Swift Medical Powers PointClickCare’s New Skin and Wound App to Advance Senior Care Tech

 

Long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) now has a new tool to help simplify wound care.

Toronto-based machine-vision technology company Swift Medical has partnered with PointClickCare, the largest North American provider of cloud-based EHR software for long-term and post-acute care providers, to power PointClickCare’s Skin and Wound smartphone app.

Until recently, wound care management relied on paper ruler measurements to track healing, a method that is not visual, isn’t necessarily reliable or repeatable, and requires clinicians to manually chart results. Not surprisingly, a significant portion of claims against LTPAC providers is related to wound care, representing a major source of risk.

The PointClickCare Skin and Wound smartphone app, powered by Swift Medical, aims to alleviate these problems and improve the process by relying on HIPAA-compliant, EHR-linked technology to measure, document, and disseminate wound care information.

The Skin and Wound app is one-stop resource for wound care management, including:

  • improving care delivery
  • mitigating risk
  • increasing operational efficiency
  • increasing collaboration between team members
  • improving resident engagement

The PointClickCare Skin and Wound app should significantly improve outcomes for patients, with more transparency and access to critical data.

“Swift Medical is a leader in imaging technology and data analytics solutions for the healthcare industry,” says Karen Hamilton, VP of Marketing for Swift Medical. “Our collaborative wound care management offering, Swift Wound, brings the accuracy of digital planimetry to the ubiquitous smartphone.”

“Until now, clinicians and healthcare organizations have lacked a reliable, cost-effective, and meaningful method of tracking, understanding, and managing wound healing,” says Carlo Perez, CEO of Swift Medical. “The reliability of Swift Wound’s measurement, combined with the ability to capture wound images and visually track wound healing progress, enables clinicians like never before to identify high-risk patients, determine the efficacy of treatment, and successfully engage patients in their own care.”

“Swift Medical’s commitment to providing the highest quality wound care management solutions made us a logical choice as a partner for PointClickCare,” added Perez. “Just like they are their industry’s top choice for senior care, Swift Wound is quickly becoming the top choice for mobile wound care management. By choosing PointClickCare’s Skin and Wound solution, LTPAC providers can rest assured that they are providing their residents with exceptional wound care.”

vPhrase’s Platform “Phrazor” Analyzes Data and Writes Reports as Well as a Human Analyst

We’ve all received those reports before: hundreds of cells of numbers, dozens of columns, graphs and charts, with no idea where to start or decipher what it all means. Reporting is integral to a company’s success, so this hurdle—disseminating information to employees, managers, clients, and the public—is one that needs to be overcome.

A company based in Mumbai, India is aiming to change the way we publish data.

Phrazor is vphrase_logo_smallan artificial intelligence platform that analyzes, reasons, and writes like a human being, in multiple languages,” says vPhrase’s CEO Neerav Parekh. “It is able to dissect and parse data and convey it in a natural, non-robotic voice.”

Essentially, Phrazor examines those complicated reports and writes you an easy-to-digest synopsis of what those numbers actually mean and what you should be taking away from them. So not only is it simplifying, it’s actually telling you what your takeaways need to be.

Phrazor can write insightful narrative on any report or collection of data and charts using a variety of voices, from an advisor to a casual writer. It can even write a news article as a robot journalist, using information like baseball scores and statistics to compile the piece.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-4-55-53-pm“Everything in the report can be customized,” says Neerav. “From the tone and diction to the language and report structure, Phrazor reports can be adopted to your brand’s voice.” The exact language even changes between similar reports so you never receive the same paragraphs, keeping regular reports fresh.

Input can be both manual or automated through an API, and output integrates with emails, an online dashboard, or with your existing dashboard, depending on your needs. vPhrase, currently backed by Ryerson Futures among other investors, is already working with a number of large companies, from Unilever to India’s largest bank, HDFC Bank, with hopes to expand to broader usage in the near future.

“Visualization is not insight,” says Neerav. “By deploying Phrazor, employers are able to personalize reports, save costs and, most importantly, improve productivity.”

For more information, check out vPhrase.com.

Synervoz Hopes to Change the Way We Communicate with its First App TurnMeUp

Listen up: audio consumption is on the rise.

2015 was deemed the year of the podcast, due to the overwhelming success of Serial, a captivating investigation told in a series of episodes. Pair that with this year’s release of Apple’s AirPods, earphones that are meant to sit in your ears for hours each day. TechCrunch reported that these AirPods and similar devices are going to make “snackable audio” much easier and more prevalent.

In terms of communication, ease and speed are most important. Despite the demise of the typical phone call, people young and old are looking for quick ways to communicate, and audio is front and centre. (Think of how often you talk to Siri every day!)

This is where Synervoz hopes to make their mark. Their first app, TurnMeUp, allows for spontaneous voice chat, meaning the ability to jump into conversation at any time, no matter where you are. The app is always on, with personalized settings to mute, receive notifications, or even talk while music is playing. The app adjusts your music volume automatically when someone speaks, and changes depending on the volume levels in your environment.

CEO Jim Rand and his team have been plugging away on this idea for a few years, which began as a side project that moved to full-time work. Rand began studying mechanical engineering at Queen’s before hopping from oil to mining to his MBA at IE Madrid. There, he started working on this big idea part-time, pulling 90-hour workweeks to make the dream come to life. He bootstrapped the project before joining the Techstars program earlier this year, and Ryerson Futures in September.

“The vision is so clear in my mind,” says Rand. He can see a world a few years down the road where this is part of our natural communication, where we’re able to start a casual conversation as though we’re in the room.

And he could absolutely be right. TurnMeUp has unlimited applications: in business, sporting, military, construction, fitness—anywhere you’d need to communicate quickly and spontaneously. Imagine how much easier this would make a long-distance relationship, able to immediately chat with your significant other whenever you want. And since more than 3.7 million people in the US workforce now work from home, think of how much simpler working from your home office can become, allowing spur-of-the-moment meetings and conversations with your coworkers across the world. The app has the ability to boost productivity through increased connectivity, or distract and entertain for the same reason.

Rand and his team don’t know in what capacity TurnMeUp will be the most successful, so they’re keeping their options open and functionality broad. If technology like this takes off with one group, it could easily jump to others before reaching general use. Rand is looking for that catch, and is ready to jump on any low-hanging fruit that presents itself.

The team has been able to make real progress integrating with Slack, Spotify, and other services. The team has grown to 10 people in three countries and is now looking at testing and building new features, as well as retaining regular users by the end of the year. They’ve already been through the competitive Techstars accelerator program in the UK, pushing their product to a new level.

“After Techstars, people listen to you,” says Rand. Since the program, he’s been able to set up meetings with top tier partners and investors worldwide. One of the reasons he came on board with Ryerson Futures was to achieve a similar network with the big players in the Canadian ecosystem and to close the loop with common contacts in the US.

“Ryerson Futures appealed to our team because they were quick to move,” he says. “It’s regarded as a top Canadian accelerator, with a media-specific focus, and they’re in touch with people we’d like to get to know better.”


Looking to accelerate your startup’s growth? Ryerson Futures is looking for startups with a great team and a compelling and scalable business idea. Here’s how we work.

An In-Depth Look at North American Accelerators

Accelerators help startups validate their products and attract customers.

As important, they provide invaluable connections to a network of mentors, advisors and strategic partners that would not be available to most startups operating on their own.

Since Ryerson Futures launched in 2012, we have experienced first-hand the growth of the landscape around the world. We have seen the emergence of many accelerators and how the needs of fast-growing startups have evolved.

Ryerson Futures began as a single accelerator in Toronto. Today, we operate five accelerators in Canada and India, including four with corporate partners: The Bombay Stock Exchange, GE Canada, Barclays and Axis Bank. We anticipate more growth as corporations look for ways to drive innovation and entrepreneurship.

From where we stand, the market is ripe with potential as startups look to develop their technology, establish their products, acquire customers and receive strategic counsel and guidance. For startups in highly competitive markets, accelerators can make the difference between success and failure.

Amid what has been a busy year for Ryerson Futures, it was interesting to see Gust and Fundacity publish the “USA & Canadian Accelerator Report 2015”. The report includes survey responses from 232 organizations, including 111 accelerators that shared their data.

From a high-level perspective, U.S. and Canadian accelerators invested US$90.2-million in 2,968 startups. One-third of the capital came from accelerators in California. In Canada, British Columbia led the way with investments of $4.6-million.

Since Y Combinator in Silicon Valley was launched in 1995, there has been a growing number of accelerators, especially since 2011. Out of the 15 U.S. and Canadian accelerators launched in 2015, eight were focused on niche markets, including health, food and neuroscience.

The chart below shows the number of new accelerators in the U.S. [top bar] and Canada [bottom bar]

 

accelerators

The report also put the spotlight on how accelerators are financed. In North America, 36% said they received a mix of private and public funding or they are 100% publicly funded through government grants and subsidies.

Meanwhile, 56% reported they are funded by private capital: high net worth individuals, angel groups, private investors such as VCs and corporations. These investors aim to make a profit through startup exits and having early access to high potential startups.

It was also interesting to see the areas capturing the interest accelerators this year: Topping the list is big data analytics, followed by the Internet of Things, SaaS and mobile apps.

accelerators

 

India’s Startup Ecosystem Poised to Explode

“The next five years will be the golden era for Internet entrepreneurship in India”.

That is the bold prediction of serial entrepreneur Satyen Kothari, who visited Toronto recently to meet with potential customers for his latest startup, Cube.

Satyen KothariWhile India is well-known for developing and managing technology, Kothari says the country is poised for strong startup growth.

It is being driven by a population of 1.3 billion (half of which are under 25-years-old), the widespread usage of smartphones, and the Indian government’s willingness to build infrastructure upon which startups can build applications

“The rise of Indian entrepreneurship, especially in North America, is not even on the radar,” Kothari said. “The ones who get it are people in Hong Kong and China. China is five to seven years ahead of India, and they can see that the next China is India.”

Even Silicon Valley venture capitalists see India as a “nice to have”. As a result, he said, there is no sense of urgency to invest now to position themselves for major returns.

Kothari’s connection to Toronto was established in 2013 when his previous startup, Citrus Payment Solutions won “The Big Idea”, an international competition hosted by Ryerson Futures, Ryerson University, and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

For winning the contest, Citrus spent a week at The DMZ to access mentorship, networking and receiving and sharing business development expertise.

Citrus is a PayPal-like service that handles online payments between consumers and merchants. The company now has 10,000 merchants, 18 million customers, and processes US$2.5-billion of transactions a year.

Kothari launched Citrus in 2010 after spending 11 years as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. The decision to return to India was prompted by his belief life in Silicon Valley was too easy.

“I didn’t see real problems that I could solve,” he said. “Going back to India, I could see major problems that could be fixed with better governance, thinking, and technology.”

Cube, which will launch in August, is a service that will make it easier for millennials to manage their finances. The technology will layer on top of the banking stack, so Kothari is looking to establish partnerships with banks looking to better service a fast-growing market and reduce costs.

As India’s startup ecosystem expand, Kothari said Ryerson Futures is well-positioned because it has been operating in the country since 2013 when it established an accelerator in partnership with the Bombay Stock Exchange. Having a growing presence gives Ryerson Futures credibility and the ability to connect with Indian entrepreneurs.

Snapchat + Netflix + YouTube = Lurniture

This guest post was written by David Bloom, founder and CEO with Lurniture, a Ryerson Futures portfolio company, that offers a SaaS-based video learning service to Salesforce users.

As David Bloom worked on launching a new online learning service for salespeople, he did something that many startups fail to do: he talked with hundreds of potential customers to get their feedback.

Using LinkedIn, Bloom reached out to sales executives in the U.S. to see if they would answer questions about their sales productivity pains for his product concept, Lurniture, and show them a prototype.

“I sent messages saying that I would love their help,” he said. “I had nothing to sell them but I wanted their feedback. It was definitely a planned activity, but I didn’t know to what extent I would do it until I spoke to 50 people. After that, I decided to keep going, and talked to some people in New York and Chicago.”

In what became a well-oiled machine, Bloom said he asked people questions via email and, if there was a positive response, he’d make phone calls.

By asking questions, Bloom started to see patterns and learned about the problems experienced by salespeople and the tools being used.  At the same time, he created a pipeline of people willing to try the service when it was launched.

But one of his biggest lessons was the importance of selling before he had anything to sell to see if there was enough interest.

Built within Salesforce, Lurniture lets salespeople quickly create videos that can be shared with colleagues within an organization.

An algorithm matches content, which is presented to the right people at the right time so they better engage with customers and close more deals. Lurniture also has analytics so sales managers can see who is creating and consuming content, and the videos driving revenue.lurniture

Bloom said, in some respects, Lurniture combines the best of Snapchat, Netflix and YouTube. Videos can quickly be captured using a smartphone, they are curated and delivered using the recommendation engine, and can be hosted on the platform.

At a time when customers have access to extensive information about products and services, salespeople don’t touch prospects until they deep in the funnel. As a result, salespeople need more insight on the most effective approaches and tools.

“Selling is harder now,” Bloom said. “Reps need to bring real value to a sales process, so any insight and intelligence gives them them a competitive advantage. Sales leaders get the value and teams know they have to come up with new, innovative ways to be productive.”

Bloom originally thought Lurniture would be used by sales teams to share best practices but customers are using it in a variety of ways – everything from coaching tips from managers, testimonials from customers, success stories, and how to use sales and marketing tools.

Lurniture, which was founded in 2014, became a part of the Ryerson Futures program in May. Bloom said he wasn’t looking to join an accelerator but realized it was a good way to connect with the startup ecosystem, showcase the service, and receive strategic guidance from Ryerson Futures’ management team.

“We’re a global company based in Canada,” he said. “I made a strategic decision to get more embedded in the community.”

The Big Takeaway from 48 Hours in Silicon Valley

Having returned from another great trip to Silicon Valley (at the 48 Hours in the Valley program run by the C100), here are a few takeaways.

Yes, startups can benefit from meeting with potential investors and fellow entrepreneurs, but there is another thing to keep in mind: You get a really good sense of who and what you’re competing against.

Silicon Valley

Toronto has some incredible startups and some of the best talent, but sometimes it takes leaving Canada and visiting highly competitive markets to get a real sense of what founders are up against.

There are several advantages that Silicon Valley companies have, so it is important to be aware of them as you build a company in Toronto.

Funding

Generally speaking, your rivals have access to much more capital than you do in Canada. There are more investors and they write bigger cheques. Yes, it costs more to operate in Silicon Valley but, nevertheless, startups in Canada are dealing with well-funded competitors.

Talent – With Startup Experience

You can hire less expensive and highly talented people in Canada, but your competitors can hire more people who have done it before. One of the benefits of a high turnover rate there is many new hires have startup experience.

Ability to Take Big Risks

While a generalization, Silicon Valley investors are more likely to write larger cheques and have their founders take bigger risks because the capital is there. It means taking a slow growth and conservative approach may see Canadian startups watching competitors race ahead. You won’t read about the companies that raised Series A and failed. You will just see those that took a big risk, established a large market share and moved on to a Series B round.

Network

There is a larger network of entrepreneurs and investors in The Valley and the community tends to help each other through introductions.  Companies are built on these networks among other things.

Think Big from Day One

Teams that come from Canada to the Valley are told they need to think bigger. U.S. startups are already thinking big, or they wouldn’t be funded.

Canada is one of the best places in the world for startups, but it really helps to know what you are up against.

Riding the Indian Startup Wave With Axis Bank

As India’s fast-growing startup ecosystem gathers more momentum, we’re riding the wave.

We’re excited about the launch of a new accelerator in Bangalore with Axis Bank that will focus on fintech startups. Axis Bank is the first Indian bank to launch a dedicated accelerator.

axis bankThe Axis program will focus on accelerating fintech startups. It will also be home to the Thought Factory, an in-house innovation lab that will work with startups to drive new technology solutions.

“Partnering with Axis Bank is a major development because it expands and strengthens our presence within the Indian startup community,” said Matt Saunders, President with Ryerson Futures. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with Axis Bank to identify, support and grow leading-edge fintech technologies and solutions”

This is the third accelerator in India launched by Zone Startups, the accelerator brand operated by Ryerson Futures. We recently unveiled a partnership, Rise Mumbai, with Barclays, and launched an accelerator in partnership with the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2014.

We also have a corporate accelerator with GE Canada in Calgary focused on industrial Internet and energy-related startups.

“We’re establishing a global accelerator brand,” Saunders said. “When Ryerson Futures launched in 2012, we were focused on driving the growth of Canadian startups. Today, we’re working with a growing number of international startups, and attracting interest from brands looking to jump-start their innovation programs.”

In July, Zone Startups and Axis Bank will conduct multi-city roadshows to talk about the benefits of the accelerator program.

The program will open its doors in mid-August with the launch of the Thought Factory, which will experiment with emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, mobility and the cloud to disrupt the credit, deposit, wealth management, mobile payments and security verticals.

“We are excited about the way financial industry is evolving and how millennials are reimagining the industry. The Thought Factory, our innovation lab, is an endeavor to build on the ideas of innovators that can radically change consumers’ life in banking and beyond,” said Rajiv Anand, Executive Director (Retail Banking), Axis Bank. “With this initiative, we are creating a vibrant ecosystem of global banks, startups, and tech innovators.”

Four Keys to Successfully Scaling Your Startup

This guest post was written by Brian Deck, CEO and co-founder of SmoothPay, a mobile payment platform that combines payment, offers, loyalty and customer engagement.

At SmoothPay, we are delivering an integrated, game-changing platform for businesses (whether a coffee or restaurant chain, a major retailer with locations nationally or an independent local shop) to launch their mobile app, improve payment processes, effectively deliver loyalty programs, gain valuable customer data analytics, and better engage customers through SMS, email and push notifications.

smoothpayHaving built three successful companies that developed technology used globally by Fortune 500 companies and associated with billions in customer sales, I understand it takes more than a good idea to be successful.

Here are four insights to scaling your startup successfully.

Having a cohesive and capable team
Building a company around a good idea takes time, money and experience. Having experience on your team helps you to understand how to weather the storms and what to do when a pivot is necessary. No CEO or founding team can do everything themselves and they need to know who to bring on for help and when. Product developers, sales and marketing teams, strong finance and good corporate governance are  essential to expand a business that investors and the market will support. At SmoothPay, we have invested a lot of time making sure we attract the right people and that we maintain a corporate culture that they never want to leave.

Building defensible innovations
For most people, the word “innovation” is (or at least, should be) synonymous with their concept of a startup. Innovation can come in many forms: technology, product, user experience, service, distribution model, and pricing. The more defensible the innovation, the better. At SmoothPay, we are focused on evolving retail commerce and removing friction with the products currently in the market. We are combining important aspects of a retailer’s business (e.g. payment, loyalty, customer engagement and data analytics) in ways that haven’t been done before.

Investing in Technology and being the Platform
The cost of entry and time required to build technology products has typically been a barrier to change for businesses and service providers. Today, however, technology is maturing and platforms are reducing the time to go to market. Examples include WordPress templates that let you launch a Website in minutes, eBay, which features your products for sale to a massive marketplace, and Shopify, which provides a highly customizable e-commerce Website technology at an affordable cost.

Many retailers know they need to be savvy in digital and some have invested heavily in this area and are starting to see the results. At SmoothPay, we often point to the fact that Starbuck’s now sees 24% of their transactions going through their mobile app as an example of how important mobile engagement is becoming in retail.

Scaling through Partnerships
The ability to scale a business should always be the entrepreneur’s top priority. The quicker you can get to revenue and positive EBIT, the better. And while traditional door knocking is usually a necessary part of growing a business and understanding customers, it is an expensive and inefficient exercise.

When we started SmoothPay, the founding team understood the key to effectively scaling would be through working with sales channel partners that had a base of target customers and distribution capabilities that we could leverage.

We have established mutually beneficial relationships with partners in payments, point-of-sale, and channels like the Telus IoT Marketplace. They have significantly accelerated our growth and positioned us to realize our goal of taking our client’s customer engagement capabilities to a whole new level.

A Win-Win Hiring Hack: Paying Your Startup’s Summer Interns

This guest post was written by David Berglas, co-founder of Shoelace, a Ryerson Futures startup that lets small businesses embrace the power of retargeting.

A few months ago, my co-founders and I had to make some hiring decisions. Our user base was growing and we needed to expand our team on multiple fronts (product development, growth/marketing and customer success)

As a freshly-minted startup, our resources were, not surprisingly, constrained. It’s challenging to hire amazing people because they typically want to work at well-funded, well-established companies that pay well (above average, at least) and offer many perks (e.g. dogs in the office, yoga studios, granola bars, etc.). Save for a couple of perks, it was not possible for us to offer these things.

shoelaceAt the same time, we remained committed to hiring amazing people who compliment and build on an already exceptional team (in our biased opinion).

What to do?

Having limitations is what leads to discovering awesome hacks. In this case, the hack was to hire paid summer interns (something we’ve seen very little of).

We specifically looked to hire best-in-class first or second-year university students – people who wanted to work at places such as Hootsuite, Shopify, McKinsey, etc. in their third-year summers and beyond.

Hiring students that fit this bill is the dream.

They are absolute killers – pure raw talent. But due to their age, the alternative is working at a boring and menial cubicle job inside a large corporation (think banks, CPGs and telecom companies).

Why hire summer interns?

  • It’s an efficient way to match supply and demand
    • We hired talented people from their respective business and engineering cohorts, who were insanely grateful and appreciative of getting startup experience (vs. a corporate alternative). I get the pleasure from hearing that their classmates are envious of the responsibility and trust they receive, the culture they work in and contribute to, and the breadth of skills and knowledge they absorb.
  • Flexibility & testing out team structure
    • By hiring summer interns, we quickly doubled our team while keeping the option to scale back at the end of the summer. It is an efficient way to test managing a larger team. It will also let us discover exactly what skills and positions we will have to recruit in September when the students go back to school.

Why pay them?

  • You have to pay them or they won’t work for you
    • The typical wage for a summer intern is $20 to $25/hour. While the experience of working for a startup is more valuable than sitting in “corporate jail” for a summer, it’s difficult for most students to turn down a five-figure amount of money for an unpaid experience.
  • When you pay them, they work really hard
    • Startups are a grind. We want our summer interns to work as hard as the rest of the team. By paying our interns, we imply we expect their best work and efforts. There’s nothing that differentiates their status or contribution from any other team members.
  • It’s the right thing to do
    • We care about this from an ethical perspective. As well, I’m not sure what is involved in having unpaid interns from a legal perspective, and now I don’t need to find out!