LANDING OUR MOONSHOT: HOW ELEVATE TOOK ACORN TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Dr. Drew Taylor, PhD, MSc
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November, 2019

This fall, Toronto became the center of the universe for all things tech and innovation. Elevate Tech Festival, now the fastest growing conference of its kind in the world, kicked off across the city. It brought together entrepreneurs, scientists, disruptors -- and even a former First Lady and astronaut -- to talk big ideas. 

 

For Acorn, it was a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase our work and talk to thousands of attendees about the future of regenerative medicine and how our affordable, non-invasive technology is making it available to people across the country. As a Toronto-based health tech company with roots in the heart of the city’s innovation core at MaRS, it was an amazing experience to see so many people from outside the city marvel at how it’s become a global leader in tech. 

 

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to attend, this year’s theme was taking your “moonshot” in business or research. Essentially, the conference looked to innovators who are aiming to take big leaps of faith to deliver a quantum shift to their industry. This speaks directly to our core values at Acorn, and what we’re trying to do to prepare people for the future of healthcare. 

 

Regenerative medicine is on the cusp of making major breakthroughs in treating ailments and life-altering diseases that, until now, the medical profession has been unable to cure. While major advancements in preventative medicine may not get the same attention as, for example, artificial intelligence, we’re getting extremely close to taking cell therapy to the next level. That’s incredibly exciting for the future of healthcare. 

 

I have a tremendous interest in disruptive and innovative technologies, so it was fascinating for me to see so many different industries coming together to learn from one another. This was particularly true for those of us who had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on the Acorn-sponsored Wellness Stage that was moderated by Balaji Gopalan, a data privacy expert and CEO of Medstack. I was joined on stage by Dr. Elaine Chin, founder of Executive Health Centre, Dr. Ian Rogers, a leading stem cell biologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Dr. Molly Shoichet, who was Ontario’s first Chief Scientist. 

 

We took a deep dive into the future of personal and preventative medicine, and how the use of big data is changing the way we treat patients. This was certainly a highlight for me, but the fact that across this powerful panel of experts, three of the four had already banked their cells with Acorn before kicking off the discussion was incredibly humbling. It’s a testament to how hard we’ve worked at Acorn that some of the top scientists and doctors in their respective fields recognize just how important banking cells can be to live healthier, longer lives. We are no longer just simply talking about the benefits of live-cell analytics and regenerative medicine, but practicing it. 

 

Another sign that Acorn has really turned a corner in the growth of our company? It was when we had people approach the Acorn booth to say: “Hey, I’ve heard about you guys and I’m curious to learn more!” We even had people banking their cells right away, with no conversation. Once again, it was another tribute to all the hard work our marketing team, lead by Sonya Verheyden, is doing to spread the word about Acorn. To see how excited our scientists and co-op students were, as they engaged with people to tell them about all the amazing work we’re doing, really drove home the point that we’re building something truly special. And we’re having a lot of fun doing it.