This is a guest blog written by 3terra.
It’s fair to say that 3terra has received more than its fair share of support from publicly-funded entrepreneur programs in Ontario. We wanted to share our experience participating in these programs over the past three years, as we went from building a small proof-of-concept to licensing 32 Ontario hospitals on the analytics platform that grew from it. We hope that it gives some insight into how new participants can most effectively utilize these resources.
For the first 6 years of its existence, 3terra was a professional services firm that focused on data warehouse development and analytics in healthcare. In 2013, we began to focus on developing licensed software products so we could solve a problem once and reuse the solution across many hospitals. It was actually a very big shift for us. In most ways, being a consultant was much simpler than trying to market licensed software.
We started at the RIC Centre in Mississauga, participating in their incubator program. We then moved into TechPlace and became a client of Haltech. We’ve also had interactions with MaRS and several other of these Regional Innovation Centres (RICs). I’ve tried to distill the important things that we learned without regurgitating knowledge that’s better described in the many well-written books on starting a business:
We would likely have failed in our venture without help, simply because being a team of good software developers isn’t enough to succeed in the software business. While 3terra is not the next Blackberry, I think that level of scale is an unrealistic goal for most RIC participants. From my perspective, the social benefit of these programs may not be the immediate businesses and jobs created, but the ones created years or decades down the road from RIC participants that just need time to grow, and who otherwise would go back to full-time jobs, discouraged. It’s not easy to measure this type of benefit but I’m sure it’s significant.
We owe a lot to RIC Centre, TechPlace, Haltech, other members of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, as well as various municipal economic development groups. The Southern Ontario area has a great support system for new businesses and I hope it continues to get the funding and attention it deserves.
Since 2007, 3terra has been trusted by hospitals across Ontario to help solve complex data needs. Our Data Quality Assist (DQA) software helps hospitals identify problems in clinical documentation that directly affect hospital funding. Correcting these errors such that patient records reflect the reality of the care provided ensures that patient acuity is accurately represented across the province, leading to equitable funding distribution.