Ying Tam Takes New PropelICT Role
Ying Tam, the straight-talking CEO of Mindful Scientific, has been named PropelICT’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence and will become the regional accelerator’s presence in Halifax for the next year or more.
Trevor MacAusland, Propel’s Vice-President of Business Dev elopement, introduced Tam at a meeting at the Volta startup house in Halifax Thursday night, at which they outlined plans for the coming cohort.
PropelICT – which advertises on Entrevestor – offers accelerator cohorts in various streams. Its Build stream is for more mature companies and is based in Moncton. And its Launch stream for seed-stage startups is hosted at Volta in Halifax, Planet Hatch in Fredericton and Common Ground in St. John's. (Details on the coming cohort are available here.)
Tam’s job will be to host the Launch cohort in Halifax and to assist MacAusland in mentoring the companies in the Build program. It’s a significant event for Propel because it’s the first time the organization has had a full-time executive in the largest city in the region.
“I want to make a difference,” Tam said over a coffee Thursday afternoon. “One of the platforms in my personal mission is to contribute to the entrepreneurial community and to economic development in the region.”
The Entrepreneur-in-Residence position is expected to last for about 12 to 18 months, and during this time Tam will work with Propel companies and remain as the full-time CEO of Mindful. He will also continue mentoring students at the Starting Lean program at Dalhousie University.
For the past three years, Tam has established himself as a decisive and candid mentor at Starting Lean. Having been involved in nine startups (three of which have exited), he’s adept at quickly grasping a business prospect and analyzing it with no sugar coating.
MacAusland said Mary Kilfoil and Ed Leach, the profs in charge of Starting Lean, recommended Tam and worked to secure the position. One of Tam’s strengths is that he has worked in both the IT and medical device segments, which bring a broad perspective to the EIR position.
“He’s the best one for the job,” said MacAusland. “He has a depth of experience, knowledge of lean startups, has the energy and seems to be a sucker for punishment.”
Tam and MacAusland last week traveled to Texas to work with the author, entrepreneur and educator Ash Maurya, whose book Running Lean is the foundation for the PropelICT curriculum. Members of the Build program this summer will get several one-on-one sessions with mentors including some with Maurya.
Meanwhile, Tam is still busy with Mindful Scientific, which is developing the Halifax Consciousness Scanner, a portable device that can be slipped on to a person’s head to check for brain trauma. The HCS then analyzes the individual’s brain waves to see if he or she has a concussion.
Tam said the big milestone the company hopes to achieve this year is to sell the device to researchers. The long-term goal is still to sell the scanner to sports teams, but researchers will take an early iteration of the device and “play with it”, he said. What’s more, they don’t require regulatory approval.
Propel this winter advertised for two Entrepreneur-in-Residence positions, and MacAusland said there will be another announcement soon.
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