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.

Ace Age Launches Karie: Say Good-Bye to Your Old Pill Box

Spencer Waugh, CEO and Founder of Ace Age was moved to create a healthcare solution after watching a family member struggle with taking their medications. Waugh’s family member, like many with various medical prescriptions was using the plastic pill boxes (with each day of the week labelled on it) as a tangible reminder to organize and take them each day. But Waugh observed that having a container to organize pills wasn’t enough. His family member struggled to first organize and then take the pills everyday as needed, which ultimately resulted in multiple emergency visits to the hospital over the course of one year. Waugh knew there had to be a better way to assist those who needed to take multiple prescriptions everyday to live a healthy and happy life. That is when the development of Karie began.

Ace Age has created a medication delivery system that provides automatic medication organization, scheduling, monitoring and dispensing. After 3 years of development, they are preparing to launch their home health appliance, Karie.

Karie is a medical device created to make it easy for people and their loved ones to take the right medication at the right time. Karie uses common high-dose pouch packaging where pharmacists pre-organize the medications for you. After placing a preloaded cartridge inside the device, Karie then reads the information on the packaging and automatically creates a medication schedule. Karie takes the prep work and the guesswork out of knowing when to take your next scheduled dose of medications. Should a Karie user be leaving home for more than one day, they can tell Karie the number of doses they will need while away and Karie will dispense those prescriptions as needed. Karie offers peace of mind to its users and and empowers greater independence through its usage, a meaningful mission fulfilled for Waugh.

 

Karie was under development for approximately 3 years, so the team was thrilled when they secured a large finance round in the summer of 2017, which allowed them to accelerate the progress of building their hardware and software product,

“It took time to get the product right. Five iterations to be exact, including testing with patients, research with the healthcare system, usability studies with U of T and putting it out into the public for further testing and much more. What I wasn’t expecting though, was the results from our test cases. There was a 300% increase in the accuracy and satisfaction of taking medications properly.”

With approximately 5 million Canadians taking three prescriptions or more, the Ace Age team is determined to scale Karie to help more people in Canada and beyond.

Currently, Ace Age is a team of eleven full and part-time employees. When asked how it was working with the Accelerator Centre, Waugh says that it was a positive experience as a medical based company,

“It was appreciated getting the support on business building and even things like corporate culture and how to build that meaningfully as we grow, the mentors had such a wealth of knowledge and it helped us immensely.”

When looking forward to 2018 and the future for Ace Age and Karie, Waugh’s goals are to get traction in the market and begin forecasting into the future of healthcare.

“We want to see Karie become a fixture in people’s homes that can support patients and alleviate the pressure of taking medications everyday, so that people can worry less about that and spend more time enjoying their lives.”

To learn more about Karie, please visit: http://kariehealth.com/

Writing and AI: Find Balance for Writing Professionals

What do you get when you mix writing and AI? Let’s just say it’s a tool that is bound to be an inbound marketer’s best friend. Creating content is king in today’s digital world, however it’s also a very tedious process and can get kicked down the priority list when poorly planned for. Procrastination sets in and before you know it, you are behind! Sound like a familiar situation? We have all been there and the creator of Wriber has been there too.

John Zupancic, CEO of Wriber, first had the idea for the platform about six years ago when he didn’t want to write up a report. Zupancic, a self-admitted ‘non-writer’ shares that he wanted to create a tool which would make it easier for non-writers to create compelling content and for professionals to produce higher quality content, quickly. Combining expected features like grammar and spelling monitoring with web optimization using AI gives Wriber an edge above the competition and now Wriber is an essential tool kit for any writer, marketer or agency.

“As you’re using Wriber, it allows you to write in your customers voice by inserting brand standard presets and as you write, the tool will optimize the content for web performance. That way, it allows you to write twice as fast getting ideas, quotes, statistics, sources and more in the sidebar in real time. Wriber also allows you to increase traffic, stay consistent while managing brand guidelines and editorial standards across all your content and it improves collaboration allowing you to send content to other team members for review to assign due dates and much more.”

Zupancic says that the mentors at the Accelerator Centre have been invaluable in helping him build his company.

“There were times that I wanted to give up. I wasn’t sure if what I was creating enough value, but the mentors at the Accelerator Centre gave me the confidence to keep going, and supported me with building the business, getting a patent, and most importantly helped me with sales. I am a developer by trade, but it expanded my skill sets in all the right ways to get Wriber to where it is today. Today we are doing well and my goal is to build Wriber into a world-class company.”

Zupancic received recognition this past year, he won crowd favourite at Data Marketing Toronto. The company is now looking forward to hosting a booth and session at Big Data Toronto 2018.

Zupancic says happily, “Every good writer or content team needs an editor, and we hope to be that trusted editor.”

To learn more about Wriber or to try a 14 day free trial, https://www.wriber.com/

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

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

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

What Is De Novo Sequencing?


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

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

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

Changing the Industry

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

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

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

The Team

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

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

What’s Next?

Xie, CEO shares,

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Smart Cocoon solution works as follows: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaveh followed,

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

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

What’s Life? Media partners with THEMUSEUM for the first ever Life Asks Community Conversation and Pop-Up

 

What’s Life? is a story-telling media startup, focused on creating and capturing compelling content online and in real spaces. They just created a first of its kind, local-global Digital Pop-Up and partnered up with downtown Kitchener’s THEMUSEUM for their current Model Citizen Exhibition.

“Our Pop-Up and Platform is called Life AsksTM and our aim is to ask people compelling and sometimes disruptive questions about life so we can share micro stories of our real life experiences and why they matter,” says CEO Dave Marmen. “Because of fake news, and many other issues, we are entering a new era of authenticity where people are wanting authentic exchanges and a new kind of conversation.”

This is why the What’s Life? team is also launching a novel, experimental Life AsksTM Community Conversation on November 8th from 7 to 9 pm as part of THEMUSEUEM’s Dialogue Series. It’s where digital meets analog to discuss important questions in the form of open and spontaneous micro-cafe-conversations. “We are inviting everyone who cares about community and good conversation to attend. Different micro cafes are hosted by people from the region who have a burning question to pose the community, which makes it really fun and engaging, as well as relevant to people’s lives in the Kitchener-Waterloo region” says Marmen.

Here’s what can guests expect

“Show up, grab a drink, pick conversations of your choice, move around, and engage in a fun, real-time, hosted discussion with a group of like-minded and diverse people from the local community. We’re expecting artists, adventurers, entrepreneurs (some serial), techies, University students, recent grads, philosophers, networkers, and local thought leaders.

It’s new. It’s different. We want to spark creative connections between people and ideas, life experiences and future possibilities. The Pop-Up Conversation is an opportunity to identify and share what matters most to you. After all, our conversations shape our lives and our communities.

Admission: Pay What You Can (PWYC), with a suggested donation of $10.
More Information: http://www.themuseum.ca/events/life-asks-community-conversations/

Get Your Voice Heard

The Life Asks™ Digital Pop-Up is ever evolving and has a 3-month run at THEMUSEUM.  It combines low tech and high tech. There are compelling video interviews with members of the millennial generation showcasing their insights, dreams and real experiences. One section is dedicated to inspiring quotes from local thought leaders and sponsors of the Pop-Up, including the Accelerator Centre.  Visitors can capture their own micro stories related to their lives, insights, and dreams through a curated digital experience using text and video recording. The recording pod allows them to record their answers to 3 disruptive questions – one relating directly to their engagement with the Model Citizen exhibition as a whole.

Another exciting feature is a Wishing Wall for community members of all ages and backgrounds to write their answers to key questions, such as “What One Good would you like to DO or SEE happen in your community?” More than 300 answers are currently displayed on colourful hand-written cards and more keep going up every day.

What’s Life?’s goal is to capture content across platforms that will showcase our community, what people love about it, and how we want to improve it, together. It provides an opportunity to interact digitally as well as socially, together with friends and family, thus creating important linkages between real world and digital interactions. Dave Marmen adds, “These are important conversations that we want to help facilitate in the KW region to make a difference in the way we live, do business, launch innovative projects and interact together in the community. We are excited THEMUSEUM has chosen us as a digital partner to engage the community this way.”

Bringing Clarity to Cybersecurity for Small and Medium Enterprises

In today’s hyperconnected world, running a business is more difficult than ever. In addition to traditional challenges, we now have to contend with cybersecurity threats to sensitive data such as customer information and company intellectual property. Any compromise of this data could close a business down. Every day, the media features many stories of individuals and companies who have been hacked or otherwise compromised.  There are existing cybersecurity options available, but they are generally out of reach for SMEs due to cost and complexity.

“The timing is really good. People are more aware and want to know more. There is a general awareness of the risks while operating a business in today’s digital landscape, and more people are open and interested in protecting themselves.”

-Kathryn Vandenberg

zabu is a cybersecurity company building user-focused tools for small to medium sized companies.  They are developing an easy to understand automated assessment which takes human and technology factors into account to create a composite cyberrisk score, similar to a credit score.  This score empowers executives to visualize, understand, and reduce their company’s cyberrisk exposure, making cybersecurity accessible and relevant to everyone.

“The Accelerator Centre has helped us form a strong foundation for our business.  The expertise, perspective and support from our mentors and from the program itself have allowed us to achieve far more than we could have on our own, especially in this short period of time.”

Kathryn Vandenberg

zabu co-founders Kathryn and Derek not only had complementary business skillsets, they also had a passion for simplifying complex issues such as cyberrisk exposure and helping people make better decisions. They recognized that small and medium businesses were not being served by the existing costly and complex cybersecurity tools, and created zabu to focus specifically on that market.

What’s next

zabu is continuing to develop the product and looking forward to launching a closed field test in January of 2018, and is still accepting companies that would like to participate.

“We are passionate about providing clarity and empowering business owners to take control of their cybersecurity.”

– Derek Wong

Learn more about the Accelerator Centre and Phase One of the Accelerator Program on our website.

Monarch Clothing: Providing Dignity, Comfort and Confidence to Residents in Long Term Care Facilities

Monarch is nothing short of an inspirational story.

Kristine Goulet’s journey toward creating Monarch, an innovative clothing solution specially designed for individuals who require assistance dressing, began with a desire to help her own mother. Kristine experienced the role of caregiver while tending to her mother who lived with Alzheimer’s disease over a period of five years in various long term care homes. Kristine witnessed firsthand the challenges and health risks (pressure sores, physical injury, etc.) associated with dressing someone with declining physical and cognitive abilities. Determined to find a better solution, she envisioned an easier to use, fashion-conscious adaptive clothing line; one that would provide comfort and dignity to her mother while being dressed and one that would also honour her mother’s love of fashion.

Just two weeks after the passing of Kristine’s beloved mother, the passion project that had commenced a year prior gained even more momentum and eventually became the company we now call Monarch.

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, Kristine, combined her knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics with the personal experience of a caregiver and became heavily invested in the design of a new dressing solution. During the first year of building the business, she reached out regularly to her long time friend, previous work colleague and successful entrepreneur Patricia Quinn to provide expertise pertaining to the development of a start-up business. The ladies laugh as Kristine recalls that conversation, “I remember telling Pat that I would have to eventually pay her for all that free consulting on Monarch and she responded saying that I could never afford her!”  Patricia, with a solid background in business development and entrepreneurship knew that Kristine was onto something not only meaningful, but extremely important for the care industry. Pat also had a family member diagnosed with dementia in 2016, so she was personally motivated to join the cause. Pat and Kristine became business partners and have a great business relationship and drive to build something to help other families, caregivers and care recipients.

When it came to designing adaptive clothing for people with declining health or mobility issues, it first required an understanding the issue from all angles, which meant doing research, conducting interviews and focus groups with professional caregivers, families and care recipients. With current available clothing designs, they still require substantial physical effort and body manipulation to dress someone which causes a great amount of stress for everyone involved. Common issues encountered with current designs are such things as bulky fasteners like Velcro that are poorly positioned, excess fabric bunching in the back, bare skin being exposed, all of which can contribute to causing pressure injuries. In addition, the fashion designs and colours need refreshing.

Taking all of this into consideration, the ladies knew they had learn the complexities of the garment industry and connect with the right designers, suppliers and manufacturers to begin designing and creating clothing as a solution to address all of these current issues. That is where the Accelerator Centre provided immense value. Pat recalls, The Accelerator Centre really helped us to gain access to the resources and support we needed to do our research and to start looking at things like our IP and the manufacturing process, while building our products to begin testing.”  The conclusion of the Market Validation phase of the Accelerator Centre Program included a pitch contest where Monarch was proud to be presented with the “Most Innovative” award. The ladies have now created their first line of tops for women and are in design working on a line of pants. Men’s apparel is soon to follow.

Their clothing is styled in American Classic which is timeless, classy and very colourful (as research revealed that older generations are attracted to colours over the monochromatic trends as seen among younger generations and current fashion trends). The tops are a 2 piece garment with a technical base layer that is built for comfort, wicks away moisture and has 4-way stretch making it easy to maneuver. It has been engineered integrating “Poka Yoke” aka: mistake – proofing or making it impossible to put it on wrong. This is created with a system of fasteners that have been strategically placed. In addition, if a resident soils themselves or needs to change, the 2nd or top fashionable layer can be quickly and comfortably changed. This clothing system was engineered to be put on a care recipient lying in bed by rolling him/her on their side only once versus up to 4 times required to put current clothing on.

The current designs have been tested with families and care workers and have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. The benefits are clear and far reaching. The care recipient’s dressing experience is enhanced, family members are relieved knowing their loved one is comfortable and looks dignified, and the care workers feel more satisfaction knowing they are able to help their care recipient more easily and with less stress.

Kristine and Pat recognize that this idea came from the want to help those with Alzheimer’s, but recognize that it can help others who are living with many different health conditions and status such as MS, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, severe arthritis, post surgical, mobility issues and general declining health. They have found the community to be very supportive because there is an overwhelming amount of people who are directly affected by or know someone who is affected by the serious health condition of a loved one that wants and deserves to be dressed properly.

Today, Monarch is a team of 6 including two interns from Ryerson University. They are working hard on completing more prototypes, designing more styles of tops and pants, testing in long term care homes, and building out their social media content and contacts.  They are excited to start selling the adaptive clothing designs early 2018.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more or would like to invest in this dressing solution for someone you love, feel free to reach out anytime at: https://monarchclothes.com/contact/

LIIV Builds a Privacy Oriented Social Network for Men in Developing and Socially Conservative Countries

Technology allows us to connect with other people at the touch of a button, all over the world. There are mobile apps today that allow us to easily connect with others, whether we want to strike up conversation, create meaningful friendship or meet a potential love interest. It has become so normative, that we may not even stop to consider that it isn’t as easy as “swiping right” in other parts of the world or more socially conservative communities. Furthermore, the fact that almost 80% of the world’s population still live in developing countries, drove the two founders to help effect change. Kirk and Chad, with cultural roots in Canada and the Caribbean respectfully, understand the challenges that individuals face in developing or more socially conservative countries, especially for those in the LGBTQA+ community.

Inspired by the limitations individuals face due to lack of control and privacy while trying to connect with others online, they decided to create a privacy oriented social network for men that gives users more control of the online chat and dating experience. The app was named LIIV in the hope that users worldwide would be inspired to live on their own terms. For many people, particularly gay men, in these developing or conservative countries being public about one’s sexuality may result in ostracization or even physical harm. LIIV provides a safer, more privacy oriented platform that allows users to express themselves and socialize with greater peace of mind.

What makes LIIV different

Many mainstream apps simply allow users to connect with each other without much focus on privacy and user control. Furthermore, they allow for integration with publicly shared information like Facebook, Instagram, or even the ability to share screenshot captures or messages from a chat conversation. LIIV’s unique suite of safety and privacy features include screenshot blocking, location faking, disappearing messages, unsend messages, app cloaking and more. Privacy is of the utmost importance and the founders Kirk and Chad have gone through great lengths to ensure that users feel comfortable and in control when using the app.

More than just an app for social good, the founders have identified proven monetization strategies for their business, already in use in the industry at large. These include premium subscriptions, advertising, e-commerce, licensing of key features to noncompeting firms via API packages, as well as the white labeling of the app for different use cases / industries that experience similar privacy and security concerns (law and medicine among them).

Building of the App

Kirk and Chad knew that they wanted to build the app in Canada for a few reasons. They wanted to become a part of the tech ecosystem in Kitchener-Waterloo, wanted to leverage the resources, talent and community here and they wanted to build the best app possible with developers of various cultural backgrounds and perspectives. Recently, and with the assistance of the Accelerator Centre, Kirk received permanent residence through the Canadian Government’s Startup Visa Program, so the team could continue to grow in Canada. They mostly bootstrapped the building of the app, and were able to secure funding with the AC Jumpstart program and hire local developers to help them build a secure, private and intuitive app experience for their users.

How AC Jumpstart Helped

LIIV went from conception to a developed app within the span of 10 months. Chad remarks, “AC Jumpstart allowed us the funds to secure talent and resources to build our app and quickly. We worked very hard with our team to make this happen and now we are proud to see LIIV in the app store, with users from areas such as: the Caribbean, Middle East, Asia and Canada. The vast majority of our users thus far have downloaded the app organically and we are receiving positive feedback. We are excited and motivated to take that feedback and continue development of an app that is truly helping the LGBTQA+ community.”

 

The LIIV team is very passionate about their cause to create technology that allows men to connect with other men safely and securely, regardless of beliefs, geographic location, values, community, etc. “No one should ever feel shamed or sheltered from making meaningful connection with others- we want to enable and empower men in developing and socially conservative areas”.

LIIV has also teamed up with a local Non-Profit called, Rainbow Railroad to giveback and collaborate on this project. The goal is to spread awareness, increase visibility and use the tech platform for good, and the Rainbow Railroad partnership has given mutual, invaluable collaboration in that respect. LIIV hopes to connect with other non-profits and passionate communities as they grow to spread the word and giveback.

“AC Jumpstart truly gave us the ability to build the interface of the app with which our users connect on. Looking at development, design and operating costs to build a robust app with the security/ privacy functionalities required, makes it a lengthy engagement without proper resources, team members and skill sets to build it. AC Jumpstart expedited everything with both monetary value, valuable networks of developers/coders for hire, the mentors who helped us and much more. We now have a team of four, our app is in the app store, we are getting great reviews and feedback and new users everyday.”

What is Next?

The LIIV team is now looking to secure seed funding to continue working with Canadian talent to develop new features, to build the highly sought after IOS version of the app and to expand their presence into Central, South and East Asia for interested users. Meanwhile they are appreciative of the progress made so far, they understand that the journey has only just begun, and are buoyed by the opportunity to positively impact the lives of tens of millions of men worldwide.

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.

AceAge Lands Strategic Agreement with Centric Health

Originally published on centrichealth.ca

Centric Health Announces Strategic Agreement for Innovative Medication Delivery Appliance

Aug 9, 2017

— Unique healthcare device transforms prescription medicine compliance and adherence —

TORONTO, Aug. 9, 2017 /CNW/ – Centric Health Corporation (“Centric Health” or “the Company”) (TSX: CHH), Canada’s leading diversified healthcare company, today announced that it has signed a strategic distribution and supply agreement and a strategic investment with AceAge Inc. (“AceAge”) for its “Karie” home-based automated drug delivery appliance.

Feel safe that your loved ones are taking their medicines correctly: Karie is an innovative technology appliance that simplifies and monitors the administration of multiple medications, improving compliance and reducing adverse drug complications. Its easy-to-load cartridge uses a multi-dose medicine package, like that produced by Centric Health. (CNW Group/Centric Health Corporation).

Designed for individuals taking multiple medications, particularly seniors living independently or without full-time care, Karie is an innovative device that makes it simple to follow complex medication regimes by automatically delivering prescription drugs, in the correct dosage and at the right time. The medication comes pre-organized in an easy-to-load cartridge and the patient’s medication schedule is also stored. Karie goes off like an alarm clock when it’s time for each dose and provides a visual and audio alert. It can also be set to automatically notify a family member or caregiver if a dose is ever missed.

“With about 70 percent of all seniors taking five or more drugs per day and improper medication compliance being a leading cause of visits to the ER and hospital admissions for seniors, Karie is an ideal solution that is completely aligned with Centric’s focus on delivering the highest levels of patient care,” said David Cutler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Centric Health. “The device is completely compatible with our automated dispensing and packaging systems and we see many opportunities for placement with seniors in our contracted retirement homes where it will improve safety and provide peace-of-mind to caregivers.” It is estimated that up to 10% of all hospital admissions are due to adverse drug reactions.

A personal solution that will benefit many
A family member of AceAge’s CEO, Spencer Waugh, was the inspiration behind Karie’s creation. After watching them be admitted to a hospital eight times in one year because they could not keep their drugs organized, Spencer sought a better solution to ensure that medication could be more easily managed. Karie incorporates both ease of use and advanced monitoring and connectivity. It uses a simple, single-load action cartridge and delivers medication with the push of just one button. It also incorporates facial recognition which ensures the safety of the user and protects others, network connectivity using TELUS’ cellular IoT network and is Bluetooth-enabled to connect to other health monitoring devices. Click here to see a video demonstration of Karie. Expected pricing will be an initial cost of $150 and $60 per month thereafter.

The appliance is in its second phase of testing in a clinical trial at the University of Toronto; AceAge is beginning production with delivery expected in spring 2018. In addition to serving the needs of seniors, Karie is an effective solution for anyone managing multiple medications and for clinical researchers conducting drug trials.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see something that we’ve been working on for so long become a reality,” said Spencer Waugh, CEO of AceAge “As we are scaling up to build and deploy thousands of devices, we see Karie as the central fixture of the connected health home.”

Terms of the agreement
Centric Health has signed a strategic distribution and supply agreement with AceAge for the device in Canada and has made a strategic investment. The cash investment of $2 million will be made in two tranches, in exchange for a 20 percent ownership interest and subscription of 20 percent of AceAge’s common shares on a fully diluted basis. Centric will have the option to acquire an additional 10 percent at a predetermined premium to its initial investment. David Cutler will have a seat on AceAge’s Board of Directors for the period that Centric remains a shareholder.

“As one of the largest providers of pharmacy services to seniors in Canada, Centric was a natural partner to work with as we launch Karie in markets across the country and internationally,” added Mr. Waugh. “With Centric we will be able to have a positive impact on many seniors, helping them to live healthy, independent lives.”

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 “Patient 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 29,000 residents in over 425 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, the Company 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

About AceAge – www.aceage.com
AceAge Inc. is a healthcare technology company, creating beautiful and intuitive products to ease the aging process. Launching in spring 2018, Karie will be AceAge’s first commercially available product, making medication management as simple as possible. Outfitted with a front facing camera, and Bluetooth connectivity, AceAge plans for Karie to become the central fixture of the connected health home. For more information and to register for updates on Karie please visit www.kariehealth.com.

SOURCE Centric Health Corporation

For further information: David Cutler, Chief Executive Officer, Centric Health Corporation, 416-619-9401, david.cutler@centrichealth.ca; Craig MacPhail, Investor Relations, NATIONAL Equicom, 416-586-1938, cmacphail@national.ca; Spencer Waugh, Chief Executive Officer, AceAge Inc., 289-400-0811, spencer@aceage.com

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