Last week, Waterloo welcomed a new addition to its innovation ecosystem: the Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX). Canada’s first industry-led hub dedicated to medtech startups, the MIX mission is to provide a collaborative space for medtech companies that supports business growth and adds to the overall success of Waterloo’s world-renowned tech ecosystem.
As founder of Intellijoint, a Waterloo-based medical device company, Armen Bakirtzian has first-hand experience with getting a medtech company off the ground. While his company has found its feet in Waterloo, Bakirtzian’s experience taught him that businesses looking to commercialize a product in medtech could benefit from cluster-specific support, mentorship and collaboration.
“(The hub) is an important initiative to us because there are a lot of challenges that [medtech] companies have to go through as they graduate from startup to scale-up,” Bakirtzian told the Waterloo Region Record.
The first cohort of tenants at MIX include Bakirtzian’s company, as well as Penta Medical, Vena Medical and Bloom Care Solutions, which are all Waterloo-based med-tech companies. Together, they have about 100 employees.
Bakirtzian hopes MIX will become a space where med-tech developers, health professionals, investors and other tech experts can collaborate and spark further innovation in the field. Situated in the same building as Christie Digital, a global tech company, MIX will also function as a workspace for health care professionals and smaller med-tech companies to collaborate.
This isn’t the first time that Waterloo’s entrepreneurs have taken the initiative to build a more innovative and collaborative community. Communitech, now a world-renowned tech hub, was founded when local tech leaders realized that someone needed to advocate for the sort of environment that would help Waterloo-based companies grow to become globally competitive, world-class and profitable.
More recently, when Miovision founder Kurtis McBride realized that the unique needs of growing internet-of-things (IoT) companies required an equally unique space, he created Catalyst137. His facility is now billed as the world’s largest IoT manufacturing space, provides access to numerous services tailored to IoT companies and can claim Toyota and BorgWarner as tenants.
Read more about Bakirtzian and the Medical Innovation Exchange here.