The shortage of family doctors is no secret in British Columbia.  As a consequence of this shortage, many British Columbian’s resort to walk-in clinics for their simpler medical checkups.  The problem with these clinics is that they are often so busy that patients are sometimes waiting hours.

Enter Clinicbook.ca.  Robin, Winnie and Joel are building a tool giving patients the opportunity to see wait times in real time.  Additionally, their building the “Open Table” for dentists – looking for a new dentist, just visit Clinicbook to find them and book your first appointment.  All done online.

Check out this vignette to learn more!

I’ve been consulting privately for about four years now.  I’ve benefited from some very interesting assignments.

These assignments have ranged from working for very small entrepreneurial start-ups through to managing complex corporate development assignments for large private and public sector corporations.

The common theme amongst all of my work is entrepreneurship:  Helping grow a business from seven people to more than twenty.  Participating both strategically and operationally as senior management for an entrepreneurial $30 million tourism business wanting growth.  Co-developing a plan for spinning out a start-up from a federal crown corporation.  Helping a raw start-up with its growth.

One of my most fulfilling assignments has been working with a team establishing entrepreneurship@UBC.  This is an alumni led initiative for UBC students and recent alumni.  It includes mentorship, coursework and equity capital for promising student led ventures.  It’s very exciting and I think it’s one of the first (if not the first) in Canada.

Our group is putting together a trip to Silicon Valley so that six UBC student and alumni entrepreneurs can pitch their business opportunities at the Plug and Play Technology Center.

The selection process beat all of our expectations.  More than fifty companies applied (we would have been happy with fifteen) and many of those were very viable opportunities.  A committee comprised of three UBC alumni, all very successful entrepreneurs in their own rights, selected six to join the trip.

As an alumnus I’m proud of all 54 applicants.  They’re out there taking risks and executing on their visions.  It’s wonderful to see.  I’m even more excited for the six that were selected.

Here’s a brief descriptor of who they are and what they’re trying to do:


Based on a business idea generated as students in Applied Science and Commerce, Colin O’Neill, Wylie Spencer and Nicolas Seto founded Aeos Biomedical to develop “Target Tape”, a product aiming to increase accuracy in applications ranging from thoracic to plastic surgeries.

Clinical Media Ltd. – www.clinicbook.ca

Founded by Winnie Lai and Robin McFee as students in the Faculty of Applied Science, Clinicbook was created to help people find health care, allowing them to book appointments online and view real-time wait times for walk-in clinics


A company created by Applied Sciences students Lin Watt and Tagg Jefferson, Dragonfly has created an innovative on-site water testing device providing environmental field technicians with lab quality results in minutes rather than weeks.


Optemo is a company founded by Faculty of Science graduates Maryam Mahdaviani, and Jan Ulrich, who have created an intelligent shopping platform for browsing product catalogs. The platform incorporates three ways of search and has already been validated by Best Buy Canada.


A consumer internet company founded by Chris Coldewey, a Sauder School of Businss gradate, that enables demand drive events by generating collaborative interaction between audiences, performers and event organizers.


Founded by Dr. Bradley Quinton, a PhD graduate of UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science, Veridae’s technology vastly reduces the time it takes engineers to get their microchip designs to full production.

I was so pleased to learn that this week Robin McFee and Winnie Lai’s online startup business generated its first $1 of revenue.

This is a great example of entrepreneurship at its finest:

(1) Robin and Winnie identified a market problem (managing waiting times and phone call volumes at offices of family doctors).

(2) Devised a solution and validated it with the marketplace.

(3) Built an alpha of the product and did a soft launch.

(4) Revised based on feedback.

(5) Showed value before charging, and now;

(6) Clinicbook is live and in revenue.

My heartiest congratulations to these great UBC student entrepreneurs.

Visit and use Clinicbook here: www.clinicbook.ca

UBC Entrepreneurs

October 27, 2009

I have been working with a team at The University of  British Columbia in forming and launching a first of its kind program in entrepreneurship.

Open to all UBC students and, eventually, all members of the UBC family, entrepreneurship@UBC” will provide student entrepreneurs with time (workshops, fireside chats, mentorship), talent (for credit courses in entrepreneurship, venture investing and company building) and, most interestingly, treasure (an equity fund created specifically to fund UBC student companies).

While I’ll write more on entrepreneurship@UBC later, this post is about a new student led company called “Clinicbook”.  Clinicbook, founded by UBC Applied Sciences undergraduate students Robin McFee and Winnie Lai, is a web-based tool for medical clinics to publish their waiting times in real-time.  So, when a patient is looking for a walk-in clinic they can now visit http://www.clinicbook.ca, locate nearby clinics and, most importantly, determine waiting times updated in real-time.

I have enjoyed getting to know Robin and Winnie as they have gone through the formation of this company. I have been wholly impressed.  I have watched as these founders:

(1) Identified a market pain both for the doctors, their administrative and front office staff and, indeed, patients.

(2) Recruited a team to help them create Clinicbook’s current beta.

(3) Undertook business development and landed over sixty clinics and several major pharmacies as clients (before launch, no less!)

(4) Revised the product based on input from advisors, customers and clinics, and

(5) Launched their beta this week.

I have no doubt that Clinicbook has found a very interesting market space.  I just hope Robin and Winnie will come back and mentor some UBC students once they’ve sold Clinicbook and retired!