StarFish Medical

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Working with the federal government and other companies to design, develop and produce ventilators see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Cindy E. Harnett

    Victoria’s StarFish Medical is on the front lines of an effort to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in Canada to meet an expected shortage of the life-saving medical equipment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    StarFish, Canada’s largest medical-device design company, is working with the federal government and other companies to design, develop and produce ventilators.

    The company, which is working on one of four initiatives to produce ventilators, will be responsible for the delivery of at least 7,500 of the 30,000 to be manufactured, said founder and CEO Scott Phillips.

    Phillips said the company is responsible for the program up to the delivery. The other design partners will be chosen by and managed by StarFish, while the majority of the manufacturing will likely be done in Ontario and Manitoba.

    “We’re in the advanced prototype stage, moving quickly toward clinical [and regulatory] testing,” he said. “We’ll be moving aggressively toward manufacturing at the same time as we’re doing clinical and regulatory.

    “We would love to have units available in a couple of months.”

    Mechanical ventilation, or breathing machines, are used in severe cases of COVID-19, which can compromise breathing. B.C. is using the machines early and aggressively to try to prevent more severe cases, in which mucus and fluid build up in a patient’s lung, requiring intubation, an invasive procedure where tubing is run through the trachea and nasal passages and can cause other complications and increase risk of transmission.

    The province has between 1,400 and 1,500 ventilators, including new and refurbished ones added over the last week, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday.

    “We would naturally expect a share of additional ventilators that were purchased, but right now, our goal is to ensure, by being 100 per cent committed to the measures that have been adopted by Dr. [Bonnie] Henry, that our current stock of ventilators will be sufficient,” Dix said.

    Henry, the provincial health officer, said she hopes the ventilators won’t be needed if residents keep physically distancing themselves from all but household contacts in an effort to flatten the rate of new COVID-19 cases.

    “If we keep doing what we’re doing, we may not need them,” Henry said Tuesday. “But we may need them with another wave in the future, so all of this is us working together across the country.”

    StarFish got a call three weeks ago from Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster, a group of businesses, post-secondary institutions and non-profits aimed at building up next-generation manufacturing capabilities, to say it had been chosen to design a ventilator model that can be constructed quickly and reliably in Canada.

    The design builds on technology developed by Dr. Magdy Younes of Winnipeg, a world-renowned respiratory specialist and innovator.

    The so-called original Winnipeg Ventilator was licensed and used as the basis for commercial ventilators throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including during the 2003 SARS epidemic.

    “Since then we’ve been racing to take an old design, which worked very, very well, and bring it up to date and make it manufacturable,” Phillips said. The newer commercial design that existed as a prototype wasn’t available to the Canadian firm.

    “Now we’re rapidly turning that into a very targeted product just for the COVID-19 crisis that can be produced efficiently and quickly and cost effectively.”

    Asked in his daily briefing about the number of ventilators to be produced, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government needs to be ready for every circumstance.

    “The opportunity to make sure that we have ventilators available if we need them is going to be extremely important,” Trudeau said. “So, we have told these companies across the country who have put up their hands to go ahead and get building ventilators as quickly as possible and as many as possible in case we need them in Canada.

    “We certainly hope that we won’t be needing all those ventilators, but we also know that there are countries around the world where they are not able to tool up local production to create more ventilators.”

    Any extra ventilators can be shared with countries that are facing more difficult circumstances, since the global supply is already stretched thin, Trudeau said.

    Last month, the federal government announced $2 billion in funding to support testing and purchasing of ventilators and protective personal equipment in Canada.

    Nearly 5,000 Canadian companies have offered their expertise and services to the federal government’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to produce medical equipment and protective gear for health-care workers.

    “This is exactly the kind of innovative, collaborative thinking we need to respond to this rapidly evolving pandemic,” Trudeau said. “By increasing our support for secure Canadian sources of needed materials and equipment, we will be able to help our health-care workers protect themselves, treat patients and slow the spread of this virus.”

    Ventilators being made by other firms include those targeted for the military or use in ambulances.

    Phillips compared making the ventilators to the building of Spitfires in the Second World War, meaning they are not built to last forever but to address a particular and immediate need.

    “I think it’s very heartening that so many companies are willing to step up and devote their resources to this problem,” he said. “Honestly, a year from now, we’ll have lots of ventilators; we’re solving a problem right now in Canada. And if this helps some companies re-tool to develop other capacity, that would be wonderful.”


  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Tech member StarFish Medical is among the chosen manufacturing partners for ventilators. see more

    Source: News Release Justin Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada


    April 7, 2020
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Canadian businesses and manufacturers are stepping up in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is working with companies across the country to make sure that we have the medical supplies and equipment needed to keep Canadians safe and healthy.

    The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced further progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID‑19 that will help provide vital, made‑in‑Canada protective gear and medical equipment to respond to the outbreak.

    The Government of Canada is building a secure, domestic supply of needed items to protect frontline health workers as they fight this global pandemic. Nearly 5,000 Canadian companies have offered their expertise and capacity as we work together on projects that include:

    • Purchasing made-in-Canada ventilators from Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and StarFish Medical and other manufacturing partners, including Linamar, through an accelerated process. The Government of Canada is working with these companies to produce up to 30,000 ventilators. These purchases will help secure increased domestic capacity in producing these life-saving machines.

    Continue Reading Original Article

  • Sadie Evans posted an article
    StarFish Medical CEO and Founder Scott Phillips named Chair of LifeSciences BC Board of Directors see more

    Author: Mike Camplin

    VICTORIA, British Columbia, October 11, 2019 – StarFish Medical today announced that StarFish CEO and Founder, Scott Phillips, has been appointed as the new LifeSciences BC Chair of the Board of Directors.

    “This is an important time in the industry. I‘m especially excited to be taking on the role with Wendy at the helm,” said Scott Phillips. “We are all working together to support and develop a growing and sustainable life sciences ecosystem in British Columbia.”

    Wendy Hurlburt, President and CEO, of LifeSciences BC, announced the appointment today along with names of new members to the LifeSciences BC Board of Directors appointed at the 2019 LSBC Annual General Meeting on October 3, 2019.

    Ohad Arazi, Anne Stevens, Jennifer Cudlipp, and Michael Martin were appointed to serve three-year terms on the LSBC Board of Directors. Ali Ardakani will remain Vice Chair Board of Directors.


    About LifeSciences BC

    LifeSciences BC is a not-for-profit, non-government, industry association that supports and represents the life sciences community of British Columbia through leadership, facilitation of investment and partnering, advocacy, and promotion of our world-class science and industry.

    Life sciences sectors, from biopharmaceuticals and medical technology, to digital health and medical devices, are integrated into our organization and all that we do, ensuring that no life sciences sector is working in isolation — and that all sectors come together in a comprehensive, complementary and coordinated fashion.

    Throughout the year, LifeSciences BC undertakes numerous programs and projects in support of these sectors. These include public policy initiatives, facilitating trade missions between global industry and our local organizations, raising the profile of our industry internationally and thus facilitating investment and global partnering opportunities, and helping nurture economic development in British Columbia through the life sciences industry.

    LifeSciences BC media contact:

    Susan Ogilvie
    Office: 604-669-9909 Ext 6


    About StarFish Medical

    Empowering Medtech Innovation ®
    StarFish Medical is a full service Medical Device Design company offering design, development, and manufacturing services based in Toronto and Victoria. We use our Pathfinder™ process to reduce wasted effort and increase success for medical device product definition, technical engineering, and product development. Prototype and volume production are delivered within an ISO 13485 certified Quality Management System and an FDA registered manufacturing and clean room facility.

    StarFish Medical media contact:

    Mike Camplin
    250.388.3537 x210

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Meet the next generation: the 400 boldest businesses in the country see more

    Meet the next generation: the 400 boldest businesses in the country

    Founded in 2019, the Report on Business list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies ranks participating private and public businesses on three-year revenue growth. To be considered, companies must apply using an online ballot. We accepted entries for this year’s list from March through May 2019.

    “The 400 companies on the inaugural Report on Business ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies ranking demonstrate ambition, innovation and tremendous business acumen,” says Phillip Crawley, Publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail. “Their contributions to the economy help to make Canada a better place, and warrant commendation.”

    Six local Victoria companies made the list of 400:

    1. Freshworks Studio (20th on the list!)
    2. Flytographer (84th)
    3. SendtoNews (110th)
    4. Encore FX (136th)
    5. StarFish Medical Inc. (266th) 
    6. First Light Technologies (327th)

    To see the full list, click here

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Merger strengthens European service and expands cardiovascular customization capabilities see more



    Merger strengthens European service and expands cardiovascular customization capabilities

    (Victoria, Canada and Marseille, France) September 17, 2019 – ViVitro Labs, the industry-leading provider of cardiovascular device test equipment and related consulting services, announces the acquisition of ProtomedLabs SASU, an ISO 17025 accredited medical device testing laboratory based in Marseille France.

    The companies will merge operations and form a single company operating under the name of ViVitro Labs Inc. The new organization extends ViVitro’s presence in Europe and doubles the company’s contract testing and customization capabilities. Karim Mouneimne, General Manager of ProtomedLabs, will become President of the combined organization and move to ViVitro headquarters in Victoria, Canada.


    (L-R) Karim Mouneimne, General Manager ProtomedLabs and President ViVitro Labs, with Scott Phillips, ViVitro Labs CEO

    “This acquisition and merger reflects our commitment to growing ViVitro’s resources, products and services to address evolving cardiovascular testing system needs for leading edge researchers and organizations,” said Scott Phillips, Owner and CEO of the StarFish Group and CEO of ViVitro Labs.

    “ProtomedLabs has been the ViVitro sales agent for Europe, Israel, and Africa since 2015. We are excited to bring this successful partnership to the next level,” said Frederic Mouret, President & CEO, Protomed SA and owner of ProtomedLabs.

    “Helping companies solve testing challenges by using our equipment and customized testing strategies is part of ViVitro’s unique heritage. We go beyond standard catalog items or services,” said Karim Mouneimne. “Our new larger capacity will allow us to aggressively invest in our product lineup while expanding customized service offerings for clients across the cardiovascular industry.”

    About ViVitro Labs

    ViVitro Labs Inc., Canada, offers industry-leading cardiovascular test equipment and related laboratory testing and consulting services. Hundreds of organizations in over 39 countries for 30 years have trusted ViVitro expertise, accuracy, and quality for their heart valve, LVAD, TAH, stent, and graft testing. ViVitro Laboratory Services holds ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation based on ISO 5840. ViVitro Labs products are manufactured by StarFish Medical in Victoria, Canada.

    About ProtomedLabs

    ProtomedLabs SASU, Marseille, France, is an ISO 17025 accredited medical device testing laboratory which provides responsive turnkey engineering solutions in device testing for companies developing implantable and interventional cardiovascular devices.  ProtomedLabs was 100% owned by Protomed SA, Strasbourg, France.

    About Protomed SA

    Protomed SA, Strasbourg, France, is an ISO 13485 certified contract service R&D company specialized in medical device design and development. PROTOMED has been driver in the development of several minimally invasive surgery, single use devices, vascular and cardiac implants. Its fab lab includes prototyping machines (3D printers; CNC machines), test benches, control equipment and state of the heart CAD software.

    About Starfish Group

    StarFish Group is a privately owned company focused on medical device and life sciences markets. The company consists of StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical device design, development and contract manufacturing company, and ViVitro Labs.

    For more information please contact:

    ViVitro Inc.

    Mike Camplin

    Director of Marketing

    +1.250.388.3531 x210

  • Article
    Victoria’s high-tech community has raised $300,000 to help tackle the issue of local food security. see more

    Source: Times Colonist 

    Tech sector steps up for Mustard Seed

    Victoria’s high-tech community has raised $300,000 to help tackle the issue of local food security.

    During its annual awards show June 14, investor and former chair of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, Rasool Rayani, challenged the full-house audience to pledge money to the cause. They raised $200,000 on the spot.

    The money was combined with $100,000 from the Victoria Foundation, which will be given to the Mustard Seed Street Church to further develop its Food Security Distribution Centre.

    The centre, on Viewfield Road in Esquimalt, currently brings in about 1,815 kilograms of rescued produce each day and is part of the Food Share Network, a partnership of 50 organizations that operate food security programs in Greater Victoria.

    The Mustard Seed estimates more than 35,000 people in Greater Victoria seek a reliable source of food every month.

    Dan Gunn, chief executive of VIATEC, said raising that kind of money within minutes is just a small example of the local industry’s generosity.

    During the VIATEC awards more than 20 individuals and companies stepped up to fund the large donation. They were: Redbrick Technologies, Checkfront, Kixeye, Kano, Rumble, Scott and Jessica Lake, StarFish Medical, RingPartner, FamilySparks, Mark Longo, Stuart Bowness, Gord Macdougall, RaceRocks, Telmediq, Royal Roads University, FreshWorks Studio, Watershed, Quimper, VIATEC and the Victoria Foundation.

    Anyone wanting to donate:

  • Article
    Proceeds will go towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. see more

    VICTORIA, BC (July 2, 2019) – On Friday June 14th, over 1,100 community members came together to celebrate the achievements made in the Greater Victoria technology sector for the annual Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council Awards at the Royal Theatre. The energy in the room was electrifying - so much so that when VIATEC Past Chair Rasool Rayani challenged the audience to raise funds to help food security in Victoria, $200,000 was pledged on the spot by a number of generous local tech companies and entrepreneurs. (See the full list below). The monies will be combined with an additional commitment of $100,000 from the Victoria Foundation for a total of $300,000.

    “Tech companies locate in Victoria for many reasons including the post-secondary schools, research facilities and quality of life,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “That said, most of the tech sector’s $4.06 billion in annual revenues are generated by selling our products globally. As a result, our 955 tech companies do not require the same kind of strong brand recognition locally that the other primary sectors of our economy rely on and they fly under the radar. We know that our members have always given back but, much of that giving has been quiet or anonymous. The VIATEC Foundation was created as a way to encourage, support and recognize the community support of local tech companies and the results of this impromptu campaign shows the impact they continue to have.”

    “The Food Rescue Project is innovative, inspiring and demonstrates how many entities, agencies and organizations can come together for greater good. We are honoured to assist our members in supporting such a great initiative.”

    The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, are putting the money towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. The 22,000 sq. ft facility at 808 Viewfield Road in Esquimalt currently serves as a central hub for the Food Rescue Project, which recovers and redistributes fresh healthy food that currently reaches about 35,000 people every month across the capital region. Consultation and planning is underway to further leverage the Centre to support the local food economy through such things as incubation and development of food-based social enterprises, processing and storage for local food production, or opportunities for food skills training and employment.

    Earlier this year, the Mustard Seed secured financing to purchase the Centre in partnership with the Victoria Foundation and a $2 million grant from the province. The Centre, which launched in 2017, is part of the Food Rescue Project, an initiative of the Food Share Network, a collaboration of more than 50 member organizations, including local non-profits, First Nations, School Districts and other organizations working towards a food secure region.

    For those that would like to take up the challenge, donations can be made to the VIATEC Foundation Fund at or by sending a cheque payable to the Victoria Foundation—with the memo line of “VIATEC Foundation Fund”—to Victoria Foundation, #200 - 703 Broughton Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1E2.


    Generous commitments so far: 

    About the VIATEC Foundation

    The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, was established by VIATEC to connect Victoria’s technology sector to the broader community. The foundation offers a mechanism for the tech sector to harness its collective charitable efforts to maximize the impact of the sector’s donations.

    About VIATEC
    VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Victoria's biggest industry). We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs.,

    Media Contact:
    Michaela Schluessel

    Community Manager


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “I’m very proud to be recognized for my role in inspiring others. I’ve always been motivated by..." see more

    Scott Phillips receives 2018 BC Export Leadership Award

    Victoria BC  (November 20, 2018) StarFish Medical announces that CEO and Founder, Scott Phillips, will receive the BC Export Leadership Award on November 22, at the 2018 Lunch and Awards Presentation in Vancouver BC. The award selection criteria includes:

    • Demonstrated significant year-to-year percentage growth in value of export sales or increased sales volume over the past year
    • Demonstrated ability to overcome obstacles or other unique challenges in entering new international market(s)
    • Demonstrated quality of their export plan through use of innovation and strategies to promote brand awareness in their export market(s)
    • Notable growth in their overall business as a direct result of their export activities

    Mr. Phillips expressed his gratitude to nominators, references, and the selection committee when hearing the news: “I’m very proud to be recognized for my role in inspiring others. I’ve always been motivated by community and helping other be successful. Whether in our company or around North America, nothing make me happier than a successful client.”

    About Scott Phillips
    Scott Phillips is Founder and CEO of the StarFish group of companies, including StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs Inc.  Known for being an entrepreneur and for helping entrepreneurs, Scott graduated in engineering physics from the University of British Columbia and holds 17 patents. StarFish Medical is an awarding winning medical device development services provider and 2018 Business in Vancouver Top 100 Technology Company. Recent company awards include 2018 Strategic Life Sciences Partner of the Year, 2018 VIATEC Community Champion, and 2016 Business Excellence Technology Business of the Year.

    Scott’s industry awards and service include 2017 VIATEC Technology Champion, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2017 Pacific Award Technology category, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, 2017 President of Entrepreneurs Organization Victoria Chapter, board member of LifeSciences British Columbia and former board member of the BC Medical Technology Industry Association. His passions are being a Dad, discovery, solving problems, outdoors adventures, and helping people be successful.

    About BC Export Awards
    The BC Export Awards are the province’s most prestigious awards paying tribute to the success and innovative approaches of BC export companies. Extending across industries the awards recognize achievements in 9 different categories and are a celebration of the contributions exporters have made to both the provincial and national economy. Conceived in 1982, the program has recognized over 300 companies since its inception, reflecting the growth and diversity of BC’s economy over the past 30 years.

    Empowering Medtech Innovation ™
    StarFish Medical is a full service Medical Device Design company offering design, development, and manufacturing services based in Toronto and Victoria. We use our Pathfinder™ process to reduce wasted effort and increase success for medical device product definition, technical engineering, and product development. Prototype and volume production are delivered within an ISO 13485 certified Quality Management System and an FDA registered manufacturing and clean room facility.

    StarFish Medical media contact:

    Mike Camplin
    250.388.3537 x210

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Scott Phillips joins us to talk about his path from consultant, to startup, to international company see more

    Coded in Canada: Scott Phillips, StarFish Medical [Podcast]

    Scott Phillips joins us to talk about... - Path from consultant to startup to international company - Learning the sales role as an electrical engineer - How his mission is to help others achieve their mission - His role in helping other people to be successful - When he sees a tipping point in the future for batteries - How his team created a dream 5 yr plan -- then hit nearly every target! - Why you must include final price to customer in the design specs - What it takes to go from laughably large goals to accomplishments.

    Sponsored by Roundtable Consulting, a Victoria-based company providing strategic and business planning, annual reporting and surveys, as well as reconciliation and indigenous engagement.

  • VIATEC posted an article
    Submissions for challenges are now open for Victoria's first ever Health Hackathon see more

    The Victoria Health Hackathon – Call for Challenges!


    The first ever health and regenerative medicine themed Hackathon will take place in Victoria September 28-30, 2018. Health Hackathons are focused events that bring together interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative solutions to front-line healthcare problems. This event is being held with support from the Centre of Biomedical Research at the University of Victoria, the B.C. Regenerative Medicine Initiative, Starfish Medical, and Island Health.

    Call for Challenges: The Hackathon’s organizers are seeking a diverse array of health related challenges that can be addressed by groups of hackers in a one month time period as part of our Hackathon! These challenges can be addressed through a variety of engineering disciplines, including biomedical, electrical, mechanical, and software engineering. See below for the event timeline. Preference will be given to projects with strong in-kind support through either mentorship or donation of supplies or resources. The challenges should be no longer than 750 words in length.

    Please email Stephanie Willerth ( with your potential challenges for consideration with subject line “Health Hackathon Challenge” and you will be notified by mid-August if yours has been selected for the competition. Those wishing to serve as judges or mentors are invited to provide their interest via email as well.

    Deadline for submissions: July 31st, 2018.

    Dates / Format:

    Summer: Hackers, mentors, and judges will be recruited to participate

    September 7: Kick-off, to be held at the University of Victoria, where the challenges will be presented to the hackers, enabling them to create teams. The teams will have until the hacking weekend to think about their approach to challenges. During this period, we will have a team of mentors who will answer questions about the challenges during that time.

    September 28-30: The Hackathon itself will take place at Fort Tectoria, with the solutions being judged on Sunday, and an awards ceremony to follow.

    November 2: A status update on the hacks has been tentatively scheduled during the University of Victoria’s Biomedical Engineering Day on November 2nd, 2018.

    Register: Registration for the Hackathon will open in July


    Still puzzled about what a Hackathon is?  Check out the following links to similar events for inspiration!

    Questions can be directed to Stephanie Willerth (

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    It is considered the local tech industry’s highest honour see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Darron Kloster

    UVic professor named region’s tech champion

    University of Victoria entrepreneurship professor Mia Maki, who operates Quimper Consulting and is a tireless and passionate mentor in the region’s tech sector, is receiving the Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion.

    It is considered the local tech industry’s highest honour and will be presented to Maki during the 17th annual VIATEC Technology Awards gala on June 15 at the Royal Theatre.

    “Mia has participated and supported our local tech community since 1993 and she deserves to be held up as an example of what a technology champion looks like,” said Dan Gunn, VIATEC’s chief executive. “From being behind the scenes on some of Victoria’s largest private placements, to starting up the precursor to VIATEC’s CFO Roundtable, working her way up as CFO and COO of IVL Technologies and then starting her own consulting firm — Mia has shown determination, passion and longevity in Victoria’s tech community.”

    “Not only has she worked in the tech community and consulted for some of Victoria’s most well known tech firms, but she has also shaped some of our community’s brightest minds and provided major opportunities while teaching entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria,” said Gunn. “If you give me an hour to talk about Mia Maki, it still won’t be enough time.”

    The VIATEC awards ceremony will held at the Royal Theatre for the first time, allowing for 1,400 to attend, instead of the prior limit of 800.

    The awards celebrate the achievements of technology companies responsible for making Greater Victoria the fastest growing technology region in B.C., as well as the leaders, creators and innovators who have driven the local tech sector to $4 billion in annual sales, creating Victoria’s largest private industry.

    After sifting through a record-breaking 181 nominations, 54 finalists from 44 companies have been selected for 11 award categories, and an additional five recipients were selected for awards.

    For the first time, VIATEC’s Member of the Year is going to two individuals instead of a company — Jim Hayhurst (Pretio Interactive) and Ian Chisholm (Roy Group), for their dedicated involvement in bringing F*ckUp Nights to Victoria and continuing to champion it.

    StarFish Medical will receive the Community Champion award for their outstanding charity efforts throughout the year.

    Hannes Blum has been selected by Capital Investment Network as Angel of the Year.


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “Our companies are much better prepared for these swings and much more savvy in the strategies to.." see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Not all B.C. manufacturers taking advantage of low loonie, but some are making hay

    The Canadian dollar’s relative weakness to the U.S. greenback should have B.C. manufacturers in a stronger position than they currently are, according to the chairman of the B.C. Alliance for Manufacturing.

    Marcus Ewert-Johns said that while the manufacturing sector in B.C. is doing fairly well, it would be doing much better had it taken advantage of opportunities to trim costs, invest in operations and improve productivity when it had the chance.

    “The last time the Canadian dollar went low [the high 60-cent range to low 70-cent range], companies should have made capital investments — and most didn’t,” Ewert-Johns said.

    If they had improved their productivity, such companies would have been able to take advantage of the current climate, where the loonie is trading at below 80 cents US, he said.

    “Manufacturing in B.C. could be doing so much better if productivity was strengthened and a larger skilled labour force was available.”

    Currently, the Canadian dollar is trading at a price near 78.50 cents US. While the loonie has been rising against the greenback, this still puts B.C. manufacturers in an advantageous position.

    “If B.C’s guys are doing what they should be doing, when the Canadian dollar goes down, they do well,” Ewert-Johns said. “Most manufacturers are in a niche space, where they are doing something unique, and that means they have a global market as an opportunity so they are exporting.

    “If they are doing sales in U.S. dollars and their costs are Canadian, then it’s an advantage for them.”

    Victoria’s Sherwood Industries has been taking advantage of that opportunity for 28 years.

    The company, which manufactures pellet, wood and gas stoves and fireplaces, employs about 200 people at its 100,000-square-foot facility in the Keating industrial area in Saanichton.

    Sherwood is reporting a 23 per cent increase in sales, and has improved its bottom line as the vast majority of its sales are international and in American dollars. Fifty-eight per cent of all sales are in the U.S.

    Sherwood president Cherbel Yousief said the company has invested more than $4 million in recent years to improve its equipment and productivity.

    “We invested heavily and in the [economic] downturn. We slammed on the brakes and did some changes to the business model,” he said, noting those moves translated into a leaner company with more capital to invest. “We have never lagged behind other manufacturers. We invested heavily in automation. … We have always been on the cutting edge of productivity.”

    The result has been a company able to react quickly to changes in the marketplace, vice-president Stuart O’Connor said.

    “We have expanded our business and now we’re more efficient,” he said.

    O’Connor said they have focused heavily on expanding their gas business, which showed the greatest growth potential, and spent research-and-development money on new models to grab more of that market share.

    O’Connor said the company’s new production equipment also enables it to work on smaller batches — 18-20 units instead of hundreds at a time. That turns product out faster, cuts down on dead inventory and frees up cash.

    “Business models change and companies don’t want to have inventory lying around,” Yousief said.

    Victoria’s tech sector is also making short-term hay out of the relatively weak loonie.

    Scott Phillips, founder of Starfish Medical, which designs and develops medical devices for the global market, said its profitability is buoyed by the weak dollar.

    “But in the long term, if more talent drains to the U.S., it’s bad for the tech industry overall,” Phillips said. “So we wouldn’t welcome further weakening.”

    Phillips said the volatility of the Canadian dollar has made planning difficult.

    “For purposes of planning and investment, we are assuming an 80-cent dollar. But we have to build scenarios for other rates into our planning,” he said.

    Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, said dealing with currency fluctuations is just part of being a Canadian company.

    “Our local tech sector is heavily export-focused, so they have had to learn how to manage their operations to mitigate and leverage currency swings as much as possible,” he said. “Sometimes it provides an advantage and sometimes it is a hindrance, depending on your company’s particular markets and business segments.

    “One thing is for sure,” Gunn said. “Our companies are much better prepared for these swings and much more savvy in the strategies to deal with them than they were a few decades ago.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Enabling And Implementing Connectivity In Healthcare Devices With Scott Phillips see more


    Enabling And Implementing Connectivity In Healthcare Devices With Scott Phillips, CEO Starfish Medical

    Click here to listen to the radio interview, or read below.

    Scott Phillips is the founder and CEO of Starfish Medical, a medical company that helps medical device companies commercialize their products and rise to the top. He holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia. He worked in diverse areas such as lithium battery development and manufacturing UV spectroscopy instrumentation in hi-fi audio speakers.

    Why medical sector? I worked in lithium batteries and we invented lithium battery technology. We’re a medical family. Our very first substantial project was ophthalmic ultrasound system. I had a website and someone contacted us and decided to visit our office so I rent a space. The project was a good success.

    Hot Topic that should healthcare leaders agenda:  (Device) Connectivity – implement connectivity in your institution to your full advantage about that information.

    Setbacks that you learned from: Look at situation or someone objectively and not get too attached to anybody’s idea. Validate more carefully.

    Proudest leadership moments: Outset medical – significant impact on how dialysis is done.

    Scott 101 Course on Outcomes Improvement:

     1. What is the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?

    The single, biggest thing is actually the whole thing, realizing that you don’t have the solution to solving the whole problem. There is no substitute for experience. Make sure your viewpoint is broad enough.

    2. What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

    Technical people focusing on technology, it’s necessary but not sufficient. You need a lot of pieces to make a goal, and too much ego attached to it and not recognizing we need other expertise.

    3. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

    Make sure you have a home in your company where innovation can act.

    4. One area of focus that should drive everything else is:

    Enabling success of others.

    Closing Thought: In change comes opportunity, those changes create innovation and it’s a wonderful time to contemplate how you can adapt and take advantage.

    Book recommendation:

    Biodesign: The Process of Innovating Medical Technologies

    Storytelling: The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism

    The Best Way To Contact Scott:

    Website –Starfish Medical

    Email –


    Healthcare 2.0 Fall Conference

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    StarFish Medical CEO and Founder is named as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2017 see more

    Scott Phillips named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2017 Pacific finalist

    StarFish Medical CEO and Founder, Scott Phillips, is named as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2017 Pacific Awards program. EY named 27 finalists across nine categories. Phillips was selected in the Technology category. Scott Phillips is the founder & CEO of StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical device design, development and contract manufacturing company. StarFish enables medtech innovators overcome challenging technology obstacles to create breakthrough products that improve health and save lives.

    Under his leadership, StarFish Medical has grown from a team working on one project at a time to a national, diverse professional organization with clients around the world. In 2012, Scott asked his team, “what would amazing would look like in 5 years?” and have since hit every target set that day including growing revenues from $5M to $20M and exceeding profitability targets.

    Upon hearing of his nomination, Phillips was quick to acknowledge his organization, “I’m proud to represent the StarFish Medical team.  I see this as recognizing efforts over many years.  This is a powerful statement on what we accomplished together.”

    Scott Phillips holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia. Prior to starting StarFish, he worked in diverse areas such as lithium battery development and manufacturing, UV spectroscopy instrumentation and hi-fi audio speakers. Under his leadership StarFish has grown into a diverse professional organization with clients around the world and 100% focus on medical devices. Scott is a Fellow of The Canadian Academy of Engineering, 2017 recipient of the VIATEC Technology Champion award, and volunteers with Junior Achievement, Entrepreneurs Organization (current President of the Victoria BC Chapter), UBC and Life Sciences BC (current Chairman of the Medtech Committee).

    “Emerging talent and favourable start-up costs appear to be driving substantial growth in B.C.’s technology sector,” says Lui Petrollini, Entrepreneur Of The Year Pacific program Director. “This trend is evident in our Pacific finalists this year, with many representing technology and financial services sectors.”

    About StarFish Medical

    StarFish Medical is a full service Medical Device Design company with design, development, and manufacturing services. We use our Pathfinder™ process to reduce wasted effort and increase success for medical device product definition, technical engineering, and product development. Prototype and volume production are delivered within an ISO 13485 certified Quality Management System and an FDA registered manufacturing and clean room facility.

    About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
    EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

    The 2017 Pacific region independent judging panel consists of Charles Chang, President and Founder, Lyra Growth Partners; Ashley Cooper, President, Paladin Security; Cathy Thorpe, President, Nurse Next Door; Debi Hewson, President and CEO, Odlum Brown Ltd.; Shannon Rogers, Vice President and General Counsel, Global Relay; Bill Tam, President, BC Technology Industry Association; and Lisa Shields, CEO, FI.SPAN Services Inc.

    This year’s program national sponsors are TEC Canada, La Presse, RDI, The TMX Group, The Globe and Mail Inc., Merrill Corporation, Kira Talent, Air Canada, SheEO, The Printing House Limited and Hillberg & Berk. Pacific regional sponsors are BC Business, Hunt Personnel Temporarily Yours, Captivate Network, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and Leone.


    StarFish Medical

    Mike Camplin
    250.388.3537 ext.210

    More information
    Follow @EYCanada#EOY and #EOYPacific on Twitter for the latest event updates.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Starfish Medical has acquired Toronto medical-device designer Kangaroo Group. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Victoria medical-device maker Starfish acquires Toronto firm

    In a bid to attract more business from the medical-technology hubs of the eastern U.S., Starfish Medical has extended its rays across the country and acquired Toronto medical-device designer Kangaroo Group.

    Terms of the sale have not been released, but the result will be a single company with headquarters in Victoria under the Starfish name.

    “There are lots of transformations when you’re in our kind of business. We feel we are reinventing ourselves every couple of years and this is just another one,” said Starfish founder Scott Phillips. “The innovation and change is relentless.”

    The acquisition, apart from establishing Starfish as a national medical-device developer, will put the company on the radar of medical-technology companies that have clustered in Boston and Minneapolis.

    “We weren’t getting very good access to that. We cover the west particularly well, but once in a while we’d lose a job because people thought it might be a hassle to visit us,” said Phillips.

    He said Kangaroo has been well represented in eastern Canada, but hasn’t made much headway into the U.S. “That’s our opportunity — to use this location and make much more of an impact.”

    Phillips said establishing Starfish across the country also reinforces the brand and sends the message the company can handle big jobs from larger companies.

    The company Starfish has acquired has about 25 employees, adding to the 100 at Starfish.

    “Kangaroo has a core strength in industrial design and Starfish has core strengths in physics, software, electronic design, optics, ultrasound and other core technologies. I’m excited to see what we can do together,” said Phillips.

    For Lahav Gil, founder and chief executive of Kangaroo who will now be vice-president of innovation for Starfish, the merger seemed to be destined.

    “It’s magical how that happened and how we’re at that point where it seems frictionless,” he said. “Existing Kangaroo clients will experience much more robust service and offerings. On the product development side, they will be able to tap into a plethora of additional expertise. In manufacturing they’ll find an expanded supply chain and regulatory personnel and expertise.”

    Phillips said Kangaroo had the right culture and outlook.

    “We looked at several companies, but the guys in Toronto were a good fit,” Phillips said, noting they shared the same drive to get to the bottom of things and to constantly be innovative.

    “We felt most mergers fail due to culture and we wanted to find one that had a foundation we could work with from all the way across the country.”

    That was key as none of Starfish’s senior managers wanted to leave the Island to oversee the Toronto operation.

    Phillips said there will be a learning curve the company works through as teams in Victoria will be working with counterparts in Toronto.

    “That’s something we have to figure out how to do effectively,” he said.

    The sale comes after more than two years of intense growth at Starfish, which has expanded within its own Victoria offices and maintained a healthy hiring pace.

    Phillips said Starfish has seen 50 per cent growth in each of the last two years.

    “It’s kind of remarkable how the company has changed,” said Phillips. “There has been so much demand the last few years, we’re at a break-neck pace.

    “We did want to take a breath and re-tool, and yet here we have just bought a company and hired 10 new people.”

    Phillips said he wants to take a cautious approach to future expansion, and will focus on building business in the east before looking at expansion on the West Coast of the U.S.

    The recent growth spurt appears to be down to the nature of the business.

    The company is 17 years old and has enough satisfied clients to develop and enhance its reputation in the medical device field. “Work in this field is a matter of reputation and referral,” said Phillips noting most sizable projects can take five years or more to complete. “So it takes a while to build up a reputation.”