Start Up Watch, November

Kurtis Thomas

Matt Smith


Diabetes affects one in 10 people over the age of 20, and many more develop the disease later in life. Previous methods designed to monitor diabetes have faced limitations in accessibility and providing accurate data. Diabetes management can also be quite expensive, costing the average Canadian with diabetes between $3500 and $5000 annually. Enter Medella Health, who aim to drastically reduce all three of these limitations with an innovative solution. They are developing a contact lens containing a micro machine that monitors blood-glucose levels which then pushes that information to a mobile device. This gives the patient the knowledge they need to immediately act on dangerous glucose levels, which previously only came in intervals. It also tracks and stores the data it collects, giving physicians the ability to make informed decisions on their patients’ health.


Most creative types swear by the power and importance of a tactile relationship in keeping up with their work. While digital technology makes most creative work, from illustration to photography, easier, ideas still start in the physical world on pen and paper. Palette Gear aims to bridge that gap by giving creatives a physical way to interact with their digital work. They have designed a series of magnetically interlocking modules containing buttons, switches, dials and sliders, which can be configured in an infinite number of combinations as their user deems easiest for their workflow. This configuration is then plugged into the computer via USB and the combination of modules can be assigned to correspond with different editing tools. Want to change the opacity of something? Pull down that slider. Or maybe you choose to rotate an object by turning a dial. More than a novelty, Palette can speed up workflows and give artists a better connection to their work.


The job market is a daunting place. Job seekers contend with hundreds of other applicants, and employers have to differentiate through hundreds of resumes to determine who is the right fit for their workplace. Qualifications are important, but so is an applicant’s alignment with the company culture and its values. Plum’s human resources software makes these determinations easy. Every employer fills out a short, eight-minute survey, which assesses the characteristics and qualities they’re looking for in a potential employee. Applicants then complete a different survey highlighting their personal preferences and cognitive ability, and Plum compares the results and ranks them based on a compatibility score. This greatly accelerates the resume review process, with some current customers reporting an 80 per cent` decline in the time they spend reading resumes. Plum could also increase employee retention and reduce time training new employees.