STARTUPS TO WATCH: Select Start Studios

Jim Donnelly
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

In the beginning, the three founders of Select Start Studios had at least two things in common. They were all recent Carleton University graduates, for one thing.

Select Start Studios co-founder and CPO Adam McNamara. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

Secondly, and perhaps most important, is that they each loved to develop mobile applications – in particular, for tablet devices such as the iPad.

But one thing they most definitely didn’t have in common, according to co-founder and chief product officer Adam McNamara? A well-rounded knowledge of the health-care market.

That all changed pretty quick, however, around November of 2010 when the Ottawa Hospital came calling.

The institution was looking for mobile applications doctors could use to call up detailed information at a patient’s bedside. The hospital made contact, and the two entities signed a contract not long after.

“They had gone out to their existing software vendors looking for iPad apps and none could come up with the solution they wanted,” Mr. McNamara explained. “So they looked to the mobile software market. We in Ottawa are very strong in that.”

“In some cases, they’re using software that’s 15 or 20 years old,” he continued. “We can put mobile technology in a hospital and completely change the way they work.”

The deal was originally intended to be on a proof-of-concept basis, “but the hospital was so impressed they immediately started a pilot program in one wing,” Mr. McNamara said. He added the hospital plans on expanding the program to a second wave of wireless devices in March.

Previously, the firm had developed an educational iPad app called “Goodie Words” sold on the Apple App Store, which earns the company a fee per download. The 18-month-old company has also worked with clients such as Entrust, Macadamian, DNA 11 and various federal government departments.

But it’s the relationship with the Ottawa Hospital that’s really pushed the company into uncharted territory, Mr. McNamara says. Select Start Studios has been invited to several health care conferences and is looking increasingly to U.S. hospitals as a lucrative market.

Doctors at the Ottawa Hospital are asking to use the iPad because they’re used to it already. There’s been talk about outfitting MPs with iPads. 2011 is going to be the year of the tablet. Co-founder and chief product officer Adam McNamara

It’s why the trio of founders – which also includes CEO Tariq Zaid and chief technology officer Joshua Tessier – are beginning to entertain funding options for the bootstrapped firm, he added, as well as hoping to spin off a separate business unit to deal with the health-care market.

“It’s created a lot of opportunities very quickly,” he said. “There are hospitals that are dying to get these (applications) on the floor.”


Year founded: 2009

Local head count: 7

Funding to date: None

Product: Mobile applications, particularly for tablet computers

Organizations: Ottawa Hospital, Apple App Store

Geographic location: Ottawa, U.S.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page