A software as a service (SaaS) business, Drivewyze uses location-based technology to communicate with participating weigh stations and inspection sites, asking if a truck can bypass. The chances of getting a bypass are determined by the carrier's safety score
People imagine real estate agents as always on the job. Roberto Moreno wants to change that. A few years ago, when his wife Elisse wanted to return to the world of real estate, they wondered how they could use the latest developments in technology to make the job easier and let her spend more time with her family. And so Gabbi, the A.I. assistant they have been developing over the last two years, was born.
Touted as a central hub for all communications between an agent and a client, Gabbi aims to step in to help convert leads and move sales forward. “Statistics show that if realtor doesn’t respond to a potential customer within a few minutes, that customer has already gone elsewhere,” says Moreno. “The consumer wants information much quicker. It’s important for agents to be able to respond in a timely matter with accurate information, and that’s really where Gabbi can come in and help.”
dealcloser was founded in typical startup fashion: a personal problem sparked an idea, which led to a set of terrible user interface mockups on Power Point and an initial investment that just covered the cost of building a prototype.
Like most startups, it took a while to hammer out a minimum viable product, but a solid product market fit kept investors and customers interested. Now, dealcloser is being used in law firms in 9 cities in North America, in 5 states and provinces, in 2 countries around the world.
Jason Suriano wrote the book on game-powered learning. Literally.
In 2017, he delved into 15 years of research, consulting and production experience to demystify this often-misunderstood discipline in a book titled Office Arcade: Gamification, Byte-Size Learning, and Other Wins on the Way to Productive Human Resources.
“A lot of people might not take what we're doing seriously,” says the bright-eyed founder and CEO of Edmonton-based e-learning company, Trajectory IQ.
While many companies understand that game-powered learning is more engaging and can, in turn, lead to higher retention of information, they simply don’t see the value in investing in what they perceive as fun and games, explains Suriano.
“[They think] ‘Yeah it's more engaging or interactive, but what is that going to do for the company?’”
Shift scheduling sounds like a deceptively simple problem until you have to do it in a large organization like a hospital, with many shifts over several weeks, with many rules dictated by collective agreements.
Maybe not so simple after all. The multi-dimensional aspects of shifts and the millions of variables involved require a computer program at least as smart as a human. And that's where machine learning, a field that involves computers able to learn and improve without being specifically programmed with the data, comes to the table.
Like several firms in the artificial intelligence and machine learning field in Edmonton, PFM Scheduling was born to solve a problem.
I sat down with Amir Reshef, CEO and Co-Founder of dealcloser, to chat about his experience with applying for funding through government programs at the provincial and federal level.
Amir and his team have a healthy perspective on how to make the most of this type of funding. Three big lessons he shares:
- You need to have a plan to move forward with and without the funding. Being able to show your funding representatives how much more you can do with funding vs. without funding is one of the best ways to build your case.
- Relationships are still key to securing government funding and grants, but they are a lot different than your relationships with investors. With a government program, you can't influence the timing cycle and you're often not dealing directly with the decision maker.
- Government funding of any stripe is a massive responsibility and that's why it's a labour intensive process to apply and report on what you're doing with it. Amir does a great job reminding everyone that your startup is being trusted with taxpayer funds because your efforts will benefit the larger economy.
Check out Stephanie & Amir's full conversation below. Scroll to the bottom for some interesting insight to how it feels to hire talent and pay them more than what you earn as founder!
I got my first car in 1996. I was 16. It was an ‘81, rust-coloured, hatchback Toyota Celica. It came out the same year The Rolling Stones dropped the single “Start Me Up”. If only that Celica was the Mick Jagger of cars and never stopped once it started up, but it was only a year younger than me at the time and 15 human years is like 93 car years. So it was old and wheezy and occasionally didn’t start up at all.
But I loved that car. It ushered me into a new era of freedom in my life—no more running to catch the bus, no more cycling 10 kilometres to and from work, no more asking for rides.
I grew up in the suburbs where the only things within walking distance were other houses and a lone gas station where I bought candy as a kid and then gasoline and candy as a teenager. Owning a car was a significant life upgrade—I felt like Leo on the bow of the Titanic yelling, “I’m the king of the world!” In my ‘81 Celica, I was the king of the world, windows down, mixtape in the cassette player, “The World I Know” by Collective Soul blasting from blown speakers.