Now more than ever, people have the opportunity to discover their family history. Popular direct-to-consumer genetics testing is a booming industry that is boosted by television shows, commercials, films and archives. However, there exists a gap in this market: once this familial information is acquired, there are few options to digitally preserve or continue exploring it.
A multicultural population as rich as Centennial College’s – it has the largest number of international students of any public Canadian college – could benefit from having more ways to map the stories of families who migrated and immigrated to Canada. This opportunity is what brought Canadian start-up software company Treasured Inc. to WIMTACH.
“We were running a successful co-op program for a year and a half [with Centennial College]. We had great experiences with all of your students and your students had great experiences with us. Some of those students ended up working [with Treasured Inc.] beyond their co-op and taking more leadership [roles and responsibilities]…that’s how we found about WIMTACH; one of our co-op students was working with WIMTACH at the same time he applied to one of our postings,” explained Vito Giovannetti, founder of Treasured Inc.
Founded in 2017, Treasured Inc. was inspired by the immigrant story to Canada – immigrants who take the challenging journey to arrive in Canada with their families to receive a better life and give a better life to their children. The objective of the company is to help families preserve and showcase their family history to minimize the loss of history. Their main product is TreasureWorld, an interactive 3D gaming platform where users can upload their family artifacts (i.e., pictures) and place them in different 3D settings, such as museums and libraries.
The technical challenge was building more functionality for 3D assets to be brought into TreasureWorld to improve the architecture of the platform and the user experience overall. Through WIMTACH’s proposal writing service, several initial meetings and strategic consultation, Treasured Inc. was the successful partner-recipient of the NSERC-ARD Level I funding for $25,000. The project began in November 2019 and it was “well-organized” and “a good experience” from the start because of one important quality: teamwork.
“Jeziel (Project Manager of WIMTACH) was very professional in how he organized the initial meeting with the professor and the prospective students; he was adaptable in us recognizing the new talent existing in WIMTACH…the project and scope were defined very clearly; the talent of students and their ability to learn…all of those things were fundamentally the reason why we wanted to work with WIMTACH. We had a good sense that we would have a good experience with WIMTACH. ”
The WIMTACH team and the Treasured Inc team worked together for the next six months to complete the project. While the COVID-19 pandemic created different working circumstances, everyone demonstrated their commitment to the project through regular meetings and correspondence about “touch points” needed to drive it forward.
“We had touch points with WIMTACH…that was really professional and it told me that these people really care about the project, seeing it through, getting it implemented and overcoming unsuspected challenges…that was really impressive to me overall…it exceeded my expectations. We ended up getting everything we needed out of the project and we’re ready and on pace for the next project.”
The project was a “huge stepping stone” for Treasured Inc. because it positioned the company as a leader in their field of interactive storytelling and artificial intelligence in the genealogy sector. Recently, Treasured Inc. was the successful partner-recipient of the NSERC ARD Level II grant, worth $75,000. Now, the company can tackle its next project with WIMTACH: to incorporate more artificial intelligence and user behaviour measures to incentivize users to keep playing the TreasureWorld game. For Vito, the partnership with WIMTACH reveals a commitment to success that goes beyond technical objectives.
“I move like a mile a minute…if people are helping me see the vision and support it, it’s much appreciated, and it’s a pleasure working with people who are like that.”
For more information about Treasured Inc., please click here.
For more information about WIMTACH’s funding services, please click here.
WIMTACH proudly recognizes funding to support this work from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).