Modern Being – A Canadian start-up company with deep connections to the EU thanks to ERA-CAN+

The Modern Being Project is a consortium of small businesses (SMEs) and university researchers from Austria, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia focused on developing an innovative, homogenous, personal network architecture for private and secure storage, contact management and communications in and with the Cloud. The aim of Modern Being is to create a state of the art framework for secure personal Cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT). Michael Cholod the founder of Modern Being, a Vancouver-based start-up ICT company, and the driver behind the project submitted the story behind the project and the role ERA-Can+ played in it.


My name is Michael Cholod and I am the founder of Modern Being a Vancouver-based start-up ICT company.  Modern Being is a state of the art framework for secure personal Cloud computing and IoT.  Modern Being will incorporate state of the art IoT-Cloud networking technologies, a more intuitive contact-sharing platform and advanced cryptography for data at-rest and in-transit, enabling safer sharing and storage of data for end-users, SMEs and Enterprise.

On September 29, 2015 I had a decent brochure in the form of a single page WordPress themed site and a business plan to illustrate the Modern Being project.  I was looking to get $35K from IRAP to do a market assessment and just found out they had no money left in their budget until March 2016.

In chatting with a techie friend of mine who is a dual Canadian-Romanian citizen living in Amsterdam he told me to look at the Horizon 2020 program, specifically the SME instrument as a possible funding option.  In doing some web research I visited the ERA CAN+ website where I sent an enquiry to Nancy McKesson of the Enterprise Canada Network and Elena Maffia of APRE – Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea asking for some more information on the SME instrument and whether my Canadian company was eligible.

Elena replied to my email and told me that I was not eligible for funding under the SME instrument as a Canadian company but suggested that I look at the specific work programs of Horizon 2020.  Nancy replied to my inquiry and introduced me to Debbie Kemp at Foreign Affairs Trade & Development Canada who was also the EU National Contact Point for ICT related enquiries and suggested she might be the best to answer my question.

On September 30, 2015 Debbie and I exchanged our first email where she confirmed that my Canadian company was not eligible for the SME Instrument but that I should look at the opportunities for funding under Horizon 2020.

Over the next few days Debbie and I had a few phone calls and exchanged a few emails regarding the suitability of Modern Being as a subject of a proposal for funding under the Horizon 2020 program.  We determined three likely funding calls and Debbie suggested that I attend the ICT 2015 conference in Lisbon to meet potential consortium partners.

In order to even apply for funding under Horizon 2020 you need to represent a consortium of a minimum of 3 different companies from 3 different EU countries.  At this point I had 1 Canadian company and 1 Romanian company.  I needed at least 2 more partners so I needed to go to Lisbon.  Too bad I had just returned from a trip to Europe and I could not afford to go again at such short notice.

On October 2, 2015 ERA CAN+ invited me to attend the Horizon 2020 ICT 2015 conference in Lisbon and offered to cover me for up to €2000 in travel expenses.  I am still humbled when I think of the opportunity ERA CAN+ gave me to attend this conference.  This was the turning point for Modern Being.

As a direct result of attending the ICT 2015 conference in Lisbon October 19 to 21, 2015 I attended a speed dating-type of networking event where I established a relationship with 6 EU based partners for Modern Being.  SYNYO of Austria, XLAB of Slovenia, Koofr of Slovenia, MeshApp of Portugal and the University of Messina in Italy.

Over the next 6 months we formed the Modern Being consortium out of these 5 companies plus MMK of Hungary, Blue Couch Digital of Romania and Modern Being Corporation of Canada.  The consortium drafted a 30 month research and development plan to build a prototype of Modern Being for commercial evaluation.  There are 10 PhDs among the key contributors to over 90,000 hours of work allocated and budgeted for in the Modern Being project.

On April 12, 2016 the Modern Being consortium submitted a proposal for €4million in funding for the Modern Being project as a research and innovation action under the ICT-06-2016: Cloud Computing call of the Horizon 2020 program.

Modern Being has come a long way in 6 months thanks to the help and support of ERA CAN+.  The business plan has been validated through the support of the consortium partners and we all look forward to collaborating across the Atlantic to build a fantastic solution for consumers and enterprise.

We hope to hear of a successful funding award for Modern Being by September 12, 2016.  Thanks to ERA CAN+!

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