Archive for the ‘Profiles’ Category

How Vubble Got Its Groove

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Entrepreneurs Tessa Sproule and Katie MacGuire have different backgrounds: Sproule the daughter of a professor and a Canadian country music DJ and MacGuire from Alabama, inspired by the social justice of minister Martin Luther King. The two met while working at the CBC in Toronto, sharing a passion for storytelling and alternative ways to engage audiences. Today, the duo run Vubble, a video content marketing company that helps brands build audiences on digital platforms. Below is an interview with the Vubble cofounders on the scary world of building a startup, and advice for others:

What sequence of events brought you to this stage of co-founding a start-up?

Tessa Sproule: I got my first job at CBC, and was there for almost 20 years. I saw the Internet come in; this new medium that I felt was going to help some of the stuff I felt uncomfortable with around media — that it was just washing over people. I wanted to balance what storytellers do best with the needs of a highly engaged citizenry and a public that understands the world around them in a deep and meaningful way. In August 2014, I left CBC to pursue this objective of getting the smartest, highest quality content in front of the audience that needs to see it.

Katie MacGuire: I left Alabama and did a degree in political philosophy and religious studies at McGill in Montreal. After McGill, I ended up in Toronto at the CBC, with the new media department. It was a great fit because I like experiential learning. I met Tessa at the CBC, and she spoke highly of the Canadian Film Centre, so I went there for a while to learn what I could from them. I bumped around and ended up at CBC TV, made some great documentaries there, and then ended up moving to CBC Radio, with the program As it Happens, which I loved. I then started to transition out to a company called Baby Center, that I was using as a resource at the time because I was pregnant and having my babies. Their whole mission is to make moms feel empowered to make intelligent decisions on their own. I outgrew it, both professionally and personally, and started to look outwards and really feel like we as a society were flooded with media that was unvetted and unsound and just noise. I wanted to continue to battle that out in the broader world.

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How did you two connect around the idea for Vubble?

KM: I wanted to start a business. I lived in Waterloo and wanted to plug into the innovative part of the economy. I went in to talk to Tessa (who was still at the CBC) about this idea for a self-awareness app. I described the app, and Tessa, who is more self-aware than I am, said “Why would somebody need that?” Tessa said she was also thinking about an idea. I told her she had to leave the CBC and just start.

TS: At that time, it was like a breath of fresh air to hear from Katie. It felt like a huge heavy knock at my door. While I was at the CBC, I was pushing hard for us to reimagine our digital presence away from a marketing machine pushing to a different medium. A lot of the impetus was around we just need to suck the most we could about what we were already creating rather than dedicating resources to creating content for digital specifically.

One weekend, I was sitting in my office, working on a presentation to help navigate through the great pressure on a legacy media organization, when I saw on twitter that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had died. There was nothing on Newsworld, for almost 20 minutes. Meanwhile, not even 20 seconds later, George Stroumboulopoulos tweeted about his interview about Hoffman. That is powerful, the role of a public institution like the CBC is to really direct attention at the moment in time to the best content that is available. I started to think about why does it have to be about something we made? This is about the public discourse, can’t we come up with a different way of pushing out content, more like a feed? I just realized that given the pressures on the organization, it couldn’t happen at the CBC at that time. I felt like it was the time for me to make a move.

What were your first steps into the startup world?

TS: We did all the pre-reading, all the boring stuff that had to be done, getting incorporate, researching shareholder agreements and that kind of stuff. I’m always so flighty and up in the air, and Katie is so grounded and she made us get all our ducks in a row right from the start. That’s why we’re such a great ying and yang, because she’s able to force that to happen and then we just picked little pieces to knock off first.

KM: We had to spend some time figuring ourselves out, learning what each other’s strengths were. We created an advisory group of people who had expertise in areas that we didn’t understand, so, for example, a guy who runs an algorithm company in Waterloo, because we knew we would need knowledge of that.

TS: It’s kind of ideal that we’re mid-career because we both have very strong networks to count on and pull from.

KM: We had one really core meeting about five months into our partnership, where we had been building all this stuff privately, and there was an app developer that we wanted to work with. He called us and said “Make everything public, right now.”

TS: “Just put it out there!”

KM: I think that was really the launch. That was a huge moment for us.

TS: There’s been a lot of those moments of intense clarity over the last two years.

KM: And just following that advice, of developing and adapting in public, and doing it live, we had 450,000 people on our site in a month.

TS: And crashed our site!

KM: But it was proof that people were interested, and it brought us to where we have been since, which is rapidly experimenting with what else could work besides just selling ads on something and how to build up an audience. We don’t just want to be a news service, and we came to that understanding by launching and learning from that process.

How has being a founder of a startup changed your life?

KM: It has been a deeply engaging, energizing and fantastic place for me to have my own thing. It’s not about me as a mother and a partner, it’s been about me as a business person. It’s been incredibly invigorating. I love it, I feel like I have a lot to say, I’m proud of where I am in my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing.


TS: It feels like the most natural thing I’ve ever done in the world (other than having babies!) I do have young kids, and there is some flexibility, we work out of our homes, so I love that. I would say, and I’m sure my husband would agree, it must be hard on our partners for us to be working all the time. He and I both see the light at the end of the tunnel for this, we know it will get better. I think being married to an entrepreneur is not the easiest life. There’s flexibility but also unpredictability.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

KM: Don’t jump off the cliff!

TS: Build a staircase!

KM: Find a safe way that is not going to kill you, cover your finances, learn new skills, network with people. I don’t buy the myth of “I’m leaving everything, so here I go!” A lot of people in the startup world work part-time and I think that is a great approach. It allows you to be calm financially, but have the flexibility to be creative. Don’t jump! Plan and rappel down the cliff.

TS: Rock climb with some guides! You wouldn’t leave if you knew it would be this hard and take this long. Katie is practical, and she tempers expectations, and that is important as well. What’s amazing is that so many people will reach out to help you. People you don’t even know, strangers you meet in a session, everyone offers to help.

KM: Two other pieces of advice from me – the research shows that it takes at least three years to be in the black. That’s a long time. It’s not three months, and anyone that tells you that it just takes three months spent six years before those three months building to this point. The other thing is that you really need to identify the things that you don’t know and bring in those people. It could be advisory, consulting, a day camp.

Where will you be in 10 years?

KM: I see running Vubble, it’s been a fantastic success and we’re continuing to make fantastic new products and that the learning curve that never stops.

TS: All of that, yes! We will both have teenagers, so we’ll be in a different place, and Vubble will be totally different. I don’t know what that will look like but I know I want to feel that we are building out a company further to help serve people and make the world better. If you’re not waking up in the morning to do that, if you’re not guided by that motivation, then what are we doing?

KM: And I want to have made a lot of money!

TS: She’s practical like that!

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Ideal Has a Solution for Hours Wasted on Sales Recruitment

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

That friendly email in your inbox inviting you to interview for the highly-contested sales position you applied for may not have been written by a recruiter. Same for the text message to follow up if you forgot to respond.

It’s all part of a recruitment platform from Toronto startup, which uses algorithms, artificial intelligence, and IBM Watson in an attempt to relieve the recruiters’ burden from matching and contacting candidates.

Ideal is co-founders’ Shaun Ricci and Somen Mondal’s second startup. The first was Field ID, a safety compliance management firm. As the sales team grew, explains Ricci, they noticed inefficiencies with the way they were hiring.

“We looked at all the pieces of our business–the sales, the development, everything was very data-driven, very metrics-heavy, except when it came to recruiting,” says Ricci.

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They often found themselves hiring people who would not last more than six months. “We ended up with a lot of people that we liked, personally, but who weren’t necessarily a fit for the role.”

Ideal was later born out of a need to solve the problem of wasted time while recruiting for sales staff – both by automating the mechanics of the recruitment process and by using surveys and cognitive technology to assist matching.

When Ideal sets up an automated sales recruitment system for a company, they build a benchmark of what works – the values that team holds, such as integrity or leadership – as well as detail the company’s perks, such as flexible working.


On the other side, sales professionals signing up for the platform are asked their priorities. “Some people want to work from home,” says Ricci. “Some people want free espresso. There are pretty different attitudes towards culture.”

The data is then processed and matched in an algorithm, and recruiters are given a list of top candidates on the Ideal platform to choose from. The software e-mails and texts the chosen candidates; if there is no response, the recruiter is notified.

Job descriptions and resumes are all broadly similar in structure, which means the content can be brought out, organized, and interpreted.

“A boring job description is pretty data rich,” says Ricci.

Watson can compare how close the resume is to the job description, more quickly and with far more granularity than a human.

Better Decisions

“We can process a lot more efficiently. Our goal at the end of the day is to make better decisions when screening acquisitions, so the people who do talent acquisition can spend more time on high-value tasks, such as interviewing,” Ricci adds. has raised $2.5 million in funding, from a combination of angel investors and self-funding from the sale of the founders’ first startup to Master Lock in 2012. Customers include Context Media and Top Hat.

As for the future, Ideal is looking at increasing their scope beyond sales to other professions, and opening direct use of their platform to their customers. As for more potential use of the Watson technology Ideal is considering is considering using the voice services on phone screening.

“What if we can have those phone reviews recorded, and you can send those voice recordings to Watson, and you get text of the conversation as well as analysis of the voice. Can you detect if a candidate is passionate?”

Nudge VP on How Small Companies Offer Big Opportunities in Tech

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Andrea Corey credits a good program at Queen’s University, the small engineering company where she first worked, and some supportive peers for her success to date in the tech industry.

“The engineering department at Queen’s was a good supportive environment for me,” says Corey, who was among a minority of women in engineering class.

Andrea CoreyWhen it came time to leave school, Corey says there were a lot of big engineering companies recruiting, but she chose to join a small one, Toronto-based Ehvert Engineering. “When you’re in a small company, everyone does everything, projects get passed around and you get to try things that might be outside your job description … and that is a fertile learning space for someone just starting out.”

A couple years later, after a stint at MobileQ, she joined a new company called Eloqua, which was started by some of her former colleagues at Ehvert. Corey quickly moved up the ranks at Eloqua, always keeping one finger in the production side of the company because that was what kept her motivated: that ever-evolving world of technology.

“I like to be challenged, and I never want to stop learning,” Corey says.

Today, she is the vice president of product development at Toronto-based Nudge Software, a social selling cloud platform. Based on her years in the STEM industries, and climbing the ranks in tech firms, Corey has advice for others looking to advance their careers in the sector:

1. Think small.  Strongly consider joining a small company or a start-up. While this is not suitable for everyone, if it is a fit for you, you’ll be exposed to a lot more learning opportunities than you would be at a larger company where roles are more discrete and defined.

2. Don’t be intimidated.  Being the only woman in the room, or on a team, can be daunting. There will be small slights, whether intended or not. Try to understand a person’s true intent before assuming the worst. Try to build resilience by letting go of the small stuff, or finding humor in it. Of course, do act on any potentially serious offences by seeking out a person in a position of authority who can help.

3. Keep learning. Whether it’s a new piece of tech, a new language, or a new system, never stop learning. Even if the opportunity to take training is not formally available through your company, there are many great online courses you can take on your own time through platforms such as Coursera and Lynda, to name just two. Of course, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

4. Strategic networking. When you meet someone you find impressive or inspirational, ask them how they learn, what blogs or books they read, what meet-ups they attend and who to follow on Twitter. Learn what they know to become better at what you do.

5. Go the extra mile. Stretch yourself by trying new things, even if you’re sure you can’t figure them out on your own. Volunteer to take on new projects or responsibilities that are important for your company. Work hard, and give it your best shot.

How to Skill Your Startup

Monday, June 6th, 2016

TechPORTFOLIO spoke to Sonia Strimban, manager, Venture Operations at MaRS Discovery District about the ideal evolution of startups within the accelerator community and the issues startups run into when it comes to finding employees with the right skills.

Sonia Strimban, manager, Venture Operations, MarsDD

We have such a large portfolio: we support 1,300 companies. The skill requirements change at each stage of the business.

In the beginning, when the startup is starting out and there’s a cofounding team, they’re either tech heavy — they’re coming out of lab, coming out of R&D, or university — and they’re missing the business side. The engineering skill is there, but they’re lacking the go-to market business capability, to understand how to productize, how to speak to customers, and attract investment.

Sometimes you have the opposite — a business team which has a great idea, they can design a great business plan around it — but they don’t have the tech capability on the team to build a MVP.

Our first intervention is to make our team aware of this. Nobody is going to give you money for an overdeveloped product without a business model.


The second level is when they have built the product, when they have early traction and validate it. You’re looking a more mature capability to help launch and avoid some early business pitfalls, such as scaling too fast, hiring unnecessarily, and keeping it lean. You’re looking for an executive who has domain expertise and the background to manage a growth phase.

At series A [funding], typically, we see the most benefit in an executive in sales and marketing. If you’re not selling and you can’t accelerate growth, you’re pretty much toast. You need somebody who has revenue growth capability.

The last phase in the scaling phase is when they need someone with an operations skillset. A lot of founders are completely lacking that skillset. To scale a business from a ground up… You need a real COO/CFO capability and many people are lacking this.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

How Code Breaking Inspired Shopify Lead to a Dev Career

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Julie Haché, who leads Shopify’s on-boarding team, had a tougher time than most getting into a senior position with a billion-dollar tech company. That’s because “most” of the tech sector’s leaders are men.

“The biggest struggle was that I didn’t have female role models,” Haché explains, “I tried really hard to fit in, and almost to hide things about myself, be less girly. Starting out, it really affected my confidence, especially in smaller companies.”

Haché says she was always engaged at school, academically and socially, and started her university career in pre-med at the Université de Moncton, which she found to be a welcoming environment for a young woman. “I always liked computers, but didn’t think of it as a career. Then a friend of mine, who was a programmer, recommended a book to me called Cryptonomicon.”

Julie HacheShe read the book – about WWII code breakers – over the summer, and “decided to play around with her laptop and I managed to recompile my first kernel. That was the moment that I got hooked. I knew I needed to learn more about this whole world.” She transferred into the computer science program where she was the only woman in her year.

“It’s really only when I switched to computer science that I started questioning my gender as a thing. I’ve always been very confident in everything I did, with extremely good grades at school, but it was only when I got into programming that I really started doubting myself. When people are by default assuming you can’t do things, it’s not fair and it’s really hard.

Haché worked as a web developer at a few start-ups early on: 76Design, RealDecoy and UnSpace Interactive before joining the Bitmaker Labs in 2013. Bitmaker is where she saw the most change, and where she caught the bug for helping to develop others.

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She says the tech industry culture is changing, though slower than she would like.

“In the past year especially, I’m seeing a shift. There’s a lot more positive action in the programming communities trying to reach out to women, increasing awareness and communicating that they want women to be there.”

Haché says she’s at a point in her career where she thinks a lot about helping others achieve their goals, and that might mean going back to school to learn more about leadership in engineering.

“I’m glad I persisted and powered through this, and many years later, there are so many amazing women out there doing the same thing. These days, there’s a much larger sense of community, and I’m so glad to be a part of it.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of integration,” Julie says, smiling broadly as she talks about how she can contribute, “shifting the existing culture to not treat these people as outsiders is so important. As an industry, we’re missing out financially because of a lack of diversity.”

How QoC Health Simplifies Patient Empowerment

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Patient empowerment has become central to health innovation initiatives. As Fitbits, Apple Watches, tablets and smartphones become commonplace, many stakeholders ­– including policymakers, administrators, and entrepreneurs – agree that technology is the key to patient power.

Dr. John Semple, the surgeon-in-chief of Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital, can attest that giving power to patients will also give more power to doctors. A few years ago, Semple was entrusted with turning Women’s College Hospital into an ambulatory hospital with day surgery procedures only. He realized that post-op patient monitoring, particularly after discharge, was practically non-existent.

Just before smartphones became ubiquitous, Semple and entrepreneur Chancellor Crawford had the low-tech idea of using text messages to improve post-surgical recovery communication. It may seem obvious, but try sending your doctor a text message about your most recent checkup.

Semple and Crawford’s idea eventually turned into a startup, QoC Health. Working as a business-to-business service provider, the company has built a powerful application programming interface (API) platform that can scale digital health ideas, including patient monitoring, analytics, educational materials, secure communications, decision aids, planning tools, and turnkey integration with existing medical records.

Handling the Technology

Counting many of Ontario’s top hospitals among its clients—as well as clients in the United States, the United Kingdom and across Canada—QoC’s own history is a tale of digital health ideation, development, deployment and scaling.

“The people inside health care—the clinicians, the academics, private healthcare givers—they are the ones who come up with the best ideas because they are the ones dealing with the problems all of the time,” says Raymond Shih, the co-founder and president of QoC. “But from a technology perspective, they are not equipped to execute them.”

Most doctors and nurses are not experts in navigating the intricacies of multi-jurisdiction privacy rules. By simply “handling the technology,” as Shih puts it, QoC is helping healthcare providers and patients to communicate, solving part of a structural digital glut. In terms of revenue, QoC will jump to almost $1 million by the end of the year, up from $600,000 in 2015.

“What QoC does is provide the technology partnership to build and scale these types of digital health applications. It’s really what we do,” says Shih.

The company’s library of tools includes patient alerts, profile setup, data encryption, analytics, secure video conferencing and other common features, freeing up resources in the app development process on a per client basis.

Scaling Up

“If you’re building a hospital-grade application from scratch, it would cost $200,000 and would take 12 to 18 months to develop, assuming you know how to manage those developers,” says Shih. “We can turn that around in four to eight weeks at a fraction of that cost.”

On the other side of the equation is the scaling up problem. When testing a new therapy or device on 25 to 50 patients, a laptop and a spreadsheet are all that a clinician needs. However, when the therapy or device affects 10,000 to 20,000 patients, “you’re going to have to manage that product across iOS, Android and HTML5… You may have to roll it out to a Mandarin- or French-speaking population. The hospital may want to use it, but only if you can integrate it with their medical records management system or clinical lab system,” explains Shih.

Next up, Shih, Semple, Crawford and their team want to open up their toolbox in the form of a software kit for software developers to use QoC’s API to develop their own health apps.

For the time being, the company keeps collecting accolades, including winning the digital health stream of the 2015 MaRS HealthKick Innovation Challenge.

For startups trying to find funding in challenges like HealthKick or through conferences like RESI on MaRS, which is taking place in June, Shih shares the following advice: “People are going to remember you based on a sound bite or two. You want to make sure you control what that sound bite is. Stay focused. Don’t assume the audience knows everything about, say, software as a service, but don’t start shooting out 100 things they’re not going to remember.”


Agriculture. Healthcare. Real Estate: Three IBM Bluemix Use Cases

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

We spoke to a sample of Canadian startup entrepreneurs using IBM Bluemix to support their apps, and found a key theme was the amount of time and resources saved by leveraging Bluemix technology.



The PlantID3 mobile app is used by agricultural professionals to monitor crop health. The service is in beta testing with 2,000 trial users and a soft launch is planned later this year in Australia.

Dylan Lidster, founder and CEO of PlantID3, says in agricultural tech, startup organizations clear a path for the larger corporations because they can pivot quickly and spend less money getting to market.

“The aging demographic of agriculture is quickly rolling over as a new tech sophisticated producer enters the market, open to change and moving swiftly,” he says.

In the app a farmer might take a picture of an apple tree with a disease. The app then searches through the database for pattern recognition and tags. The image is tagged and stored, and then feeds into recommendations for remedial practice, such as pruning techniques, fertilization or spray application. The database of image storage and tagging and the recommendation tree run off IBM’s BlueMix infrastructure.

Lidster is making sure that the customer base is involved at the early stages of development of the PlantID3 app, to ensure product fit with the interface. Being cheap and quick to scale is key.

“[BlueMix] saves many hours of labour and provides us with advanced services such as use of Watson that we could not achieve without the support of IBM,” says Lidster.


Speed and scalability are also paramount when you’re building an app that transmits health data. With SwiftPad, when patients take a photo of their prescription and send it to their pharmacy of choice, they can get real-time feedback on when their medication is ready and can opt to have it delivered.

Saif Abid, CTO of SwiftPad, says: “Currently, we have around 12 services running on IBM’s Bluemix network. To put this in a financial perspective, we’re spending around 75% less than we would with other competitors.” Among the services used are CloudFoundry, push notifications, and Watson.

“With Bluemix, we’re able to focus on engineering the best solution possible for our users without having to compromise the quality of tools and services we use,” says SwiftPad CEO and co-founder Amir Motahari.

Real Estate

Gregory Melchior, CEO of real estate software startup 4D Virtual Space, is using social media marketing as a key part of his growth strategy. His organization aims to replace floor plans for real estate developers. Instead of constructing a sales centre, realtors would use the app to show customers through a space, allowing prospective buyers to walk through and even visualize how their own furniture might look.

Feedback from users is vital, and quickly accessed. “With IBM Watson we’re able to get, per month, 500,000 documents analysed in social media immediately,” says Melchior. “We hit the ground running.”

Click here for a free IBM Bluemix trial.




Most-Read Stories About Funding for Canadian Startups

Monday, May 16th, 2016

One year has made a big difference in terms of funding for tech startups as unicorn worship has given way to cockroach austerity. While tech ecosystems don’t seem to be heading for a collapse along the lines of 2000, the money isn’t flowing like it was in mid-2015.

Funding for U.S. startups in this year’s first quarter fell 25 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to $13.9 billion, the largest quarterly decline on record since the dot-com bust, according to (warning: paywall) data from Dow Jones VentureSource. The numbers of Q1 deals hit a four-year low of 884.

Also in the first quarter, the median value of U.S. startups plummeted to $18.5 million after hitting a peak of $61.5 million in last year’s third quarter, according to the same report. Comparable data aren’t available for Canada, but the trend is clear.


Still, the weak patch doesn’t mean the well has gone dry. Here are some of the most-read stories of the past month about funding for Canadian startups:

Vancouver’s Bench Raises $20 Million Series B Round

You might well use Bench for in your own organization, so this is good news for the future. Ian Crosby, CEO of Bench, says that the Series B funding will remove constraints and allow them to “undergo rapid employee growth.”

Thirdshelf Moves Out Of Stealth Mode After Raising $800,000, partnering with Lightspeed

Meanwhile, you’ve probably already used ThirdShelf without realizing it. ThirdShelf’s USP is that they allow independent retailers to retain their own customer data, rather than making them partner or share their lists. If you want a glimpse of the future of the checkout line, the article also talks about ThirdShelf’s work with developing bots that can gauge how and when to engage each customer.

With New Seed Funding, Hockeystick Looks To Compete With CB Insights For Startup Data

More than just the latest contender for ‘most Canadian startup name ever’, Hockeystick helps link startups with their investors, enabling a free flow of financial data. This interview with Raymond Luk, the company’s founder, shows how startups need to get over with their hesitance to share, and the advantage Hockeystick has over competitors that rely on surveys alone.

24 Canadian Startups Raised $152 Million in April

Lastly, here’s a list of hard data. Startups from Vancouver to the Maritimes (that’s PEI and Fredericton in there) are pulling in a good deal of angel and venture capital. Topping the list is Etobicoke-based Flipp at $61 million, who create digital versions of flyers and in their well-rated app.

Is a Star Trek-Style Tricorder Here?

Monday, May 16th, 2016

When Dr. Sonny Kohli was volunteering in Haiti in 2010 he found himself in a hospital that lacked basic diagnostic equipment.

As he worked to fix a broken EKG unit with duct tape and wires, he asked a simple question: Why don’t I have a smartphone-connected EKG?

Tricorders, used in the Star Trek universe, refer to the device’s three primary functions: sensing, computing and recording. To get one with light and sound effects, (but without anything in the way of a useful function), one only needs to order online.

However, real life is now catching up to the future as depicted in the 1960s. Dr. Kohli is turning science fiction into reality as the chief medical officer of Cloud DX Inc., a Kitchener, Ontario-based startup with the world’s first working tricorder-like health device.

With such promising technology, it’s no surprise Cloud DX has been chosen as one of 17 Canadian companies taking part in the C100’s upcoming 48hrs in the Valley program.

So what’s being said in social media about Cloud DX?

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Terms like “Star Trek” and “tricorder” appear thanks to this article by Communitech, which was shared by an influential account, Invest Ontario.  

The terms “Qualcomm” and “Xprize” appear in the discussion because the device, called Vitaliti, is one of seven finalists in Qualcomm’s $10 million Tricorder Xprize.

One of many Xprize competitions, the tricorder prize challenges entrepreneurs to create a portable, wireless device that can diagnose 13 conditions and real-time monitor 5 health vital signs without intervention from a doctor.

Watch Dr. Kohli talk about the competition and why devices like Vitaliti are so important:

WIRED: Magic Leap Stands Out Among Giants in the Artificial Reality Race

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Artificial reality is making waves throughout the tech industry, and Magic Leap has made one of the biggest splashes in terms of financing. The company has secured what may be the largest C-round in history: $793.5 million.


Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Magic Leap will need to spend wisely to compete with the tech giants of the west coast and Asia.

A recent profile of Magic Leap in Wired noted that “Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung—have whole groups dedicated to artificial reality, and they’re hiring more engineers daily. Facebook alone has over 400 people working on VR.”

By 2020, the augmented and virtual reality markets are expected to be worth about $150 billion. This is creating hardware and software development opportunities for startups in just about every industry and facet of life, from film to education to day-to-day office administration.

But the potential applications could spill over combine with other emerging technologies. As we enter virtual worlds, the demand for IoT devices and smart-connected spaces could increase. The combination of virtual space and IoT tools has the potential to revolutionize industries such as skilled trades, healthcare, and tourism.

As startups plan for the future, it is worth considering if virtual reality will disrupt their business and how technologies like Magic Leap might impact them. Until Magic Leap unveils what it’s hiding, the true extent of its impact can’t be measured, but until then, it doesn’t hurt to imagine.