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. 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.
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.”
 Boston Consulting Group, 10th Annual Survey, Most Innovative Companies 2015
 GainX Insights™ benchmark analysis data.
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.
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.
“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.
With applications in law enforcement, agriculture, retail, military and other sectors, the global commercial drone market is booming, with an estimated CAGR of 16.9% through to >$1.2B US by 2022.
For industrial applications, drones — flying unmanned robots — offer a significantly more affordable, nimble and safer alternative over traditional aircraft or helicopters. However there is one significant drawback. Drones, which are typically powered by lithium batteries, are limited in their flight time and range. With the added weight of sensors and cameras, the average industrial drone can only achieve about 15 minutes of fly time, including take off and landing.
This time constraint has proved to be a huge inhibitor for growth, explains Matthew McRoberts, CEO of Pegasus Aeronautics. “If you are doing a land survey or inspection of a wind turbine, the fact drones today have very limited air time really limits their usability.”
McRoberts and co-founders Joe Kinsella and John Biskey met in residence while studying engineering at University of Waterloo. Over the four years, the three collaborated on various school projects, and in fourth year, McRoberts and Kinsella teamed up for their final engineering capstone. The challenge they sought to tackle: a new solution to extend the range of drones.
“We always knew we wanted to do something that was drone related. Drone range limitation is a well understood challenge within the industrial sector and one of the largest problems facing industrial drone manufacturers, so it was a logical choice,” explains Matt McRoberts.
Many other companies have sought to solve the problem in the past, but most solutions have focused around the battery itself, says McRoberts. “They’ve tried tweaking the battery. Automatic battery swapping. Recharging stations. Even solar power. But they basically are stepping around the primary source of the problem – the battery.”
McRoberts, Kinsella (Biskey joined the team after the initial capstone) decided to chart a different course with their engineering, setting out to create gas/electric (hybrid) powertrain alternative to the battery.
“We felt that a gas/electric hybrid system was the only and best way to solve the problem. But no one had done it before. First, it is very difficult to make gas engines run in the first place. And on top of that, we had to design power electronics that would be lightweight enough they can fit on something that can fly.”
Proving through the capstone that it was possible to create the envisioned powertrain, the team was encouraged by its faculty advisor to found a company to commercialize the technology and Pegasus Aeronautics was born.
FedDev Ontario JumpStart funding, secured through the Accelerator Centre, provided the young company with a critical injection of capital to move forward. “AC JumpStart funding and mentorship was a real tipping point for our business,” says Matt McRoberts. “We were facing two paths post graduation. Leave our technology on the table, or pursue it as a business. AC JumpStart allowed us to take our project and turn it into a real commercial opportunity.”
Access to Accelerator Centre’s team of mentors, provided as part of the JumpStart funding program also provided to be instrumental to the founders. “The mentorship we received totally changed the way we thought about how we would structure business. The mentors — Kevin Hood (sales mentor) in particular urged us to do primary research to really understand our industry, our competitors. It gave us a huge edge on the competition. First, we learned that a universal powertrain would have widest appeal and allow us to partner with all industrial drone manufacturers. Second, we learned that ease of use was critical – researchers in the field are not engine experts. I can’t overstate the contribution Kevin made to our business.”
The team at Pegasus Aero are now readying to bring their final product to market. Over the next few months, they will be doing some field beta testing to collect final feedback, and have customers lined up anxious to get their hands on the company’s unique hybrid powertrain.
“Just to get the job done, field teams using drones today are lugging hundreds of pounds of batteries into the field and are spending $14,000 a year or more per platform in battery costs,” says McRoberts. “Our solution is so easy to use, a field worker can pull the drone out of the back, siphon gas from the truck and be up in the air for 8 times as long. Fortunately for us, marketing around those kinds of advantages is pretty much a no brainer. We help industrial drone manufacturers overcome a really big barrier. So when we explain what we do to folks in the industry, the response is “how soon can get our hands on it?”
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:
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org