Helping Tech Companies Grow And Scale: Look To Ontario’s Regional Innovation Centres

The Sky Guys, an Ontario business, received a lot of its help from regional innovation centres. RICs are becoming a resourceful outlets to help grow local businesses.

When Canadian tech companies scale up, the challenges they face can seem sky high.

They must make sure there’s a big enough market for their idea, find those customers, recruit skilled employees, and raise enough money to fund growth of the business. Many would benefit from the advice of experienced entrepreneurs to help navigate these issues and accelerate growth.

That’s where business accelerators like Haltech Regional Innovation Centre comes in. A non-profit member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) organization and funded by the Ontario government, Haltech is one of 18 regional innovation centres across the province. With a new main office at TechPlace in Burlington and a community office at the Milton Innovation Centre, Haltech works with tech companies in Halton Region and across the GTA who are looking to accelerate innovation and grow their business.

Regional innovation centres (RICs)

Haltech offers a number of free services to companies that qualify. Its services include advising on raising capital, funding grants, sales and marketing to hiring skilled talent, market research, and business mentorship. In the past five years, Haltech has supported over 700 tech companies, as well as organized pitch exhibitions, networking events, and many learning workshops for entrepreneurs.

“Haltech also helps companies access much-needed early-stage funding from government funding grants, angels, and VC investment,” says Haltech President and CEO Rina Carlini.

The Haltech team includes five entrepreneurs-in-residence and many volunteer startup mentors, all of whom are experienced entrepreneurs or business executives at other tech companies. The team is supporting a portfolio of 120+ tech companies, which are mainly startups and growth companies who are ready to scale.

“In the past year alone, our portfolio companies have secured over $750,000 in government grants and over $6 million dollars in private sector investment,” says Carlini, adding that their growth helped create 110 new jobs.

Helping companies get off the ground

When The Sky Guys was introduced to Haltech, the Oakville-based drone technology company had 10 employees. The Sky Guys has since doubled that number, and anticipates re-doubling it again by the end of 2017, according to the company’s President and CEO, Adam Sax.

The company deploys state-of-the-art drone technology to capture data and solve problems for their clients, from photos and video used in real estate marketing to unmanned inspection of assets like flare stacks, pipelines and cell towers, to creating fully 3D models of land and infrastructure used for surveying.

Since being founded in early 2015, The Sky Guys has grown nationally and abroad, serving over 600 clients such as General Motors, Samsung, Shell, CBRE, Canada Post, Nike, and Sportsnet.

The Sky Guys’ research and development arm, Defiant Labs, is working on an unmanned aerial vehicle they’re calling the DX-3, which can potentially fly its sensors and high-resolution cameras over a range of 1,800 kilometres and use artificial intelligence to produce real-time analytics. The DX-3 will take off vertically — no need for a runway.

Today, The Sky Guys sends out drones that cover 70 percent of the GTA’s real estate developments. Not bad for a company with its origins, like so many tech startups, in the founder’s apartment.

Haltech’s free advisory support — in particular, advocating The Sky Guys to investors, industry collaborators, government funding agencies, and national innovation awards — has been instrumental in growing the company, according to Sax.

“It’s been like having a sales force working for us with no strings attached,” he says. Haltech helped The Sky Guys obtain millions of dollars in external funding and offered thousands of dollars of free market research, as well as online exposure and introductions to prospective business partners and investors. With Haltech’s help, The Sky Guys was able to capitalize on a “first mover advantage,” and now the majority of drones flying overhead in Canada were sent into the air by The Sky Guys..

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On April 12, 2017 one of Haltech’s newest clients Dr. Sonny Kohli and his team at Cloud DX were honored as XPRIZE’s first Bold Epic Innovator, in recognition of exponential technological progress in the field of consumer-focused medical technologies, and potential for expanding access to healthcare when deployed at scale.

The team is a tight-knit group of programmers, software architects and bio¬medical engineers, backed by the savvy leadership of highly experienced entrepreneurs. After being selected as Top 10 finalists, the original 4-person startup expanded their team, developed key partnerships, and went to work designing every part of their Vitaliti Tricorder from scratch. While their ambitious approach ultimately fell short of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE criteria and timeline, their efforts have been remarkable. Since 2014 the team has raised $7.5 million and grown to a staff of 24, with 2 licensed patents, 3 patents-pending, 3 innovation awards and at least 4 incredible commercial products launched or coming soon.


VITALITI – the Cloud DX entry in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE – consists of four interdependent wireless devices connecting to an advanced mobile app running on a smartphone:

  • Wearable Continuous Vital Sign Monitor
  • Wireless Spirotoscope™ – combo otoscopic camera & spirometer
  • In Vitro Diagnostic System, including Nobel-prize winning GMR tech
  • Pulsewave® Health Station and tablet/smartphone dock

Vitaliti gathers multiple raw ECG, PPG, temperature and accelerometer signals from the body with high reliability. It continuously monitors all the main vital signs – continuous non-invasive blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, ECG, blood oxygen saturation and core body temperature – in real time, but it’s so comfortable to wear that you can sleep with it on. Clever hot-swappable battery technology permits continuous monitoring 24 hrs a day. The IVD platform includes Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR) “lab-on-a-chip” technology developed in partnership with the Stanford Center for Magnetic Nanotechnology, a Distinguished Award winner in the Nokia Sensor XChallenge.  GMR can run simultaneous tests on any fluid sample at 10x higher resolution than standard tests.


Dr. Sandeep (Sonny) Kohli is an attending Physician in Internal Medicine & Critical Care at a hospital in Ontario, Canada and Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) of Medicine at McMaster University. He is also the Medical Director of Advanced Cardiac Life Support education at the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences, and Chairman of Triomi Medical Innovations Inc. He is a former CSA Astronaut candidate and passionate medical volunteer in low-income nations and disaster zones.


Sonny Kohli
Robert Kaul
Anthony Kaul
Sara Ross-Howe
Melissa Perri
Justin Pedro
Mike Henhoeffer
Josh Haid
Terence Chen
Sarah Pearce
Natalie Chan
Evan Galasso
Cara MacDonald
Dejan Kocetkov
Shan Wang
Tyler O’Brien Shultz
Elaine Ng
Bryce Yao


Stanford Center for Magnetic Nanotechnology
Cortex Design Inc.
Pivot Design Group
Healthcare Human Factors
S.T.A.R Analytical Services
PortaScience Inc.
Symbient Product Development


Learn more about: Cloud DX

Original Article by: XPRIZE

Cellbie Wins Top Prize at Mobile Carriers Show Start-up Showcase

Mobile Carriers Show, Las Vegas, April 7, 2017 – Competitive Carriers Association’s (CCA) Mobile Carriers Show (MCS) today announced Cellbie as the winner of its start-up showcase competition. Seven companies participated in the showcase session – pitching their products and services to competitive carrier executives, technology leaders and MCS attendees. MCS takes place April 5-7 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Cellbie provides a trade-in software platform that enables buying and selling of used smartphones, allowing mobile retailers to offer top pricing from a live marketplace.

“We’ve seen an enormous amount of creativity and innovation in the mobile industry,” said Steven K. Berry, president and CEO of CCA, “and today’s pitch competition showed that the future is bright for competitive carriers. Congratulations to all of our participants, and to Cellbie, who are among the innovators continuing to drive our industry forward.”

Cellbie will receive a prize package that includes mentoring and marketing opportunities including:

  • The opportunity to host a webinar for CCA members
  • Banner advertising on CCA’s main and event websites
  • Five hours of public relations and marketing strategy consulting from CCA’s PR partner, Media Strategies, Inc.
  • One contributed article, published in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of The CCA Voice
  • Mentoring from CCA’s Director of Industry Development, Kim Caronchi

All of the showcase participants exhibited in the Start-Up Pavilion on the MCS 2017 exhibit floor. Participants span numerous markets – from retail solutions, to security, bandwidth management, and business services. They include:

  • #250 America’s Mobile Speed Dial – allows consumers to simply dial #250 and say a keyword to connect to a specific business via an inbound phone call;
  • Airfind – curates and personalizes experiences for users on mobile devices, letting customers customize and brand search functionality, homepages, and more.
  • APVAS – delivers a cloud-based platform that enables mobile service operators to offer personalized products and services to their subscribers;
  • CyberReef Solutions -offersa network-based applications service provider that delivers subscription based services, including: bandwidth management; children’s Internet protection filtering; and private networking solutions that enable businesses to deploy private networks in 2-3 days;
  • FreeMo, Inc. – delivers an Android lock screen platform that competitive carriers can leverage to generate additional revenue and allow users to earn discounted cellular service;
  • QUEUEALL – provides a cloud-based virtual line management system that lets consumers reserve a virtual place in line when they arrive at a retail store or kiosk;
  • Trinity Mobile Application Technologies Inc. – allows a subscriber to use multiple telephone numbers on a single mobile device, without the use of VoIP, data or a Wi-Fi connection.

About CCA
CCA is the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers and stakeholders across the United States. The licensed service area of CCA’s nearly 100 carrier members covers 95 percent of the nation. Visit

Original Post by: Mobile Carriers Show

ClubRunner – Unlike Any Membership Solution You’ve Seen Before

ClubRunner w/ Javelin Technologies Inc. at the PROFIT 500 Awards Celebration

ClubRunner is a complete software suite designed to enable clubs and associations to automate membership management, streamline communication and boost public relations with an intuitive cloud-based platform. ClubRunner is in use by 5,000 customers worldwide in multiple languages, and has gained traction within volunteer based organizations that are looking for out-of-the-box functionality that is flexible enough to scale to their needs.

Recognized for its performance, ClubRunner was a 2015 top finalist for the Microsoft Partner Hosted Cloud Innovations awards, and more recently made the Profit 500 list of Canada’s fastest growing companies. Today, ClubRunner plans to evolve and expand into new industries and verticals with its enterprise-grade technology and experience.

To learn more about Haltech’s high-growth startups, attend our upcoming Hi5 Startup Source at Javelin Technologies Inc. on November 15th

For additional information, click here or contact



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