Originally published by CTV news Kitchener
Originally published by CTV news Kitchener
Kitchener-based Nicoya Lifesciences has raised $2 million.
The funding was led by Ripple Ventures and GTAN, with participation from MaRS IAF, BDC, Garage Capital, Angel One, Maple Leaf Angels, Innovation Grade Ventures, the Laurier Startup Fund, the University of Waterloo Student Venture Fund and the Waterloo Alumni Angels.
Nicoya launched in 2012 as a spin-out company from the University of Waterloo. The company uses nanotechnology to create more affordable protein testing solutions for medical researchers, and said their instruments have been used by hundreds of researchers in over 25 countries. The funding will be used to support new product development.
“We are developing some of the most advanced biosensor technologies in the world and we are
excited about the impact they will have on human health in the future,” said Ryan Denomme, Nicoya Lifesciences co-founder and CEO.
Nicoya received $50,000 from the Communitech Rev Awards in September 2015.
“The entire Nicoya team have built a product that lets academic and private institutions run tests at a fraction of the cost,” said Matt Cohen, managing partner of Ripple Ventures. “We are confident that their data-driven sales strategy will accelerate their time to market and quickly disrupt the fragmented SPR industry. Ripple Ventures is thrilled to co-lead this investment in Nicoya Lifesciences.”
WATCH: As mapping technology goes – Ecopia is a whole other level of sophistication, from adding detail to 3D building models, to precision detection of specific locations, to identifying changes to the landscape in close to real time. Who are some of your customers and how are they using your mapping capabilities?
EJ: Ecopia is an industry leading artificial intelligence (AI) company. We specialize in extracting insight from geospatial big data. Millions of geospatial images are captured every day by satellites, airplanes, drones, and other vehicles. What we do is convert this flood of pixels into high definition (HD) vector maps. These kinds of actionable insights are used by industries such as energy, insurance, real estate, telecom and other location-based services to observe, analyze and monitor landscapes in far greater detail than ever previously possible. Industries include but are not limited to energy, insurance, real estate, telecom, and location-based services.
For instance, if there’s a natural disaster such as a major hurricane, a location-based service (such as emergency management) could use our products to go beyond satellite imagery which would show just the swath of land affected, to pinpointing the exact addresses of homes and infrastructure requiring emergency support. We’ve also worked with an organization called PMSA to map the entirety of Australia in tremendous detail. This experience has led to follow-on projects for Ecopia around the world.
Customer Success: PSMA: Size, scale & how well we did. Link to case study: https://www.geoscape.com.au/product/
WATCH: Ecopia has a place of honour on the Accelerator Centre (AC) grad wall. Can you tell us what the business has been up to since it graduated from the AC?
EJ: During our time at the AC, our business was intensely focused on research and development to fully commercialize our large-scale feature extraction technology. Now, after five years of work, we’ve successfully accomplished that goal, and have built out our technology into a first of its kind suite of high definition mapping products that greatly improve the ability of various industries to extract critical insight from the exponentially increasing volume of earth imagery generated by the sensors each day. Now the business is scaling in every possible way. We have 20 global partners representing every continent. We are mapping land, roads, and buildings around the world so businesses can finally gain an edge from accurate, national-scale, location-based analytics. And our team is up to 30. We’re growing like crazy.
WATCH: The company opened another office in the GTA, but you still maintain deep ties back to Waterloo Region and remain involved with UW and other initiatives. Can you tell us about some of the cool things you are involved in?
EJ: We may have expanded into Toronto for business reasons, but we’ll always have one foot in Waterloo Region. We are a company that was born in Waterloo Region. Our co-founder is a PhD at University of Waterloo and many of our employees were educated here. So it is really important to us to remain connected to the Region. Recently, Ecopia has partnered with the Region of Waterloo, Communitech, the University of Waterloo, and the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as a member of the Region’s new OCE Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network. We also regularly attend tech events and network within the region to stay top of everything happening in the Region. Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time on University of Waterloo campus, hosting employer info sessions and participating in job fairs. We also seek to hire University of Waterloo as often as possible; both co-ops and full-time employees. It’s really important to us to attract top talent, and University of Waterloo is a leading source.
WATCH; You’ve recently joined the firm after spending a number of years at the Accelerator Centre yourself, what finally tempted you to join a startup and how will you be helping the business grow?
EJ: Being at the AC gives you a unique opportunity to get a close look at the incredible businesses being built both at the AC and in Waterloo Region in general. So it is almost inevitable that, at some point, you catch the startup bug and want to be part of building something. I’ve always loved Ecopia. I spent a lot of time with the co-founders in the early days. I found them to be an incredible group of people. They are smart, kind and work really really hard. Those are the kind of qualities I look for in a person and in a company I want to be part of. So it was just time for me to take the leap of faith and join a scaling business that I admire work with founders I admire. I also think I bring to them a really unique background. Through my work at the AC I have become really well connected to incubation hubs and government programs within Ontario and across Canada. I have my finger on the pulse of innovation across Canada. I believe I can help Ecopia penetrate the Canadian market – which is quite a challenge. The skills I honed at the AC – everything from facilities management, to operations management, to project management and fundraising will all be beneficial in this new role. And I think I can help the company grow culture within the business. The team is predominately engineering right now, but as we scale that is changing.
WATCH: What lies next for Ecopia?
EJ: Well obviously growth. We are digitizing the physical world and there’s huge demand for the intelligence and insight we provide. And we can do it with a level of speed and efficiency that is unprecedented so we are able to put great, highly detailed business intelligence in the hands of organizations who need it most – information they never thought it was possible to acquire. We also touch more industries that I could even have imagined before joining the company. I didn’t realize how this technology could be transferable across so many sectors and applications. We sit squarely in the middle of the Smart City movement. That’s a global conversation and we contribute a critical business intelligence component to that discussion.
Toronto-based FindBob has raised a $1.6 million seed round.
The round was led by Grinnell Mutual, with participation from the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and Ames Seed Capital. The Global Insurance Accelerator and Canadian and US-based angels added follow-on investment.
The startup aims to solve a big problem in the insurance and financial services industry: a lack of a succession plan. The average age of the North American independent producer is 59 years old, with over $2.5 trillion in assets under management controlled by producers in their sixties. These producers often don’t have plans for transitioning their book of business to a new partner, leaving it to unexpected events like death, disability, retirement, or loss of license.
“We have an incredible opportunity to make a meaningful impact on one of the industry’s biggest threats, which is the lack of continuity within financial services,” said Chan. “Insurance and financial advice matter, and by aligning the interests of advisors, agents, and their companies through the effective use of digital transition management platforms, we’re helping orchestrate growth and perpetuation like never before.”
Founded in 2015 by Roland Chan — himself a successor to a life insurance MGA — the white-label platform allows users to discover opportunities to buy, sell, merge, partner, or address succession for their businesses. He says that agents and advisors aren’t planning for transitions because the process seems daunting, and there’s no easy way to find a partner. “It’s ironic, considering these individuals spend a lifetime providing advice to families and small businesses on continuity and succession for a living,” he jokes.
Chan stresses that the company is more than a marketplace, as it uses data to match firms with the types of agents that they want to work with. “Our enterprise platform leverages data to identify and develop talent necessary to improve organizational strength. So, while firms focus on today’s business goals, they can rely on us to provide visibility into their producers’ transition needs and offer them tools to support future growth.”
The company already counts HUB Financial, PPI Solutions, and IFB as clients. The company plans to use the funding to invest in sales and marketing, product development, and to expand in the US. It’s currently in negotiations with US carriers, and used its experience at the Des Moines, Iowa-based Global Insurance Accelerator to research whether they were solving an actual problem.”
“The GIA itself, whose fund is 100 percent comprised of 13 US based insurance carriers, did a follow on investment in our company,” said Chan. “We’ve already deployed an experienced, enterprise insurtech sales team on the ground in the US. Lack of perpetuation in the financial services industry isn’t limited to North America either. This is a global problem.”
“There is a large market for transition assistance in many personal services industries,” said Dave Wingert, Grinnell Mutual executive vice president, chief operating officer, and acting president. “Because of an impending generational shift of wealth coming — the largest ever — providing business and transition advice and networking opportunities to those personal service businesses will fill a critical need and help them stay viable. Grinnell Mutual is excited to have the chance to support that kind of initiative in a rapidly expanding market.”
Originally published in BetaKit
By: Jessica Galang
Waterloo (Ontario), CANADA, December 19, 2017 – The Accelerator Centre (AC) is pleased to announce its newest graduates of the Accelerator Program. The graduation of Alert Labs and eleven-X marks the 58th and 59th successful graduation from the AC’s world renowned Accelerator Program.
“We are excited to celebrate with Alert Labs and eleven-x today,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “Both of these companies have demonstrated the incredible talent, passion and dedication required to grow and scale a successful startup.
Within this graduating class we have mature business executives, seasoned investment professionals, and first time entrepreneurs — all realizing their dream of starting and building a world-class business.
We are incredibly proud to count Alert Labs and eleven-X as our 58th and 59th graduates and look forward to continuing to support them through our post graduate program as they scale globally.”
Alert Labs is an IoT technology company based in Kitchener, Ontario. Alert Labs builds affordable monitoring solutions for residential and commercial property owners. Alert Labs’ simple-to-deploy sensors can be placed on water meters, sump pumps, near toilets and other appliances to detect water leaks, floods, power issues, abnormal temperatures, and other events. Customers receive real-time alerts and insightful data analytics via SMS, email, and the Alert Labs app. For more information, visit www.alertlabs.ca or visit select Canadian Tire stores.
eleven-X™ is operator of Canada’s first and only coast-to-coast public low power network optimized for the Internet of Things [IoT]. Our public low power IoT network enables the promise of Smart Cities, Smart Buildings and Campuses, and Enterprise IoT applications. Supporting the use of low-cost battery-powered sensors, the network addresses many Internet of Things use cases where requirements include wireless connectivity, devices that require long battery life, no maintenance and a low total cost of ownership.
For further information, please contact:
Marketing and Community Manager
Waterloo (Ontario), CANADA, September 6, 2017 – The Accelerator Centre (AC) is pleased to announce its newest graduates of the Accelerator Program. The graduation of SSIMWAVE and FindBob Ltd. mark the 56th and 57th successful graduation from the AC’s world renowned Accelerator Program.
“SSIMWAVE and FindBob both represent the tremendous impact that entrepreneurs can have on their respective industries. They are the reason why programs like ours exist – to support entrepreneurs so they can tackle big problems and deliver big impact.” – Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre
At the forefront of Viewer Intelligence™, SSIMWAVE™ is built on an Engineering Emmy® Award-winning algorithm. SSIMWAVE is defining the future of video delivery with the most accurate measure of how humans perceive video. With SSIMWAVE technology, video distributors, networks and studios can keep up with the explosive growth of video and deliver the ultimate viewing experience™ to consumers on any screen, anywhere.
Our customers include major players in the media, entertainment and MVPD (Multichannel Video Programming Distributor) industries and our state-of-the-art products provide the most optimal way to measure, control and optimize live and file-based video.
We’re a growing team of engineers, video scientists, product and business experts. Our diverse team is driven to advance the business of video.
FindBob helps insurance and financial institutions encourage better transition behaviour so they can protect the value of their most precious asset – their book of business. FindBob was founded by Roland Chan, a former enterprise software architect and successor to a mid-sized insurance and investment practice in Toronto, after witnessing firsthand the impact lack of continuity planning can have on the industry, advisors, firms and especially consumers. Thanks to the support of the AC, FindBob is now serving some of the largest insurance and mutual fund companies in Canada and is focusing its efforts on its US expansion plans.
About the Accelerator Centre
The Accelerator Centre is an award winning startup accelerator/incubator dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive technology firms, commercializing advanced research emerging from academic institutions, and enabling corporations to pursue innovative initiatives. Our flagship, Accelerator Program offers a 2 year, milestone based program and one-on-one mentorship that is proven to help startups grow faster.
For further information, please contact:
Marketing and Community Manager
Originally Published on YahooFinance.com
TORONTO , March 22, 2017 /CNW/ – Fleet Complete®, a leading global IoT provider of fleet telematics and mobile workforce technology, continues its growth through the acquisition of BigRoad, a leading provider of hours-of-service (HOS) and regulatory compliance solutions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. This partnership will enable Fleet Complete to offer the industry’s best electronic logging device (ELD) compliance platform in North America
Based in Waterloo’s thriving tech hub, known as Canada’s Silicon Valley, BigRoad was founded to address the new HOS regulations imposed on the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry. The company released one of the first mobile HOS applications, BigRoad Mobile App, and today, with over 480,000 downloads, it is the most downloaded HOS application available. It continues to receive rave reviews on Google Play and iTunes, solidifying its premier position in the market.
In advance of the ELD mandate, BigRoad launched DashLink, an engine-connected electronic logging device that provides owner-operators and commercial fleets with a scalable, affordable, and easy-to-use solution to meet the upcoming FMCSA and Canadian Ministry of Transport requirements. Today, over 30,000 fleets in North America rely on BigRoad to achieve ELD compliance ahead of the mandated deadline.
“We are very excited about this acquisition,” said Jake McGuire , Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Success at BigRoad, “BigRoad is an established leader in the HOS and ELD compliance space and now, supported by the Fleet Complete IoT platform, I am confident we will continue to exceed customer expectations by providing the best ELD and connected vehicle solution on the market.”
Fleet Complete’s acquisition of BigRoad is part of the company’s explosive growth, following its expansion into Europe in 2015 and Australia in 2016. Fleet Complete recently received the Greater Toronto Area Top 100 Employer award, ascertaining its position as one of the most forward-thinking workplaces in the tech industry. Striving to lead the global market with a superior and the most comprehensive telematics platform, Fleet Complete’s partnership with BigRoad squarely positions its ELD and HOS solutions as the best in the industry.
“BigRoad is an impressive organization that has had a laser focus on creating the industry’s leading product for ELD compliance,” said Tony Lourakis , CEO of Fleet Complete. “Outperforming the competition in usability and connectivity, BigRoad’s driver-friendly and feature-rich application will be a great complement to our integrated platform, giving Fleet Complete customers the most reliable top-of-the-line HOS solution.”
Supported by Fleet Complete’s expansive IoT infrastructure, BigRoad will continue to operate and sell directly to owner-operators and fleets, maintaining the BigRoad brand. Whereas the integrated Fleet Complete BigRoad platform will be offered through the North American partner channels, AT&T and TELUS.
“Leveraging BigRoad’s immense success and combining it with Fleet Complete’s strong partnerships with North America’s mobile carrier elite, we can capture the largest share of the 4 million+ truck driver market,” says Lourakis. “Through this integration, all of our customers, from individual truck drivers to large commercial fleets, will be equipped with the industry’s best ELD compliance solution before the December 2017 deadline.”
Originally Published in Communitech News
Written by Craig Daniels
It was the autumn of 2015 and TrustPoint co-founder and CEO Sherry Shannon-Vanstone knew she had a decision to make.
TrustPoint, which develops secure products for the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine communication, needed to grow. And it needed to grow fast. The IoT was booming. Security, smart cities, connected critical infrastructure, all the areas in which TrustPoint was working, were generating unmet demands.
“It takes a lot of resources,” Shannon-Vanstone explained recently. “We had bootstrapped the company, and we weren’t going to be able to move fast enough. It was time to go out and get a huge investment, and work with a VC, bring in lots of cash, hire people. But even then we would have had to disrupt some of our current projects, just to try to grow. We had to move faster.”
And then opportunity presented itself.
Shannon-Vanstone learned that ETAS Embedded Systems, which provides secure diagnostic and calibration solutions for the automotive industry, was going to open an office in Waterloo Region. A subsidiary of the Bosch Group, ETAS was well known to Shannon-Vanstone and her late husband and co-founder, Scott Vanstone.
“At first it was just a conversation,” said Shannon-Vanstone, “just a general information gathering of what they were looking for and what we were looking for. At that time, we were interested in a strategic partnership or an investment.
“The conversation was on a casual basis until June (2016) when ETAS Canada opened their office in Kitchener. And at that time, they indicated an interest in TrustPoint.”
Fast forward through many more conversations, and a process of technological and legal due diligence, and you reach the events of last week, when TrustPoint agreed to be acquired by ETAS — when Shannon-Vanstone agreed to sell her “baby.”
“Emotionally, yes, it was tough,” she said. “It’s my baby, and it’s hard to let go of it.”
But the time was right. The fit was right. “There’s a huge opportunity in the Internet of Things right now,” she said.
TrustPoint grew out of a company called Certicom, which was founded by Scott Vanstone in 1985 along with two professors from the University of Waterloo. Certicom worked closely with Research In Motion in the late 1990s, providing security for the company’s smartphones. In 2009, RIM acquired Certicom, and Vanstone and his wife, recognizing the market for secure devices that was building around the rise of IoT, left in 2012 and started TrustPoint.
For Shannon-Vanstone, the decision to throw in with ETAS — other suitors were also interested, she said — was in large part motivated by culture.
“We found the cultural alignment was high on the list. Bosch is a private corporation. They are owned by a foundation. That foundation uses all the profits to build hospitals around the world.
“When Scott and I started TrustPoint, one of our objectives was to be philanthropic. To be a positive influence, globally and locally. So this aligned perfectly with our founding principles.”
The deal with ETAS is still subject to antitrust approval. When it’s finalized, TrustPoint’s 30 people will join ETAS in a yet-to-be-determined location in Waterloo Region.
“I’ll be staying involved for the time being,” said Shannon-Vanstone. “The work, the focus will be the same. Most of the people will have the same job description. We may fine tune over time.”
She doesn’t need to fine-tune her commitment to local tech ecosystem, which she has watched grow since the mid-80s — before there even was a local ecosystem.
“It’s tremendous. We decided to set up in K-W because of the access to talent. The access to the university. The access to the resources for a startup.
“This is my fourth startup but my first as a founder.
“It’s supportive even for people who are little more grey-haired than others.”
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, December 05, 2016 – Deep Trekker Inc., Canadian manufacturer of underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and submersible pipe crawlers, is pleased to announce the expansion to their new head office in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario to accommodate for the growing, global popularity the company’s robots.
In addition to the head office relocating within Kitchener-Waterloo, the new, larger office and manufacturing space supports the company’s growth strategy. With Deep Trekker’s expanding product line from ROVs to include the DT340 Pipe Crawler, a tool used to inspect sewer, storm, and potable water infrastructure, the company was in need of more space and resources.
“For us, staying within Waterloo region made perfect sense,” explains Sam MacDonald, President of Deep Trekker. “The region is rich with diverse talent from well-known prestigious colleges and universities, as well as tech companies. With this new office, we have the opportunity to further expand our team and engineering capabilities; also, increasing our ability to service current and future projects.”
Incorporated in late 2010, Deep Trekker sold its first ROV to a fish farm in Norway. Since then thousands of Deep Trekker ROVs have been delivered to aquaculture companies, search and rescue teams, police squads, navy fleets, hydro dam operators, and commercial divers around the world.
The company continues to disrupt the ROV and crawler markets by providing exceptional, portable robotic systems. Deep Trekker takes tremendous pride in their products and their willingness to support their community of customers.
Deep Trekker Inc. was founded in 2010 with a mission to create portable, affordable, and easy to use underwater inspection tools. The company is headquartered in Ontario Canada, with engineering and manufacturing all completed in house. Based on a clean sheet design, the premiere product, the DTG2 ROV was introduced in limited run in August 2011. With the success of the DTG2 ROV system, the company launched the DTX2 ROV in 2015. These robust underwater ROVs are currently being used around the world in industries such as aquaculture, commercial diving, municipalities, police search and rescue, military, and research. In 2016, the company expanded the municipalities market by launching a submersible pipe crawler system, based on the same principles of the ROV systems.
To learn more about Deep Trekker Inc. and their products visit www.deeptrekker.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Brendan Cook
Deep Trekker Community Coordinator