As they complete the program, the companies will be joining the AC's exclusive alumni network — representing the best-of-the-best in Canadian tech companies.
The Accelerator Centre is proud to see these three companies graduate and move on to their next phase of their entrepreneurial journey.
"Today, we're celebrating the incredible achievements of Extra Dimension Games, Cloud DX, and Emmetros as they graduate from The Accelerator Program. These three companies represent the important role and impact that innovators and entrepreneurs have in driving local economic growth. From incredible medical innovations that improve patient care to creative new ways to connect and entertain via mobile games, these new AC grads are making an impact and changing our everyday lives and we're proud to add them to our graduate wall." - Leanne Armstrong, Director of Programs and Client Experience
Cloud DX is a virtual care and digital medicine company that enables users to track their vital signs and have a consultation with a clinician anywhere, at any time. What sets Cloud DX apart from other virtual care companies is how they go about collecting vital signs from users.
Robert Kaul is a medtech innovator with a history of successfully introducing Canadian technologies to the US market. After becoming CEO of the innovative medical device company Biosign Technologies, Kaul leveraged his experience to acquire the medical device division of Biosign and became the cofounder of Cloud DX.
The digital health company was originally intended for people living with chronic illnesses like congestive heart failure or diabetes. But as COVID-19 swept across North America, Cloud DX’s purpose changed.
“Once the pandemic hit,” Kaul said, “it became important to help people who were no longer able to go see the doctor or go to the hospital because, of course, they were vulnerable, they were elderly, they were sick. Very quickly, we started getting calls and contacts from entire provinces and huge networks of hospitals saying they needed help monitoring patients at home and doing telemedicine visits.”
Cloud DX began helping folks who were both vulnerable to COVID-19 and also living with COVID at home. In 2020, their patient numbers increased by 700 per cent. They soon became a standard of care in Ontario.
Cloud DX joined the Accelerator Centre program prior to the pandemic and were also part of the AC’s Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator Program in 2019.
“It was really a fascinating experience. We got the chance to meet the mentors and we found out fairly quickly that our company was maybe further along than other Accelerator Centre startups; they were more in the seed stage … we had been in the market for a couple years,” Kaul explained.
The beauty of The Accelerator Program is its flexibility to meet startup founders where they are. Despite Cloud DX being further along in their journey than the typical AC client, the AC team were able to focus on their specific challenges.
"Our experience as part of the Accelerator Centre has been extraordinary. Our work with the mentors has had a huge impact on our growth in the last year. In particular, we'd like to thank Kevin Hood for guidance on our sales team evolution, Jackie Lauer who guided us to uncover and articulate our mission and values, and Ellyn Winters-Robinson whose efforts have resulted in some incredible PR for Cloud DX,” Kaul said.
This year, Cloud DX was recognized by Inc Magazine as one of North America’s top 5,000 fastest growing companies. They also just learned that they are finalists to accept an Edison Award this year.
To book-end the excitement around their graduation, Cloud DX also recently celebrated their listing on the Toronto Venture Stock Exchange becoming the first company ever to become publicly traded while in The Accelerator Program.
“We’re taking advantage of the growth in virtual care and telehealth like many companies we work with, and we’re becoming a public company, which is a very big deal,” Kaul said.
When Mary Pat Hinton was a young teen, her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was moved into a long-term care home, and for the last ten years of her life, she didn’t have many visitors. Hinton looks back at that time now, wishing her grandmother had a more compassionate and supportive experience in her final years.
This wish is what motivated Hinton to start a career in health tech. After working at BlackBerry for several years, Hinton wanted to use what she learned there to make a meaningful difference to the lives of people like her grandmother - people who deserved a compassionate and supportive end to their lives .
“The week after I left BlackBerry, I got some really good advice from the BBM product manager at the time. Don’t just take that next job; take the next 3 months to follow your curiosity,” Hinton said.
Hinton listened to that advice and spent the following months learning about the ways the healthcare system used technology to support people living with cognitive impairments caused by dementia. It was then that she decided to design a digital memory aid that would increase independence for people who were finding it increasingly difficult to recall important information during conversations.
This led Hinton to create Emmetros Limited, a person-centric technology business that aimed to transform the care experience for people who are aging and their families.
“What if we started with a narrow focus on what matters most – what if we focused all of our attention on the person who is increasingly requiring care, and we asked them these questions: “What actually matters most to you in a care experience?” and “What do you think you need?” Hinton said.
Emmetros’ first product was MemorySparx One, a B2C iOS tablet app built with the patient in mind. This app was for anybody who was starting to forget; it acted as a quick reference tool to provide confidence to those who felt nervous when speaking or answering questions.
For their next product, Hinton and her team incorporated the needs of family members and care providers into the story. This is how SparxConnect, their B2B product, came to be – an engagement and collaboration platform that empowers a diverse group of people to work together toward one common goal: an exceptional care experience for their patients and their families.
“It’s a diverse group of people all coming together to ensure that this one person has a good day,” Hinton said.
At the end of 2020, Emmetros announced an integration with PointClickCare, the leading cloud-based software vendor for the long-term and post-acute care market, and made the decision to turn their attention toward the patient engagement market, where they could use their platform to help hospital and surgery clinic patients have a positive and well-supported episode of care. Today, Emmetros has customers in the U.S. and Canada in home care, residential care, transitional care, and hospice care.
Emmetros has been an AC client since 2016. Hinton sought out the AC because she was looking for constructive, engaged, and personalized mentorship; she wanted to work with mentors who would point out the reasons that Emmetros might fail and not just celebrate their strengths.
“I’m not going to learn from somebody who doesn’t respect me enough to think I can’t handle difficult truths. I felt respected [at the AC]. I felt like they could meet me where I was at. I felt I had a team of experts behind me that I could reach out to anytime and that we could deep dive into subjects together,” Hinton said. “I felt like I had the capacity to do so much more and think so much bigger because I had a team [of mentors] that actually knew what my business was doing and was ready to mobilize and be put into action.”
Hinton said that as Emmetros evolved from a B2C to a B2B company, she felt supported through the building of every pillar of the business.
As Emmetros plans for their upcoming graduation, Hinton is optimistic for the future. Emmetros has recently acquired office space in the Medical Innovation Exchange, a health tech focused community that will help them in their next phase of business.
“Now, [we’re able to] amplify our potential by collaborating with other health tech companies in the community who have walked this path before us, and to offer our services and support to those who are following close behind us” Hinton said.
“From day one, I knew that the Accelerator Centre was the right fit for me and my team,” says HInton. As we evolved from a company that develops digital memory aids for people living with cognitive impairments into a company that provides software for care organizations that empower a range of teams across the full continuum of care, the AC mentors and staff have supported us through the building of every pillar of the business, all while cheering us on. Their ongoing support was critical to our success. We really couldn’t have done this without them – nor would we have wanted to. We are truly grateful.”
Sean Wylie-Toal, CEO and Co-Founder of Extra Dimension Games, has been playing video games for as long as he can remember.
“I never thought that I could get into games professionally – that always seemed like this impossible thing [as a kid],” he said.
Growing up in a small town, Sean taught himself how to code and found himself working in a small startup instead of going to university.
“I discovered that it was possible to make games and it was a ton of fun and it was really interesting,” he said.
In 2004, at only 22-years-old, Sean co-founded a studio in Charlottetown that was later sold to Electronic Arts in 2011. This studio developed The Simpsons: Tapped Out, which went on to be a very successful game. EA had a team in Kitchener where he worked closely with many talented engineers, two of which ended up being his co-founders at Extra Dimension Games.
In 2018, after working in a corporate environment for some time, Sean wanted to get back to making games.
“We founded Extra Dimension Games to really get back to shipping games to be able to do things more quickly,” he said. “Mobile games are alive. They move really quickly, so it’s important to build and ship just as fast.”
Sean explained that EDG’s main focus is to always create games with a player’s experience front of mind. EDG’s games are non combative, fun and light-hearted, while also using deep features to keep players engaged for longer.
EDG joined the Accelerator Centre Program in the Summer of 2019 with the aim of setting himself up for rapid success. Sean said he was interested in joining the program because he didn’t have a deep business network in Waterloo Region.
“I wanted someone to kick my butt and challenge assumptions, to tell me I was doing things wrong, to be able to [help me network], to be able to check my functions and [review] how a business should operate,” he said, “because I understood the market, product and players, but I was new to the business element. I wanted to make sure I was set up for success.”
Sean explained that he received really clear guidance in terms of finding product-market fit from the mentors. He also explained that he was probed to have a deeper understanding in terms of “why?” opposed to just “how?”.
“The Accelerator Center helped us refine our approach to building products through a better understanding of our audience, their needs and what we can deliver,” Sean said.
“With a broad network, they're able to pull in resources to help with any issue a company may face, which is invaluable to startups looking to grow. Our company would be in a different place had we not joined the Program.”
As Extra Dimension Games plans for their graduation from the Program, Sean is optimistic about what will come next for his company. He hopes to grow his staff and continue to learn about his target audience by measuring success and failures. They are currently working on a new game that he feels is very stream-lined and will hopefully provide insights about their audience as they move forward to build more games for the everyday mobile player. Anyone with a passion for mobile games should get in touch to talk about how they can help build great new products with EDG.
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