January 5, 2017
Interview with Cantech Letter
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Nick Waddell at Cantech Letter about Eyecarrot’s progress over the past 12 months and the upcoming launch of our BinoviTM platform to support vision therapy. After traveling to Australia, Europe, the USA, and locally here in Canada over the past year to connect with leading vision therapy practitioners, we are very excited about the future for Eyecarrot. We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from vision care professionals on our Binovi platform and we are looking forward to an incredible year ahead. Please read the full interview below and let us know if you have any questions.
Eyecarrot founder Adam Cegielski catches up with Cantech Letter
The eyes, the brain and the body.
When we last talked to Eyecarrot (TSXV:EYC) founder Adam Cegielski, the company was beginning a journey to address a problem that many people simply aren’t aware of. Worldwide, one in four people has visual performance challenges that affect things like learning and the ability to heal from injury.
Eyecarrot went public on the promise of its proprietary solution BinoviTM Cloud, a screening tool that employs the latest advances in neuro-cognitive training. Along the way, the company learned something: a cost effective, accessible Oculomotor screening solution was important, but so was a solution that gamified and tracked a person progress in a way that they have grown used to with smartphone fitness apps. Enter Binovi Pro, a tool that allows professionals to create, manage and track personalized oculomotor sensory training plans for their patients, and Binovi Coach, an app, that patients can use to manage and track their progress on this personalized plan.
Cantech Letter sat down with Cegielski to talk about the Binovi Platform, a new partnership with Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), and how a former National Hockey League star found a personal reason to get involved with Eyecarrot.
Adam, for our readers who did not catch our interview with you from a year ago, can you tell us a bit about Eyecarrot?
Sure, thanks Nick. At Eyecarrot, we are on a mission to power a global, data-driven, expert network to transform how vision performance is diagnosed, exercised and enhanced. Today, 1 in 4 people — that’s nearly 2 billion people worldwide— have visual performance issues that go beyond the ability to see clearly. Things like reading and learning challenges, poor athletic performance, and incomplete recovery from concussions or other traumatic brain injuries. For decades, we have been trained to believe that visual acuity is the only measure of visual performance that we need to care about, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most visual performance issues go undiagnosed and untreated or misdiagnosed and prescribed medication or corrective aids or surgery. Each of these is a multi-billion dollar industry which, in many cases, simply attacks symptoms rather than addressing the root cause. We believe there has to be a better way to help all of these people using the amazing technology available today. That if we can work together to address the underlying root causes – the connection between the eyes, the brain and the body – we have the opportunity to help millions and millions of people and unlock huge gains for human performance. Eyecarrot’s BinoviTM platform is a collaborative care solution that integrates software, hardware, data and the expert knowledge to achieve something truly remarkable for people challenged by vision-related issues.
“We have been able to really accelerate our product development by leveraging Microsoft’s infrastructure and we’re looking forward to continued support from them as we ramp-up our sales and marketing efforts.”
What kind of progress have you made against your business plan in the past twelve months? What, if anything, has changed?
Well Nick, it really has been an extremely busy 12 months for the whole Eyecarrot team. We have made amazing progress on our Binovi platform, which I’d love to talk more about in a minute, and, just as importantly, we have made bold decisions about where to focus our efforts to ensure we maximize returns for every stakeholder in Eyecarrot – for patients, for professionals, for investors and for our employees. As we went through our market testing in late 2015 / early 2016 we learned something really important based on feedback from patients and practitioners. Yes, they confirmed that a cost effective, accessible Oculomotor screening solution was important… just as we had thought. But, the most pressing need according to patients and practitioners, was to develop a cost-effective, treatment platform that got rid of their binders, clipboards and scraps of paper… something that made vision therapy easy and fun, that give them great data and insights, that helped them turn action into results. It was an amazing piece of insight that has really helped us focus and refine our software development efforts. So, we developed Binovi Pro for professionals so they can create, manage and track personalized oculomotor sensory training plans for their patients using our library of activity videos with expert instruction. With its companion Binovi Coach app, patients can manage and track their progress on this personalized plan from the comfort of their home using their own smartphones. Together, they can use the built-in messaging platform to collaborate on care and use our great analytics to measure results. This is game changing solution that integrates proven expert therapies with leading-edge technology – no more binders, no more scraps of paper, no more wondering if activities are being completed. We’re very excited to announce that our Binovi software apps will be available to patients and professionals starting later this month.
That’s interesting Adam. So which geographic markets are you targeting with your Binovi Platform?
Well, as I mentioned above, this is a global issue so we want to make sure that we can get our platform to everyone around the world. We’ve designed the platform so that it’s very easy to localize the apps and content for any language… and we’re using a hybrid approach to localization that combines leading-edge machine AI translation coupled with the very best in human translation from native speakers. In addition, we have partnered with global organizations to tap into their domain experts in the local markets to ensure the content and information is of the highest quality available in those markets. So, while we’re starting with the North American market today, the platform will be available in France, Germany and Spain in the coming months, with more markets to follow later this year.
In May, you announced a $500,000 partnership with Microsoft as a member of its BizSpark Plus Program. What is that all about?
It’s great to see amazing companies like Microsoft really step up to support emerging companies, technologies and platforms like Eyecarrot. We’re really proud to have been hand-selected to partner with them – it gives us unparalleled access to their Azure cloud services like machine learning and media, and allows us to leverage their relationships around the world. We have been able to really accelerate our product development by leveraging Microsoft’s infrastructure and we’re looking forward to continued support from them as we ramp-up our sales and marketing efforts.
“We see the sports performance market as a priority for us. We already have a large customer network of leading coaches, trainers and athletes who will gain unique access to performance training capabilities through our Binovi platform and we have many more signing up each day.”
How did former NHL’er Bryce Salvador come to be an Eyecarrot advisor?
We are so fortunate to have amazing advisors and partners that have first hand experience with what we’re building and have the influence to help us drive amazing outcomes for so many millions of people around the world. Bryce is one of those advisors and his story is really special. As you may know, he suffered a concussion that left him sidelined for an entire hockey season. It was vision therapy along with vestibular rehabilitation that played a crucial role in his return to playing in the NHL. He’s an amazing ambassador for the NHL and sports in general and we couldn’t be more proud and excited about our relationship. Bryce has already played a significant role in the development of our Binovi platform and I know he’s going to be a strong advocate for us in amateur and professional sports.
Do you see sports as a vertical that Eyecarrot could gain fast entry into?
Great question. As I’ve mentioned before, our acquisition of Wayne Engineering, the leader in visual and sensory motor skill enhancement, gave us access to an incredible customer base of professionals in Sports Performance, Education and related markets. For decades, Wayne Engineering products have been the industry gold standard, used by amateur and professional sports teams, Olympic teams of all kinds, and by individuals in pursuit of exceptional performance. So, yes, we see the sports performance market as a priority for us. We already have a large customer network of leading coaches, trainers and athletes who will gain unique access to performance training capabilities through our Binovi platform and we have many more signing up each day. They’re really excited that we’re connecting all of this hardware and software together, providing expert insights and analytics, all in one spot so that it’s easy to use.
What are some other verticals that are emerging for you?
You know, it feels like almost every time I have a conversation with a professional or leading thinker in a field, we uncover opportunities where we both see application of the Binovi platform to help people – there are very few areas where the eyes, brain and body working together don’t play a critical role. So we’re very excited about the huge opportunities in areas like Education, Personal Fitness and Healthy Aging as well as opportunities in areas like Vestibular and Neurocognitive disorders. These are all markets where Eyecarrot and our Binovi platform have a big potential for impact.
“We are in a solid cash position for 2017 and we have supportive investors who are looking forward to our product launch and continuing their involvement in building out this business. At the same time, we are applying lean principles in building out a very solid team internally.”
After looking at this market for more than a year now, what have you learned? Is it bigger or smaller than you expected, are the sales cycles meeting your estimates?
Well Nick, we’ve definitely learned a lot over the past year! I think the most important thing we’ve learnt is the value of focus… Focus on creating a great experience for both professionals and patients through our software saving them time and money, focus on our core verticals to ensure we create great value, focus on building great partnerships with leading practitioners, organizations and educators.
Also in May, you completed a fully subscribed private placement. What does your balance sheet look like?
We are in a solid cash position for 2017 and we have supportive investors who are looking forward to our product launch and continuing their involvement in building out this business. At the same time, we are applying lean principles in building out a very solid team internally.
At what point do you think you will begin to turn a profit?
We could be profitable in 2017 but with our product roadmap we want to ensure to build a strong and exciting platform that is incredibly scalable. This requires further investment, so we might have to wait for 2018 to be fully profitable.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 12-months?
Our priorities for the next 12 months are all about growth – we want to have clinics and many other professional practices actively using our platform with all of their patients by the end of 2017 and we want to make our platform available in local languages in at least 10 countries. We are also excited about the evolution of our hardware offering, but I’ll share more on that at another time. All together, these achievements will give us a great position in the market from which we can expand our offering. It all comes down to great execution and I’m confident that the team we have in place at Eyecarrot will deliver on these goals.
Originally published at Cantech Letter