A Saanich-based high-tech company nabbed third place and $42,000 at the B.C. Innovation Council New Ventures competition for B.C. technology startups.
SmartPager Systems, based at the DataTech Business Centre, has developed a secure, cloud-based system that allows heath professionals to communicate and exchange confidential patient information on smartphones. The system, among its many goals, is meant to replace the antiquated paging system still used by many doctors.
“We are really proud to represent Victoria and the tech community here,” said Ben Moore, who founded SmartPager with Mike Ferguson. “It’s really good validation for the business. They recognize we are fixing a real problem with a real market need. We’ve been in contact with institutional investors because of the competition.”
The BCIC New Ventures competition started with 147 tech companies and had four elimination rounds to select five winners. Vancouver-based Vonigo took first and $107,000. Industrial Plankton, based near Sidney, took fourth and $20,000.
“I think (the judges) saw how far we’d come with so little, and had really turned the volume up,” Moore said. “They basically said we’d be a $50 million company within the next seven years.”
SmartPager launched its smartphone paging system with a group of 85 doctors in Phoenix, Ariz., in January. It’s since expanded to large and medium sized medical practices, 20 to 100 doctors, in New York, Philadelphia, and a number of centres in Texas. On this side of the border, SmartPager is also being piloted at Vancouver General Hospital, Moore said.
The company has five employees in Victoria and plans to ramp up hiring and expansion going onto 2014.
“We plan to take our early successes and build within the U.S. market and pursue partnerships with wireless carriers and healthcare,” Moore said.