Daniel Penn, 28
Co-founder and CEO, Shift Health
Evaan KherajLife Story: Arts and science are intertwined for Daniel Penn, who was born in the U.S. and holds American, Australian and Canadian passports. While pursuing a bachelor of arts and science at McMaster University, he wrote two cookbooks for students, followed by a third when he studied food sciences at the University of Copenhagen. Both his brothers are artists, and his father, Dr. Ian Penn, is a cardiologist and artist who, with Daniel’s mother, adolescent-health physician Dr. Sandy Whitehouse, established the IDEA award to purchase artworks for Vancouver General Hospital.
When Daniel graduated in 2011, Whitehouse was working on a project at Emily Carr University of Art and Design researching ways to let adolescents open up to doctors about mental health issues. Daniel returned to Vancouver to help, and in 2013 they launched Tickit, an interactive platform to enable comfortable communication between patients and doctors. Patients input details on a mobile app, and an algorithm highlights key information for health-care providers. The average first-year contract is $25,000, with some clients in the $100,000 range.
The Bottom Line: Tickit is used by B.C.’s Providence Health Care, Boston Children’s Hospital and the San Francisco Public Health Department. Shift Health doubled its sales last year and is expected to turn a profit by the first quarter of 2017.