Shanil Gunasekara, 28
Founder and CEO, eTreat Medical Diagnostics Inc.
Evaan KherajLife Story: Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Shanil Gunasekara moved to Canada in 2011 with a B.Sc. in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California. As an associate at Lumedica Consultants Inc., a Vancouver-based adviser to medical device developers, he came up with the idea for a mobile app that measures and tracks arthritis symptoms. He and his boss, Nick MacKinnon, plotted their new tool while working on a big, expensive, hospital-grade machine to analyze skin tissue. “We’d look to other fields like finance, entertainment or social media—and see how they were being revolutionized by technology that was mobile, portable and cheap,” says Gunasekara, who became a Canadian citizen last year. “It was frustrating to us that health, which is critical, wasn’t really keeping up with that.” In 2014, Gunasekara founded eTreat Medical Diagnostics with a group that includes MacKinnon. Using a smartphone camera, their app can register minute changes in a patient’s condition over time, tracking hand movements. It’s also a cheaper alternative to X-rays and ultrasounds.
The Bottom Line: Vancouver’s eTreat has seen its app deployed by the National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases in the U.S. and at clinics in India and Sri Lanka. The company has also raised $1 million from angel investors and is gathering another $2 million.