Stories

Innovative Trauma Care

iTClamp is similar in design to a hair clip and designed to be squeezed tight onto a wound where it imitates the suture pattern a surgeon would use. It was designed in 2010 to fill a large void in the tools available to first responders, and helps quickly and effectively closes wounds to prevent massive blood loss.

In 2010, hoping to fill a large void in the tools available to first responders, trauma surgeon Dr. Dennis Filips created the iTClamp, a device that quickly and effectively closes wounds to prevent massive blood loss.

“While working closely with medics, I saw how difficult it was for them to control bleeding and do other lifesaving skills,” Filips says. The injured risked massive blood loss and even death before they reached the hospital. “It’s one thing to have a well-trained surgeon do this with basic equipment, but people with minimal knowledge struggle with these things, so I decided to build all of the knowledge and skills into a simple device.”

The iTClamp is similar in design to a hair clip without a spring, designed to be squeezed tight onto a wound before locking into place where it imitates the suture pattern a surgeon would use. The product was meant to be versatile and instinctual, with almost anybody being able to pull it out of the box and immediately put it to use.

“We’re running, not walking, and we’ve been running since the beginning.”
Ian Atkinson Co-Founder, iTClamp

The idea alone was intriguing enough to gain a partner in Ian Atkinson, a lifelong friend, biochemist and product developer. “When Dennis came to me and said, ‘I have this really cool idea,’ I actually started getting tingles within a few minutes,” Atkinson says. “I thought, this is going to be huge, because it’s so simple’.” They incorporated Innovative Trauma Care in 2010.

Prototypes in hand, Dennis and Ian participated in TEC Edmonton’s Executive in Residence program which provided their business with the missing financial expertise, and TEC Edmonton helped Innovative Trauma Care secure funding and access the University of Alberta’s Engineering Services and BioAlberta to help with product development.

After winning the TEC VenturePrize in 2012 and being named the top innovation world-wide for 2012 by EMS Magazine, Innovative Trauma Care secured investors and the iTClamp is now saving lives in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

With headquarters in Edmonton and a second office in San Antonia, Texas, the company is still in its early stages but continued investment shows lots of promise. Innovative Trauma Care continues to focus on developing solutions to address the common causes of preventable death in traumatic injury scenarios.

“We’re running, not walking,” says Atkinson, “and we’ve been running since the beginning.”

“I thought, this is going to be huge, because it’s so simple.”
Ian Atkinson Co-Founder, iTClamp
Stories

Forge Hydrocarbons

Pure diesel, gasoline and petroleum products made from waste vegetable oils and animal fats are the next generation of renewable fuels, brought to you by Forge Hydrocarbons.

As the technology transfer agent of choice for most University of Alberta researchers, TEC Edmonton has assisted hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists in the patenting and licensing of their inventions, but few patents and subsequent business deals have created as much excitement as this one.

Almost 10 years in the making, Forge Hydrocarbons, led by Tim Haig, one of Canada’s top bio-fuel entrepreneurs, is commercializing a patented conversion process developed by Dr. David Bressler, a researcher in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta.

Bressler’s breakthrough process starts at one end with “ugly” feedstock such as animal fat, beef tallow, crop seed oil and even restaurant grease, and emerges at the other with pure gas or diesel fuel. “Actually it’s better,” says Bressler. “There’s no impurity in the end product, no metals, sulphur or nitrogen.”

TEC Edmonton has been working with Dr. Bressler on this process since 2006, researching its market viability, advising Dr. Bressler, filing the patent and negotiating the business deal with Forge Hydrocarbons. “It’s been a pleasure working with Dr. Bressler on the patenting process, and with ForgeHydrocarbons and Dr. Bressler through the licensing negotiations,” says Darrell Petras, technology transfer manager for TEC Edmonton. “The technology, Tim’s industry experience, Dr. Bressler’s commitment and TEC Edmonton’s support have combined to create this strong company with serious growth potential.”

Haig is convinced that his product, once commercially perfected, could compete on the open market with crude-oil based product. Unlike bio-mass fuels, Bressler’s method produces actual diesel and gasoline molecules with as much energy or octane power as gas or diesel from crude oil.

“There’s no impurity in the end product, no metals, sulphur or nitrogen.”
David Bressler Researcher, University of Alberta

And, he emphasizes, Forge Hydrocarbon fuels have a tremendous environmental upside — utilizing waste materials, an environmentally sustainable production process, a clean-burning product with no impurities, and offering means to extend world-oil supplies. In addition to North American energy giants, interested investors also include Middle-Eastern oil companies: “They like the offset,” says Haig. “Their conventional oil resources will last longer, and be worth more in the future.”

A pre-commercial plant using the company’s patented conversion process is now being commissioned in Agri-Food Discovery Place on the University of Alberta’s South Campus. With a capacity to produce 200,000 litres a year, it will be operational by the end of the year. The following phase of the company’s evolution will be a full-scale commercial plant.

Of course challenges lie ahead for Forge Hydrocarbons. As with any new product, there’s a need for capital, refining the technology, risks in scaling up, customer acceptance and on-going quality control to produce a transport fuel consistently competitive with petroleum products, but Haig believes in Bressler’s process, and is up for the challenge.

“Conventional oil resources will last longer, and be worth more in the future.”
Tim Haig Bio-fuel Entrepreneur
Stories

Login Radius

Rakesh Soni and Deepak Gupta founded LoginRadius to provide “social infrastructure” along with other services to some 70,000 website customers world-wide.

Then-college students Rakesh Soni and his business partner and friend Deepak Gupta, experienced a light bulb moment, the original inspiration for their growing startup company, and TEC Edmonton client, LogInRadius.

They each had an online project they were trying to promote. “We were bringing traffic to our sites, but the response was sluggish,” said Rakesh. “Something was wrong, and the more we talked to our users, we realized the problem could become an opportunity.”

What was wrong is the same problem that continues to frustrate us all: Websites forcing us to register with a username, create a password and fill in various fields. It’s tedious and usernames and passwords are long forgotten when a website is re-visited down the road.

The brainwave, the eureka moment for the two entrepreneurially-minded graduate students arrived in a flash. Why not sign in via social media? Why not click on a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google or Yahoo button, sitting alongside the traditional registration details, for instant sign-in?

Soni and Gupta knew it could be done, and LogInRadius was the means to do it. Open ID, or Open Authentication was available to any webmaster. But the devil was in the details. “Using OpenID or OAuth meant writing code to incorporate each platform’s signing-in technology into the website,” says Soni. “And there are at least 30 major social media networks. For a website to do this on its own would require a team to understand and incorporate the other social media sign-ins. It’s way beyond the capabilities of most smaller websites.”

LoginRadius makes life much simpler for the website owner as well as the end user. “Once we did it for our own website we realized we could create an easy-to-setup SaaS, software as a service,” Soni says.

“We realized the problem could become an opportunity.”
Rakesh Soni Co-Founder, LogIn Radius

Today, LoginRadius is providing such “social infrastructure” along with other services to some 70,000 website customers world-wide. It was ranked 26th among Canada’s Top 100 Startups (by TechVibes) and has partnerships in place with Amazon.com, Mozilla, Microsoft, DynDNS, and X-Cart.

But LoginRadius is still an Edmonton-based start-up company, working closely with TEC Edmonton Executive-In-Residence Shaheel Hooda to grow in a business-like way. Its head office is now located in downtown Edmonton, in TEC Edmonton’s TEC Centre. Staffing has doubled in Canada, with engineers, sales staff, marketing specialists, customer relations and developers adding over 10 new positions to the original four-person company. In India, a 15-person office in Jaipur is rapidly expanding to 25.

How does LoginRadius make money? “Three ways,” says Soni. “The basic version of our solution is out on the Internet for free use by small websites. But as the client gets bigger, a ‘premium’ version comes into play with a monthly licence fee. And for even bigger customers, we also offer implementation and configuration services.” Once LoginRadius reaches a critical mass of 500,000 websites (of the 500 million in the world), its platform data capabilities will be of great value. “Facebook, Amazon, all the big social media players are happy to offer Open ID. It’s all about Big Data and how the users’ Internet movements can be tracked, in a non-identifiable way,” says Soni. “That’s where the ultimate pay-off is likely to be.”

“LoginRadius has a lot going for it,” says Hooda. “It’s taken advantage of the city and the province’s startup ecosystem, starting off with StartupEdmonton, entering and being a runner-up in VenturePrize, using TEC Edmonton’s mentoring and coaching services, and using Alberta’s Deal Generator to pitch for angel funding.

“LoginRadius is well on its way to becoming a known company in the international online world. Its revenues continue to grow, and it’s preparing for a seed round of financing in the $750,000 range to scale up sales and marketing activity in a significant way.”

So the next time you are staring at your computer screen, trying to remember some long-forgotten password, remember: LoginRadius will soon make that frustration a distant memory.

“LoginRadius is well on its way to becoming a known company in the international online world.”
Shaheel Hooda TEC Edmonton, Executive-In-Residence
Stories

SAM

SAM is building the best tools to search, curate and tell stories with social media content.

Q: What are you building at Startup Edmonton? 

We’re building a company called SAM. We’re on a mission to build the best tools to search, curate and tell stories with social media content. While there are certainly a lot of players in the social media marketing and management space, we’re one of the very first to be a pure inbound curation tool. We don’t look at social networks and see marketing or engagement opportunities, we see millions of stories being told and shared. Finding, managing and telling these stories is what motivates us here at SAM; and we’re thrilled our platform is helping storytellers like Financial Times, Reuters & Press Association do exactly that.

Q: What drew you to Startup Edmonton and how has the community changed during your time here? 

I started SAM in my basement. That’s no way to get inspired or held accountable to keep pursuing and pushing your nascent ideas into a reality. It takes a village, aka community. The draw to Startup Edmonton was a little bit of everything: a great workspace, community, environment and people. I think surrounding yourself with smart, creative and hard working people is really important. The biggest way that Startup Edmonton has changed since I joined is the sheer amount of talented people that are building amazing things in one building. The combined mind power and skill in a single refurbished warehouse is pretty astonishing. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by that?

Q: How has the community inspired you? 

Simply put, to think differently. The community at Startup Edmonton is so diverse in terms of focus of people and companies. I’m constantly being inspired to think differently about our own startup and the tactics we use to market, develop, sell and the tools other startups are finding value in. I think this is a huge advantage of Startup Edmonton, as it’s not a pure tech work space, there are fashion brands, food, bio, hardware and creative startups.

“Finding, managing and telling these stories is what motivates us here at SAM.”
James A. Neufeld Founder, SAM

Q: Who is one of your mentors & what is the greatest lesson they taught you? 

I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life and career work with a lot of very talented people in different cities and countries. I think valuable lessons are gleamed from everywhere and everyone, despite their “mentorship” status or not. Personally, Bruce Johnson, is someone in the local Edmonton startup scene who’s been instrumental in mentoring and guiding me and SAM in our journey of building a company. Something Bruce is amazing at — and I’d encourage all startups to look for this quality in their mentors, advisors, or whatever you call them — is just getting things done. In the end, advice is cheap and usually flows freely from most everyone. Hard work and surrounding yourself with people that actually roll up their selves and say ‘I’m gonna stop talking and start doing’ is absolutely critical. In that sense, we’re incredibly lucky to have our mentors and investors (from Bruce to Accelerate Fund and VA Angels) not only be the smartest people with amazing track records, but also be hands on in shaping the success of our company.

Q: Warehouse District (and beyond) Favourites:

Drink: That would have to be Credo. Although, very excited to have Transcend part of the Mercer.

Bite: Lots of good eats within a few blocks of Startup Edmonton. But, my favourites would have to be the summertime Food Trucks.

Activity: To no ones’ surprise, Ping Pong.

“Valuable lessons are gleamed from everywhere and everyone.”
James A. Neufeld Founder, SAM