Ishaan Singla on keeping Canadians safe and better connected through WeTraq’s Family Safety app, ‘GuardIO’
AUTHOR(S) & CREDENTIALS: Ishaan Singla, CEO of WeTraq and Karolina Jalowska, Digital Media Coordinator at the APPTA hub and AGE-WELL NCE
AFFILIATED INSTITUTION(S): AGE-WELL National Innovation Hub: APPTA
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m the Founder and CEO of WeTraq. I have worked in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry for over 10 years. I completed my Masters in Healthcare from the University of Houston in Texas. I have worked in the healthcare space, implementing Electronic Health Records, Pharmacy Information Systems, managing Clinical Research studies and Digital Prescription Management programs across hospitals and pharmacies in the US and Canada. I have always strived to be an innovator, trying different ideas to build a meaningful solution that could improve the quality of life for caregivers, who are expected to simultaneously balance care for dependent children and aging parents along with their personal lives and employment expectations; this is taking a toll on their mental health and wellness. With support from AGE-WELL’s caregiver community, we have designed a smart mobility application that acts as a private care network for families.
What is WeTraq? What inspired you to create the app?
At WeTraq, our mission is to bring families closer. Our mobile solution, GuardIO, is designed to keep Canadians safe and better connected. It provides real-time safety insights around mobility behavior, to better protect family members on the go, monitoring their driving behavior, walking patterns, managing their day-to-day communications, and providing emergency response features, such as virtual Geo-fencing and Help Alerts. Our solution is fully-designed and developed in Canada. We have a vision to become a leading source of mobility data that can be leveraged for encouraging safer driving habits, smart city initiatives and research purposes — to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s based on the mobility behaviors. We are actively working on a research program to analyze the benefits of our solution for people with mild cognitive impairment and their caregivers. Our goal is to see how we can help them stay mobile and safe in the community. Our long-term vision is to make WeTraq’s ‘GuardIO – Family care’ application available for all Canadians under their private and provincial health plans, which would alleviate some of the financial stress that comes with caregiving.
How can WeTraq help support older adults?
WeTraq is part of AGE-WELL’s AgeTech ecosystem. Based on an AGE-WELL poll conducted by Environics Research in July 2020, two-thirds of the Canadians aged 65 and older now own a smartphone. That number must have increased significantly in last year with COVID-19 where the phone is the only connection with the outside world for many older adults. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant anxiety and worry for many families, impacting their mental health and ability to stay connected. Older adults want to continue to live life to the fullest as part of a healthy and vibrant community and we are redefining the concept of family safety and staying connected with loved ones in this digital age.
What have you learned about being a CEO of a startup? What advice would you give others looking to create an app in this space?
It should be Chief Learning Officer, especially after the challenging times brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m fortunate to have an amazing mentor and advisors for our tech startup, who helped us navigate through these difficult times and make the right strategic decisions based on the market shift and customer needs. An important lesson for anyone looking to start their entrepreneurial journey is have a good team – it will be your biggest asset. Working well with people and building a team that care about your product and are aligned with your vision; that’s important. Also, make sure you fully understand the problem you are looking to solve and then figure out how your solution might be able to close the gap.