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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

[2] GainX Insights™ benchmark analysis data.

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

Originally Published on CTVKitchener

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

Originally published by BNN.ca

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

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

Inksmith’s STEAM+ Education Solutions for 3D Printing are Empowering Canadian Kids to Tackle Big Ideas


From businesses, to manufacturers, to everyday hobbyists 3D printing offers an accessible, safe and cost effective way to bring designs off the page and into life. Desktop 3D printing is igniting a new wave of innovation in the education sector, where 3D printing presents an incredible opportunity for STEAM based learning opportunities that span virtually every discipline from K-12 and beyond.

Jeremy Hedges and his team are capitalizing on that goldmine of opportunity with their company InkSmith. A University of Laurier grad, Jeremy initially founded InkSmith a couple of years ago to improve the sustainability of 3D printing feedstock. But like many startups, he found himself pivoting the company toward the education market after realizing the untapped opportunity for learning presented by the 3D technologies he represented.

“I estimate only 20% of Canadian schools today have access to 3D printers, but in the next few years they’re going to become a standard tool in every classroom and library,” says Jeremy. “It’s a real blue sky market and a powerful legacy to be a part of empowering future generations to tackle the world’s biggest problems!

Jeremy, the son of a teacher, is quick to point out that this isn’t a story about 3D printer hardware. “At the end of the day, the 3D printer is just the tool. InkSmith is an edtech company focused on inspiring kids and teachers to use STEAM-based learning technologies in the classroom. We don’t want to throw a 3D printer into the school and hope it works. We want to enable STEAM programming with a turnkey solution for education that provides professional development, curriculum based course projects, 3D printers, materials, the technical support and everything else they need to make it happen.”

Jeremy, the son of a teacher and Wilfrid Laurier University grad, spent his formative years leading community and youth programs. “I was always looking to make an impact,” he confesses. With 3D printing, he saw a cool niche where he could build a company and at the same time empower kids not just to learn about the world’s problems, but to become the innovators that solve them as well.

“With 3D printing and modelling technologies, we can get kids learning environmental science to design their own aquaponics system, or build 3D printed catapults to test physics theories. There are so many applications for learning engineering principles, mathematics principles, and even the arts,” he explains, noting that Inksmith is working currently with the Stratford Festival to use 3D printing for prop making, and to construct mini stage replicas to understand and test how props move, and how actors use the physical space.

One of the most exciting developments for Inksmith in the last year has been a budding partnership with the York Region District School Board. The company and school board have jointly applied for a funding grant to pilot the Inksmith solution into dozens of schools. Should the grant funding get approved, this project will serve as the pilot test for the federal government and provincial education ministries to invest in Canada wide deployment. In anticipation of a successful application, Jeremy is building out his team and beefing up the company’s academic credentials. A recently posted job description for teachers to help Inksmith develop course materials brought in 20 highly qualified applicants in a single day.

Inksmith, a client of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre’s Hardware Innovation Lab at 44 Gaukel, was able to tap into $30,000 in AC Jumpstart funding through FedDev Ontario to build out its vision.

“JumpStart is a great program and it was super valuable to have access to mentors and call us on bad ideas says. It gave us the time to prototype and build a business model that works. Because of the ACJumpStart funding, we were able to really research and understand the market and hire our first employees to build out our product and sales. As a result, we’re at the leading edge of this industry and are the only company in Canada providing this kind of solution. I can confidently say we wouldn’t be here at all without ACJumpStart.” – Jeremy Hedges

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.