Naiad Lab provides AI-based cloud services that detect abnormalities in medical tests and automate diagnoses. Specifically, Naiad Lab tackles Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) and specializes in AI-based analysis and predictive modelling for better outcomes.
Naiad Lab works to develop various methods of early detection and predictive modelling for the betterment of people’s health. We are always working to perfect our methods and introduce new products.
Currently, Naiad focuses on serving:
- Pre-clinical drug trials for the pharmaceutical industry
- Diagnostic clinics and cardiologists
Tell us about yourself?
I graduated in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta. I worked in my own field for a while. I worked as a Research Engineer at Coanda R&D, where I conducted research in the oil and gas field. I also worked as a project coordinator for PCL Construction and Bird Construction, coordinating day-to-day field operations for successful project completion. I have also worked as a Researcher at the University of Alberta for privately funded oil sands projects.
After gaining much experience in my own field, I always wanted to start my own company, and I had a lot of interest in the world of AI and its potential. I did not have any means to enter this world, though; I had no experience, lack of financial backing, and mounting responsibilities. I entered the world of Land Development and tried my hand at it. It was great fun, but not really what I had imagined.
My dreams came true when I ran into Dr. Pierre Boulanger from the Computing Sciences Department at the University of Alberta. We instantly hit it off, and he had immense faith in my capabilities. I got exposed to his lab and research, which had a simple mandate; use AI and machine learning to automatically diagnose diseases. I instantly fell in love with the research and the products that were being developed. We incorporated in 2020 with our best capability as the main services.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
To not ever stress. That everything will fall into its place. To not ever force a product onto the market. Analyze what to build, and make sure there’s market demand. Then just build it with grace. Stress only kills creativity.
What problem does your business solve?
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death. Globally 17.9 million people die annually from CVDs, representing 31 per cent of global deaths. Cardiac patients require early detection and treatment that is just not present at the moment.
Furthermore, pre-clinical drug trials take an immense amount of energy and time for post-processing of ECG data. This postpones drug discovery and hinders approval processes.
Naiad Lab uses our proprietary algorithms, unique methods, and AI-based solutions to solve the above problems. We automated analysis of heart tests to provide timely feedback, whether it is for a patient or to accelerate drug discovery.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The inspiration came from our time in research and development. Our whole group was involved in numerous medical technology projects. All projects had the same theme; utilize big data, AI, and mixed reality methods for better health outcomes.
Saving lives via technology (the only way we knew how to) became our mission! After a while in research, I saw a huge potential for taking our findings to market. Instead of just publishing papers, why not go further, create a product, and actually serve the medical community?
This became the inspiration for the business. We ended up focusing on cardiovascular disease because we were far ahead in our knowledge and there was a product. This led to Naiad serving the cardiology and pre-clinical drug trial market segments.
What is your magic sauce?
There are numerous ways we are different from the competition:
- We have proprietary data that we train our AI models on
- Our algorithms are the result of our in-house R&D of four years, and they have extremely high capacity
- Our greatest magic is our algorithms that we have developed to correct for motion and noise. It’s a huge competitive advantage in the market
- Lastly, we just have a great dedicated team working on the same goal!
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our vision is to be the Amazon Cloud service for all health technology needs. We want to be the central point of providing useful products for data analytics and AI-driven interpretation.
We are looking to expand our product in two different markets; cardiology and pharmaceutical. In the next five years, we want to be a household name in these markets.
Naiad will also expand its scope to other medical tests; x-rays, pulmonary, etc.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Thus far, the main challenge has been defining a product. There was lots of R&D to go through to define an actual product. We solved this by focusing on a problem to solve. Once we just focused on the problem, the product and our capabilities became very clear.
The second challenge has been a product market fit. We have been very slow in creating the right connections in the market. We are a small team, not as business savvy, and we do not have the financial backing. Therefore, it has been a slow process. However, now I can proudly say we have strong partnerships and a cash-flow-positive company!
The biggest and persisting problem is financing and investments. We lack the right amount of financing to expand our scope of operations and work faster on customer adoption.