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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Startup Culture: Why Michael Litt says Vidyard will Always be a Startup

When does a startup stop being a startup? Is it at certain revenue earned, number of employees, after achieving a repeatable, scalable business model? According to Michael Litt, CEO at Vidyard, the answer is, hopefully, never.

There is much debate in the business world about when a startup loses the trendy label and transitions into a “regular company.” However, notable tech giant, Facebook, has been around for more than 10 years and employs over 1,000 people, and Airbnb has raised over $3 billion dollars to date, yet, both are still regularly acknowledged as startups. So that begs the question, what makes a startup a startup?

During our interviews for “Startup’s Guide to the Galaxy” we found one common theme among successful entrepreneurs. For them, the startup label is more than a stage of their business development, more than a metric that can be tracked and identified on a revenue statement – it’s a mindset and a culture, centred around innovation, customer experience, and continued improvement.  

We sat down with Michael to discuss Vidyard’s journey from bootstrapping to success and learn more about how Vidyard fosters a culture of continued innovation to ensure they will always be a startup.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Clinton Ball: So when is a startup no longer a startup?

Michael Litt: Good question. Startup-ism is a frame of mind. The feeling drives innovation, keeps the business fast-moving and fast-reacting. Companies that stop being startups are the ones that cease to the the most innovative and fastest-moving company in their category.

Vidyard will be a startup till the day I leave this company, because innovation and moving-fast are core mandates of mine in terms of how we retain a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the field.

Clinton Ball: That is interesting. Silicon Valley serial-entrepreneur Steve Blank says something along the lines of a startup is no longer a start up until it reaches its repeatable scalable business model, but it sounds like what you’re saying is that it’s more rooted in the culture.

Michael Litt: If you develop pockets of a repeatable, scalable business model, then that model is under threat by macro-economic things like competition or talent issues. If you’re constantly fixing these things, then that’s a big company problem.

I agree with him to a point, but businesses that get to a point when they just have one repeatable process that they manage and work on and focus on will get out innovated by new startups… so you have to keep that sense of urgency with business.

Clinton Ball: So at the level you are at now, how do you stay innovative and how do you make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of just of just being driven by business metrics and board objectives?

Michael Litt: Everyone at Vidyard is responsible for thinking creatively about new and innovative ways we can approach the market. To foster that development, we host company-wide quarterly events called “Pitch Yard” where the whole company breaks down into groups of ten or so that are cross-functionally aligned. They discuss ways Vidyard can improve our product and go to the market with something new, the present them in front of the whole company. The winning team is rewarded with a dinner anywhere they want!

The intent of Pitch Yard is to create new, inspirational ideas for how we can go and impact the market. It helps us constantly look at the field to see what the competition is doing, what companies are doing in the very early stages, and to see if there’s something that we missed in the market that someone else has picked up (and if we should focus on it too).

Clinton Ball: That’s great, so obviously a big part of it is a clear strategy around the people that you hire and how you attract them. What are some key principles that guide culture in your organization?

Michael Litt: Continued transparency is always on my mind within our business. We call this radical transparency because we communicate everything to everyone. If we expect people to be as creative as possible while making the best decisions for the business, we need to get them all the information they need to make the best decision. This is where cross-functional communication, exposure to market challenges that the company may be facing or more is vital. Whether it’s a customer service lead, a marketing rep, a sales professional, or a product developer, transparency inspires people to think creatively because everyone feels empowered to solve the problem. We hire so many problem-solvers, whether they’re makers, builders, or people with creative outlets on the side – they bring this type of thinking into the company. This is why transparency helps us collaboratively share a set of values that inspire creativity and critical thinking.

Want more pro advice from Michael? Check out “Passion vs.Purpose: Building a Startup Brand

AC Grad Alaunus Unveils Bloom

New Platform Puts Ontario Patients and Families in the Driver’s Seat When Accessing Home Healthcare Services
April 10, 2017 (WATERLOO, ON) — Alaunus, an emerging leader in technology-enabled care solutions today launches Bloom, a new technology platform to directly connect Ontario patients and families with caregivers, accelerating access to high quality home-based care.
Targeting the 1.46 million people, mostly seniors, in Ontario today who receive community support such as meals, transportation and caregiver services in their homes, Bloom gives patients and family members more choice, using modern technology to connect and match patients to high quality, fully vetted caregivers. The platform streamlines the existing home health care delivery system, empowers full patient-choice, enhances accountability, and elevates the quality of accessible caregivers, all while strengthening the voices of patients and families in their own healthcare planning.
In Ontario today, 93% of eligible home care patients receive their first nursing visit within five days of being approved and 84% of home care patients with complex needs receive a visit from a personal support worker (PSW) within the five day target[1].  The ultimate goal of the Bloom platform is to narrow that time window even further, says Andrew Ringer, CEO of Alaunus, Bloom’s creator.
“With the home health care market expected to grow internationally to reach $400 billion by 2021, our healthcare system can expect to see more cost constraints, more hospital admissions and more “aging in place” preferences. Bloom is a much-needed platform for the time,” says Ringer. “It puts flexibility, real-time communications and on-demand service directly in the hands of patients and their families, while leveraging proven evidence-based practices for increased client satisfaction and care outcomes. At this time of growing demand, we want to provide fast, safe, secure, and affordable home care for everyone.”
Bloom Capabilities:
●   Full alignment with Patients First Act and Better Care Closer to Home
●   Patient choice of personal support worker (PSW) or health care provider (HCP) on-demand, with real time notifications
●   Easily search PSW or HCP by geography, skill-set, experience, & ratings/reviews – ideally matched based on Bloom’s matching algorithm
●   On demand service capability, easily scheduled by patient, family, or care team
●   Geo location time and attendance verification to increase caregiver accountability, alleviate over-billing & reduce administrative burden.
Bloom’s Advantages:
●   15-20% reduction on home care services spend
●   Provides more care and control to more patients
●   Encourages faster, more accountable and efficient care
●   Increases at-home quality of care, motivating caregivers to do better work
●   Adds value to the community, and
●   Supports an increased number of caregiver jobs in order to provide better care closer to home
Fuelled by Ontario Health Technologies Fund (HTF)
Bloom’s innovation is fuelled by the Ontario Health Technologies Fund, a $20M Fund developed specifically to support the development of leading, market-ready, made-in-Ontario health technologies. The first priority area for the HTF is Better Care Closer to Home, enabling Health Innovation Teams from across Ontario to work on projects related to home and community care through virtual, digital and mobile health-care technologies. Alaunus is one of 15 health innovation projects selected province-wide for HTF funding.
Pilot Projects in Hamilton, Waterloo Region.
Bloom will be piloted in partnership with Brain Injury Services of Hamilton and the Waterloo Wellington LHIN/CCAC.
“We have the ability with Bloom to leverage technology transform the traditional home health care delivery model,” says Laurie Graham, Director, Residential Services, Brain Injury Services. “Patients and their families are provided with greater control over their health care decisions and more expedited care. This drives better outcomes. Care workers as well, are provided with better support to succeed in their roles. Across the board, quality goes up.”
“The Waterloo Wellington LHIN was pleased to support Alaunus’s application for funding from the Ontario Health Technologies Fund, given its potential to facilitate a better connection between patients and caregivers, while reducing costs and increasing transparency and accountability. This is directly aligned with Ontario’s  Patients First Action Plan,” says Bruce Lauckner, CEO, WWLHIN.”
The Hamilton pilot kicks off in June 2017.  For more information visit joinbloom.com
For more information contact:
Andrew Ringer
CEO Alaunus
OR:
Ellyn Winters
Ignition Communications
PR for Alaunus

FindBob Helps Canadian Financial Advisors Grow and Protect their Practices

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Roland Chan is a matchmaker of an entirely different kind. Rather than pairing up lonely hearts, Chan, a serial entrepreneur, technologist and financial advisor, is seeking to help other financial advisors working in the financial services and insurance world find the right match for their book of business with his company FindBob.

“Financial advisors in Canada today are responsible for managing over $1 trillion in wealth. At the average age of 59, many themselves are nearing retirement age, and yet, for all the retirement counsel they give others, more than 80% of financial advisors have no succession plan of their own,” says Chan.

Chan understands the financial service industry very well. He grew up in the business, so to speak. His father established his own successful financial services and insurance practice 26 years ago, and was joined by his son in the business in 2008.

“I began my career as a software architect, but after stepping into the financial services industry to help my father I grew to love the industry and the millions of dollars it puts back into the community and the economy,” says Roland Chan. “There are some terrific people working in the business who have committed their lives to their clients and to educating the public on the best way to build savings and protect wealth.”

Chan also knows too well the consequences of poor succession planning.

“Around the same time I joined the family practice, we had an advisor who had been with the firm for 15 or 16 years pass away suddenly.  He didn’t have a continuity plan to protect his book of business. In financial services, both the firm and the individual own a percentage of recurring revenue flowing in from clients. Because there was no succession plan in place, it took me over a year to transfer the value from that book of business to our advisor’s widow. And unfortunately, by that time, close to 50% of its value had eroded, due to clients moving on and/or or other agents poaching his business.”

It is a story that Chan has heard repeated over and over again through his work in the industry, and as VP of Advocis, the Financial Advisor’s Association of Canada’s, Toronto Chapter. He also learned why advisors were so reluctant to plan for their own future. “Most advisors don’t participate in succession planning not because they expect to live forever, but rather they can’t find an adequate partner, or find the whole process too daunting.  Their firms want to support and encourage them to do so, yet they lack effective and scaleable processes.”

Realizing there was an unmet need for a more effective solution to aid advisors with succession, he decided it was time to put his decades of technology experience to work to build FindBob, a unique marketplace that pairs advisors looking to scale back or retire, with others in the industry (ideally in the same firm) who are looking to enter the industry or expand.

FindBob’s platform has strongly resonated with the financial advisory community. Since becoming a client of the Accelerator Centre in 2015, Roland Chan’s venture has achieved steady market traction. The company is on the brink of closing its fourth Canadian enterprise client, and now represents the largest insurance practices in the country and the second largest trade association for investment and insurance advisors. “We provide real value to these firms,” says Chan. “We help them protect their existing assets, generate new revenue, recruit new talent and meet their fiduciary responsibility to clients. Currently, FindBob is the only platform focused on on assisting financial institutions with internal transitions. Our marketplace is allowing advisors to discover opportunities within their own firm and connect with others seeking to buy, sell, merge or find a successor. “If you are able to move a block of business internally within a single financial institution that achieves the best outcome for advisors, for industry and for client.

To fuel its next stage expansion, FindBob was able to tap into $30,000 in AC JumpStart funding, made possible through FedDev Ontario.

“Obviously getting an injection of non-dilutive money is tremendously helpful,” says Roland Chan. “It allowed me the freedom to hire a person devoted to customer success, a role that creates real value for the company and for our clients.  Thanks to the AC we added a critical non-technical hire, and now Sylvia is our point person on many enterprise engagements.” – Roland Chan

Based in Toronto, Chan travels the Toronto-Waterloo corridor as often as possible to also connect with the Accelerator Centre’s team of mentors.

“From Kevin Elop, who sends me a five page email response to my question; to Kevin Hood who has saved me from jumping off a cliff on 3 or 4 occasions; to Bob Rushby and Steve Fyke who always offers poignant technology and design advice; to Jackie Lauer’s hiring expertise; to Ellyn Winters, who has forced me to focus on inbound marketing and PR – areas that are decidedly not in my comfort area; the mentors have helped me look at my business from many different points of view.” – Roland Chan

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, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

 

Successful Scale Up

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?

Paul 02[acsite]“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.

“TMatt Randellhe 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.

carol-leaman-headshot.jpg“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.”

The Accelerator Centre Announces 2nd Cohort of Startups into Their Newly Redesigned Incubation Program

Media Release

We are pleased to announce the companies that will comprise the second cohort of Phase One clients in our newly redesigned Accelerator Program.

The companies in our world-renowned incubation program are selected through a very competitive process and represent the best-of-the-best in technology and entrepreneurship in the region and around the world.

Companies joining the second cohort of Phase One are:

  • Travel wholesale – Quest Travel
  • Search engine optimizationTraffic is Currency
  • Nano Technology – NanoCNET
  • Lidar systems developmentSingle Quantum Systems
  • Veterinary technologyHealthy Pets
  • Mobile payment softwareFinserve
  • Health and safety software – Site Safety Solutions
  • Hockey technology – TheHockeyPro
  • Waste management/Public service technology – Eagle Vision Systems
  • Live global mapping program – Live Anywhere
  • Video game technology56 Studios

“I am always impressed by the wide variety of innovative and impactful ideas that these entrepreneurs bring to the table. I am pleased to welcome cohort two into the Accelerator Program and I am excited to see them build and scale successful, global businesses.”  – Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre.

Phase One is the first of four phases within our recently restructured two-year incubation program. The program offers customized, milestone-based programming alongside the proven mentorship model we are best known for. At the end of the Phase Four, our clients graduate with confidence, knowing all areas of their business are ready for long-term success.

For more information on the companies in cohort two, our programming, or to learn how to apply for the next cohort contact:

Tabatha Laverty

Community Manager

tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

The Accelerator Centre partners with Inertia to help companies scale in new hardware lab

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The Accelerator Centre (AC) and Inertia are pleased to announce a new partnership aimed at supporting the growth and scale of early stage hardware companies in Waterloo Region.

 

Toronto-based Inertia will establish a presence at the AC’s new hardware innovation lab in the heart of downtown Kitchener. Located at 44 Gaukel St., the lab offers 10,000 square feet prototyping and lab space, access to tools and resources, including 3D printers, as well as a freight elevator and loading dock for shipping and receiving.

Inertia, in partnership with the AC’s renowned team of mentors, will work directly with hardware, IoT, and advanced manufacturing companies to tackle challenges such as design and prototyping, contract manufacturing, supply chain and cash flow management, as well as preparing for international growth.

The partnership will see expanded, in-depth hardware support for over 30 current Clients of the AC, as well as providing opportunity for hardware related companies that have graduated from the award-winning centre.

“We’re continuing to see increased need for support of hardware companies, particularly here in Waterloo, due very much in part to the incredible talent coming out of the University of Waterloo and the emphasis that they place on entrepreneurship. Both faculty and students are increasingly designing hardware solutions to complex problems, and they want to turn those ideas into solid businesses – that’s when they come to the AC. Having the support of Inertia as they grow will be invaluable for their long-term success.”

Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre

“We are seeing some amazing things happening in Waterloo right now, from IoT and robotics, to 3D printing and drones; it only makes sense that Inertia’s first Canadian expansion outside Toronto would be to a place where advanced manufacturing is really taking off. Partnering with the AC allows us to plug into these companies at an early stage and help them start off on the right track as they work towards growing internationally.”

Ray Minato, President & CEO, Inertia

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About the Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre (AC) is dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive technology firms; and to commercializing advanced research technologies emerging from academic institutions. The AC offers an intensive, milestone-driven program to help Clients gain traction and establish early growth; begin to scale and prepare for global expansion.

Since 2006, the AC has supported over 250 early-stage technology companies, who have created 1500+ new jobs, and generated more than two billion in valuations. Fifty-five companies have graduated from the Accelerator Centre, with over 90 percent of companies still active after two years. For more information visit www.acceleratorcentre.com.

 

About Inertia

Inertia is a product design, manufacturing, and supply chain management services company. For the past 12 years Inertia has helped hardware start-ups turn their ideas into award-winning physical products in industries ranging from medical, safety and security, and consumer products.

Inertia’s open, collaborative, and systematic approach to supporting early-stage companies results in a faster time to market, higher return on investment, and peace of mind that comes with the confidence they are doing the right things, the best way, at the right time.

Inertia is headquartered in Toronto and has an office in Dongguan China to support rapid prototype and manufacturing activities. For more information visit www.inertiaengineering.com.

 

Media contacts

Emily Jackson
Director, Client Experience and Special Projects
Accelerator Centre
226-972-8592
ejackson@acceleratorcentre.com

Ray Minato
President & CEO
Inertia
416-537-0505

rminato@inertiaengineering.com

Clearpath raises $30M to expand indoor self-driving vehicle market

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Funding from iNovia Capital, Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures and previous investors will expand AC Grad’s new OTTO Motors division

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.

Welcome to 44 Gaukel: Accelerator Centre Launches New Hardware Innovation Lab

img_8815webAn incredible mix of art and technology in a groundbreaking new facility

Today we’re thrilled to announce the official opening of our new hardware innovation lab in the heart of downtown Kitchener. Located at 44 Gaukel St., this newest expansion offers hardware startups 10,000 square feet prototyping and lab space, access to tools and resources, including 3D printers, as well as a freight elevator and loading dock for shipping and receiving.

The facility is run in partnership with ArtsBuild Ontario, an organization dedicated to supporting local artists by providing tools, training and resources that support the development and sustainable creative spaces. The facility is also supported in part by the City of Kitchener.

“We’re very excited to work with the City of Kitchener and ArtsBuild Ontario as we expand our world-class incubation offering, helping innovative hardware and IoT companies grow and scale their businesses here in Waterloo Region, ” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “Expanding into Downtown Kitchener allows the AC to support our clients who want to be in a central, urban environment, while continuing to bring the same excellence in programming, mentorship, and experience that we’re renowned for.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Accelerator Centre and the City of Kitchener in providing creative space for our community’s artists and arts organizations,” added Lindsay Golds, Executive Director, ArtsBuild Ontario. “We are so pleased to offer those in need of rehearsal or administrative space an affordable and suitable location for their important work in Downtown Kitchener. We are excited by the potential for collaboration opportunities between the tech and the arts sector that this location can provide.”

The historic building, originally built as a Canada Post depot, also houses the University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab and part of Conestoga College’s School of Media and Design on the first floor. Joining the Accelerator Centre and ArtsBuild on the second floor is MyShop, an industrial makerspace, offering an array of industrial prototyping tools, as well as training, allowing Clients at the AC to rapidly design and build their products right inside the building.

“Being a part of the new hardware lab at 44 Gaukel Street is an important and exciting move for us. The Accelerator Centre’s support has been pivotal for our business and we’ve already developed new customers through people visiting the facility. Being in the business of 3D printing, InkSmith is right at home in a space where art and technology collide.”
Jeremy Hedges , President, InkSmith

“There are so many great things happening in hardware and advanced manufacturing right now in Waterloo Region,” says Josh Kubassek, President at MyShop. “It’s important for us to be a part of the AC’s lab at 44 Gaukel, helping to empower startup companies to design and prototype these amazing new technologies.”

The Accelerator Centre and ArtsBuild Ontario invite the community to celebrate the opening of 44 Gaukel on Tuesday, October 4 at 4:00 – 8:00 p.m., on the second floor. Tenants from both the arts and technology sectors will be showcasing their work at the event.

The space is filling quickly, however both the Accelerator Centre and ArtsBuild Ontario are currently accepting applications for tenancy. Apply to the AC.

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