In Episode 4 we chat with Savana on how she accessed resources to build her startup and then what’s next for Radley Robots! She’s has some early stage investment and a partners for her pilot trial in a senior’s care home. Radley Robots is now ready to launch her pilot – keep a look out for her robots on cue!
Key Resources for Radley Robots!
The key resource for building this business so far has been the people in the great community here in Calgary and in Alberta. We did take advantage of some debt funding that became available from the Western Economic Diversification Fund earlier in 2020 and have looked into grant funding options from a number of sources but have otherwise bootstrapped up until recently.
Our pilot client is now leading an application for funding from the new Implement digiH program from Alberta Innovates. This is a program designed for healthcare delivery organizations wishing to implement new digital health initiatives that will provide 50% matching funds up to $300,000. We’ve been working with the program lead to ensure we’re covering all of our basis and are hoping to receive approval to join the program in January. We will likely apply for other programs as well and have also taken in a small amount of funding from friends and family.
So What’s Next for Riley Robots?
Well, the question really is, what’s the full suite of features we’ll need for these specific customers? We see connecting to other IoT devices and collaboration in general as the key to realizing the full potential of this kind of physical technology. For example, for the pilot Telus has offered to support us with secure access to their network so that we’ll have full coverage no matter where we’re operating in their facilities. We believe that adding an additional motion sensor and possibly a temperature sensor will allow us to address several use cases that will help people in facilities. This includes fall detection and the ability to detect various kinds of infections, including of course Covid-19.
As we start to broaden out from care facilities intended for older individuals, there will be opportunities to support other groups. For example, people of any age who’ve recently had surgery may feel uncertain or less independent when they first return home. Adding other kinds of sensors, voice activation and maybe even a remote-controlled arm of some kind will mean you’ll be able to rent a short-term service that can check in, remind you to take medications and even help with small tasks.
The thing is, most adults don’t need a robot that helps them do everything all of the time. We all need a little help at particular points in our lives, so we need to build solutions for each of these times. In order to do this, we’re looking forward to working with many different devices and partners, depending on which customers we’re serving at that time.
About Savana Radley
Born in Australia, Savana moved with her family to England and then to Canada, spending most of her school years in Ontario. After working in Toronto in communications for several years, Savana moved to the UK to pursue a career in the performing arts in Europe before “accidentally” getting into technology in the late 1990s. After working in branding and advertising agencies on early online document sharing applications and media buying and analytics software for larger enterprise clients such as L’Oreal, Unilever and Air Canada, she had a brief interlude in recruitment before moving back to Canada in June 2006. On landing in Calgary, Savana started work at Evoco, a SaaS provider of construction and compliance management solutions to several retail customers including Walmart both in the US and globally. After Evoco was sold to Accruent late in 2012, Savana started working with NTT Data back in the UK, leading a large international Salesforce implementation for Vodafone. In 2014, Savana joined Benevity to help scale and structure their Client Services team as VP Client Services later that year. As a part of the leadership team at Benevity, Savana enjoyed seeing the company grow from 70 to 250 people in less than 24 months and was then offered a role at Deloitte Canada in their digital transformation group. It was in 2019, while Savana was at Deloitte, that she experienced her own loss of mobility as a result of spinal surgery. This started her thinking about how to address the challenges she had experienced, and how, as technologies converge there are opportunities to combine software and hardware to solve problems in our physical world.
About Radley Robots
Radley Robots Inc. is an early startup officially incorporated on June 18, 2020 with an HQ in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Its vision is to provide a trusted companion to everyone who needs one. Their current core team is small as they are partnering with several local and international firms to deliver on the first iteration of their vision. They have partnered with Ohmnilabs in California, for their telepresence robot first pilot, and are in conversations with other robot providers including CrossWing in Aurora, Ontario, with whom they expect to partner for the next round. They’re pleased to be working with Radley Founder’s colleagues at Deloitte Canada to help to evaluate the pilot’s success. They also credit TELUS, who has volunteered some private network connectivity to ensure service provision in residences without Wi-Fi. Their robot operators are coming from The Virtual Gurus and Meschia Consulting has provided business analysis and to help develop their operational procedures. Other consultants in their virtual consortia include The Digital Monk, Chris McBurney and Ellen Dungen.