Our products record vital signs in contexts that used to be difficult. We truly feel we’re contributing to the evolution of science by making it possible to take measurements in real life, not just in clinics or labs. I look forward to seeing the first big scientific discoveries that will come from what we’re doing.
– Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, Co-founder and President of Hexoskin

Hexoskin, founded in Montreal in 2006 by Pierre-Alexandre and Jean-François Roy, is a connected health company whose mission is to record personal health data and make the information accessible and useful.

With 25 employees, this expert in smart clothing offers equipment, software and services across the globe, including France, Japan and Australia.

HEROskin

Recognized by Gear Patrol in 2016 for the excellence of their renowned biometric t-shirt, Hexoskin has thousands of users, including: individuals, such as athletes or trainers; clinical research centres, like universities, hospitals and health research companies; as well as government clients in security, defense and aerospace. The company puts their talents to work for paramedics, Olympic champions, firefighters, soldiers and astronauts.

In addition to their clothing that captures and stores biometric data on their servers, Hexoskin develops synchronization software and consulting services.

The company has various types of partners, including a university network, with whom they identify new uses for their tools. They are also involved in various research projects, particularly with the Montreal Heart Institute, McGill University Health Centre, the University of Ottawa and TÉLUQ University.

Hexoskin also counts systems integrators for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as collaborators. In fact, Pierre-Alexandre was in Boston at the time of our meeting for a conference on innovations in pharmaceutical clinical trials, another sector in which the company is involved.

A question of momentum

Choosing the right moment seems imperative in technology, and the president of Hexoskin confirms that notion: “When we started in 2006, people weren’t really used to certain tech assets,” recounts Pierre-Alexandre. “You had to use a USB key for Bluetooth. There were no smart phones and laptops were not compatible. Nevertheless, we were familiar with adoption curves and we could predict that when we would be ready to sell the product, the technological timing would be good.”

At that time, Pierre-Alexandre and Jean-François, with their expertise in telecommunications, electronics and artificial intelligence, noticed that the majority of their colleagues were opting for online marketing jobs with Yahoo, Google or various financial companies. “They moved to London, New York and Tokyo to invest in the stock market, for example,” recalls Pierre-Alexandre. “Jean-François and I wanted to use our mathematical knowledge to do something that would help people instead – to improve services and make them more accessible, and facilitate the prevention, prediction and management of chronic conditions to avoid hospitalizations. That’s why, 11 years later, we carry on knowing that all this has meaning, that we contribute to society.”

In 2012, shifting from R&D to a production mode enabled the company to sell prototypes and become more profitable. They signed their first government contract for portable sensors with the Canadian Space Agency, who remains a client to this day. “We have a full development plan with them, and with NASA,” enthuses Pierre-Alexandre.

When I ask him what financing methods were used, he laughs and says, “Pretty much every method that existed – grants from $20 to $25,000, loans from four different sources… we even used our personal lines of credit for payroll.” Raising private capital allowed them to amass $3M and the company now has around 30 shareholders.

Health Online

This key player in connected health notes that it is the internet that allows them to reach geographically dispersed communities. “Clients mainly find us online because of our press coverage and by searching for our products on Google,” underlines the president.

Another important element for Hexoskin is that telemedicine is evolving. “In the United States this year, millions of people will have a video consultation with their doctor. If video consultation becomes the new norm, the connected health infrastructure becomes essential,” explains Pierre-Alexandre. “The main obstacles for this are regulatory. In Quebec, it’s also a question of business model. Doctors have to be paid, and in order to reach a critical mass, the government needs to get involved.” According to him, the Minister of Health should allow health professionals to provide services remotely in a supervised and paid manner. “With the same budget, we could do more…”

Source: Mélanie Pilon, writer for the Vitrine Star Tech


Be a part of technopolys!

13Dec 2017

Understanding the on-the-ground needs of our clients’ clinical teams is a key success factor. It enables us to determine the best approach for implementing our clinical solutions, while ensuring user-friendliness, which facilitates clinicians’ operation of our platform. Computerization of the clinical field has always been a major challenge. To date, more than 2,500 multidisciplinary clinicians use our clinical documentation module and more than 15,000 refer to our clinical practice guides and decision support module… so I think we can say we’ve succeeded!
– David Bertrand, CEO and Cofounder, HOSPITALIS

HOSPITALIS is shaping the future’s health sector through the development and implementation of a digital platform for coordinating health care and services. The platform aims to create a positive experience for citizens and clinicians by implementing clinical trajectories, for effective health services planning. “Our platform helps institutions with health care promotion, prevention, and clinical intervention while directing the pertinent information to the right person, in the right place, at the right time,” explains David.

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07Dec 2017

Our world is characterized more and more by technological innovation. I like to think that we’re helping to make the human aspect more important in the human-machine interface expression. In this world where innovation sometimes seems to be about finding a problem to solve, we develop a technology that allows for much more human, natural, intuitive and personal interactions with all of our electronic devices.
– Denis Lavallée, President and CEO, Mirametrix

Mirametrix, a software developer specializing in AI, has designed Glance, the world’s most advanced attention detection platform. Using computer vision, Glance detects a user’s face, eyes and sightline on all electronic devices, including those in the automotive sector. It also has millions of users worldwide.

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29Nov 2017

In 2016, for the first time in Quebec, 51% of IT jobs were not in specialized companies like ours, but in traditional businesses such as insurance companies and banks. In fact, Industrial Alliance told La Presse again this week that one out of every five jobs in their company is in IT. So it’s imperative to react to this phenomenon, which will only accelerate.
– Paul Raymond, President and CEO, Alithya

Alithya, a Quebec-based digital strategy and technology consulting company, supports its customers in their 4.0 transformation, more precisely by upgrading their systems in order to digitally optimize their activities.

Twilight coloured the view of the river and city in the office of Alithya’s president when I met with him. The company, in contrast, is far from its twilight years, having grown by 500% over the past six years and celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017!

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