eHealth is a team sport meetup


When: Thursday January 19th 2017 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Where: McMaster Centre for Continuing Education at 1 James St. North, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Hacking Health Hamilton (@HHHamOnt)




This month, McMaster’s Master of Science in eHealth program is hosting us at the new McMaster Centre for Continuing Education, right at the corner of King and James. You may have noticed this ultra-modern upgrade to the existing building as you passed by. Now we have a chance to get inside and enjoy their hospitality.

What are they up to at Mac eHealth? You may also have heard about the Mac eHealth program. It’s a unique three-way joint venture of the business school and the faculties of health science and engineering, aiming to bring Master students up to speed on health, information and management sciences. The interdisciplinary program brings together programmers, front-line staff, admin, and clinicians.

We have two awesome groups presenting this month!

MyHealth PHRI: Dr. Cynthia Lokker from eHealth and Dr. Itzhak Gabizon from PHRI are developing a research app to evaluate the effectiveness of mobile health apps. They are drawing on rigorous research methods to evaluate which health apps actually work — something that is desperately needed in a field with hundreds of thousands of poorly vetted apps out there.

Virtual Ward: Dr. Richard Sztramko will present the virtual ward he’s developed to facilitate communication among clinicians during patient handovers within a hospital ward.


Interested in collaborating with Mac researchers and students? Learn how you can take advantage of opportunities to work with the Mac eHealth program and others!


Bigger and better: 2016 year in review

This year was unquestionably the biggest in the history of the (admittedly young) Hamilton tech sector.

First off, big exits, in fact what were likely the two biggest exists ever in Hamilton. First in January Mabel’s Labels was acquired for $12 million, followed by VIZIYA being acquired at $21 million in October!

Mabel’s Labels is a storied Hamilton success story… what started out as 4 moms selling identification labels out of a basement grew into a company with a few dozen employees over a 13 year period. And VIZIYA grew like topsy over the last 5 years… they were featured on the Deloitte list of the 50 fastest growing tech companies by revenue for 3 years in a row and became the city’s largest tech company by number of employees.



It wasn’t just these two companies either, health tech startup CareKit was also acquired in a deal worth $2 million in February! These exits are important because they show that “it can be done in Hamilton”, and they pave the way for others to follow by demonstrating how it can be done. Rumour has it that we’ll be seeing a couple more acquisitions in Hamilton next year too! Hopefully these acquisitions add to the pool of experienced entrepreneurs that are able to fund and mentor the next generation.

And on that note… big funding! Data centre technology startup Cinnos was able to raise $2.3 million this year. That’s an incredible achievement that again paves the way for others to follow.



Next up, Big Blue, aka IBM, announced they were moving into town in a partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences to work on health technology! To me this is probably the single biggest piece of news ever for the Hamilton tech sector. IBM’s done great things for communities by opening up satellite offices in recent years (e.g. 500 jobs in Halifax).

IBM does work with McMaster researchers already, and the company is one of the more sought after landing spots by McMaster computer science and software engineering grads in particular. We’ll have to see what this grows in to, but I’m hopeful this could be excellent in terms of retention of Mac students after graduation, creating higher-end technology jobs in the city (i.e. research and development level work), and giving Hamilton’s tech sector more heft to people outside our community (everyone has heard of IBM).


There’s so many more great stories too! Just a few…

Design agencies in town continued to kick ass and take names, with clientele increasingly coming from outside the city.

Hamilton Code Clubs had over 500 students in 20 schools learn computer programming in weekly learn to code clubs, and with future fund dollars the program will continue to scale next year.

A regular gamut of meetup groups and conferences continued to catalyze the community – everything from a bigger Embrace UX, to regular features like AppsForHealth, to new events like HamOnt.js, Hacking Health Hackathon, VR Meetup, and Internet of Things meetup! Each one of these community building initiatives reaches out to a different and new segment of people that fills a different “gap in the marketplace”.

The Forge incubator continued to fill-up, and companies in the space continue to scale and win early funding. The Forge on McMaster campus and SURGE at Mohawk College are stirring the entrepreneurial pot on campus to keep this growth going strong.



There was some sad news with ThinkHaus closing shop, but they helped foster a maker culture in the city that’s still going in new forms like the Mini Make Faire and new artist/maker spaces.


I’ll cut it off here, but suffice to say this past 12 months has been amazing for our community. There’s a very, very long road ahead to get where Hamilton could be, something more akin to Waterloo’s scale in terms of revenue/jobs/funding/exits, but fit to our own strengths. After a year of big exits, big funding, Big Blue moving into town, and bigger than ever community building and startup support activities… we’ve got more reason than ever before to believe that we’ll get there.


Self-driving car research at McMaster


Check out this video on self-driving car research taking place at McMaster University!



Autonomous vehicles are become more and more the technology of the future rather than a mere concept. The rise of computer-driven cars comes with the added concern over safety.

At McMaster University, a team of researchers headed by Engineering professor, Saeid Habibi, is developing technology to help make self-driving cars safe on the road.



Students showcase code club creations


Hamilton Code Clubs (@hamontcodeclub) has been running showcase sessions in all of its code clubs over the past week!

Hamilton Code Clubs revolves around lunch hour and after school “learn to code” clubs where students are introduced to early computer programming skills using fun and free tools like Scratch, Hopscotch and Khan Academy. Students are introduced to these tools over several weeks via presentations from a mentor and working through walkthroughs. They learn the basic building blocks of programming like conditional statements and loops, mostly focused around drawing and animating since it’s most engaging that way.

The students are also given some weeks to build whatever they want to make. And I have to say it’s really, really cool watching the enthusiasm and engagement go into overdrive when they do. There’s something empowering for them about realizing that they can make the idea inside their head a reality on the screen in front of them, thanks to their new skill set. Instead of playing games, they’re making their own.

It’s cool because I suspect it will have enough of an impact for these kids that they will really remember it, and that for some it may even influence them enough to get into the industry one day.

After the students have built their creations, during the final week they show them off to their peers, mentor, teacher and in some cases parents too! It’s basically a DemoCamp for the kids in each of the 18 code clubs, and just as awesome!

Hamilton Code Clubs will be back next year, and expanding into more schools with our new funding too. Check out these photos from some the code clubs showcase events!


Parents watch kids at Queensdale (@Queensdale342) demo their creations!


A student presents his “Quest” game!


Another student presents his “Boat Race” game!


A student at St. Agnes shows off her music video animation!


Students at St. David demo what they’ve made for their parents!


A student demos his “Space Run” game!


Hifyre helps turn Mettrum into a blazing success

Editor’s note:

This is a guest blog article from local firm Hifyre (@hifyre).

Similar articles like this are welcome from any and all other agencies in town if you’ve got something cool you’d like to share!



This past week we have had one of the greatest rewards you can get in our industry. Something all of us at Hifyre are incredibly proud to be a part of.

It all started around 4 years ago. A couple of former colleagues reached out to us. They were looking to establish themselves in an emerging medical marijuana market in Canada.

Our first reaction was one of surprise. Hifyre knew nothing about this industry, and had many questions. But we quickly learned as much as we could about this new opportunity, and instinctively knew we had to be a part of it. It aligned with everything that Hifyre stands for; challenge, new products, innovation, and ultimately… trailblazing. And so started the journey with our new client Mettrum.

Hifyre’s first job for Mettrum was to create a brand, website and supporting marketing materials in preparation for a community meeting in the small Ontario town of MacTier. The town had offered Mettrum the possibility of turning their fledgling local arena into Mettrum’s first growing facility.

Enter Canadian hockey legend Bobby Orr. Like trailblazing in any new industry, there are going to be challenges. To read about the connection between Bobby Orr and Mettrum, click here:

Fast forward one year. Mettrum established their new facility in the more welcoming town of Bowmanville. They received one of the first licenses to produce marijuana in Canada. And so began the challenge of taking on new patients and educating physicians on a product they really didn’t know much about.

Over the next two years, Hifyre was tasked with developing an industry first system that would allow physicians to create, sign and submit patient medical documents online. Hifyre developed a new and innovative software program that also streamlined the patient registration from a two week manual approval process to one that could be done within the hour online. This proved to be an interesting process for Hifyre. Working within the constraints of Health Canada’s strict regulations proved to be a challenge. But ultimately, one worth taking.

Up next was the online store. Creating any old e-commerce site is a breeze, but creating one that has many restrictions, limitations, and deviations from the standard ‘add to cart’ is a whole other ball game! But given the fact that we have always embraced challenges as opportunities to create and innovate… we managed to build and maintain the most robust and tightly controlled online shopping experience in the industry today.

The final piece in the digital toolset we created for Mettrum was a portal for their Customer Service Reps. This portal would make managing their quickly growing patient base more efficient and precise. After working closely with Mettrum’s operations, customer service, and finance departments, we were able to create a custom tool that would not only deliver easy access to the deep information needed to better serve their patients, but helped maintain the constraints required to stay within compliance of the Health Canada regulations. This CSR tool also helps manage all of their physicians, expands on the streamlining of the patient approval process, manages all digital documents, tracks orders (both phone and online) and includes instant access to much need reporting.

Mettrum today stands as the second largest Licensed Producer of Medical Marijuana in Canada. Over 15,000 patients. Tens of millions of dollars in online sales. And growing rapidly. We believe this is partly to do with the systems that Hifyre helped them build. And partly to do with all of the great employees at Mettrum.

Which brings us to our proudest moment yet. On December 1, 2016, we woke up to the news that the largest Medical Marijuana company in Canada, Canopy Growth Corporation, made an offer to purchase Mettrum for $430 million.

Helping a client go from $0 to $430 million had it’s glorious moments, and it’s challenges. For us at Hifyre, it’s been a wild ride. For the team at Mettrum, we’re sure it’s been even crazier. We have grown with Mettrum. We have learned from Mettrum. They have provided us with a platform to do some of our most challenging and rewarding work to date. We look to the future, and can’t help but get excited about what is coming next, as Mettrum joins the Canopy family.


Cinnos raises $2.3 million


HAMILTON, Ontario, Dec. 19, 2016 — Cinnos MCI, the Hamilton-based high-tech start-up that introduced the world’s first data centre appliance to the global market, announced today that it successfully raised over $2.3 million in equity financing from the community of angel investors in the Hamilton, Burlington and the Greater Toronto Area, as well as Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through its Market Readiness Company Building (MRCB) program. The financing was led by the Burlington-based Angel One Investor Network, one of the most active angel groups in Canada. The funds raised will provide the capital for Cinnos to build its next generation of the Mission Critical X (MCX), and fund its global expansion.

“Our MCX brings unprecedented economic and environmental efficiencies to the $170 billion data centre industry, and we intend to use this funding to capitalize fully on our unique and proprietary technology,” said Hussam Haroun, Cinnos CEO and co-founder.

“We thought we would need to syndicate outside of Angel One to deliver the $1 million of funding Cinnos was seeking,” said Karen Grant, Executive Director of Angel One. “But by the time our due diligence was completed, our members delivered over $1 million all by themselves. I received calls from Angel One members who missed the first round, and we had strong interest from our friends at Maple Leaf Angels and York Angel Investors. Rather than leave anyone out, we went back to Cinnos and asked if they would consider increasing the round to $2 million. And they did.”

“The Market Readiness Company Building program is designed to assist companies like Cinnos scale up, and advance their early-stage commercialization efforts,” said Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and CEO. “Companies like Cinnos illustrate how the programs at OCE can help innovators capitalize on Ontario’s first-class academic institutions, and support local innovation in the global marketplace through strategic investment at critical stages in their growth.”

“This is a watershed event for the innovation ecosystem in the Hamilton region. I was really impressed by Karen’s professionalism and her fantastic due diligence team,” said Dr. Lotfi Belkhir, Chairman of the Board of Cinnos, and Associate Professor at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice & Technology at McMaster University. “What fills me with pride is the visionary leadership of Hussam Haroun, and how he was able to translate the learning experience he received from our Master’s in Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MEEI) at the W Booth into one of the most promising start-ups in the Greater Toronto Area.”


About Cinnos

Cinnos has developed and commercialized the world’s first data centre appliance that enables immediate deployment and a pay-as-you-grow model for data centre providers. Furthermore, thanks to its proprietary modular design, The Cinnos Smart MCX™ enables immediate deployment of data centres for a fraction of the cost of traditional mission critical facilities (MCF), hence accelerating revenues and bringing dramatically higher ROI to our customers as compared with the traditional construction-based MCF. Founded by Hussam Haroun in June 2015 following his graduation from McMaster MEEI program, Cinnos achieved breakeven in less than twelve (12) months of operations. For more information, please visit

Cinnos Media Contact:
Brook Azezew
t: 416.270.7807


About Angel One Investor Network

Angel One Network Inc. is a not-for-profit organization with 90+ high net worth members who live, work or have strong interests in Southern Ontario. In the 5 years since Angel One’s inception, its members have invested over $22 million in 84 rounds into 52 companies. In 2016 alone, Angel One members have invested $4.36 million into 10 companies as of October 15, 2016. Angel One members have also realized success from three successful exits that delivered a blended annualized return of 69%.

Angel One Media Contact:
Karen Grant
T: 905.308.4969


About Ontario Centres of Excellence

OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.

OCE Media Contact:
Andrew Robertson
Manager, Media Relations
t: 416.861.1092 x 1092


Tech North report aims to foster regional tech supercluster

A roundtable of regional tech startup heavyweights (including founders, ecosystem supporters, school deans, etc.) helped to put together an excellent report entitled Tech North: Building Canada’s first technology supercluster.

“Canada’s nascent technology supercluster in the Toronto-Waterloo region has the potential to become one of the world’s top innovation ecosystems. This report examines how this can be achieved and what could move Toronto-Waterloo to global technology supercluster status.

You can find the report here. Obviously for branding reasons there’s a logic in calling it the Toronto-Waterloo corridor… Waterloo’s brand in tech is first-class and Toronto is a major centre in North America – but it’s nice to see Hamilton, other urban centres, and their assets are included in the report and vision for the region as well.



Mac researcher partners with IBM to improve Watson

McMaster University professor Fei Chiang has received funding from SOSCIP to partner with IBM to improve Watson Analytics!

SOSCIP is a research and development consortium that pairs academic and industry researchers with advanced computing tools to fuel Canadian innovation within the areas of agile computing, cities, mining, health, digital media, energy, cybersecurity, water and advanced manufacturing.

Check out the excerpt below from the full article on the project:

Big data can lend many insights that give an organization an edge in the global marketplace. It can inform decisions that can improve profit margins and help leaders better understand patients, customers and employees, and improve inefficient and costly processes.

Data, however, can also be rife with errors, duplications, inconsistencies and incomplete information. That’s where Fei Chiang and her team comes in. Chiang is an assistant professor in the Department of Computing and Software, Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University. Funded as part of the OCE-SOSCIP Smart Computing R&D Challenge, a collaboration between OCE, NSERC and SOSCIP to provide $7.5M in funding to SOSCIP projects, her SOSCIP project involves working on improving data quality to achieve trusted and accurate results from data analysis tasks.

“Poor data quality costs businesses and organizations millions of dollars a year in operational inefficiencies, poor decision-making and wasted time,” she explained.

“Real data often contains missing, duplicate, inconsistent and empty values. The currency and timeliness of data is also important as many decisions need to be made with the most recent data.”

Chiang is working with IBM to improve the data quality metrics in Watson Analytics, IBM’s cloud-based data analytics platform. The first step is to build a set of detailed quality metrics that provide in-depth information on the data quality problems. The metrics are aggregated to provide customized data quality scores to users based on their data analysis task.

When the research is completed, the aim is to provide organizations with a means of “cleaning” their data, a process which could take weeks to months. Chiang’s research could trim that time down to days, saving the organization money and vital time needed to make big decisions in a fast-paced marketplace.

The research also provides valuable hands-on training for data scientists, which represents a significant gap in the Canadian market.


VIZIYA acquired by Nobelium for $21m


Editor’s note: Wow, somehow I missed this one! It’s a big story… the biggest acquisition of a Hamilton tech startup ever at $21m, the previous I’m aware of being Mabel’s Labels at $12m.


TORONTO, Ontario – Oct. 31, 2016 – NOBELIUM TECH  CORP. (“Nobelium” or the “Company”), a capital pool company, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a letter of intent dated October 31, 2016 (the “Letter of Intent”) to purchase all of the issued and outstanding shares of VIZIYA Corporation (“VIZIYA”) (the “Transaction”).

Nobelium is a Capital Pool Company (“CPC”) and intends the Transaction to constitute its Qualifying Transaction under the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange (the “Exchange”). The Transaction is not a non-arm’s length transaction.

The Transaction

Nobelium will purchase all of the outstanding shares of VIZIYA for a purchase price of $21,110,000 USD plus contingent consideration of up to $12,890,000 USD that are subject to certain earn-out provisions. Pursuant to the Letter of Intent, Nobelium will pay the purchase price on closing by way of $20,400,000 USD cash and issue common shares of Nobelium representing $710,000 USD. The earn-out is structured by way of an interest bearing vendor take back note of $6,500,000 USD and common shares of Nobelium in the amount of $6,390,000 USD at a price per share of a concurrent brokered equity financing to be completed as part of the Transaction.

Headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, with offices in Brussels, Brisbane, Perth, Atlanta, Cape Town, Qatar, and Dubai, VIZIYA is the industry leader providing bolt-on software products to enhance ERP-based asset maintenance systems. VIZIYA’s proprietary WorkAlign™ Product Suite delivers seamless integration into existing ERP systems. With over 55,000 users at 850 sites across 6 continents, the world’s best companies use VIZIYA products to help them better maintain their assets.

“VIZIYA’s product expertise coupled with its experienced management team will enable us to continue to be a profitable growth engine” says John Vujicic, Chief Executive Officer, VIZIYA. “We are genuinely excited to join Nobelium and begin the next chapter in our journey of providing our customers with best-in-class Software solutions.”

“We are proud to have VIZIYA be our first platform acquisition” stated John Varghese, Chairman and CEO of Nobelium. “I look forward to working with John Vujicic as he joins the Nobelium board as part of this transaction” continued Varghese.

Sponsorship of a Qualifying Transaction of a CPC is required by the Exchange unless exempt in accordance with Exchange policies or waived by the Exchange. The Transaction may require sponsorship and Nobelium plans to provide a news release update should a sponsor be retained. Nobelium’s shares have been halted from trading as a result of the announcement of the Transaction. Nobelium expects that trading in its common shares will remain halted pending closing of the Qualifying Transaction. The common shares of Nobelium may trade sooner, only upon Exchange approval and the filing of required materials with the Exchange as contemplated by Exchange policy.

Completion of the Transaction is subject to a number of conditions including, but not limited to, Exchange acceptance and if applicable pursuant to Exchange requirements, shareholder approval. Where applicable, the Transaction cannot close until the required shareholder approval is obtained. There can be no assurance that the Transaction will be completed as proposed or at all. Investors are cautioned that, except as disclosed in the management information circular or filing statement to be prepared in connection with the Transaction, any information released or received with respect to the Transaction may not be accurate or complete and should not be relied upon. Trading in the securities of a CPC should be considered highly speculative.

Financing and Debt

Nobelium intends to raise up to $35,000,000 CDN in a brokered equity and debt financing. The financing is expected to close contemporaneously with the close of the Qualifying Transaction.

The Exchange has in no way passed upon the merits of the proposed Transaction and has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release.

A comprehensive press release will be issued by Nobelium when a definitive agreement is finalized.

Nobelium is a platform that will seek to own and acquire a growing collection of high quality profitable Software as a Service businesses (“SaaS”), IT services and provisioning businesses and businesses with recurring revenue models solving specific vertical/industry needs.


Dwayne Wasylyshyn on lessons learned at Blackberry


McMaster Engineering has been running Café X talks for the last few years aimed at bringing in speakers to share experiences that spark ideas, discussion and debate.

They’ve recently started live streaming the talks, including the most recent by Dr. Dwayne Wasylyshyn about his past projects during a very interesting time at BlackBerry (then Research in Motion) and what he learned in the process.

Check out the talk below!