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.”
Why fast-growing AC grads are leading Canada’s new technology generation
From lean thinking, to product market fit, to simply great timing, there are any number of reasons young companies graduate from startup to scale up. However, for many of the Canadian technology companies now showing up on the Profit 500 and Deloitte Technology Fast 50 lists, there is one common denominator — the Accelerator Centre (AC).
AC graduates Magnet Forensics, Top Hat, TextNow and Sortable all showed up on the 2016 Profit 500 list this year, with Magnet Forensics and Top Hat appearing in the top 20 companies listed. Both companies exhibiting 5,000+% growth rates. On the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, list, Accelerator Centre graduates Sortable, Axonify, Clearpath Robotics, Top Hat, and Magnet Forensics all took positions in the top 20.
So what is it about the AC that fuels long-term business growth and success?
“Companies that come through the Accelerator Centre’s programming are truly built to scale. We ensure that from even in the very beginning, the idea phase, companies are building a strong foundation for long term business success,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “Even in our intake process, we are looking for companies that have an impact in areas that matter for the world. Through our close relationship with the university system and my dual role with the University of Waterloo, we have our finger on the pulse of the research occurring today, in areas such as the Internet of Things and the Smart City revolution, and can foresee how that research will translate into the companies and jobs of the future. So we can nurture our client companies to become leaders in those spaces”
Salvini goes on to say, that the Accelerator Centre’s selection process is tuned to identify those companies who exhibit the capacity to scale in size and in global presence. “If that is the case, and the company has a good alignment with the research capacity of one of our local universities, we know that company has the capability to grown and won’t be starved on the talent side,” says Salvini.
The Accelerator Centre’s programming, unlike many other incubators, delivers its high quality programming through a core team of mentors, each business executives – each with decades of experience in building and growing global companies, over time. The average company spends on average two years in the program.
Salvini notes that one cannot speak of the Accelerator Centre and its graduates’ success without acknowledging the surrounding technology ecosystem in Waterloo Region, supported by academic institutions such as University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. “Our success is absolutely set up by the great success of our academic partners,” he says. “Companies setting up a business and growing a business in Waterloo Region know they have access to world class research and talent.”
Clearpath Robotics, which graduated from the Accelerator Centre in 2011, has experienced exceptional growth over the last six years, transforming from a four person startup at the AC into a profitable, 200 person organization with a research division (Clearpath Robotics) as well as an industrial division (OTTO Motors). In October 2016, Clearpath announced a $30M US in funding to expand its OTTO Motors division.
“The Accelerator Centre allowed us to transform our project into a viable business. We were able to break even within 18 months of inception, in good part due to the mentorship and financial support we received from AC,” says Matt Rendall, Clearpath Robotics CEO. “Entrepreneurship has its own set of challenges and the AC was able to alleviate many of the simple overhead growing pains so we could focus on growing the business. (ie: not having to worry about toilet paper or paying the bill for hydro or electrical was a blessing in disguise!).
We learned what worked and what didn’t work at the AC – it was a safe space to experiment with our technology and our business processes to identify and leverage best practices for Clearpath. A tree can’t grow unless it has strong roots and is part of a supportive ecosystem. The AC provided us with a foundation to transform our passion into a thriving business.”
Axonify graduated from the Accelerator Centre in 2014. Since departing the program, the company, which provides a gamification solution for corporate learning, has experienced significant growth, closing out 2015 with >$10M in recurring annual revenue and a customer roster that includes Bloomingdales, Ceridian, Toys R Us Canada and The Pep Boys. In November 2016, Axonify announced $27M US in funding to further expand its business operations.
“The Accelerator Centre is a different kind of environment than the typical early stage tech incubator, and in a good way,” says Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify.
“There’s something a little more serious about the way in which the programs and mentoring make you feel — like the organization is working in concrete ways to help your company succeed. Consistent mentorship and meaningful programming plus the ability to reinforce sound principles over a stay of up to two years (versus a typical incubator experience of 3 – 6 months) give each company a better shot at making it.
I know Axonify took advantage of everything the Accelerator Centre had on offer and thoroughly enjoyed getting its start in that environment.”
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
Seven Waterloo Region companies are on a new list of Canada’s fastest growing technology companies.
Sortable, Axonify, Clearpath, Magnet Forensics, Aeryon Labs, eSentire and Dejero Labs are on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 list for 2016, which ranks the companies by revenue growth over the previous three years.
Sortable, a Kitchener company that developed an automated advertising platform, is the top local firm on the list. It ranked eighth with three-year revenue growth of 1,705 per cent.
Axonify, a Waterloo firm that develops corporate e-learning software, ranks 10th with revenue growth of 1,520 per cent
Kitchener robotics company Clearpath is 17th with revenue growth of 662 per cent.
Magnet, a Waterloo provider of digital forensics tools, is 19th with revenue growth of 587 per cent.
Waterloo drone-maker Aeryon ranks 24th with revenue growth of 494 per cent. Aeryon also received a Leadership award from Deloitte in recognition of its innovation and leadership.
Cambridge-based eSentire, a provider of cybersecurity tools and services, is 35th with revenue growth of 361 per cent.
Dejero Labs, a Waterloo firm that provides a platform for live-to-air broadcasting, is 37th with revenue growth of 332 per cent.
Urthecast, a Vancouver firm that specializes in Earth observation data, is the top company on this year’s list, with revenue growth of 72,938 per cent.
Deloitte says the companies on the list averaged three-year revenue growth of 2,652 per cent.
Last year, there were six Waterloo Region firms on the Fast 50 list — Magnet, Aeryon, Dejero, Miovision Technologies, eSentire and Igloo Software.
Clearpath Robotics, a leading provider of self-driving vehicle solutions, announced today the completion of a $30 million (USD) investment led by iNovia Capital with participation from Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures, Eclipse Ventures, RRE Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.
Clearpath will use the funding to grow the company’s industrial division, OTTO Motors. Clearpath launched OTTO Motors in 2015 to focus on self-driving vehicles for material transport inside manufacturing and warehouse operations.
“Factories operate like small indoor cities, complete with roads, traffic, intersections and pedestrians,” said Matt Rendall, CEO and co-founder of Clearpath. “Unlike city streets, a factory floor is a controlled environment, which makes it an ideal place to introduce self-driving vehicles at scale. Companies like Google, Tesla and Uber are still testing, whereas our self-driving vehicles are commercially available today.”
Companies including GE and John Deere have deployed OTTO’s material handling equipment in their facilities.
“The market for self-driving passenger vehicles will be over $80 billion by 2030,” Rendall said. “We believe the market for self-driving materials handling vehicles will be equally significant. Clearpath has a big head start, and this new funding will allow us to further accelerate the development of the best self-driving software in the industry – and bring more OTTOs into the world faster.”
“Software-differentiated hardware will disrupt every major sector over the next decade,” said Karam Nijjar, Partner at iNovia Capital. “Self-driving vehicles are already revolutionizing transportation. Clearpath has built a world-class team, technology and customer base to accelerate that vision. Clearpath isn’t just building the factory of the future; they are laying the foundation for entirely new business models enabled by artificial intelligence, autonomy and automation.”
Manufacturers need flexible and efficient automation more than ever due to rapidly changing market demands. The U.S. alone anticipates a shortage of more than two million skilled manufacturing workers over the next decade. Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly demanding ethically sourced, domestically made products. OTTO Motors’ self-driving indoor vehicles help fill the labor gap while providing manufacturers an affordable way to keep or return operations onshore. Clearpath is helping create a new industry and category of domestic jobs developing, servicing and working with their self-driving vehicles.
“Clearpath is developing exciting self-driving vehicle technology for industrial environments,” says Michael Young, Director at Caterpillar Ventures. “We look forward to collaborating with Clearpath to drive efficiency gains in Caterpillar facilities.”
Clearpath previously raised $11.2 million (USD) in a January 2015 Series A round led by RRE Ventures with participation from iNovia Capital, GE Ventures and Eclipse Ventures to develop their OTTO product line. Officially launched in 2009, Clearpath’s founders established the company by participating in a U.S. Department of Defense-funded robotics competition to design a robot that could detect and remove land mines. With help from a $300,000 angel investment the following year, the team pivoted from mine removal to providing unmanned vehicle development platforms for the global research community. After launching the first OTTO product in September 2015, Clearpath established its OTTO Motors division to focus on self-driving vehicles for materials handling.
The AC is excited to announce our largest graduating class in our ten year history. The graduation of Ecopia, InTheChat, Trending.info and Knowledge In Development brings the total number of companies to successfully complete the AC’s intensive multi-year business commercialization program to 55. The occasion also marks the AC’s first graduate from our facility in Stratford, Ontario.
“The companies graduating from the Accelerator Centre today represent the diversity of industry segments and founder backgrounds that characterize the AC’s client base,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “Within just this graduating class we have mature business executives, tenured professors, and serial entrepreneurs — all realizing their dream of starting and building a world-class business. We are also very excited to have our first graduate from our Stratford facility represented today. Trending.info was in on the ground floor with us when we expanded our programming to the University of Waterloo campus in that city. It is fantastic to see the company leave today a graduate.”
Millions of geospatial images are collected by satellites, airplanes, and vehicles every day. With large amounts of data becoming available at an increasing rate, efficient retrieval and organization of useful information from this data has become a large issue. As a result, much of this information is not accessible to those who need it most. Ecopia Tech creates intelligent systems that vastly improve the process of analyzing geospatial imagery through the employment of computer vision techniques.
Knowledge in Development
Founded in 2008, by University of Waterloo professor and researcher Dr. Daniela O’Neill, Knowledge in Development (KID) Inc. publishes and distributes the Language Use Inventory (LUI), a unique assessment of early pragmatic language development, to professionals and researchers. Knowledge in Development’s online platform now allows users to administer the LUI fully online with parents, in house or via email.
InTheChat (ITC) is an industry-leading digital customer engagement platform that enables large-scale enterprises to serve their customers via today’s preferred communication channels: text messaging, social media, web and mobile chat, email and messaging apps. Global leaders in the banking, telecommunications, retail and other industries are using ITC today to free their customers from phone calls to their call centres, while also simplifying contact handling for the company’s front-line teams.
Trending.Info provides social media solutions for businesses, services and associations, allowing them to harness the power of online marketing while building communities of social interest showcased in one place. Founded in 2013 by Randy Huitema, the company today becomes the Accelerator Centre’s first Stratford-based graduate.
TORONTO (May 31, 2016) – At today’s Action Entrepreneurship Canadian Summit in Toronto, Futurpreneur Canada and Shopify announced Intellijoint Surgical Inc. as the winner of the Shopify Grit Award. The award celebrates the kind of business success that comes from having “true grit” – creativity, ingenuity and resilience when faced with challenges.
“Futurpreneur has helped launch thousands of businesses and we are honoured to be 1 of 3 recipients of the prestigious 20th Anniversary Awards,” said Armen Bakirtzian, Co-Founder and CEO, Intellijoint Surgical Inc. “Business owners across this country face countless challenges, and we are humbled and extremely proud to represent the hard work and determination it takes to succeed.”
The team at Intellijoint Surgical started out as three graduates from Waterloo University with no medical background or entrepreneurial experience who set out to undertake a major challenge – creating a medical device and putting it on the market. They overcame many obstacles to create a surgical device that is FDA-approved, has a Health Canada medical device license, and has been used successfully over 350 times across North America. In just six years, they’ve gone from one desk at the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo to 10,500 square foot facility and have hired 22 people.
“Starting a business takes dedication, hustle and a desire to succeed. We’re excited to support the next wave of entrepreneurs, especially the incredibly talented team at Intellijoint Surgical,” said Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify.
“Starting a business can be challenging for anyone without entrepreneurial experience, but putting a medical device on the market is a huge test of resilience,” said Scott Bowman, Senior Director, Ontario, Futurpreneur Canada. “The team at Intellijoint Surgical have proven that determination and persistence are one of the greatest contributors to entrepreneurial success.”
The Grit Award was one of five awards that Futurpreneur presented today. Other awards included the Clearwater Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the BDC Mentorship Award, the Youth Business International Beyond Borders Award and the RBC Community Partner Award. These awards are one way the organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary, by recognizing top Futurpreneur-supported entrepreneurs and the people and organizations that support their success.
For most people, hip replacement isn’t something that crosses your mind until later in life. But for Armen Bakirtzian and co-founders, Andre Hladio and Richard Fanson, developing a solution to help improve the outcomes of these surgeries became a launchpad for starting their company, Intellijoint Surgical Inc.
Together they presented their idea and won the pitch competition at the 2010 Ontario’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur Pitch Competition. That same year they were welcomed to the Accelerator Centre.
Looking back, Armen Bakirtzian, now CEO at Intellijoint, notes that when he and his co-founders first walked into the AC, they were all grinning ear-to-ear. After working in their basements, garages, kitchen tables or any space they could find, having an actual office gave them a tremendous boost in confidence and focus.
“It was an incredible experience. We met great people, got inducted into the ecosystem and took advantage of all the resources. To this day, we all feel that it was one of the best decisions we made.”
He added that as technical co-founders, they came into the program only having the experience of working on a school project. They hadn’t hired anyone or gone through any of the steps of establishing formalized business practices. However, they’ve come a long way since then.
On the day we spoke with Armen, Intellijoint was moving into a larger office. While staying in their current location, they were more than doubling their space. Since graduating from the AC in June, 2014 they’ve gone on to receive nearly $550,000 in FedDev investment.
Their flagship product, intellijoint HIP™, a surgical tool designed to enable orthopaedic surgeons to more effectively meet their surgical objectives and improve patient outcomes, earned them the 2015 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Enabling Technology Leadership.
They’ve made significant inroads in the Canadian and American markets and they recently entered into a strategic partnership that will provide access to the Australian market.
With success, comes responsibility. Rising to the occasion, Intellijoint is dedicated to remaining in Waterloo Region. Armen firmly states, “Our focus to build ourselves here, to draw talent here and give back to the ecosystem — it all ties back to our time at the AC.”
Family: He is married to Garod Bakirtzian.
Business hero: His father.
Person he’d like to have lunch with: Carey Price
Guilty pleasure: Nutella
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received: If you’re going to fail, fail quickly and move on to something else.
Three things most people don’t know: