OUR INVESTMENT HISTORY
Read about how CIAI and its affiliates have helped early stage businesses........
MEDUSA MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES
Medusa Medical Technologies Inc. is a software company with 40 staff based in Halifax, NS. Medusa develops electronic patient care reporting software for the emergency first responder industry. Medusa has sold its software to customers in nine countries and has a dominant position in the market in Canada.
Canadian International played an important role in helping the company become established. The founder of Medusa was a first responder who saw how technology could help transform the work paramedics were doing. He had a vision for an electronic patient care record (ePCR) software that would help paramedics accurately record their diagnosis and treatment of patients. He subsequently won a Manning Award for innovation for his work with Medusa.
The founder approached Canadian International for assistance in financing and launching the company. We arranged the initial $750,000 of investment for Medusa and became heavily involved in managing the company. Since our initial investment in 1998, we have been responsible for providing management and arranging numerous rounds of investment. Mr. Glen Dexter, one of the founding members of CIAI and President of Canadian International, has served as Chairman and CEO of Medusa since 2012.
In 2001, Medusa signed with its first customer in the United States which successfully went live with the software. Medusa added several additional customers in the United States in the next couple of years and we raised $6 million of capital in two rounds. In 2005 Medusa became involved in the United Kingdom Connecting for Health (CfH) program which was designed to bring Information Technology to the Health Care sector in the United Kingdom - including Hospital Information Systems, software for Doctors’ offices, and software for ambulances. Medusa was able to win a contract to provide the ambulance software for 60% of England. Medusa was successful in delivering our software under the agreement and deploying it to the six ambulance trusts serving our geographic area. These ambulance trusts operate over 2500 ambulances– it is the largest deployment of ePCR software in the World.
In 2013, we were able to arrange $2.6 million of financing from Atlantic Opportunities Agency through the Atlantic Innovation Fund, a Federal Government program. We have also received significant funding over the years from InnovaCorp and from Technology Ventures.
We also have been successful in expanding the business in North America and elsewhere in the World. In Canada Medusa has a dominant position. Customers include all of British Columbia, all of Alberta and all of Nova Scotia. Medusa is the only ePCR company with province wide customers in Canada. Medusa also has a number of customers in the United States and is well positioned to grow the business there. Medusa also has two national customers – Ireland and Kuwait that are in the process of deploying the software.
In total Medusa is now in nine countries. Medusa’s customers operate thousands of ambulances, have tens of thousands of paramedics using our software, and document millions of runs each year.
SolutionInc. is an Internet gateway provider and managed services company offering robust on-premise and cloud-based solutions for managing high demand public Wi-Fi and wired access in hotels, conference centres, parks, healthcare, multi-use buildings and more. Customers access the internet in over 50 countries worldwide using its patented SolutionIPTM software every day. It has a comprehensive suite of products and services including centralized hotspot connectivity management, billing and support solutions.
The Company was founded in 1997 with the vision of providing simple access to the Internet on public networks. SolutionInc now has over one million touch points worldwide.
Canadian International invested about $60,000 in the early stages of this company. We were early equity investors before the company went public. In this case we were not actively involved in the management of the company but still maintain our investment.
Phase Remediation Inc. (PRI) was in the environmental technology business. PRI had a patented technology for separating heavy metals from soil. The primary markets for the technology were soil remediation from heavy metal pollution such as mercury and for use in the golf mining industry to separate gold from the ore. We invested $600,000 in this company. One of our shareholders also joined the Board of the company. Unfortunately the company ultimately did not succeed to attract customers and generate the necessary revenue although there were a number of pilots and good prospects.
WEB MEDIC PRO
WebMedicPro (WMP) is in the electronic patient care report software business. Medusa acquired all the assets of this company in 2015. Canadian International was responsible for negotiating this transaction and for managing the business since we acquired it. WMP has an iOS based ePCR software. They have a number of small customers in the United States and Puerto Rico. The main competitive advantage of WMP is that the software can be run on ruggedized iPads which cost a fraction of the devices most ambulance operators use for windows based software. Since acquiring the company we have made many improvements to the software and have recently started to grow the customer base. We have provided funding of over $750,000 USD to WMP to achieve this. WMP has two staff in the United States and a team of six developers overseas. WMP has also developed a first responder application that can work on an iPhone and record the more basic interaction between a patient and a first responder or basic life support paramedic. As is the case with Medusa, we have provided the necessary management and financing for this company.
Novonix is a specialized start-up company spun out of Dr. Jeff Dahn’s lab at Dalhousie University. Novonix has expertise in materials and cell testing, with strong focus on the use of High Precision Coulometry for lifetime evaluation of lithium-ion cells. Dr. Dahn is one of the most highly regarded experts in the World with respect to Lithium Ion Batteries. The son in law of one of Canadian International's shareholders, Chris Burns founded Novonix based on technology developed when he worked on his PhD with Dr. Dahn. We have mentored Chris as he has developed his business. Novonix was profitable in its first year of operation and has customers around the World. It has attracted investment from a very large international company in the lithium-ion battery industry and is in the processing of rapidly expanding. Unfortunately, Novonix has not needed investment from private sources so we are not an investor in the company but have provided advice on a number of issues as the company started and has grown.
In about 1990, one of Canadian International's shareholders invested in an aquaculture business run by two friends Royal Stevens and Karen Westhaver. At the time, there was significant technological risk associated with fish farming in general and salmon in particular. Karen and Royal were pioneers in aquaculture in Nova Scotia. They had several pens of salmon in Saint Margaret's Bay in Nova Scotia. They had about $1.5 million of salmon at market in their pens. It was early winter when we negotiated an investment. The fish would not be ready to market until the summer and they had no money for feed. We made a personal loan to them of about $60,000 so they could purchase feed. This would carry them through until the fish were large enough to sell. Unfortunately there was a storm in March that released an ice sheet that moved and destroyed the pens. Virtually all the fish were lost. We were able to recoup the investment as they had assets outside of the business which were used to repay the loan.
BLACK ICE DETECTION
We invested $50,000 in a company that had a black box used to detect black ice on roads. We were an early stage equity investor in the company. We did meet regularly with the manager and founder of the company but soon understood that the technology was more limited than we believed. When the company ran out of money, we did not make any follow- on investments.
GoldTech was in the business of manufacturing specialized gold rings. It had developed technology that would allow it to manufacture specialized rings on a production basis rather than building a number of individual custom rings. For example, GoldTech won the contract to build and deliver the SuperBowl rings one year. They also were negotiating to be the company that would build the rings for St. Francis Xavier University. St.FX has a tradition of each graduate receiving a ring. It is said to be the third most recognized ring in the World after the SuperBowl ring and the Papal Ring. There were a number of other areas of business that GoldTech was working on. We invested about $200,000 in this business in three rounds. The business was located in Moncton New Brunswick. We worked actively with the founder and operator of the business while we were investing in the business. Unfortunately the business had serious cashflow issues. As well, it was harder to be as hands on as we would like to be with our investments due to the geographic separation. Accordingly we stopped providing funding and the company closed its business.
Innovacorp I3 Competition
InnovaCorp, is an early stage technology investment company owned and funded by the Government of Nova Scotia. They are also an incubator that is active in the Startup Visa program. InnovaCorp periodically runs an “I3” competition that offers prizes of cash and services to very early stage companies. “I3” stands for “idea, innovation, implementation”. A shareholder of Canadian International served as a judge of the competition both for the regional portion and the final selection on two occasions. We were required to critically assess about 100 applicants per competition and determine which ones had the best chance of success. It was a very good process that has given us experience in assessing early stage investment opportunities.