Penta Medical Changes the Healthcare Game with Wearable Technology, Helios

Alexa Roeper is the driving force behind an innovative medical science product called Penta Medical. She has a background in biomedical science, is an avid horseback rider, and an athlete. It was a personal injury after horseback riding that inspired her to look into alternative healing methods, which ultimately led to the creation of her company.

Alexa experienced an injury years ago that was predicted to take her months to recover. Being an active and motivated (or self proclaimed, impatient) athlete ready to jump back in, she began thinking of all the other people that must experience this frustration with limited options available to expedite the healing process. That is when Alexa began exploring ideas to help not only herself heal faster, but others as well. The result was a serious fascination with the science of infrared therapies and how to innovate and build on that existing service to offer a more convenient, fast and mobile way to help those with muscular and or skeletal injuries heal faster.

 

 

Wearable Medical Technology! How Does It Work?

As a business owner, athlete and young professional, Alexa understands how busy life can be, to the point where it can interfere with getting proper healthcare, especially after experiencing sport related injuries. Many athletes, both amateur and professional, can experience lingering effects from previous injuries, so Penta developed a wearable product called Helios.

Helios delivers infrared therapy, a widely adopted method used at physiotherapy clinics, to the areas of injury or pain. The current prototype, operates much like an adjustable armband, that can be worn directly on the injured area, which then helps accelerate patients’ recovery. Helios is a way to effortlessly treat injuries and pain management from the comfort of your home (or anywhere you find yourself in a day). It is light, mobile and therefore patients can go about their day, and while doing so, “speed healing”, on their terms and within their schedule. Alexa shares, “Our goal with this technology is to make healthcare easily accessible and mobile, like many of our lives in this digital, fast paced world.”

How Did They Do It?

Alexa and co-founder Daniel Choi have been working hard and over the last year have accomplished a great deal. Penta, which got it’s start in the Velocity Science Program has also been a part of the Fierce Founders program, has pitched and secured 250K in investments, and is a part of the Accelerator Centre’s AC Jumpstart program.

Penta’s AC Jumpstart Experience

We asked Alexa what she and her team got out of the AC Jumpstart experience and this is what she had to share,

“AC Jumpstart has been instrumental in our company’s growth. Through funding and resources we were able to build the prototype of our wearable tech, Helios with a digital app which allows for health and injury-healing tracking. I love the transparency with which the AC communicates with each of their AC Jumpstart clients. We are all a big family and know exactly what to expect of the experience.

Additionally, the mentorship has been so helpful. Each mentor truly cares about you and your company’s growth. I love how each of them have gone above and beyond to help us on our journey. We were able to secure funding, set up speaking engagements and get some valuable press including a story in the Globe and Mail, all thanks to their help and guidance. I love this program, can’t say enough about that, haha!”

Penta is currently teaming up with various sports teams and a couple clinics in the Kitchener-Waterloo region to test out the new wearable product/app Helios, track the progress and experiences multiple patients have with various injuries to continue improving and building wearable products that help to heal those on the go!

Penta’s mission is to change the future of healthcare, one wearable at a time!

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.

Chillwall Launches Events Discovery Platform Worldwide to Reconnect the Digitally Isolated

Michael Campanelli, co-founder and visionary behind Chillwall, the “world’s event network” was inspired to create a platform that encourages people, specifically, millennials to reconnect in real space, effortlessly.

Millennials are the most connected generation, however, research reveals that they are paradoxically the most isolated. All those connections, friends and likes online are great, but we are still experiencing disconnect and are not as fulfilled without meaningful, face-to-face socialization and connection. Michael believes that technology can be used to bring us back to each other, and Chillwall was created to do just that,

“Technology, as powerful and wonderful as it is, has also isolated many people. We want to see the power of technology used to bring people back together. So we built a tool that will aid in an effortless connection in the real world. We view ourselves as the social butler, helping users discover local events near them they never new to search for in two clicks or less, anywhere in the world.”

How does Chillwall work?

Chillwall is a personal Machine Learning Discovery network that enables individuals to search for local events based on interests, type and location. The platform is powered by an advanced learning recommendation algorithm which learns what a user’s specific preferences are over time and starts to recommend events for them wherever they are searching from in the world. All activity and searches are private to each user unless, for example, they decide to invite a friend to go to an event or share what event they plan to attend. Users can share those interests with friends, calendar it and find their way to the event using GPS — all in two clicks.

Michael explains, “today’s online society craves simplicity and our mentality is less is more, so we have made the user interface and experience simple and easy to use, in two clicks or less.”
It is perfect for young working professionals who want to meet people, those who just moved to a new city, travelers, and the list goes on!

Michael and the Chillwall team received the AC JumpStart grant this year, and with the help of funding and mentorship, Chillwall was able to advance from a beta program with 2000+ cities to choose from, to a full, global launch which happened just last week (July 2017).

Michael explained how the funding, mentorship, validation and growth that came out of the AC Jumpstart Program allowed the team to build out the platform. The team is thrilled to see young people get a lot of value out of it, and the feedback inspires them to keep making it better and better.

“We want to bring people back together, and make it easy for anyone, anywhere, to connect and know there are always interesting, meaningful things for them to do, with old and new friends.”

After the launch last week, Michael and the team are excited to move forward with expanding the platform with new features, guest bloggers and much more! The platform is currently available on web and IOS. https://chillwall.com/

ACJumpStart is made possible by and investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Laurier, and the University of Waterloo.

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

ACORN Cryotech Take Their Dream to JLABS with the Help of AC JumpStart

ACORN Cryotech co-founder, Steven ten Holder, spent his childhood as a self described introvert. As a teen, he found himself deeply interested in the literature and research of the great bio-scientists of our time and was fascinated with the science behind human life and how we die. His early interests inspired him to start ACORN Cryotech and dedicate his life to studying and creating new ways to preserve, sustain, and help improve human life.

ACORN, an at home cryopreservation service, is the first of its kind. The service has created an easy, non-invasive kit to help people freeze and preserve their young, healthy cells, which can then be utilized in life and healthspan extending technologies.

Gene therapies, organ regeneration, and stem-cell technology are predicted to completely change the future of healthcare and the ACORN team is proud to be leading the way in both the development of those technologies and the future of a cell-based, health conscious society.

So why cryotech?

As a genetic engineering student at the University of Waterloo, Steven knew the value of cell preservation and wanted to figure out the best methods for doing so. Much the way blood banks store and preserve blood cell donations by freezing them before transfusions, Steven had the idea of testing this preservation method with other cell samples such as urine, cheek, and hair cells. He was excited to test his theory of preserving other cells at different temperatures and for different periods of time, however, he wasn’t able to complete the project with the resources he had access to but he knew this was an experiment he wanted to try going forward. Eventually, Steven was able to get his hands on the right equipment to test cryopreservation (a cell freezing process typically −80 °C using solid carbon dioxide or −196 °C using liquid nitrogen). This allowed him the ability to discover that other types of cells can in fact be frozen, preserved, and utilized for health research and other life extending technologies that are under development and resulted in to the development of ACORN and his dedication to the genetic cryopreservation of human cells to improve and extend human life.

 

Today, ACORN Cryotech resides at Velocity and has secured funding and support from investors and science partners as well as from  YC Fellowship, Communitech, Creative Destruction Lab. In 2016, ACORN also received a $30,000 grant and $10,000 in mentorship through AC JumpStart.

In addition to the funding, Steven was blown away by the value of the mentorship:

“As a science-based company, I went into those mentorship meetings open-minded, but not really understanding how marketing could help us as we developed prototypes and did our research – but I admit, it changed everything. Learning about sales and marketing and how to reframe our approach helped us to source materials, equipment, build our prototype, reach out to folks, get investors  and continue to elevate our entire business. The mentors have experience and are willing to work with your specific business to unveil how they can best guide and help us. It has been such a pleasure working with them, and we are grateful.”

After completing the AC JumpStart program the Acorn team were able to build a prototype, get a group of beta-testers, secured valuable investments, and are bringing on new staff, making  them a team of five. They are now preparing for a move to Toronto to work out of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation space called JLABS.

Although they are headed to Toronto, one thing is clear, their hearts will always be in the Waterloo tech ecosystem “Without this region and programs like AC JumpStart,” Steven reflects “my dream wouldn’t have happened, and our company would not be where it is today – simple as that.”

Stay tuned for more on Acorn as they prepare for the product launch in 2018.

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.

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

Media Release: The Accelerator Centre Announces Cohort 6 of their AC JumpStart Program

June 15, 2017

Waterloo Ontario – The Accelerator Centre is pleased to announce Cohort 6 of the AC JumpStart program. The program provides each recipient $30,000 in seed funding and $10,000 of mentorship.

56 Studios

Brothers DePaul

Eagle Vision Systems Inc.

EMAGIN Clean Technologies Inc.

Finservices Inc

Healthy Pets

Jobbee Technologies Corp

Load Army

NanoCnet

Oko Social

Quali Robotics

RascalTech

Serenity Bioworks Inc.

Site Safety Solutions Inc. REBAR Safety

Teal Software

The Hockey Pro

Traffic Is Currency

Vena Medical

Visa Run Inc. (Trade Name: Sherpa)

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About AC JumpStart

AC JumpStart is funded by FedDev Ontario and delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

The AC JumpStart program began in January 2015, with three cohorts of companies participating in the program in 2015, and two cohorts annually in subsequent years. Each cohort receives funding and mentorship over a 12-month period. Over the four year term, the program will support 180 companies. 

About the Accelerator Centre

Our world-renowned, four phase accelerator program was developed based on our proven methods and best practices from accelerators and incubators around the world. The program, combined with our proven mentorship model, gives you the resources and guidance you need to grow all areas of your business, get your product to market faster, increase sales, and scale.

For more information visit www.acceleratorcentre.com. 

About FedDev Ontario

FedDev Ontario delivers programs and services to help create, retain and grow businesses, cultivate partnerships and build strong communities. The Agency’s programming is designed to support a strong southern Ontario economy and position the region to compete globally.

For more information visit www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca.

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For more information contact:
Tabatha Laverty
Community Manager
tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

Freeze Frame: AC JumpStart Funding Fuels Vidhub’s Market Expansion

According to eMarketer, there were more than 77 million millennial digital video viewerso in 2015, representing 92% of all US millennial Internet users. Video is the preferred communication platform for this demographic, used for everything from entertainment, to personal communication. It is also increasingly being used for online learning, as more educators turn to video as a simple and intuitive way to better engage learners.

Shub Sengupta and Adam Zmenak are co-founders of Vidhub, a simple to use video review and collaboration tool. The two met back in 2013 at a 24 hour startup event hosted by Communitech, and felt that instant chemistry that happens when two entrepreneurs are destined to work together.  “I think we placed second or third in that competition. But more importantly, we knew we worked really well together as a team,” says Shub.

Shub, a video producer by trade, was quickly able put a new business idea on the table for the team to tackle — a platform that would allow clients to provide better, more accurate feedback to video production teams. He explains, “the video production process is not particularly collaborative. Producers typically need to set up and share footage using a video sharing platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. Then clients provide feedback via email, identifying the changes they want – for instance, I’d like to edit this section out, around five minutes into the video. But the process of collaboration is slow and it is usually really inaccurate. To give good feedback, you need to zero in on a precise second, and frame. So often, there’s a lot of back and forth between the producer and the client to get clarification. This slows down the editing time, affects both the video company and the client and often drives up costs and pushes out deadlines.”

Shub describes his brainchild, Vidhub as ‘SoundCloud comment meets Google Docs for video.’ Simply put, it lets people discuss videos online just as you would in person. Video is uploaded to Vidhub directly or from any video platform (Vimeo, YouTube, Dropbox are all supported). Everyone on the team is automatically notified, and is invited to comment. When a person begins typing a comment, the video is paused so the information can be tagged to a frame and specific time. Everyone can see all comments and can collaborate. Comments can also be exported to a PDF, subtitle or text file. A visual heat map running underneath the video allows people to view footage uninterrupted, but exposes where comments are located in each frame.

Initially, the Vidhub team focused its attention on the video production world – a market they knew well and understood. After building a solid footing, with customers using the product around the world, they are now expanding into the higher education market. “Video is now heavily used by faculty for online and blended learning, and we began getting inquiries from professors, who wanted to encourage student participation and improve learner engagement,” says Shub.

A focus on the education sector also demands more commitment from the two co-founders, who until recently have run their startup in parallel with freelance work. “We’re beginning now to gear up for buying cycles in schools leading into the fall of 2017. The education market is more hands on, and takes more focus and effort. It is a market that makes very big decisions, but not often. So we felt it was time for us to go full time on this venture.”

The move to full time has also allowed Shub and Adam to take more full advantage of the programming and mentorship offered through the Accelerator Centre to allow them take the business to the next level. The company also landed $30,000 in AC JumpStart funding, made possible through FedDev Ontario, which provided the critical fuel for growth. “It was the JumpStart funding that enabled us to finally go full time on our venture,” says Shub. “We had enough revenue to validate but not quite enough to pay the bills. JumpStart made up the difference.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

[2] GainX Insights™ benchmark analysis data.

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

Originally Published on CTVKitchener

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

Originally published by BNN.ca

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

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

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