Category Archives: Raised Money

Toronto startup Akira provides access to a doctor from your cell phone

Akira is a doctor in your pocket – we provide instant, on-demand access to Canadian doctors & nurses through our mobile app. You can get help with troubling symptoms, renew prescriptions, get specialist referrals – all without having to leave home or work.

Long-term, we’re on a mission to bring high-quality healthcare to all of humanity. We plan to do that by building “Akira”, a smart medical assistant that can help healthcare providers around the world make better decisions. Think of it like an Iron Man suit for medical professionals.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

The three founders are:

Dustin Walper (CEO) – Previously co-founded Myplanet, a technology company with 75 employees & $10MM in revenue that builds web and mobile products for Fortune 100 companies (Apple, Cisco, New Balance, etc.)

Dr. Taha Bandukwala (Chief Medical Officer) – Entrepreneurial radiologist with several startups under his belt, including the e-consultation platform Consult Conduit. Taha and Dustin met when they were 16 at nerd camp (Shad Valley).

Matt Zukowski (CTO) – Trained in cognitive science & AI, formerly the lead architect at AdTech company AdParlor. Matt is the one who keeps Taha and Dustin grounded in technical reality.

Our goal was to build a company that was ambitious in all areas – clinically, technologically, and as a business.

How are you being financed?

We’ve mostly raised from super-smart angels thus far, like Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke and Dragon’s Den personality Harley Finkelstein. We’re currently wrapping up a seed round that we will be announcing in early 2017.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

Our biggest obstacle lies in changing behaviour – the delivery of healthcare has functioned in a very similar way for almost 100 years. We need to help people understand exactly what role digital health should play in their lives (and conversely, where it’s not the right tool).

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

Our two biggest secrets: work on something that people really care about, and pick a technology stack that good developers want to work in. The former is really helpful because having a clear, meaningful mission attracts people who are tired of the meaningless hype that can sometimes pervade the tech industry. From a tech stack perspective, we have lots of interesting problems to work on – we have native iOS and Android apps, a complex React web app used by our doctors, a Ruby back-end, and lots of different analytics platforms that need to work together. We’ve built a strong engineering culture and have a get-shit-done bias that I think is unusual in the healthcare space.

Interestingly, our engineers work on software that directly impacts peoples’ lives. There’s no greater satisfaction than hearing a patient talk about the impact we’ve had and knowing that your code made it possible.

Who is your biggest competition?

We compete with business as usual. Most people, particularly most Canadians, have never experienced what services like Akira can offer. So their default behaviour is to continue going to walk-in clinics or googling their symptoms. Education is one of the most important facets of how we market our service – people want to know what they can and can’t use Akira for, whether it’s appropriate for their kids, etc.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?

We’ll surpass a million dollars in revenue in 2017. We’re focusing right now on the Canadian market, since we think it’s essentially a blue ocean, but our long-term goals will take us into other parts of the world like Asia or South America. We think we can get to $100MM in revenue in Canada alone given the sheer scale and scope of the healthcare industry.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

Charge for your service/product as quickly as possible. We gave away too much for free early on and missed a valuable opportunity to debug our business model – as soon as we turned on payments, we realized that a bunch of our assumptions were wrong and we had to scramble to fix things. Realizing that 6 months earlier would have saved us a tremendous amount of headache.

Website: www.akira.md

Toronto Cyclica raises $2.4M for drug discovery using computer simulation

The company intends to use the funds to scale its sales and marketing efforts, and expand innovation through continued product development.

Led by Naheed Kurji, President and CEO, Cyclica offers a novel predictive analytics platform that enables the development of hypothetical, pre-clinical, clinical, or FDA-approved drugs. The company’s solution offers insight and analysis into a small molecule’s effect, in order to augment drug discovery pipelines and advance assets to-bedside. It currently features PROBEx (proteome-docking), SWITCHx (ligand effect prediction) & DIVEx (systems biology & drug-protein interactomes), and evaluates and compares small molecules to predict how each will interact with the human body (i.e human proteome).

Hamilton, Ontario Cinnos raised over $2.3m to provide data centre appliance

Cinnos MCI, a Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based high-tech startup providing a data centre  appliance, raised over $2.3m in equity financing.

The round was led by the Burlington-based Angel One Investor Network and included angel investors from the Hamilton, Burlington and the Greater Toronto Area, as well as Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through its Market Readiness Company Building (MRCB) program.

The company intends to use the funds to build its next generation of the Mission Critical X (MCX), and for global expansion.

Founded by CEO Hussam Haroun in June 2015, and co-founder, Cinnos has developed and commercialized The Cinnos Smart MCX™, a data centre appliance that enables immediate deployment and a pay-as-you-grow model for data centre providers.

Website: www.cinnos.com

Vancouver startup Ayogo helping patients with chronic conditions / raises $2.5m

Ayogo builds applications for patients with chronic conditions. Our applications use gameplay and social mechanics to help patients develop new behavior and habits, and increase engagement with their care plans. Our customers are  healthcare innovators seeking to address the national quality and costs crisis in patient experience and engagement.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

Ayogo was founded in 2011 by Michael Fergusson (CEO) and Paul Prescod (CTO), based on work they began together in 2008. Paul and Michael both have long experience as entrepreneurs and as technologists. Day-to-day, Michael focuses on business matters, Paul on the technical side.

How are you being financed?

Ayogo is largely bootstrapped, and built itself on revenue generated from sales to clients like Merck, Kaiser Permanente, AstraZeneca, etc. UPDATE: Ayogo raises $2.5M Series A to accelerate growth of gaming platform for chronic conditions

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

As we are leading in the games for health field, our biggest obstacle is marketplace adoption. This seems to be changing quickly, however, so our biggest challenge will be educating the market about the scope of what our current technology is designed to do. That said, we always have arrows in our technology quiver allowing us to work with unexpected healthcare opportunities.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

There is a good community of designers and developers in Vancouver to draw from. Our philosophy is to build our company around the most talented people we can find, as skills and experience can be acquired, but talent is innate.

Who is your biggest competition?

Our competition is in the minds of the marketplace. This means that we are constantly competing for the attention and interest of the healthcare industry in order to persuade it of the efficacy of our product and process. We’re happiest when we speak with innovators in the healthcare industry. As industry increasingly understands the power that narrative, progression, and social connectedness have to educate, engage, and empower patients, our company’s profile and success grows.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?

What are doing is ramping social, content and thought-leadership mechanisms to greater distribution. Additionally we have to sculpt our current business momentum to achieve greater scale, to listen to our customers requirements. and not become distracted by directions that might cause us to lose focus. Our  market is primarily the US, Segments we work in are Pharma, ACOs, Payers, Care Providers – the whole healthcare galaxy, basically.

We’re focused on delivering scalable solutions to HMOs and ACOs, primarily in the US.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

Our big lesson learned is that outcomes are what matter most in health care, and not to let the pursuit of perfection distract us from delivering something that can help improve outcomes now.

Website: www.Ayogo.com