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$900,000 investment in tech to enhance lives and leisure


Gary Goodyear, Minister of Sate for FedDev Ontario listens to Mauricio Mezza, CEO of Komodo OpenLab, explain how Tecla makes touch screen devices easier to use for people with disabilities.

Gary Goodyear, Minister of Sate for FedDev Ontario listens to Mauricio Mezza, CEO of Komodo OpenLab, explain how Tecla makes touch screen devices easier to use for people with disabilities.

Two technology companies based at Picton’s Business Innovation Centre will benefit lives and leisure as they expand and grow thanks to venture capital investments announced Monday.

Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario  and Prince Edward-Hastings MP Daryl Kramp announced capital investments of $900,000 at Huff Estates Winery in partnership with First Stone Venture Partners and the Prince Edward/ Lennox and Addington Community Futures Development Corporation.

The companies – Komodo OpenLab and Open Ocean Apps  – expect to create eight new jobs locally.

komodo-boyKomodo OpenLab will receive $500,000 to move forward with ‘Tecla’, in global markets. Tecla is a set of hardware and software tools that “changes the lives of people with physical disabilities who are unable to use touchscreens.”

Komodo OpenLab CEO Mauricio Meza said Tecla allows people with mobility impairments from a stroke, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, MS, ALS and other conditions, to be more independent. Tecla allows its users to interact with their smartphones and tablets using adaptive controls they already use such as wheelchair joysticks, button, sip-and-puff controllers or head arrays.

“They can communicate via phone, email, text and social media, have access to the internet and control their smart home devices,” said Meza. “We want these people to have access to the same tools we have.”

pro-anglerOpen Ocean Apps received $400,000 to help the company’s Pro Angler app grow on a global level. It is the number one ranked fishing app in the U.S. providing anglers with comprehensive, real-time fishing information to classify, catch and find more fish through GPS hot spots, weekly updates and real-time weather and condition reports.

“Thanks to the investment from PELA CFDC and First Stone, we have been able to hire local staff that helps create a constant stream of up-to-date content. This is absolutely vital in an information-based industry,” said Kyle Reid, CEO and co-founder. “This capital allows us to employee high-talented, local individuals. Because of our staff, we are able to produce the number one fishing app and we are able to compete at not just a national level, but at a global one.”

Mauro Lollo, president of First Stone Venture Partners, said the investments will help enhance and diversify the economic profile of the local community and create “some world class products with a local stamp on them.”

PELA CFDC received a non-repayable $5 million contribution through FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Regional Diversification initiative which was matched by a private investment from First Stone Venture Partners to establish a $10 million investment fund to support venture capital investments. These are the first two of 25 investments to be made.

“PELA CFDC is pleased to work with First Stone Venture Partners on the first two of 25 investments in technology firms and welcomes Open Ocean and Komodo OpenLab to our community,” said Angela Miller, board chair of PELA CFDC. “We encourage other firms that seek equity capital in order to develop new products and expand into new markets to contact PELA CFDC staff in order to access investment funding.”


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