When Cole MacDonald realized massive commercial buildings were still using paper cleaning logs, he teamed up with fellow Queens University student Nathan Mah to launch Mero Technologies and usher in the next generation of property management.
Mero installs sensors in washrooms of large properties to track foot traffic and supply levels, and then reports these findings to property managers and cleaning teams. Mero’s “just-in-time cleaning” system deploys teams to washrooms when they’re needed most through mobile notifications, resulting in increased efficiency and around 30% in supply savings right off the top. Mero also provides property managers with the data and metrics they need to make better decisions about their maintenance policies.
The beauty of the idea, says co-founder Nathan Mah, is in its simplicity. “From the outside looking in, it’s not the most glamorous industry,” he explains. “It’s bathrooms, it’s sensors, and it’s property management. We’re working in an industry that needs technology but doesn’t really have it.”
"We're working in an industry that needs technology that doesn't really have it."
The demand for Mero’s platform is apparent. In the early days, the company piloted their product with the City of Kingston, LCBO and Queen’s University. Since then, Mero has implemented their technologies in flagship properties like the Pearson International Airport, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and a 50+ storey office tower in Downtown Toronto. Across their portfolio, Mero saves their clients an average of $50,000 per facility. The company has also raised over $200,000 in funding and grown their team to 5 members.
YSpace has been instrumental in Mero’s growth, according to Nathan. The company prototyped their products with the equipment in the MakerSpace and reached out to YSpace’s network to close some early deals. The space also connected Mero to York University researchers who are working with the company on AI and machine-learning insights for the next generation of their product line. The biggest thing YSpace was able to provide Mero with, however, was a community.
“The culture and cohesion at YSpace is unmatched,” recalls Nathan. “Everyone’s really open to collaborating, which is something you don’t find everywhere. The design of the space, the companies and the people that are there really add to that culture.”
"The culture and cohesion at YSpace is unmatched...Everyone’s really open to collaborating, which is something you don’t find everywhere. The design of the space, the companies and the people that are there really add to that culture."
During their time at YSpace, Mero partnered with YSpace entrepreneur Jay Singh, founder of Able Innovations and Envest, to develop their hardware and YSpace company SV Robotics Academy to host an analytics and sensor workshop. They also worked closely with YSpace’s roster of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and Entrepreneurship Manager David Kwok.
After graduating YSpace, Mero moved into the Ryerson DMZ in Downtown Toronto and are connecting with manufacturers and distributors in the US. “We’re just trying to grow as fast as we can in Canada and the US, build on the momentum we’ve got so far, and align with the some of the major players in property management,” says Nathan.
Nathan’s biggest piece of advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to build relationships early and ask for help when you need it. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have people help us along the way and really vouch for us,” says Nathan. “A lot of entrepreneurs aren’t willing to accept help because they think they can do it on their own. That’s not necessarily the right mentality – if you want to build a big company, it’s going to take a lot of people and a lot of help.”
“A lot of entrepreneurs aren’t willing to accept help because they think they can do it on their own. That’s not necessarily the right mentality – if you want to build a big company, it’s going to take a lot of people and a lot of help.”
Mero have built a strong network of mentors and partners and are leading the way to changing the landscape of technology in property management. One thing is for sure – even as the company continues to grow to new markets and new endeavors, they will always have a home at YSpace Markham.