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

O2 Canada Helps BC Fire Fighters and Residents Breathe Safely Again

No doubt, you’ve heard about the current wild fire crisis in British Columbia. With an estimated 150 fires currently burning across the province and over 14,000 residents being evacuated, its a national news story that has touched lives across the county.  When Waterloo startup, O2 Canada, heard about the hundreds of rescuers and fire fighters risking their lives and thousands of residents suffering, they hopped on a flight to deliver 250 of their air filtration masks to those who needed them most.

Although the product was not scheduled to be released until August 26th, co-founders Peter Whitby and Rich Szasz knew that the fires would result in poor air quality and their innovative technology could help those left in the wake of the tragedy. Coordinating with the Canadian Red Cross, O2 Canada rushed their first run of masks to BC – before they even had time to complete the packaging. “We knew we could make a difference, but we needed to get masks out there ASAP,” Peter recalls. “The packaging wasn’t done yet so we simply packaged them in zipper bags with a few extra filters so we could get them out there quickly.”

Due to the smoke and debris, the air quality in areas surrounding the fires is poor. The haze makes it difficult to breathe, particularity for those with asthma or other health problems. The technology in O2 Canada’s mask uses an electrostatic filter to remove the pollution so the wearer can breath the air without suffering the ill effects. “We created this company to help people. We really wanted to focus on getting masks to those who need it most. When we decided to go, we didn’t really know what that would look like, but we knew we had to be there.” Peter says.

The company is documenting their trip to BC and sharing it on Facebook with the hopes to get their message out to as many people in the province as possible. In their third episode in the series, they share their visits with helicopter pilots, firefighters, and everyday people who have seen the effects the poor air quality has on their health. One woman, cried as she shared her story. “I’m low income. I can’t afford to get a respirator, and I don’t have the resources to have my medical {insurance} cover something like that. My kids go to daycare right across the way and I have to walk them to daycare everyday. Just going across the street and back, I am having asthma attacks,” she says.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Rich says. “Meeting those kids who have to walk to school in all that pollution. When that little girl goes outside, she just coughs. It breaks my heart.”

What’s next for O2 Canada

After they return to Waterloo, their work is not done. In addition to preparing for their planned global launch, O2 has used their trip to identify the next milestone on their roadmap.  “We need to get back to work,” Rich says. ‘We need to make a kids mask and get them shipped out here.”

O2 Canada is a resident startup at Accelerator Centre’s Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab in Kitchener Ontario.

 

A Startup’s Journey: One-on-One with Ruth Casselman from Alert Labs

As you come up the stairs of 44 Gaukel Street to the Accelerator Centre’s Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab and head down the main hall to the back of the building, you’ll find the office of Alert Labs. Now utilizing two suites for office space and another room for testing, they are one of the fastest growing companies in the Accelerator Program and are on track to becoming one of the next big tech companies in the Waterloo Region.

The Product

Alert Labs builds cellular based sensors that help protect homeowners and businesses from water damage by sending them alerts about leaks, floods, and abnormal water use. They also track use by the minute to help customers conserve water and save money. Their Flowie water sensor straps on to existing water meters and analyzes water use, highlights costs and compares consumption versus averages. It also sends alerts via email, text or an app about running left running, temperature, humidity and power outages. Their Floodie companion sensor can installed anywhere in a home where water could cause damage. It sends instant flood alerts when it comes in to contact with water.

They are selling their devices to a variety of different groups, including homeowners, landlords, property managers, restoration companies, insurance companies and municipalities. Alert Labs has partnered with the City of Guelph to offer residents an instant rebate on a Flowie water sensor kit, as part of the city’s water efficiency strategy. They recently announced that Intact Ventures, a division of Intact Financial Corporation, is a strategic investor in the company.

 

How they got started

In early 2015, founders Ruth Casselman, George, Tsintzouras, and Kevin Wright found themselves ready to begin their own venture. “The timing just came along…it was the right time for us to go out on our own,” Ruth recalls. The trio came to the table with more than 30 years of experience working in high technology. Ruth had just recently left BlackBerry, and Kevin and George had come from Christie Digital.

They considered a number of ideas, but they kept coming back to home utilities monitoring. All three founders are property managers and water usage was something that they all struggled with. On one occasion, a renter called George while he was travelling in China to tell him that a leak had turned into a full-blown flood. They looked for tools they could use to try and prevent this but what was available was complicated to install and was simply too expensive to warrant doing at their properties. That’s when they decided to create their own solution and Alert Labs was born.

Once they decided it was time to move out of their home office, they found the Accelerator Program. For Alert Labs, there were a number of reasons to join the program, but at the core of their decision was the mentorship. “We are very lucky to live in a community where there’s a lot of support for [starting a tech company],” Ruth says.

“Access to experienced business professionals who could guide us and advise us can take weeks and weeks out of a process.”

In additional to the mentorship and resources available through the Accelerator Program, Alert Labs also received the AC JumpStart grant that provided them with $30,000 in seed capital and an additional $10,000 in mentorship. “The $30,000 we received felt like all the money in the world… it allowed us to do what we needed to do.”

Alert Labs began working out of the ACs Reactor facility, but it quickly became clear that there were challenges with building their hardware company in the space. “The Reactor space is a very lovely finished office space with carpets and desks that they don’t like burn holes in from soldering irons… the AC folks realized that maybe that space wasn’t ideal for us or for hardware companies.” As the plans for Alert Labs’ devices started becoming real physical products, they needed a space where they would be able to do the “messy” work required.

This situation was confirmation for the Accelerator Centre there was a need for a space and specialized resources for hardware and IoT companies. Working in partnership with the City of Kitchener and ArtsBuild Ontario, the AC opened the Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab with Alert Labs at its first tenant.

“The space at Gaukel was absolutely what we needed. We love being in downtown Kitchener, there is a great tech vibe down here. Specifically, this space has the mix between Arts and Tech, which is something that when you’re really immersed in the technology world, you sometimes forget that there’s other folks with different focuses and having that mix right here in our building is a very vibrant and motivating environment.”

The Future

Now, after more than a year of working out of the space, Alert Labs has hit some major milestones. They have grown to a team of 18 with plans to grow to 25 before the end of the year. They have brought two products to market with more coming in the next six months. “We try to recognize all of the milestones, even if they’re small because as a startup, a lot of things are very hard. The first time we sent out a large shipment as a team, that was a big deal and we had champagne that day.”

Alert Labs launched its first devices in February and now has Flowie and Floodie sensors deployed across Canada and the US and they are on track to become one of the AC’s grads and will join the likes of Miovision, Ecopia, KiK, and Clearpath Robotics on the Grad wall at ACHQ.

“When we started as a tiny little company of three people two and a half years ago, we looked at that wall in the Accelerator Centre and we looked at all the logos up there and thought ‘someday we could be on that wall’ and it really seemed like an imaginary thing. Having the recognition by an organization like the Accelerator Centre that’s saying you’ve done a good job is like the gold star.”

For more information on Alert Labs, check out their website at alertlabs.com or message them at hello@alertlabs.com. If you’re interested in learning more about the Accelerator Centre’s Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab or want information on the joining AC contact info@acceleratorcentre.com

Big Science Out Of A Small Lab

Originally published in the Record
KITCHENER — In the lab at Rapid Novor, a molecular scientist lays bare the microscopic-building blocks of antibodies that are increasingly used in the fight against cancer, diagnostics and new medicines.

Rapid Novor, a startup that went through the Accelerator Centre in the David Johnston Research and Technology Park, is now based at 44 Gaukel St. in downtown Kitchener. Specializing in what’s called protein sequencing, the six-member team is among a small, but growing, number of biotech startups in the region.

The human body produces antibodies to fight diseases and infections. Antibodies are made of protein. And protein is made of amino-acids — the building blocks of human life.

There about 20 common types of amino acids. Rapid Novor has combined its software with the latest in laboratory equipment and, after investing a million dollars to open the lab, it can quickly determine which amino acids make up an antibody. Just as importantly, it discovers the order, or sequence, of those amino acids, which are long, chain-shaped molecules.

That information is used to make drugs, diagnose diseases and treat cancer, said Zac McDonald, a molecular scientist and biochemist at Rapid Novor.

“That’s why the interest in it is so high because there is a lot of potential for using antibodies in cancer treatment,” said McDonald.

The antibodies can direct drugs to the right targets or block certain pathways associated with cancer.

“It is a huge, multibillion market,” said McDonald, who emigrated from South Africa in April to join the startup in downtown Kitchener.

The lab where McDonald works is the first of its kind in this region, and among the few anywhere that has the equipment for what is called next-generation-protein sequencing.

Traditionally, that would take up to two months to do Rapid Novor can do in one week. It is because of the latest equipment in mass spectrometry lab coupled with the algorithm developed by one of the startup’s co-founders — Dr. Bah Ma, the president and chief scientist at Rapid Novor. Ma is also a professor at the University of Waterloo.
Gene sequencing is not new. Using a sample of saliva, there are companies that sequence the genes in your DNA to see what diseases or conditions you are likely to develop during your lifetime, or where your ancestors are from. That’s called genomics.

Protein molecules are made up of long chains of amino acids. Identifying the different parts of that chain, and the correct order of those parts, is called proteomics. Rapid Novor has the first proteomics-grade lab in this region.

It April 2015 Ma, a professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, was ready to commercialize his algorithms that automated a key part of this scientific field. The sophisticated machines analyze the protein samples, identifying the amino acids and producing huge amounts of information.

In the past it would take a scientist up to two months to sort all of that information. Ma’s algorithm does that automatically and quickly. Rapid Novor can have results for clients, which include big and small pharmaceutical companies, in three weeks. For a special fee it can be done in as little as one week.

In the past year, it has completed the protein sequence for 120 antibodies.

Mingjie Xie, a co-founder and chief executive officer, said there are tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of pieces that make up a protein sequence. The antibody samples that arrive in the lab are in a solution and, at 200 micrograms, are invisible.

After adding enzymes, shaking, spinning and heating a sample, the antibody is broken into its different parts, and ready for analysis in a mass spectrometer machine. That information, coupled with the startup’s algorithms, puts this small lab at the cutting edge.

“This technology is fairly new,” said Xie. “To be able to use it in commercial settings, this is very new service.”

Meet Charles Chung, CEO and Founder, Brisk Synergies

Originally Published in WATCH  – a publication of the David Johnston R+T Park

WATCH: How did your startup journey begin?

CHARLES: Brisk Synergies isn’t my first startup. My first was a tough learning experience. I think it’s important to do a first startup because it primes your brain, it makes you realize a lot which is a big help. One thing I’ve found over my time as an entrepreneur is that there’s a lot of value in working with a partner. This time with Brisk Synergies I have a partner in Montreal and an office there, so I go back and forth a lot. Having a co-founder to bounce ideas off of makes it easier to make calculated decisions instead of going with your gut feeling. I think in that aspect it’s really important.

WATCH: CAQWhere did the idea for Brisk Synergies come from?

CHARLES: My co-founder is a professor at McGill. We were friends years ago and finally met up again, just a few years ago for a beer. He began telling me about his research which focuses on traffic. He’s using data analytics to reduce congestion, save lives, reduce accidents — I thought it was fascinating. Just a very exciting space to be in. He was equally fascinated by my background, which is focused on technology commercialization. That’s how we got started.

WATCH: Two skills sets that found each other?

CHARLES: Yes, and we were able to build on a pretty long friendship too. I think that helps a lot because you have to fall back on that along the journey. You bring together different perspectives and it’s nice to have more than just business to fall back on — it’s important. To some degree, being co-founders is like a marriage.

WATCH: What is life like in the R+T park for a startup?

CHARLES: My company is based out of the Accelerator Centre in the R+T Park and it’s a really good place for tapping into the startup ecosystem. Our company will grow from here. Entrepreneurship is a really lonely journey. Having connections and the peers who are growing up together is really helpful. You feel like you’re not the only crazy guy. Being part of the AC provides a lot of reassurance.

WATCH: What drew you to the Accelerator Centre to found your startup?

CHARLES: My first startup was on the West Coast. I’m from Singapore and have lived all over. I primarily chose Waterloo because of my family, my wife. However, the AC right is definitely a place to be to tap into our area’s startup ecosystem. I feel that there’s a common team among all the peers.

WATCH: Waterloo offers a lot for startups, but are there still areas for improvement?

CHARLES: From working in different ecosystems I’ve found that Waterloo Region, in general, has a lot of experience to offer. There are a lot of companies that are doing some cool shit here. However, I see an opportunity for improvement in the way that sharing happens. I would like to see us doing a better job at connecting startups with established, proven business leaders. There’s a lot of experience to be shared. I feel that it could be a better integrated where there is an ecosystem where the communication is open. I feel that as an individual company you really need to go hunt and look but the networking is not as natural. Companies need to remember where they came from.

WATCH: Brisk is focused on smart cities technology, providing intelligence to improve transportation systems. That work has presented you with the opportunity to work with other AC graduates – can you update us?

CHARLES: Yes, we are closely working with Miovision, one of the AC’s first grads. Together we are building technology to visualize cities and their transportation networks. We want to understand how traffic is moving across cities to assist with urban planning and to help cities monitor traffic pattern changes and understand where there are different issues on the road. This partnership has resulted in quite a number of deployments across numerous cities, mostly thanks to Miovision’s existing network of contacts, so we have a good level of data coming in from various cities to help us with the development of the solution. Hopefully, in the coming months, we will be able to package up the solution and launch it with beta users to obtain real feedback. So the project is on track.

WATCH: What’s next for Brisk Synergies?

CHARLES: A lot. We are busy rolling out new technologies and new solutions. We are always looking for new ways to help cities understand vulnerabilities on the road. Our message is resonating really well with the whole concept of Smart Cities. There is a lot of interest among municipalities in new infrastructures, cameras, and to being able to look at how traffic is moving and the associated risks. Cities around the world are embracing technology for this purpose. For instance, Sweden has introduced Vision Zero, a concept which focuses on reducing death on the roads and dangerous collisions. The whole industry is going through major disruption right now. Everywhere practitioners and cities are opening themselves up and looking beyond just road construction. They are realizing there’s to solving the traffic problems we face than simply fixing the road constantly. They want to figure out what information we can get from the roads. I think it’s an exciting time to be in the transportation technology space.

SSIMWAVE Focuses on Viewer Experience and Delivers a New Gold Standard in Video Monitoring and Optimization for Broadcasters

We’ve all tried to watch our favourite movie, TV series, or live event and become frustrated by the video or sound quality, the placement of ads, or the loading speed. For viewers, the experience is annoying, disappointing, and probably results in them giving up and moving on to another source of video, but, for broadcasters, studios, and video delivery services, it could mean lost revenue.

That’s where SSIMWAVE comes in. For the first time in history, the company provides the media and entertainment industry with a solution based on real-time viewer intelligence to deliver the ultimate viewer experience – from the camera to the screen. The technology starts with the most accurate and complete video quality measure ever built. By accurately modeling and measuring human viewers’ quality-of-experience (QoE), video broadcasters can take full advantage of digital efficiencies to architect encoding and stream optimization to meet or exceed consumer expectations.

SSIMWAVE’s end-to-end products are in market with leading broadcasters, production studios, and telecom companies and they are delivering real results. SSIMWAVE software allows these companies to utilize viewer intelligence data to accurately predict viewer experience and create a consistent and common reference point for video quality – something the industry has never seen before. That means companies can eliminate the trial and error process when it comes to testing infrastructure and delivery methods and can ensure a consistent viewer experience regardless of what device or platform the video is being delivered on.  The result is that viewers get the best possible experience and broadcasters can create efficiencies and make guarantees to content producers and consumers on the quality of the viewer experience for any screen anywhere.

The company, founded by University of Waterloo professor Zhou Wang and PhDs Abdul Rehman and Kai Zeng, is the result of 25 years of research and development. Impressively, the technology is built on SSIMPLUS, the next generation algorithm based on Professor Wang’s breakthrough structural similarity (SSIM) algorithm that won an Engineering Emmy Award last year for its impact to the TV industry over the last decade and which has resulted in almost 40,000 academic citations – far more than any other work in the space.

In 2013, the University of Waterloo provided the SSIMWAVE team with funding to get their project off the ground. That injection of capital helped them build the product. Once they were ready to begin selling into the market Gary Brock, Director of Strategic Initiatives, introduced the SSIMWAVE team to the Accelerator Centre (AC).

In 2015, they joined the Accelerator Program and immediately began utilizing the mentorship available to them. “Both Kevin Hood and Kevin Elop were very helpful to us, ” CEO and Co-founder Abdul Rehman recalls. “When we started, we were engineers. We had no business experience. Working with the mentors gave us the confidence to grow our business knowing that whatever challenges we ran into, someone at the AC would be there to help us put the pieces of the puzzle together. They gave us the confidence to be successful.”

In June of this year, SSIMWAVE relocated to a new office space to accommodate their rapidly growing staff, including the addition of an experienced executive team including Dianne Mercer for sales, Saj Jamal for marketing and Steve McCartney as President to oversee business development, operations and strategic growth. The AC’s flexible programming means that even though they are no longer located at the AC facility, they can continue to utilize the mentorship until they graduate from the program. “One of our biggest priorities now is building our team up to be ready to grow and scale rapidly,” Abdul says. “Now, the mentors can advise not only our founding team, but our new staff members as well to help them excel in their own roles.”

Over the next few years, SSIMWAVE is expected to continue to grow rapidly and become the international, gold standard for measuring video quality. “We look forward to seeing SSIMWAVE in the credits of every movie or TV series made,” Abdul says. “We’re actively putting the pieces in place and we are ready.”

Engineers for Hope Bring Clean Water and Sanitation Facilities to Underprivileged Communities

20 million people in Bangladesh drink from contaminated water sources and 2.5 billion people around the world do not have access to sanitation facilities. What began as a student group, comprised of six University of Waterloo students, has turned into a social innovation powerhouse that promises to bring clean water and proper sanitation facilities to those people.

In June of this year, the Accelerator Centre welcomed, Engineers for Hope (EFH) to our headquarters facility in Waterloo so they could continue combining their passion for helping others with their technical skills to improve lives around the world.

Starting with their first project in Khuskshia, Bangladesh in late 2016, EFH works to install hand pumps that deliver water to under served communities and establish infrastructure that supports proper sanitation facilities.

EFH completed its first project in Khukshia, Bangladesh between September 2016 to December 2016, where the organization installed eight hand pumps in order to give the rural village’s residents access to clean water.

CEO and Co-founder Nirbhay Singh started the organization with co-founders Rumman Rahman, Adnan Abu Atiya, Tariq Hasan, Shihab Saadeldeen, and Youssef Zaki after witnessing the impact of poverty and lack of access to clean water in India as a child. “We want work together for the betterment of these people,” Nirbhay explains. “This feeling is better than having a job,” Rumman adds. “It’s the satisfaction that you can make a difference. Now that we have a platform to do so, we want to take full advantage of it.”


While at the Accelerator Centre, EFH is accessing mentorship and expertise from the in-house mentor team as well as specialist in the not-for-profit space to help them plan and execute on future projects. “It’s been really great in terms of connecting with people, networking , and getting mentorship,” said Nirbhay. “They know what they are doing and they are experts in providing guidance.”

In addition to bringing clean water and sanitation infrastructure, EFH is focused on sustainability. “We want to make sure that whatever we do in the rural community, it’s sustainable,” said Nirbhay. “Our infrastructure is built by locals and maintained by locals.”

EFH is currently planning for their next project, also located in India. The project is estimated to begin later in 2017.

For more information on EFH visit:
http://www.engineersforhope.com/

Dibbzz Partners with Interac to Improve the Experience of Concert Goers

Imagine you are at a local concert venue, about to see your favourite artists preform. You’re excited to be there, but your seats are at the back of the venue. Not the best experience.

Before the show starts, you notice there are empty seats right in the front. You wonder if they are available and if they are, how do you make a purchase? What if there was a way to upgrade to those seats, in real time, right on your phone?

With Accelerator Centre client, Dibbzz’s, new mobile upgrade platform – you can do just that.

In 2016, Dibbzz founder Brennon D’Souza, came up with the idea to find a way to get concert goes and sports fans closer to the action. “I started with trying to use video to give fans the experience of being in the front row, but one day I thought….video is great, but what if I could really get them closer,” Brennon explains. From that pivot, Dibbzz was born.

The platform, which runs on text messages, allows venues to advertise empty seats to patrons before the show. Concert goers simply send a text message to “call dibbzz” on the open seats. Its a win-win for venues and customers alike – the venue gets extra revenue from the seats that would previously have been unsold and fans get a better experience.

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Dibbzz joined the Accelerator Centre in the fall of 2016 and quickly began to utilize the AC community to make connections within the market. “Through the AC’s CEO, Paul Salvini, we were able to connect with the Centre in the Square and partner with them to test our ideas,” Brennon recalls. “It was a great opportunity for us to get our foot in the door and get some real-world feedback on the service. That’s been incredibly valuable to us.”

Starting with Centre in the Square, Dibbzz has plans to expand into other arts venues and eventually being available to all performing arts centres, theaters, and sports venues around the world.

In May, Dibbzz participated in a collision day hosted by electronic payment giant, Interac. As a result of the day, they received a $15,000 cash prize to help them bring their platform to more venues. In addition to the capital, Interac is also providing Dibbzz with their resourses and mentorship in expertise to expand the product within the market.

The concert ticketing industry was worth 7.8B in 2016 with the sports venue market being another 75B. With up to 40% of venue seats being unsold, Dibbzz is positioned to transform the way fans experience their favourite shows and events and to help venues be more profitable along the way.

To learn more about Dibbzz, visit dibbzz.com

Celebrating Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing, Hardware and IoT

Nearly a year ago, we reached an agreement with the City of Kitchener and partnered with ArtsBuild Ontario to bring our world-class programming and mentorship model to downtown Kitchener. The resulting space, the Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab, accommodates the very specific needs of hardware and IoT companies. Over the next several weeks, we are highlighting the success of the space by featuring some of the incredible clients, projects, and collaborations taking place in the facility.

Located in Downtown Kitchener’s Innovation District, the Hardware Innovation Lab gives our clients access to the heart of the Waterloo Region’s tech community and serves as an artistic and cultural space. The partnership with ArtsBuild Ontario, an organization that supports local artists by giving them access to tools and training, allows for some amazing opportunities for collaboration and collision. It also makes the facility one of the premier spaces for supporting the Creative Industries in the Region of Waterloo.

The creation of a hardware specific facility came in response to our clients and their need for support and mentorship directly related to hardware. We also needed a space that allowed these clients to safely use the equipment they need to create their products. Risking setting off the fire alarms while trying to solder circuit boards in a carpeted meeting room isn’t a good idea for anyone!

In the Summer of 2016, Alert Labs became the first resident company and were soon joined by seven additional companies: Kineris, O2 Canada, AceAge, XYZ Interactive, InkSmith, Rapid Novor, and My Smart Cocoon. Along with resident clients, we also welcomed our amazing Makerspace partner, MyShop, to provide clients with access to specialized prototyping tools. We also reached a partnership with Inertia Engineering, a firm of product design and manufacturing experts, to provide programming and expertise, along with their amazing services, to the companies in house. As well, we brought in an in-house Product Development Mentor, Don Thompson. With these companies, partners, and individuals available to our clients, Gaukel has grown into an amazing place to work and create.

At the Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab, we like to take the “Miss Frizzle approach” to innovation. We take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. The offices here are busy and noisy with the sounds of prototyping tools and stage rehearsals. Simply put, it is a space of makers and builders. If you can imagine needing something that breaks the mould of a normal office, a wet lab, an assembly room, a show case for your product – we’ll do our best to make it happen.

But our first year of success is only the beginning. We created a space that was everything our companies needed, but heading into year two we know there’s even more opportunity support and accelerate “messy companies.” If you’re interested in learning more about the facility or out programming feel free to email David at dhussey@acceleratorcentre.com. We’re always looking for new and interesting hardware companies and would love to help you take your company to the next level.

eleven-x Leads the Way in Canadian Smart City Connectivity

The last few months have been busy for Accelerator Centre client, eleven -x. The network operator, who launched Canada’s first carrier-grade low power wide area network built for IoT, has started a pilot project with the Region of Waterloo which is a North American first, expanded their network across Canada, and increased their role in the LoRa Alliance™.

Founded in 2014, the eleven-x network, built on  LoRaWAN™ open standard technology, offers private businesses, manufacturers, and public institutions the ability to connect to “things” remotely and collect data from them via inexpensive, low power devices.

In 2015, they joined the Accelerator Centre in order to leverage the mentoring and resources available to startups to help their business grow. “We came to the Accelerator Centre for the mentorship opportunities. We had a lot of great ideas in the beginning, but there wasn’t necessarily a market fit. The mentors helped us through that,” explains CEO and Co-founder Ryan Hickey.

New IoT Projects

A recent development with the Region of Waterloo will result in Canada’s first Smart City Water Monitoring project utilizing the LoRaWAN network. Currently, the Region collects data on its water supply through a manual series of data collections from over 700 wells. The delays in data collection limits the ability for the Region to make decisions on it’s important water supply. The implementation of low-cost monitoring devices connected to the eleven-x network allows for real-time data and automated event-driven alerts that have the potential to save time and money and provide better quality services to residents.

Expanded Network

As a response to the increasing demand for Smart City programs nationwide, eleven-x announced this week the expansion of their network to 22 markets covering 60% of Canada’s population. “Our coast-to-coast network expansion supports Smart City programs, enabling application and low-cost device connectivity to take IoT to another level and reinforces our leadership position. The list projects we are involved in continues to grow alongside the numerous organizations across Canada looking to reduce costs, increase productivity and enhance their service offerings.” says Chairman and Co-Founder Dan Mathers.

Leading the Way 

As leaders in the Canadian IoT space, eleven-x has also expanded their role within the LoRa Alliance, a global association of some of the world’s top companies which provides open standard technology for secure, low-cost, low power IoT connectivity,. The transition to the Contributor Member level will allow the Alliance to leverage eleven-x’s expertise to further innovation in the global IoT space.

The worldwide IoT market is expected to continue growing rapidly and is estimated to be valued at more than $10B by 2023. As the market expands, eleven-x will continue to innovate and lead the way in Canadian IoT connectivity solutions.

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