Imagine a piece of technology that would let you know an elderly relative has fallen and is gravely injured; or that notified law enforcement if a child were left in a car on a blisteringly hot day. It’s the kind of technology that has the power to change the world and save lives - and it’s here. AI-driven wireless sensing company Pontosense showcased their product to angel and seed stage investors at ventureLAB’s most recent International Demo Day on Nov. 3. The startup was one of eight high-performing companies that won the opportunity to showcase their wares to possible partners and investors. “Like athletes, startups eventually need more support to get to the next level,” Pontosense’s founder and general manager Alex Qi says, noting funding secured through opportunities like Demo Day can help entrepreneurs expand their operations, team management capabilities, mentorship opportunities, and ability to fundraise. “ventureLAB understands what we and other startups need, which is why this kind of event is such a great opportunity.” During their presentation, the Pontosense team walked potential investors through their wireless sensing technology dubbed “WISe,” and how it works to accurately measure the movement and vital signs of individuals — all without assistance from a wearable. “Think of the sensor as bouncing waves off of something, like how whales and bats use sonar and echolocation,” Alex says. “They’re constantly sending waves of sound out to gauge where objects are located around them. That’s the basis of our technology, but instead of sound we are using points — Ponto literally means point.” The Pontosense team also showcased possible use-cases for the sensor, including in cars and washrooms, or as first-responder tools that could analyze the health of someone injured in an accident. Founded in 2020, the team behind Pontosense has decades of expertise in wireless communications technology and over 450 patents; they do everything from product design to engineering in-house. “There is an urgent need for this kind of technology and we saw that,” Alex says. “Not only are governments mandating that automakers, for example, incorporate some kind of human-centric sensor into their cars, it can also save lives.” He adds: “There are very few technologies like ours on the market,” noting that smartwatches and smartphones can track a number of elements of a person’s well-being, but the data may not always be accurate. “What we’ve created is 10 times more accurate than any smart device out there right now.” It’s also safe and secure — about 100 times safer than Wifi. Alex and the Pontosense team prioritized both early on as they didn’t want to build a product that could capture more information about a person than was absolutely necessary. They were also acutely aware they had to protect the private and sensitive data of Pontosense’s companies and consumers, so leveraged edge computing and BlackBerry-level encryption technology to make everything virtually hack-proof. “We believe whatever you do in your house and car should be private,” Alex says. Next up for Pontosense and its team is expanding its roster of clients and building their capacity to finish key projects. Alex says they want to increase their access to funding so they can help expand how and where the technology is used, and to make it easier for smaller companies to leverage it every day. That’s why dedicated mentorship and events like Demo Day are crucial for startups. “We’ve been so lucky to be a part of ventureLAB. We get to work with people who understand what we do and help us get to where we want to go,” Alex says.
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