Velocity startups are helping Canada prepare for population growth and aging

Chief Darcy Bear, Dan Vandal, Riel Bellegarde, Marci Ien, Justin Trudeau and Iva
Chief Darcy Bear, Dan Vandal, Riel Bellegarde, Marci Ien, Justin Trudeau and Ivar Mendez
Canada’s population could double in the next 50 years, and the population of people aged 85 and older could triple, according to the Statistics Canada data released earlier this week.   

University of Waterloo entrepreneurs are leading health innovation in Canada to create solutions that address the social determinants of health, including healthy aging and access to health care. Before the recent population projections were published, Velocity-linked health startups were already fixing issues  related to  overwhelmed hospitals and long-term care.  

Velocity health companies are funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).  

Aging in place, safely   


Jessica Lunshof and Jordan Lunshof (BSc ’23) are witnessing the aging boom first-hand at TAMVoeS, a startup that created a platform that gives patients access to their own health care information, and track and share care plans and appointments. The team has branched out into home care services.  

"We are growing all the time," says Jessica Lunshof, CEO of TAMVoeS. "I started TAMVoeS because of the inefficiencies and lack of continuity of care I ran into while caring for my mother and grandmother. Our other services are an extension of why I started the company, and we help people stay at home as long as possible, as comfortably as possible, even pass away peacefully at home if that is feasible."  

TAMVoeS has not only partnered with a U.S.-based company to create lab test and pharmacy efficiencies, but also a startup that simplifies the process of applying for the disability tax credit. All this is designed to secure the transfer of medical information between the individual and professional.  

But the startup’s heartbeat is the platform, especially for caregivers who are often overwhelmed due to the complexity of the healthcare system, Jessica Lunshof says.  

"Caregivers have to go through too many channels, and so much stress," she says. "But if a caregiver and home services staff know what’s going on, they can proactively take care of the elderly person’s health before problems become too big."  


Chirp is a startup that makes hardware to detect falls and other movement. Justin Schorn is CEO and co-founder alongside Parthipan Siva (BASc ’05, MASc ’07), professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering, and Shannon White (BMath ’91, MMath ’93). 

Schorn says the growing aging population shows a need for a device like theirs, both for private residences and long-term care homes. 

Chirp’s  fire alarm-sized, wall-mounted device  uses radar to alert caregivers and health-care providers if a person’s movement has changed or if they’ve fallen. Schorn says that detecting by radar instead of camera safeguards privacy. It is also more convenient than popular wearable alerts, which the user must always wear.  

"The waitlist in Ontario  to get into long-term care has tens of thousands of people," Schorn says. "The need for solutions to safely age in place is high. We are seeing hybrid models emerge where long-term care facilities are deploying solutions in the community."  

The startup is working with community paramedics programs, which offer medical services at home to minimize unnecessary repeat hospital visits. They also aim to distribute to long-term care and other facilities to benefit staffing, which can be short overnight.  

"As people age and their chronic conditions evolve, we have to put the right interventions in place," Schorn says. 

Disease diagnosis and treatment in the community  

Velocity-linked startups are also bringing new solutions to market that bolster community health care. 


Qidni’s portable and nearly waterless dialysis makes the procedure accessible for patients with kidney failure. Founder and CEO, Morteza Ahmadi (PhD ’13), says that standard dialysis uses large and expensive machines that require patients to receive treatment at a clinic three to four times a week. Qidni’s device allows patients to dialyze anywhere and at any time. 


Cobionix is making an AI-powered robotics system as a labour solution for health-care providers. Codi(TM), pictured in the banner image, is the first application that can perform ultrasounds remotely, and eventually, autonomously. The Ai-powered robotics system can bridge health-care gaps in rural communities, decrease health care wait times, lower procedure costs and directly improve patient care.

The startup is conducting clinical trials in Saskatchewan. Cobionix is co-founded by a team of Waterloo alumni, Nima Zamani (BASc ’14, MASc ’16), Dr. Tim Laswell (BASc ’14, MASc ’17) and John Van Leeuwen (BSc ’81). Zamani is also the CTO of Cobionix with Matthew Sefati (BSc ’16) as CEO. 

ForesAIt Medical Inc. 

ForesAIt Medical Inc. is a student team whose software aims to help chronic disease patients  and their health-care teams manage their health more effectively. The platform uses health data from wearable devices and applies AI-driven analytics.

Ibukun Elebute, the founder and a graduate student in Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program, says giving chronically ill patients reliable health information can help them predict and control their symptoms.  


HeMeTekx is developing a point-of-care device, which uses nanobiosensor technology and AI,  to measure many common biomarkers that are currently only available in a clinical lab or emergency department. The platform aims to make essential blood tests more  accessible. The startup’s founder is Shirley Tang, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and the associate dean of Science (Research).  
Naomi Grosman