Andrea Palmer, 25
Founder, Awake Labs
Photo suppliedLife Story: Andrea Palmer grew up in Port Moody and studied mechanical engineering with a minor in commerce at UBC. In her final year, as part of a course for commerce and engineering students, Palmer had to design a business plan. Her group’s idea was a wearable device that would measure stress indicators (heart rate, perspiration, skin temperature) and transmit data to a smartphone app. It was envisioned to help parents and caregivers of children with autism and people with autism so they could monitor signs of anxiety.
After graduating in 2015, Palmer kept working on the idea. She won a spot in several accelerator programs, first a 10-week residency at Silicon Valley think tank Singularity University, and then a three-month program in Santiago, Chile. Paul Fijal, one of the original UBC group, joined her at Awake Labs in January 2016. In April she won entry to the Next 36, a Toronto accelerator, where she took business courses and worked with mentors. Her team is looking at how the device, called Reveal, can help other groups, including those with neurological disorders and addiction. “It’s extremely motivating to get emails from families, telling us exactly how they see Reveal fitting into their lives,” Palmer says.
The Bottom Line: Awake Labs is now a team of five. The Vancouver-based company just finished its first trial, and about 110 people have pre-ordered the $350 Reveal via an Indiegogo campaign. Palmer expects it will be ready to ship later this year.