IBM launches Toronto startup hub, enrolls first participant

Toronto--Courtesy of Amarpreet Kaur CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

IBM and the Ontario Centres of Excellence launched a startup hub in Toronto this week, enrolling e-health player Analytics 4 Life (A4L) as its first participant.

The IBM Innovation Space is the first program to launch under IBM’s $54 million Innovation Incubator Project, according to a statement. The company put up $24.75 million for the initiative, while the Government of Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund contributed $22.75 million and other partners made up the rest.

The startup hub will offer capacity, networking, infrastructure and IBM’s cloud and cognitive business tech to help startups propel their ideas from research to commercialization, according to the statement. Experts from IBM will provide mentoring, support services, education and legal counsel to support startups aiming to attack some of Canada’s biggest challenges in sectors including healthcare and natural resources.

Toronto-based A4L, the flagship company in the program, started with the notion that machine learning could be harnessed to identify disease states by applying it to physiological “signals” emitted by the body.

In May, A4L unveiled its Coronary Artery Disease Learning and Algorithm Development clinical study, which aims to enroll up to 2,500 participants in the U.S. "A4L is currently testing a system that safely records patient signals and wirelessly transmits these files to secure cloud storage that allows powerful computer analytics to access and analyze billions of data points in real time,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. William Sanders in a statement.