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Testing the waters – Communitech

Fueled by a revelation that 60 per cent of dental offices seemed unaware of water contamination and its risks, Ela and George Botos launched ExactBlue Technologies to create water testing solutions that prevent health crises.

“While testing water in dental offices, George discovered that they were treating it without testing,” Ela said. “He stumbled upon a technology at the University of Waterloo, repurposed it for water testing, and worked to unlock its potential.”

Cambridge-based ExactBlue Technologies, founded in 2015, specializes in rapid water testing for microbial contamination. 

“When we say “rapid,” we mean 15 minutes – a significant contrast to lab testing, which takes a few days up to a week," Ela said.

Launching in the dental sector, the company has evolved its platform to offer both visual and quantitative tests. A key feature is the integration of a reader with a mobile app, providing users with step-by-step guidance and results.

"Our focus is at the intersection of healthcare and the environment through our environmental testing, all geared towards improving human health,” George said. “As a product-based company, our versatile platform spans multiple industries. While our roots are in dental, our growth has led us into diverse sectors."

ExactBlue Technologies has adopted a strategy that involves gathering immediate customer feedback on platforms like Amazon before making larger B2B launches. 

"We have always had a consumer-first approach,” Ela said. “This strategy proved effective – launch, gather consumer input, iterate and then hit the market. It has been key to refining and successfully introducing several products.”

In the near term, the company aims to expand internationally into various markets and applications beyond dental and health care.

“We aim to target diverse sectors such as agriculture, water treatment facilities, utilities and environmental monitoring, including cooling towers,” George said. “Our focus is on expanding applications."

Looking further ahead, the company envisions the potential use of their technology in air monitoring and surface testing.

“With the increasing challenges posed by diseases, such as the initial uncertainty with COVID-19 and the rising risk of pandemics due to global warming, our versatile solutions are easily transferable and align with the evolving needs of the future," George said. 

How Fierce Founders helped

Ela described the impact of Communitech’s Fierce Founders Intensive Track program as akin to night and day for ExactBlue Technologies. 

“Fierce Founders has been a game-changer for ExactBlue Technologies,” she said. “Before joining the program, our progress was steady, but being part of it was like night and day.”

The program provided a dedicated growth coach for strategic connections, mentoring and shaping business strategy.

“Our strategy coach conducted weekly meetings, keeping us focused and connected with strategists and coaches in sales and marketing,” Ela said. “His hands-on approach included extensive mentoring and strategic guidance for the business."

Ela received support in revamping the ExactBlue website, optimizing content for marketing and expanding sales to the U.S.

“The program offered crucial support and strategic insights, leading to successful growth,” she said. “The coach's involvement went beyond regular meetings, extending to networking opportunities whenever needed. Overall, Fierce Founders has played a pivotal role in catapulting ExactBlue Technologies to a new level of success.”

The Communitech Fierce Founders Bootcamp, Uplift and Intensive Track programs are made possible thanks to the support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, the Business Development Bank (BDC), Google for Startups, Vidyard, the City of Kitchener and the Ontario government.

"Communitech helps tech-driven companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: - Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies. - Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate. - Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant."

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