We’ve picked our six for the Aviva Insurtech Accelerator program

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Monthly Archives: May 2017

We’ve picked our six for the Aviva Insurtech Accelerator program

How big is the insurtech market? A report by marketing magazine Business Insurance found the burgeoning sector secured a whopping $3 billion in new investments in 2015 and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. A few of today’s biggest players in the space, like Aviva Canada, are proving how legacy companies can adapt to digital disruption in the field and thrive in the process.

Comparable to the way fintech startups transformed the banking world, ‘insurtech’ companies have set their sights on disrupting the insurance industry. Our friends at Aviva Canada are showing their support for new-age businesses in the industry by sponsoring a new program that will help six startups at the DMZ grow through our very first insurtech accelerator.

Although many applied for a coveted spot in the program only a few were accepted. The following six startups made the cut and we’re very proud to announce our very first cohort, which will spend four months perfecting their products and improving their services with access to sales support, mentors and a chance to pitch to a £100M fund. At the end of the program each company will participate in an industry ‘Demo Day’ where they’ll have the chance to pitch their company to executives at Aviva Ventures for an investment opportunity.

EatSleepRide Motorcycle GPS

Inspired by the versatility of the Swiss Army Knife, EatSleepRIDE Motorcycle GPS app helps motorcyclists get the most out of their seat time with native social features, free motorcycle roads and telematics combined with CRASHLIGHT safety built-in to automatically detect a crash and notify contacts of the rider’s location.


This company helps turn internal paper-based processes into highly converting, customer-friendly experiences. “Smart forms” act as a personal assistant: creating unique paths for each customer by removing or adding questions only when they’re relevant. Once the information is captured, FormHero automatically finds, fills out and delivers an organization’s existing paperwork.


This AI-backed, on-demand insurance platform makes obtaining travel insurance quick and easy. Signing up takes less than two minutes and coverage can be turned on or off anytime, meaning users only pay for what they use.


This app redacts, compares, and automatically summarizes any text document, saving clients time.


Creating the world’s largest connected vehicle services platform, the company’s technology schedules service reminders and diagnostic alerts to encourage best practices for staying-up-to date with maintenance issues, reducing claim severity monitoring mileage, which determines warranty liability, improves risk management and reduces claim processing costs.

Sumo Insurance Brokers

An AI-powered digital platform that responds to and manages highly repetitive conversations between customers and brokers. With their trained digital assistant, Sumo automates and simplifies the process of buying and servicing personalized insurance policies.

Breaking the mental health taboo

The heavy toll business ownership can take on one’s mental health is a dark secret rarely shared. A fear of failure, constant pursuit of greatness and long days followed by even longer nights can push even the most ambitious entrepreneur to their breaking point.

In today’s world where the trials and tribulations of even fictional founders are idolized, it should come as no surprise that psychological health is often all but ignored. In fact, a recent study found that a whopping 72 per cent of entrepreneurs self-reported as having mental health concerns, not a surprise for many in the startup community that have already come face-to-face with high rates of Founder’s Blues.
However it’s one that Abdullah Snobar knows all too well. The executive director of the DMZ at Ryerson University — the number one university-based incubator in North America and third in the world — and founder of TEDxRyerson is someone that many could easily describe as “successful” and ironically a strong proponent of (surprise, surprise) mental health services. More importantly, he knows how useful it can be for people like himself in the startup industry where appearance can sometimes trump reality.

“There’s a misconception that people who are Type-A and successful are free from mental health challenges. If a person has a busy, fulfilling life and looks accomplished and happy from the outside, they must not struggle with mental health issues,” he says in an op-ed originally published in the Globe and Mail.

“It’s a misconception that’s reinforced every time I browse my Instagram feed, LinkedIn profile and even walk past the sea of smiling faces at various conferences. Everywhere I look, I see no obvious signs of mental health stresses. And herein lies the problem.”

Enter: TranQool, a Toronto-based startup that connects patients with therapists for video chat sessions. The goal? By reducing physical barriers, costs and stigma that accompanies mental health counselling, the startup wants to give anyone the ability to seek out the help they need no matter where they are.

A lot of times we [entrepreneurs] actually hide ourselves in the work that we do and avoid the reality of life by working extra hours, which sometimes leads to burnout and depression,” said Chakameh Shafii, the company’s co-founder and CEO

Through the company, Canadians can set up a free customizable profile that lets them detail their concerns. Afterwards, patients are then matched with a therapist within five minutes.

Not everyone may feel comfortable with seeking out therapy online, but it’s a unique technological solution to a problem that has long plagued the startup space. For those who don’t have a personal self-care plan simply recognizing how crucial mental health wellbeing is to long-term success is the first step and a smart way to combat the dreaded Founder’s Blues before it ever takes hold.

If you’re a DMZ entrepreneur looking for more ways to improve your mental health, you can access the free counselling sessions the DMZ is providing through our community partner TranQool – an online tool connecting you with accredited cognitive behavioural therapists.

For other individuals looking for local mental health services there are a variety of local resources offered by the following institutions and the city of Toronto.

Mental Health Helpline
Information about mental health services and supports in your community and across Ontario.

Distress Centres of Toronto
Telephone call centre for people needing emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Community Resource Connections of Toronto
Search directory for addictions and mental health programs, housing, crisis services, and basic needs services.

Oolagen Community Services
For youth 13-18 years of age and their families who live in Toronto that require mental health assistance.