Tag Archives: startup

American Startup BusPatrol is Hiring 150 in Montreal

BusPatrol, is being led by a Quebec born Jean Souliere who is a CEO,  is looking forward to hiring in Montreal due to its advancement in artificial technology.

BusPatrol is a safety technology company that develops partnerships, educates communities, and deploy Smart Bus technology.

Not only are we creating 150 jobs for ourselves, but we are bringing all of our North American manufacturing to Montreal. Quebec is where the dream started, and we’d like to bring some of our success up here.

Montreal has a good population of artificial intelligence developers, and we want to develop a strong presence here. We’re looking to show how AI can be used for public safety.


Jean Souliere, As Quoted to Montreal Gazette

CEO BusPatrol

The company makes school buses safer by installing cameras and checking for dangerous driving such as illegal passing.

The company launched in 2017 and its big break was when they made a deal with Montgomery County Maryland to equip their 1,400 school buses with their technology to issue automatic tickets.

BusPatrol says that they have won a contract in New York and has potential to win a contract in Ontario following a recent law that will allow automatic fines due to recorded video.

If you are looking for a tech job in Montreal , you should apply now as they are hiring.

Calgary Startup NiDUm Making TrainIng A Breeze

NIDUM is led by Venezuelan-born, Canadian serial entrepreneur and restaurateur Jose M. Azares. Jose is reimagining the future of how businesses tackle their HR training processes by combining virtual technology with immersive learning and colliding them with an evolving multi-sided platform.

Jose found that a solution was needed, particularly in the hospitality industry, for outdated HR practices and training pain points that can make a business inefficient and training ineffective. This type of training using virtual reality as a medium hasn’t been owned by anyone in the tech or HR industry across North America. And the augmented training module program by NIDUM can be applied to any industry, on any scale. 

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

Jose is the founder of NIDUM, and he created the company based on his own need as a restauranteur (with no industry experience). Prior to opening his restaurant, he developed his first startup company Rigware, a construction management IT startup that concentrates in the execution, pre-commissioning and turnover phases of oil and gas projects. He is the primary team member with technology experience. 

The company’s tech leader, Nirali Shah, is the primary lead to develop the platform and training modules. From simplifying user experience to integrating virtual reality, to developing our clients’ training content, she has brought the vision of the product together. With more than 15+ years of experience, she is the lead developer and VR technologist.

How are you being financed? 

Since inception last year, Jose has been bootstrapping the creation of NIDUM its first version of the product. He has been personally funding all aspects of the business, from hiring contractors to employees, to marketing to business operations. As of June 1, NIDUM has entered its earliest stage of funding, the seed round, using a crowdfunding campaign on Canadian platform FrontFundr.com. 

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

Now, the immediate obstacle to overcome is the seed round. Normally early-stage funding for tech companies is extremely hard in normal conditions since they need to prove somehow they have mitigated all the associated risks with launching such a business. Now, with existing market dynamics is making it even more complicated. 

The next issue to overcome after raising the seed round will be to streamline the product development process as NIDUM reaches its  Product Market Fit inflection point, but by picking the right investors, it could be able to leapfrog some of the issues associated with such a complex process.

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

First, it’s important to have a good culture in the company, a culture that thrives with innovation, creativity, freedom, transparency, honesty, and diversity.

In specific with developers, NIDUM partnered with local development schools such as Lighthouse labs that work closely with eager students wanting to upgrade their skills and learn new technologies. The startup is working with an emerging technology Virtual Reality (VR) which makes the company a little more desirable than just coding.

Don’t rush things, it’s not a sprint, it’s a triathlon! Pick your battles, be aware, let it flow, and trust the process!

Jose M. Azares

Canadian serial entrepreneur and restaurateur, Nidum

Who is your biggest competition? 

Competition always comes in layers, not only from one facet, in NIDUM’s case. The competition includes virtual reality consultancy firms that offer eLearning and HRTech platforms, but shockingly the largest competitor is the status quo practices – one-on-one and group training sessions, paper manuals, and/or peer training.

The company occupies a unique market space within the training sector due to its hybrid model. The combination of immersive technologies, eLearning, analytics, and application integrations are part of the proprietary multi-sided platform.

Though someone could try to copy the company’s technological approach, what separates NIDUM is its social impact values – ensuring inclusion is a defacto business practice.

NIDUM’s social impact focus is to democratize employment opportunities, giving people from vulnerable communities (mental or physically challenged, people of color, refugees, immigrants, indigenous, low-income, homeless) to have access to training material that: A) reduces learning barriers B) enables them to have confidence and understanding when applying or training for work. C) Provides employers with data information about new recruits and/or  employee engagement using each training module. 

For the last proof point, being able to track new recruit engagement is the most beneficial because the training modules can be sent to a prospective employee, and thi eliminates the potential for stereotyping a future employee – solely basing their eligibility on their willingness to participate, learn, and train.

From there, turning over data and training modules is not a common practice for profit to non-profit within HR, and NIDUM sees it as an opportunity to provide further resources to equip agencies who help those from vulnerable communities enter the workforce.

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

From Jose: “EASY…. by not thinking about that. Creating a company with exponential growth has nothing to do with ” million dollars in revenues”, but with focusing on creating a product that genuinely brings added value to your customers. Startups need to concentrate on understanding their early adopters, behavior, interaction with the product, so you can sustainably keep bringing added value and create a scalable product that all audiences could use!

You can’t create a scalable product unless you truly understand your clients, mission, and values!

Focusing on the ” million dollars in revenues” question it’s something called the Shiny Object Syndrome. You must concentrate on your product, clients, and employee, and mission – and exponential revenues will come as a by-product.”

Currently NIDUM operates in the Canadian market (primarily in Alberta), but also has international client Noble House Hotels based out of the U.S. Long-term goals would be to be in major North America markets. 

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

From Jose: “Don’t rush things, it’s not a sprint, it’s a triathlon! Pick your battles, be aware, let it flow, and trust the process!”

Amazing story of a Venezuelan coming and contributing to Canadian economy. How did end up in Canada?

For Jose, he immigrated to Canada after he graduated with his civil engineering degree in Venezuela and decided to go to Concordia University in Montreal for his Masters in Engineering and Construction Management. Right after graduating with his Masters, he was hired by Suncor Energy, and worked for five years as capital growth project manager.

However, being an entrepreneur is in his blood so he really wanted to dive into a startup. He loves to be more versatile and entrepreneurship provides that opportunity, to jump industries and find solutions for existing barriers.

His first startup, Rigware was created after Suncor. He had decided to go to McGill for his MBA, but as fate had it, he decided to partner with a friend in the program and they dropped out to create the SAS software, which was sold to ATCO after they realized it was no longer scalable.

He decided to finish his MBA in 2014 in Austin, Texas, an incredible entrepreneurial hub, and during that time, he came across this unique burger called HopDoddy. Visiting it every weekend, friends encouraged Jose to bring the concept back to Canada as his next entreprenuerial venture as he didn’t want to be in tech or oil and gas.

With a gap in the marketplace, Jose identified the need for a boutique burger bar in Calgary, that was not only innovative with its food and milkshakes, but with a quirky and fun brand that hadn’t been seen in the city. Without any industry experience, he quickly moved and learned how to create the next niche thing in the city and opened RE:GRUB! The restaurant’s focus on inclusivity and hiring employees with disabilities or marginalized backgrounds created not only an opportunity for social impact with the brand, but has raised awareness for the need in employment democratization in the workforce.

Toronto Startup Tazwiz Helps with Local Hiring

Tazwiz is a personal assistant for Startups, Entrepreneurs and SME to ease daily operations. On the platform, post a task that you need help with, set your budget and requirements. Tazwiz will take care of the rest from connecting you to local students and taskers to handling the payments.

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

Tazwiz was started by Parth Patel while pursuing his computer engineering degree. With many successes and failures in his past startups, Parth never gave up the entrepreneurial dream. When it came to Tazwiz, Parth risked it all and dropped out of college to pursue his passion full-time.

How are you being financed? 

Tazwiz was able to secure an angel investment early on to bring the MVP to life, and recently secured a seed round from a Houston based VC to help Tazwiz expand across Canada and into other parts of the world.

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

The biggest problem to overcome for any market place is the classic chicken and egg problem. In other words balancing supply and demand. We are growing daily and need to make sure that we have enough taskers (students/professionals) on the site to match the requests of customers. 

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

When building a good product with a strong vision, you’ll attract developers from where you least expect it. For instance Parth and Orlandson (now Co-Founder and CTO of Tazwiz) had met each other in a summer marketing class. Of course, the rest is history. 

Who is your biggest competition? 

Upwork is our biggest competitor, but unlike them, Tazwiz has uniquely focused on providing our customers with local support of young talented students. We want to corner the niche market of student and freelance employment which is growing by leaps and bounds in this uncertain job economy. Also, there are tasks that people just don’t want to do or would rather pay someone else to do, we offer that service. 

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

To reach a million dollars in revenue, our main focus has been in providing value at a community level by collaborating with incubators and government agencies. One of Tazwiz’s core values is that by working together as one, no challenge can be unsolved. 

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

Investing in a team that has genuine care for your product is the biggest asset for any startup. Throughout the journey, you will be faced with a lot of hurdles but when you have a team that cares, they will sacrifice without you asking; work hard without you asking; and dig deeper without you asking. 

Covid19 / Coronavirus Resources

We had a pretty rough month. Being home isolated – especially if you have recently been laid off or lost some revenue and have to take care of kids staying home from school is not easy. We have decided to compile some help that is available to help you through this crisis. 

  • Wage subsidy:75% wage subsidy for businesses with revenue decreases of 15% or more, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The subsidy will apply on the first $58,700 of annual salary, or $847/week.
  • Emergency benefit: Taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to workers who must stop working or working 10 hours or less a week due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave, those who are sick with COVID-19, those taking care of a sick family member, and self-employed individuals, including contract workers.
  • Interest-free loans: Up to $40,000 in interest-free loans to small businesses and not-for-profit companies.
  • Defer tax filing: Businesses can defer the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. The government will defer GST, HST, and customs duties until June 30, 2020.
  • Small Business Loans: BDC’s Small Business Loan Up to $100,000 Are you eligible? Canadian-based business Generating revenues for at least 24 months Good credit history You’ve reached the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
  • Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support
  • Facebook will give $100M to small businesses (make sure to register)
  • Google Ads Will Give $340m Credit for SMBs

working from home articles

and if you are like us working home with kids 

Toronto’s Startup Oncoustics Simplifies Liver Disease Diagnostics

We have sat down with Ahmed El Kaffas, Co-Founder at Oncoustics, to talk about his Toronto’s startup. The company helps with early diagnosis when it comes to liver disease without invasive biopsies or expensive imaging.

Oncoustics is changing that with AI diagnostics for inexpensive, pocket-sized, point-of-care ultrasound, which is not ordinarily capable of high-resolution diagnostic imaging.

They do this by mining unique raw data streams for subtle signatures of disease, which is beyond perception with conventional methods.

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

The Founder: Dr. Ahmed El Kaffas is an Instructor at Stanford University in Radiology researching ultrasound tissue characterization. Dr. El Kaffas graduated from the University of Toronto’s prestigious Sunnybrook Research Institute where world-renowned ultrasound and medical imaging research is conducted.

CEO on founding team: Dr. Michael Weil is an MD in Radiation Oncology and has led several innovative technological developments from concept to market, including products that he has fully licensed to Siemens. He also founded Sirius Medical and has 15+ years in imaging technologies.

Business lead on founding team: Beth Rogozinski is a serial entrepreneur at the cross-bridge of tech and medicine.  She has served as CEO of Signal 2 Health and CPO of Pear Therapeutics. He work has produced >30 apps and > 12 for healthcare w/ 2 FDA approvals.

Oncoustics is a multi-disciplinary international team of radiologists, hepatologists, engineers, physicists, AI/ML and business experts, with international data collection and collaborations with Stanford and University of Toronto; total of ~13 employees.

How are you being financed?

Seed Angel Consortium through the Creative Destruction Lab (Toronto) and non-dilutive funds from Grand Challenges Canada, OCE and others. 

Building a start up is a lot of work, and as a founder, you are involved in everything from hiring, finding talent to tech dev, business pitches and strategies.

It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of work and many don’t realize that still… failures happen, and one needs to move on after learning the lesson – things never run smoothly.


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

Our initial obstacle was to set up a global network of clinics to acquire data to train on – this is because the data Oncoustics uses is unique and not conventionally stored on any ultrasound system or hospital repository (PACS). Oncoustics has spent the last year addressing this issue, and now have a steady stream of data flowing into our cloud system, and have started building AI on these.

The next major challenge will be a business one, that is to ensure that Oncoustics can have our product as part of the healthcare buying lifecycle – this is not a major challenge due to our software-based solution which taps on to already available hardware systems in the clinics. 

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

I tend to have a lot of faith in new grads that are passionate about tech and develop, and i’ve found that they are often deeply committed and have quick insight about the product once a training phase of 2-4 months passes; having them take ownership of the work and play a crucial role in the company also ensures that they are part of a founding team in start up like ours.

The GTA is full of excellent tech workers that have proven themselves over and over. I am also linked to Egypt, and often visit – Oncoustics has found an excellent network of developers there deeply passionate about the start up scene. As such, Oncoustics has been fortunate to run our business across several continents and to tap into an incredible network of talent in tech.

Who is your biggest competition?

Due to the nature of our business, Oncoustics does not have any direct completion. That said, Oncoustics has other players that are in parallel spaces; essentially other AI in medical imaging companies.

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

  • Introducing  low-cost liver disease surveillance and diagnostics with ultrasound; the alternative is i) invasive biopsies, or ii) imaging systems that cost > $150k-$1M.
  • Using a data-driven solution to enable low cost (< $5k) point-of-care ultrasound systems conventionally designed for guiding a procedure in the emergency room, now transformed to equivalent  systems to those in a radiology department.

As death and morbidity rates from liver disease rise around the world, there is a growing need for low cost and widely available surveillance and diagnostics.  Oncoustics provides just such a system that is an alternative to both invasive and expensive biopsies and high end imaging systems that cost > $150k-$1M. Our data-driven solution enables low cost (< $5k) point-of-care ultrasound systems to be used as diagnostic systems and accelerates the procedure from hours to minutes.  Via this system, more patients everywhere can have faster access to better diagnostics, surveillance and treatment than currently exists.

Revenue will come from:

  • Partnering with clinical centers,
  • Distribution through a Saas Model with PoC ultrasound OEMs
  • Partnerships with Pharmas to train our data for specific indications (i.e. companion device)

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

Building a start up is a lot of work, and as a founder, you are involved in everything from hiring, finding talent to tech dev, business pitches and strategies. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of work and many don’t realize that still… failures happen, and one needs to move on after learning the lesson – things never run smoothly.

As a company, Oncoustics had to do several pivots to iterate how Oncoustics introduce our tech and idea into the market, and that on it’s own took a significant amount of time and several years of development, talking to MDs, OEMs and understanding the real problems in the space Oncoustics is trying to tackle.

Quebec City’s MyCustomizer is Making it easier to Shop

We have sat down with Renaud Teasdale Co-Founder and CEO of startup MyCustomizer to ask him about his Quebec City’s company and the success he had with it.

Summarize your company in an elevator pitch.

MyCustomizer empowers brands to engage customers in outstanding design-your-own experiences with a powerful online platform.

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

Renaud Teasdale co-founded the company with Simon Vallières and Thierry Proulx. Renaud is a designer who worked for Warrior (New Balance) while Simon and Thierry are full stack developers. After witnessing the emergence of mass customization, they decided to build a software platform allowing any brand to sell customizable products online. A few years later, Malo Guertin, a skilled software engineer joined us as in intern and now leads our development team.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Being persistent is key.


Renaud Teasdale

Co-Founder and CEO MyCustomizer

How are you being financed?

We raised a micro-seed round back in 2012 with Founderfuel and BDC and pretty much bootstrapped our way to profitability. We now have a solid client base from startups to large companies such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Suunto.

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

We are launching MyCustomizer 2.0 a fully self-serve solution on the Shopify App Store in the next few weeks and our goal from there will be to scale exponentially. It’s going to be a big challenge to handle the growth while keeping an excellent service. We want to make sure our clients succeed. If they win, we win.

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

We have success with internships and word of mouth.  Having a great work environment (flexible schedule and vacations, work from home) where people want to show up on Monday mornings also helps!

Who is your biggest competition?

An agency like Fluid has a large chunk of the high end market. Our model is different because we are purely a software-as-a-service play. We are more like Shopify for customization.

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

Mass customization and ecommerce in general are definitely growing trends. We are building the best platform to sell custom products online. This is a huge market across all verticals from sporting goods to food. Studies have shown that 25-30% of online shoppers are interested to try customization. If 25% of online sales of footwear are customized, that equate to a market of 2 Billion per year.

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

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Being persistent is key. Back in 2012, all the investors were telling us that this was a niche market. It is now very clear that this is a huge opportunity. The world is moving towards production on-demand at light speed.

Toronto Travel Startup SnapTravel Snaps $13.2m Additional Investment

Snaptravel , Toronto Travel startup, is super cool to use as you can just your Facebook messenger to talk to their smart AI enabled bot to secure the best deals on hotel websites around the world.

So it comes no surprise that they secured additional $13.2m on top of existing $8m to raise capital all the way $21.2m.

Even famous NBA star player Stephen Curry who plays for Golden State Warrior has decided to invest in the Toronto startup.

Snaptravel Co-founder and CEO Hussein Fazal said:

“Online hotel booking is an incredibly transactional and noisy process, where pop-ups and expiring offers inundate consumers. We are reimagining this experience – making booking hotels feel as natural and personal as talking to a friend. Beyond travel, we’re at the start of a shift in which consumers no longer shop on individual websites or apps, but entirely via conversations with brands.”

Not surprisingly customers have used their app to book over 350,000 nights at 35,000 different hotels across 5,800 cities.

Congrats Snaptravel – thanks for making Toronto great place to do business for startups. Sweet Travels.