Are you a tech company looking to commercialize your technology? Our Venture Acceleration Program connects you to a group of business and technology experts to take your idea further. How does it work? Startups are supported by a province-wide network of Executives-in-residence (EIRs) and partners that help entrepreneurs accelerate the process of defining a proven business model and set of best practices for growing technology companies.
What’s it like for participating companies? We interviewed Amir Hayeri, CEO of Bio Conscious Technologies, who went through the program via our partners at SFU VentureLabs.
Tell us a bit about Bio Conscious Technologies Inc.?
Amir: At Bio Conscious Tech, we focus on developing AI with a purpose. Our goal is to monitor day to day health progression and predict disease on set and complications associated with chronic conditions.
Diabits is our first product - it’s an app for people with Type 1 diabetes and those with Type 2 diabetes that are on insulin therapy. The Diabits app learns the user’s blood sugar fluctuations using machine learning and predicts instances of hypo and hyperglycemia (both of which can be life threatening) at least one hour in advance. This gives the patient enough to time to correct with food or insulin and increase their control over their blood sugar.
Why did you enter the Venture Acceleration Program?
Amir: As a first-time entrepreneur, I feel like there are many things that I don’t know. There is at least one thing that I do know: startups are not successful by nature but can become successful by nurture. So, I always look for opportunities that allow us to get mentorship and advice.
How has the program helped your startup?
Amir: Startups have limited resources - capital and time being the scarcest. The Venture Acceleration Program allowed us to run lean, experiment, and fail fast. It also pushed us to narrow our idea to a simple, easy to develop product that we could test with customers. The first iteration wasn’t perfect, but it gave us a chance to get customer feedback. Using this feedback, we were able to develop something that users now can’t live without.
Can you share any successes your company has experienced?
Amir: The company was able to get market traction and investment so that was great. Moving forward, we are piloting our product with some big companies such as Medtronic and Novo Nordisk, the number one insulin manufacturer in the world. We are also looking to expand our product to other devices and other conditions in the near future.
What was the experience of working with an EIR like?
Amir: There were ups and downs, disagreements and heated debates. Mostly because when you first start you are all about transformation and the disruptive possibilities of your technology. Mentors are basically there to remind you of the realities of the world you work and live in. At the end of the day, I learned that they’re there to help me reach my goal faster. They didn't always have the answers I was looking for, but they were willing to work with me to find them.
Why would you recommend other startups get involved?
Amir: Time is the most valuable resource we all have and if there is someone that is willing to be generous with their time to help you succeed you should take full advantage of it.