.”

Non-residence accommodations, like boutique hotels, are hand-picked to make the list, he adds, so backpackers don’t need to limit themselves to college and university towns or travelling only in the summer.

He also added a third benefit: finding things to do, like a concierge service. “To be able to take that knowledge and easily share experiences with budget travelers who might want to come to your town, who might want to come here on Wednesday for a live music night at Maxwell’s Music House for example, that will easily be done using our app.”

As for why he does it? Travel like this can change lives in a really positive way, he says. There are parts of his trip to Australia that impacted him so profoundly that he still looks back on them today and takes lessons from them.

The memories help Rob “refocus on what’s truly important in life, and certainly that type of perspective comes from being in places and having to rely on the kindness of strangers to navigate your way through a situation.”

That’s what he wants to share with others more than anything.

“Hopefully, if we do things well, people will be very grateful for having a platform that brings them the things they need to overcome their own fears or the cost challenges that can come with travel, and suddenly now it’s been made possible for them. Those are the things that I hope for.”

Plus, he’s setting an example for his eight-year-old son. “How can I possibly tell him that he should pursue his dreams if I don’t pursue my own?” he asks.

“If you know what you want to do and follow a straight path, that’s great. Do it. But if it takes you travelling to many countries, working for others, doing what you like and don’t like to truly know what you love doing… if you pursue it with 100% of your heart and your mind, and are okay asking for a little help along the way, you will succeed, too.”

Learn more at:

Site Safety Solutions creates Rebar: An Easy to Use software Solution for Construction Site Safety Compliance

For Annamaria Bartolomucci, CEO of Site Safety Solutions, health and safety on construction sites is a personal passion.  As a construction business owner, she is responsible for the safety of her employees and for ensuring her business remains compliant with safety regulations. After being personally affected by a work-related tragedy, Annamaria founded Site Safety Solutions and created ‘Rebar’ with a mission to make safety compliance an easier process for construction owners like herself.

The construction industry, like many others in the trades, have a number of responsibilities to ensure a construction site and its workers are safe. However, many contractors are still using antiquated paper methods to keep track of these policies and procedures.

With all the day-to-day responsibilities construction companies face, the health and safety of workers is a top priority. The health and safety compliance paperwork can overwhelm even the most efficient business operation, which is why Annamaria dreamed up an ideal system that would help her and other business owners.

In 2016, Site Safety Solutions started to come to life with the help of The Accelerator Centre Program and seed funding from AC JumpStart. Through the program, Annamaria was able to invest into the development of the software and begin testing it within her own construction company. Now, her company uses the software every day to run a more safe and efficient business.

“As we were building the software, I knew that other construction business owners would benefit and want it too. My ultimate dream is to create change across the industry and we have big plans for that.”

Annamaria and her team are currently beta testing the product with a number of companies, creating custom on-boarding processes, and learning how to further market the product to their target users: Condo Development Companies, Home Builders, Contractors & Sub-contractors. She explains how this is a solution that will change the industry, but there is still work to do yet,

“There is still a lot of work to do in terms of educating those leading in the industry. The idea of changing over the paper-based system is scary because most business owners are already busy as it is running the business and making the change to tech seems like too much of a headache for them. In reality, it is a simple and efficient switch, which we help with, and the fact that it is tapping into existing mobile and digital behaviours, a lot of the team members pick it up with ease because they are already accustomed to being on their smart-phones. It is a new approach to the industry by tapping into present day tech and behaviours.”

Rebar was recently nominated as one of three chosen out of two hundred companies for “Start-up Of The Year” by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, were recognized in the Grand Valley Construction Journal and presented Rebar at the “What the Tech Event” run by Grand Valley Construction Association.

Site Safety Solutions is ramping up for a full launch of Rebar in 2018 and are thrilled to bring a simple, affordable and easy to use software to market, that allows other business owners and their teams an easy way to manage health and safety responsibilities, maintain an electronic audit trail needed for compliance and reduce risk overall.

To connect with Annamaria or to learn more about Rebar, visit:

Magnusmode: Making the World More Accessible for Those with Special Needs

Magnusmode® was founded out of a necessity and a passion. Nadia Hamilton, the company Founder, is the sibling of a young man with autism.  Growing up, she noticed how he struggled to do daily activities, like brushing teeth, on his own, yet he thrived when he was able to follow step-by-step instructions that Nadia herself created. She realized that when given the right tools, he was able to manage and complete tasks with greater independence, confidence, comfort, and ease. It was those early experiences with her brother that ultimately inspired the creation of Magnusmode and its flagship product, a mobile app called MagnusCards™.

MagnusCards is mobile app that community venues, corporations, and organizations (like the Royal Ontario Museum, Colgate-Palmolive, Toronto Pearson Airport, A&W and many more) use to provide step-by-step guidance for those with special needs, much like Nadia did for her brother. The mobile app has a central character, Magnus, who partners with other brand mascots (like CIBC’s Percy Penguin) to deliver life skills guidance in their area of expertise. For example, Magnus teams up with CIBC’s Percy Penguin to teach money management skills!  For people with special needs, the world can be a loud, scary and overwhelming place and Magnus and his friends help them to focus and manage activities with decreased stress and greater independence.

“People with autism and other cognitive challenges need and want access to museums, airports, public transit, and grocery stores. They have a right to these spaces like everyone else, yet they face invisible barriers to inclusion and independence. MagnusCards provides a digital roadmap and a friendly guide to daily life at home and in the community.” 


Since its launch in 2015, MagnusCards has been downloaded by with users in 77 countries and has over 30 corporate clients across North America.

The magic of MagnusCards is that it helps companies to increase accessibility, while connecting, engaging, and enabling customers with cognitive special needs. Today, in just 4-6 weeks, Magnusmode can deliver custom, branded, digital Card Decks that enable companies to join this Accessibility Movement.

It all started in 2011, when Nadia  entered and won ‘Project Wildfire’ a business pitch competition run through the Centre for Social Innovation. With that initial funding, she outsourced the development of the app to developers in China, and partnered with several Ontario-based autism organizations to test and refine the app. Magnusmode went from a neat idea to a business when companies began paying to create branded content on the MagnusCards platform.

The team continues to improve upon their existing app and have plans for new products in the future that build on relationships with CIBC, Colgate, and others. Presently, the team is located at the Accelerator Center in Waterloo Ontario, where they have three full-time employees, approximately 15 contractors, a development team in Costa Rica and they are currently hiring in several areas. The company has several private investors, including funding from the Golden Triangle Angel Network.

And the growth continues, Magnusmode continues to double revenue year over year, and has a goal of tripling revenue by the end of their fiscal year in October. Nadia shares,

” Our main focus right now is making our customers and users happy, exploring the building of new products for them, making sure we have all the right players on our team and continuing to build a product that is changing people’s lives for the better.”

Magnusmode and their client, Colgate-Palmolive, are co-recipients of the 2018 Change Maker Award from QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community). Nadia was also the recent recipient of the 2018 Harry Jerome Young Entrepreneur Award from the BBPA, Black Business and Professional Association. It was a special milestone for her and the company as she was able to attend the award ceremony with her brother, and two of Magnusmode’s clients as guests, respectively from CIBC & Colgate.

“The mentorship at the Accelerator Centre has been so helpful in several areas including sales, product development, human resources, and marketing.  I feel they are part of a broader team, working together to build a foundation that will enable us to scale operations across North America and worldwide”

Magnusmode looks forward to the continued growth and success of the company and mobile app that’s sole purpose is to educate, empower and connect individuals, companies and customers in their daily lives. “There is still a lot of work to be done, and we’ve never been more passionate or excited to do that work. It’s wonderfully fulfilling (and challenging) to be able to build a business that solves a problem, I’m so thankful to my team, Magnusmode investors, and our customers for enabling this vision.”

To connect with Nadia, join the accessibility movement with your company, or learn more about Magnusmode, please visit: 

Phyxter: AI for Independent Contractors in the Skilled Trades Industry

Jake Gibson grew up with a skilled trades family. His father owned a business in the skilled trades and his brother followed suit. After Jake graduated from University, he too entered into the skilled trades working as a Journeyman before moving to the sales side of the industry. That’s when he began noticing the inefficiencies that business owners, contractors, and freelancers experience on a daily basis. Although there were numerous business management tools available to business owners, Jake noticed a general avoidance of them among independent contractors. He wondered if there was a way to build a new platform that would better serve the specific needs of skilled trades business owners. Jake knew that business owners, like his father and brother, wore too many hats on a daily basis. Without the help of an easy-to-use, intuitive, business management tool, the work days and hours would keep piling up. He started thinking of a solution, which ultimately led to the creation of Phyxter.

Phyxter is a mobile platform that uses artificial intelligence and behavioral science to maximize profit by providing independent contractors with a virtual business partner. The platform is built specifically for independent contractors who desire both profitability and a healthy work-life balance. Simply put, Phyxter helps business owners work less, work smarter, and make more money.

Jake was still living in Utah as a successful sales manager when an advisor suggested that he apply to an incubator/ accelerator to assist in building Phyxter, noting that there were plenty of great options in Ontario. After careful consideration of various programs, Jake was most interested in the Accelerator Center because of their program structure. He applied immediately and was accepted, which meant leaving his career and moving back home to Canada. A big decision, for sure, but he knew it was the right one. Jake was thrilled about his new venture, he had the support of his friends and family, and he now had the Accelerator Centre program to help guide the way.

“The phased approach to business development, a curriculum with step-by-step guidance, milestones to work toward and mentor feedback is exactly the way I like to do things. I love learning and I love that the AC had their program set up for people who want to continually learn and grow. So, I applied and after I was accepted I quit my job in Utah and moved back to Ontario to take my shot at the entrepreneurial dream.”

After Jake moved to Toronto and found a co-founder and CTO in long-time friend Ben Fagan, Phyxter officially incorporated in May of 2017. Phyxter has evolved since its inception into a platform that merges artificial intelligence with behavioral science in order to mimic an experienced business partner. It allows independent contractors in the skilled trades service industry to automate their workflows, help them with their daily business decisions to get positive results, and increases their productivity so they can go home earlier or find additional profitable work, whichever they desire. More than a collection of features, Phyxter will be the smartest way for independent contractors to be more productive at work, to provide the highest quality service, and to have more time and money to do the things they love.

Jake describes the experience of building the company so far as incredible.

“We are having an absolute blast! The learning curve is huge – the community is so supportive, and the ecosystem in Ontario is perfect for learning and growing”

The leadership team started by completing thorough rounds of market research to fully understand the problem they aim to solve, then they moved into product development and are currently performing user testing. They anticipate launching near the end of 2018. The current team consists of Jake, Ben, a team of three developers, and a handful of knowledgeable and experienced advisors.

In 2018, the team is looking forward to beta-testing the MVP product and getting additional feedback from business owners. They’re also looking forward to launching the product, fundraising, and continuing to develop strategic partnerships. They have already solidified a number of aligned partnerships with companies that provide value-add benefits for platform users which reach beyond their tech.

Jake reflects on his inspiration and the core of the company’s values,

“My father was an entrepreneur, and my brother is one now…so if we can build a product that not only helps him to be more successful but also one that he’ll actually use then we’ll have succeeded. There are a lot of things we have to build to get this done and build them in a way that’s truly inviting. It’s important for all of us to always remember that we’re building this for independent contractors, so before every decision we make we need to ask ourselves three questions; do our customers need this, will they use it, and most importantly would our mothers be proud of us for making this decision. In the end we want to give something to entrepreneurs that will help them succeed, whether their definition is that they want to make more money or that they want to spend more quality time with their family, whatever it is Phyxter believes that technology should empower them to do it.”

Being a business owner or independent contractor can be an exciting but stressful job, and Phyxter’s mission is to remove the stress and maximize the excitement by giving business management tools an overhaul in the best possible way.

To learn more or discuss a partnership with Phyxter, please visit:

Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region Leverages the Accelerator Program to Invest in Innovation

Far too often, we associate innovation and industry disruption with startups – entrepreneurs with bootstrapped funds and big ideas. But the truth is that the innovation community is just that – a community. Startups need larger companies to access data, test their ideas, and invest into their solutions just as much as those corporations need startups and a startup mentality to help them innovate.

Our partners, Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region Ltd., Brokerage, are an excellent example of the value that larger companies can bring to the ecosystem by embracing innovation internally. Cushman Wakefield is one of the largest commercial real estate brokers in Waterloo Region, providing a breadth of expertise in commercial real estate sales and leasing, investment and portfolio sales, development sites a project marketing, and operating business sales.

In 2017, they decided to leverage the Accelerator Program to test and validate the market for a new drone-based service offering.  Since then, Cushman & Wakefield’s integrated UAV/Drone service has both literally and figuratively taken off as a leading local drone service platform providing a turn-key toolkit solution to acquire, process, and deliver aerial property information for land and commercial real estate marketing to enterprise customers.

Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region Ltd. is the first commercial real estate brokerage to launch an integrated UAV/Drone service platform in Canada by acquiring the appropriate certifications from Transport Canada. By offering clients a cutting edge commercial real estate service with the most advanced UAV/Drone hardware and software technology solutions, they are able to apply leading marketing technique that showcase commercial real estate listings in a unique and powerful way.

Using emerging software and the newest drone hardware technology, we capture Ultra HD images and video and convert imagery into realistic 3D models that allow clients to observe property and surroundings from a detailed aerial perspective. Multiple vantage points provide an extremely precise look to perform aerial building inspections giving our clients the confidence that their infrastructure project is being completed as scheduled with digital records of construction.

Additional services include capturing visual factors such as proximity to major roadways, traffic flows, amenities, and key infrastructure, as well as more complex applications including construction project management, earthworks cut & fill analysis, and property elevation analysis.

Cushman Wakefield completed Phase 1 of the AC program to explore various use cases, business models and market segments for the offering and was able to quickly identify the best way to spin out the new idea and enter the market with the new service.

“When Cushman Wakefield approached us about wanting to leverage AC programming to validate the market for their new drone service, we knew our Phase 1 of the Accelerator Program was ideal and we were excited to help them,” says Accelerator CEO, Paul Salvini.

“Some of the most successful companies that have gone through the AC program grew from ideas that entrepreneurs have had while working in full-time positions in large corporations or were inspired by seeing the struggles of friends and family member in their own careers. It is great to see large companies embracing those ideas internally and turning them into new services or new ventures.”

“In many respects, commercial real estate is a commoditized transactional process. Where I feel our office and professionals exceed, is by constantly looking at new ways of innovation to provide a new standard of excellence by introducing new technologies for our clients to benefit from”, said Michael Polzl, President & Broker of Record for Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region.

“What the Accelerator Centre allowed us to do was create a path to help us identify our strengths as an organization within the commercial real estate sector, and focus in on introducing our UAV/drone platform to our core clients”, said Adam Stewart, Cushman & Wakefield’s Marketing Manager and UAV Practice Leader. “We could have attempted to service many different industries beyond our core business, but the Accelerator Centre mentor team really did a good job of helping to pinpoint where our best efforts should be focused.”

But Cushman Wakefield’s commitment to industry transformation doesn’t stop within their own walls. They are committed to continuing to supporting entrepreneurs that can innovate in the real estate or adjacent markets by acting as first customers, providing advice and consultation, and investing directly in high potential initiatives.

As a global organization, Cushman & Wakefield is fully invested in building innovation through partnerships including with MetaProp NYC, the world’s premier real estate technology nexus, to provide the global real estate services leader with exclusive worldwide strategic advice and corporate development across business lines and support services.

The Cushman & Wakefield-MetaProp tech partnership is one example where qualified startups are given a single point of entry to the global Cushman & Wakefield ecosystem; Fast tracked technology and business diligence; Matching with appropriate Cushman & Wakefield client and business champions; and equally exciting partnerships, investments, and acquisition opportunities.