It’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed when starting a business. Just ask James Daigle. He recently made his first sale of MyDaigo, a new electronics device, after months and months of research, planning, networking and late nights.
In the beginning, he says, “everything was happening so fast. It was hard to sift through the mountains of information on the ’net and know the good from the bad advice.” That’s when this transplanted Cape Bretoner contacted the York Small Business Enterprise Centre (YSBEC). “It was a huge help,” he says. Not only did the YSBEC consultant help Daigle identify relevant online resources, but he also advised him to prepare a business plan, which Daigle took to the bank to secure a loan.
MyDaigo is a small device for tablets, mobile phones, purses, cameras and other valuables that consists of a transmitter and a receiver. Owners attach the transmitter to a valuable item, select a distance range between the transmitter and receiver, and take the receiver—about the size of a key fob—with them. The receiver beeps when the distance is exceeded, alerting the owner that they’ve left the item behind or it’s been stolen. Unlike other tracking products, MyDaigo doesn’t rely on Bluetooth technology.
Daigle’s father conceived of the idea while working with a construction firm in Alberta. He noted that workers were frequently misplacing their cell phones, so he sketched some plans, started the patent application process, and looked to his son to develop the innovation.
Daigle was working in the casino industry at the time. He had run a landscaping firm and had dabbled in other businesses, but had never launched a product-based company.
His first task was to hire an electronics engineer and a mechanical engineer to help him create a prototype of the device. “I had to get it out so people could see it, use it and give real feedback,” says Daigle. In a whirlwind three months, the team created a prototype, which Daigle reproduced through 3-D printing, and took to the International CES, a large consumer technology show, in Las Vegas in January 2013.
“I went there to validate my idea,” says Daigle. “We made contacts from all over the world. It was very, very positive.”
Upon returning home to Newmarket, Daigle quit his job so he could go full tilt at developing and launching MyDaigo. He turned to YSBEC again. “I wanted help in finding somebody who had patented an idea, built a product, and was successful,” says Daigle. YSBEC promptly introduced him to a couple of businesspeople in the area, both in the electronics field. From them, he learned all he could about bringing a product to market, importing, exporting and taxation. “I hadn’t realized how important mentorship could be,” says Daigle.
He also tapped into York Region’s Business Innovation in Changing Times, a conference series cosponsored by YSBEC. These seminars have been crucial, he says, in informing him about critical subjects such as the importance of an online presence, government regulations, importing and exporting, and crowd-funding. They’ve also served as a way to grow his network. Daigle started recognizing people at these events and “they started introducing me to people—to distributors and warehousing companies,” he says. “If I hadn’t have met these people, I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am now.”
And where he is now is a good place. Manufacturing of MyDaigo has already begun in China and Daigle is currently scouting out venture capitalists with the expectation of cracking the lucrative retail market.
“We’re very optimistic,” he says.
You can learn more about MyDaigo Inc and continue to follow this local York Region success story at www.mydaigo.com