Virtuose Technologies: a Québec start-up with international ambitions

nurse doctor elderly man stethoscope

So, what is it about the services offered by Virtuose Technologies that is driving this enthusiasm? Its positioning in a niche market, most likely. The company, founded in 2020, develops tools dedicated to improving healthcare by relying on different technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT).

The company's digital solutions—Virtuose Console, Virtuose Dialogues, Virtuose Virtual Assistant, and Virtuose Proximity—support a patient's healthcare personnel and caregivers. They increase the supply of clinical services, promote the deployment of self-care management, increase the sense of security, and improve response time, for the greater benefit of users.

For example, the data collected in real time by the various connected devices associated with a person makes it possible to identify the precise moment when a health problem occurs...

A technology that has already proven its worth

Steve Girard, President of Virtuose Technologies, shares a recent example to demonstrate the increased effectiveness of connected technologies in the healthcare industry, to optimize the allocation of resources in institutions or at home.

"We now have about fifteen connected patients. Recently, one of them avoided hospitalization, because our technology intervened! This patient suffered a significant drop in saturation during the night and the nurse was able to perform her intervention at the right time," he explains. Imagine the possibilities when this expertise is deployed on a larger scale!

OSEntreprendre Challenge: the genesis of significant visibility

Virtuose Technologies won first prize in the Technological and Technical Innovation category at the 25th edition of the OSEntreprendre Challenge Gala, in June 2023. (Check out the behind the scenes, here!) One thing is certain, the visibility obtained as a result of this victory has been significant: several reports have been broadcast since then, including one by Radio-Canada (in french only) and, more recently, another, produced by TVA Gatineau.

Other developments are also in the works. "A collaboration with Videotron Business and discussions with Québec ministerial authorities are just a few examples. We have big plans with each of them." Is it safe to say that the company’s expertise shot to fame following its OSEntreprendre Challenge win? "Yes, it's certainly a step that made our journey easier," adds the company's president.

Old person glasses cell phone book

Virtuose Technologies: an overview of the business plan

Steve Girard held an important position within a large organization before resigning from his job on June 14, 2023 to invest himself full-time and take the reins of Virtuose Technologies. And a few months after stepping into his new role, he managed to complete the first project that awaited him at the time: obtaining financing to ensure the growth of the organization. A look in the rearview mirror as well as a glimpse of what's to come...

Securing significant funding

And that's how Virtuose Technologies now finds itself with a new shareholder and business partner! "We received $2 million from Groupe COSIOR (in french only), which has been involved as an IT expert in the healthcare industry since 1986. This company also has expertise in pan-Canadian call centres. It's a really good fit: we didn't want to develop such an in-house call centre but needed this resource. In addition to the funding (in french only), COSIOR completes our ecosystem through its call centre capabilities and by ensuring a professional deployment across Québec," summarizes Girard.

Creating a subsidiary in France

It was last fall that Steve Girard made sure to refine the detailed business plan for the project, with a three-year perspective. "Our priority was then to accelerate the establishment of a new subsidiary in France to meet the needs of European countries. And we are currently finalizing all the administrative and legal part of this entity. We anticipate the opening of this one in June," he confirms. This division will be staffed by a sales team, whose mission will be to sign partnerships to facilitate the desired expansion abroad.

Signing a partnership with Essity

A collaboration is underway with Essity, a Swedish giant specializing in the manufacture of hygiene products. This partnership will help propel the efforts of the Virtuose Technologies team to extend the integrated solution in certain European countries, and conversely, Virtuose Technologies will work to make Essity’s solution known in Québec and the rest of Canada.

Québec: four administrative regions targeted

Certain territories in Québec are being targeted by Virtuose Technologies for the deployment of services: Chaudière-Appalaches, Gaspésie, and Outaouais. "We also have a project taking shape in the Laurentians, for which we are finalizing the legal part of the contract," adds Girard.

A pilot project for remote home monitoring will be launched in the Outaouais region in early April. The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais (CISSS) awarded this contract, valued at $270,000, to Virtuose Technologies by mutual agreement.

Twenty-five patients suffering from heart failure will be able to be monitored in real time and remotely by the nursing staff. Their vital signs will be collected around the clock to detect any potential medical problems in advance. The data collected from the connected sensors will therefore allow the nurse on duty to better prioritize interventions on a large number of patients.

An ongoing hiring process

To support the growth of the organization and ensure smooth operations, the recruitment of new talent is underway. "The first step will be the upcoming hiring of a general manager in France," says the president.

A hiring process is also underway to recruit new programmers. Two senior implementation consultants have just joined the team to support deployment projects in Gaspésie, Chaudière-Appalaches, Outaouais, and the Laurentians.

In the longer term, Steve Girard would like to be able to benefit from a research and development centre in Québec, to accommodate all operations related to software design, in particular. "The sales function would then be under the responsibility of the various subsidiaries. Another division will eventually be created to serve all Canadian provinces, and we plan on creating a new subsidiary in the US within three years."

Videotron Business: an essential partnership

Steve Girard points out: "There's an entire Videotron Business team that supports us in the rollout of our services." When the connected objects of Virtuose Technologies' various partners are installed in a user's home, our telecommunications service provider sets up a secure network dedicated to healthcare-related data. "For security and reliability reasons, we can't just use the customer's home Internet," he says.

This testimony is in line with that of Paul Ielovcich, Director of Performance Management at groupe Épik Collection, namely that it is the strong synergy between Videotron Business and Uville Hotel that has set the stage for the success that has been achieved by the establishment nicknamed "the hotel-museum." Indeed, Videotron Business places a strong emphasis on local businesses, and its one-stop shop for innovative solutions is based on various partnerships and a great team!

Virtuose Technologies: looking ahead 10 years

Virtuose Technologies' business model is generating investor enthusiasm. "Users pay a monthly fee, much like they do for Netflix. Our SaaS (Software as a Service) platform allows us to charge an amount per month per person, depending on the types of connected objects they use. The recurrence of revenue is an important variable in the equation," says Girard.

The company has experienced substantial growth since it first launched in 2020. And the goal is to continue in this direction! Steve Girard believes in the usefulness of a "rock-solid" business plan. "It's indispensable in the current economic climate," he says. Especially for an entrepreneur looking for funding! "Plan ahead. The discussions are longer, the documents required are more numerous, and the requirements are sometimes more intense than you anticipate."

So, where does the company see itself in 10 years? "We expect to reach a minimum of $50 million in recurring revenue per year and will likely bring in 650 employees," he concludes. Predictions that demonstrate the full potential of new technologies when it comes to revolutionizing healthcare!

Anaïs Favron men's microphone prize

* Left to right Anaîs Favron - Gala host Gabriel Delisle - Vice-President of Operations at Virtuose Technologies Dany Chassé - Vice-President of Finance at Virtuose Technologies.

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