Tag Archives: mobile

Toronto Sensibill, mobile banking app, closes $17.3 million in funding

Sensibill raised $17.3m in funding from Operative Capital, Mistral Venture Partners, and Impression Ventures.

Sensibill offers a suite of value-added services for mobile banking apps centered around the everyday receipt and enabled by machine learning.

Corey Gross, Co-Founder and CEO of Sensibill said:

“We knew that people wanted an intuitive and secure solution for managing their receipts, but we’ve also learned a great deal about how they want to make better use of their purchase information,

Think reminders for when warranties expire, being able to optimize household budgets, and highly targeted credit card rewards. That’s where machine learning comes into play, and we’re excited to add more fuel to our growing research and AI team right here in Toronto.”

Now with the funding you can be rest assured that funding for Yoga classes will not dry up. But of course, first, you would need to get a job with them:

https://twitter.com/getsensibill/status/831965346466758656

Do you Know Your Rights at the US Canada Border Crossing?

A lot of our users live in Canada and commute to the US on weekly basis to go to work, conferences, seminars, etc. Since Donald Trump got elected, it seems, it became more frequent for border guards to do secondary inspection and inspect your belongings including your cell phone.

Even in Canada under Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Canadian government wants to introduce Bill C-23 under which if passed: U.S. border guards would get new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil under a bill proposed by the Liberal government. A Canadian going to the U.S. through a pre-clearance area [on Canadian soil] can say: ‘I don’t like the way [an interview is] going and I’ve chosen not to visit your country.’ And they can just turn around and walk out.

“Under the new proposed bill, they wouldn’t be able to walk out. They can be held and forced to answer questions, first to identify themselves, which is not so offensive, but secondly, to explain the reasons for leaving, and to explain their reasons for wanting to withdraw,”

–Michael Greene, Q.C.

So what do you do? Can US border agents force you to unlock your devices?

No.  But they can make your experience pretty uncomfortable. Do you really want to put up with 10 hours in custody because you do not want to show your facebook posts? If you agree to give up your device it might be seized for weeks and the data on it might be copied.

Can US border agents force you to give up enter your password for social media?

Once again the answer is No. But if you unlock your device – most people’s cellphones do not require passwords to enter their Facebook or Twitter.

So what do I do when entering US?

Travel with least data possible.  Maybe have one device for your work and one for your personal or store all your data in the cloud.

You can comply and get on your way or put up a fight and ask for a lawyer. If you are not American citizen or immigrant with Green Card you might be refused entry to the US due to this decision.

How about Canadian border up North? Mounties are nice, right?

Not so quick. Read the following excerpt from the Canadian Customs website:

Customs Searches Under Canada’s Customs Act, Canada Border Services Agency officers have widespread powers to stop and search people, their baggage and other possessions and devices at any Canadian port of entry (land border crossing, air terminal or sea port).

Canadian courts have generally recognized that people should have reduced expectations of privacy at border points. In this special context, privacy and other Charter rights are limited by state imperatives of national sovereignty, immigration control, taxation and security.

Canada Border Services Agency officers are authorized to conduct searches of people entering Canada, including their baggage, parcels or devices such as laptops and smart phones. These searches may be conducted without a warrant. Officers may examine devices for photos, files, contacts and other media.

If your laptop or mobile device is searched, you will likely be asked to provide the password. If you refuse, your device may be held for further inspection. Our understanding is that the issue of whether a border security agency can compel an individual to provide a password for a personal electronic device at a border crossing is not something that has been specifically looked at by the Courts in Canada.

Safe travels!

 

Montreal educational startup Oohlala raises $5.2m Canadian in Series A

OOHLALA, a Montreal based mobile app designed to provide college students with information about their university, including events and course schedules, raised $4 million USD in Series A funding. University Ventures led the round, and was joined by Y Combinator, GoAhead Ventures, Real Ventures, LiYuan VC, Fundersclub, and several angel investors including Joe Montana.

Oohlala’s mission is to help higher ed institutions improve the student experience. The product extends to all aspects of student life, and strives to reduce the complexity of campus life into a simplified user experience that facilitates student success.

As an education technology company, the mission is to provide both a valuable product to students and insightful data for administrators to improve efficacy.

The vision is shared by 175+ institutions we partner with across the world, each of whom has worked alongside us and helped us craft the best experience possible for students.

 

Website: www.oohlalamobile.com

 

Montreal based Mobeewave allows cell phone users to accept payments

Based in Montreal, Mobeewave has developed a solution that enables anyone to accept money in person using just their phones. Harnessing the NFC capability and secure element of modern mobile devices, this patented innovation makes it possible for individuals or merchants to collect payment anywhere by simply tapping a phone with a contactless credit card or mobile wallet.

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

Mobeewave was founded by Benjamin du Haÿs and Maxime de Nanclas. Both co-founders have tech backgrounds having previously worked in the payment and embedded systems industries. The Mobeewave team has expertise in a host of subjects including NFC technology, microelectronics, digital payment and mobile architecture and ecosystems.

How are you being financed?

Mobeewave closed its Series A round of investment – which was led by SBT Venture Capital – in February 2015. The company is currently in the process of finalizing its second round of funding. Mobeewave has also received support from Créativité Quebec and Investissement Quebec.

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

Developing a partnership with smartphone providers and gaining access to the security components on devices has taken time. But by working closely with them – as well as payment technology companies and financial institutions – we have gained valuable insight and support, along with the opportunity to carryout practical applications of our solution.

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

In addition to building a network of developers, the company participates in various startup meetups. By organizing such events at our offices and also gaining local press coverage, the company has been able to present what life is like at Mobeewave. The company also regularly attends jobs fairs, leverages developer platforms and engages recruitment agencies.

Who is your biggest competition?

As the only certified in-person payment service, Mobeewave’s patented technology doesn’t really have a direct competitor. With the potential to be used in both the P2P and micro-merchant space, Mobeewave can be both an alternative and a complement to services like PayPal, Venmo, Square and iZettle.

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

We’re working with acquirers, issuing banks, payment technology companies and smartphone manufacturers, particularly in mature contactless markets – such as Australia and Canada. Our aim is to continue to leverage our relationships with such organizations to make our technology available to both merchants and consumers. We plan to soon replicate this approach in expanding contactless markets like the US and the UK, as well as emerging markets – such as India.

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

We’ve learned that as we move towards a more cashless world, there’s a real need for a practical and secure digital alternative to in-person cash transactions. We’ve been encouraged to discover that not only do financial institutions and payment technology companies share this view, but it’s also something consumers and merchants realize too. We’ve also been pleased to find out that banks and smartphone manufacturers have a genuine willingness to collaborate with FinTech companies to offer the best innovations to their customers.

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