Bardish Chagger, minister of small business and tourism, got her feet wet during a poolside investment announcement for UW alumni startup TritonWear Inc. at the PAC pool Nov. 8.
TritonWear developed a device and software system to track and understand swimmers’ movements and performance in the pool. The $500,000 investment from Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation will help the KW-based company with final production and global commercialization.
Already in 20 different countries with 1,200 swimmers wearing the device, the company is hoping to use the investment to “get into as many teams in North America and beyond [as we can] and expand into other sports as well,” according to lead software architect Matthew Hanselman.
Chagger said the investment is part of a larger strategy to support innovation in Southern Ontario and Canada, and bring that innovation to the rest of world.
“TritonWear is about making Canadian athletes more competitive so they can outperform the world,” she said. “Our government has a similar plan for the whole nation.”
The company’s founders, Tristan Lehari and Darius Gai, are both UW alumni and embody the UW startup dream. Velocity director Jay Shah recounted their progress.
“They had an amazing experience in co-op, they turned away full-time jobs because they were that hungry to pursue their passions. They’ve partnered with Athletics, they’ve gone from two to 20 people, they’ve gone from a pilot in this very pool to global customers.”
For swim coach Jeff Slater, it’s all about the connection between athletics and technology that the company demonstrates. Some people currently on his swim team still remember swimming with Lehari.
Slater said that “the biggest connection is that we can say, ‘here’s this guy that’s swimming with us and hiring co-ops from us.’”
Slater continued, “There’s people all over the world using this product and using the results on a day-to-day basis.”