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 Dr. Brett Belchetz
Dr. Brett Belchetz, Co-founder and CEO at Maple

Get to Know Cohort 5: Maple

With a mission to tackle some of the world’s most meaningful issues in healthcare, Toronto-based Maple is using innovative technology to provide patients with access to healthcare professionals through an online platform. The founding team, consisting of CEO Dr. Brett Belchetz, COO Roxana Zaman, and CTO Stuart Starr, is currently participating in Cohort 5 of the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program.   

Lazaridis Institute: How did Maple get started?

Dr. Brett Belchetz: I’ve been working as an ER physician in Toronto for more than 15 years. In that time, I’ve witnessed wait times continually increase and thousands of Canadians unable to find a family doctor. It always upsets me when I see patients waiting for hours, losing out on a day of work or being exposed to illnesses like the flu, for a basic medical need that I don’t even need to lay a finger on them to diagnose. One week, nearly five years ago, I had a eureka moment after I had three separate friends text me for medical advice. All three were able to avoid the ER, long wait times, and a large amount of anxiety. I remember thinking “This is so unfair that my friends and family can access a doctor any time by text message, while most Canadians have to sit for hours in a waiting room.” My second thought was “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we created a service where all Canadians could access a doctor this way?”

And thus, Maple was born.

 

LI: As Co-founder and CEO, what is it that you enjoy the most about building a company?

BB: I love the creative challenge of solving problems that haven’t been solved before, and seeing the benefit our solutions create. I’ve worked in many environments, but none have required so many innovative ways of thinking, making such a tangible difference to people’s lives. You can feel an incredible energy in our office – there’s a shared passion over what we are creating at Maple – and that makes it a magical journey to be part of.  

 

LI: What do you feel is the greatest benefit that Maple can offer patients?

BB: At its core, Maple offers patients better health. It’s been proven repeatedly that delays in medical diagnosis and care can dramatically worsen the prognosis for many illnesses. In Canada, one third of patients wait more than seven days for an appointment with their family doctor when they’re sick - the longest wait in the developed world. With Maple, the average wait time to see a doctor is under two minutes, allowing Canadians to have their illnesses rapidly diagnosed and treated, significantly reducing their likelihood of developing complications.

 

LI: What motivated you to apply to the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program and what do you hope to get out of the experience?

BB: As a rapidly growing Canadian company, we often work in isolation from other start-ups and we rarely get the opportunity to learn from successful, trailblazing entrepreneurs. Being a part of the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program allows us to meet and work with other companies facing similar challenges to ours, and to learn from proven leaders who have overcome many of the most difficult hurdles we face.    

 

LI: Which program weekend are you most looking forward to and why?

BB: All of them! As a CEO, there isn’t an area of our business that I’m not involved in and excited about. As a first time founder, I feel there is always more for me to learn about every part of business. All of these weekends offer me the opportunity to look at our business through a new lens, and to gain new insights into how to drive more value and success.

 

LI: What’s the best part about being located in Toronto?

BB: Without a doubt, I’m most excited by Toronto’s unmatched multicultural vibrancy. I’ve travelled to major cities all over the world, and none come close to what I see here – a city where people of all backgrounds effortlessly and naturally mix. This creates a thrilling energy, where new ideas and perspectives constantly come together in unpredictable and rewarding ways. And of course, being a foodie, one of my favourite parts of this is our city’s unmatched restaurant scene, with representation from every corner of the earth.
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