Serese Selanders is scaling safety with SolusGuard

Founder and CEO: Serese Selanders, is the ‘solus’ behind her startup: SolusGuard, a company with a mission to save lives through innovative safety solutions. In this Cultivator ‘Founder Feature’, Serese provides us with a glimpse into SolusGuard’s journey, the dedicated team behind its success, and the unique products and services they offer to enhance lone worker safety. We are grateful for the time Serese has offered us and the details she shares… Enjoy! 

Can you share your motivation or experience that initially drove you to embark on this journey and found SolusGuard?

I was looking for a way to keep my dad safe. This is the sole reason I got into technology in the first place.  Before this, I didn’t have any experience or exposure to technology or startups at all. This was back in 2013 when there wasn’t much of a tech community in Saskatchewan. Everyone was essentially on their own trying to figure it out. 

I created my first company, ORA, as a way to help my dad and other older adults like him.  I knew he wasn’t interested in medical alert devices, and I felt there had to be a better way. From there, we began to see the need to help organizations keep their employees safe.  Over time, more and more businesses were coming to us, looking for a way to keep their lone and at-risk employees safe. That part of the business grew exponentially, while the consumer side struggled to gain traction. So we made the difficult decision to pivot to SolusGuard and focus on lone worker safety. Lone worker safety is a huge industry that is only now starting to grow. The opportunity was presented and we decided to take it! 

At SolusGuard our mission is to save lives. We protect people by helping them stay reliably connected and we live this purpose every day. Our proprietary suite of hardware and software safety solutions is ideal for large and enterprise organizations with employees who work alone or in dangerous situations. This includes our patented wearable panic button; safety app; alert monitoring options; and satellite extender for very remote workers. 

We’ve always said that we aren’t just selling products, we’re building a company. As our team grows (we’re currently hiring our 14th employee) we continue to focus on best-in-class business acumen to lead the way. The SolusGuard head office is in Saskatoon, although we have team members in Regina, Toronto, Moncton and Calgary. Over the years we’ve learned A LOT! Mostly through the challenges we’ve faced along the way. However, it is these exact challenges that have made us more capable and stronger than before. 

I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a team of exceptional people. Although there isn’t enough time to list everyone, I do want to point out Joel Rathgaber, our VP of Technology. As a non-technical founder, Joel’s role is critical to the company, I could not do this without him. Not only is he incredibly competent at what he does, he’s a fantastic leader and one of the most genuine people I know… Actually! Fun fact about us… we have 3 Joels on our team! The Joel’s are looking for a 4th for a curling team, so if your name is Joel… please apply! 😉 

Who is using your technology and where are you seeing the most demand for your product?

We have customers across North America, in many different industries. Our customers work in a variety of industries including home/health care, agriculture, transportation, utilities, government, and property management.

How does SolusGuard differentiate itself from any other existing or similar products in the market (if there are any)?

Only a handful of companies worldwide can meet the diverse needs of enterprise clients, and we are one of them!

Innovative (and Patented) Emergency Response Technology
A standout feature of SolusGuard is its patented technology to activate an inactive phone and initiate an emergency call. This capability is crucial in probation contexts, where emergency responsiveness is key. It enhances the safety of your employees and provides them with a dependable tool for immediate action in crises. SolusGuard is the only company with this capability.

Advanced Multi-Network Capabilities
Our solution offers comprehensive multi-network capabilities, including satellite communication, vital for effective monitoring in. Our satellite system is seamlessly integrated. To ensure uninterrupted data transmission, advanced tracking, and emergency response.

Reliability in Critical Situations
Our track record in high-stakes environments establishes the reliability and effectiveness of SolusGuard’s solutions. This is particularly relevant for high risk environments, where managing the safety and compliance of individuals in diverse settings is a priority.

Proven Performance in Geographically Diverse Settings
SolusGuard’s implementation across North America, from urban centers to remote areas, demonstrates our adaptability to various environments. This extensive deployment, in challenging correctional settings, has fine-tuned our expertise in essential areas like monitoring and communication. Our experience underscores the versatility and effectiveness of our solutions.

Customizable Solutions
Our ability to tailor solutions to meet the varied requirements of different industries and organizations is a key strength. This flexibility ensures our system can be effectively utilized across all facets of business.

You have been with Cultivator since the very beginning… What has your experience been like?

When I started with Cultivator there weren’t any cohorts! The programs didn’t exist! We were eagerly supported to join a community and grow with the Incubator as new initiatives were formalized. When Cultivator created its SCALE program, we were put directly into the cohort and have been working alongside like-minded founders ever since.

Hands down what I enjoy most about working at Cultivator is the people. In particular, the staff/team. Everyone works so hard to ensure that we as startups have everything we need, and then some! And the startups continue to amaze and impress me with their creativity, tenacity and drive. Cultivator isn’t just a place, it is a community where everyone bands together to help each other out, and genuinely wants to see each other succeed.

Reflecting back on 2023… what are you most proud of? What has set you up for success in 2024?

We said last year that our goal for 2023 would be to focus on stabilizing our tech stack and becoming enterprise-ready. We needed to grow slowly and deliberately this year so that we could go fast and scale in 2024. It wasn’t a “sexy” goal, but it was needed in order to shift our focus to enterprise sales. I’m so proud to say that is exactly what we did. Today we are ready to scale and we have the qualified leads ready to launch us next year. 2024 will be our breakout year. Everything that we have done up until now has led us to this point. If there’s anything I know for sure, there will always be challenges… But with the right team and the right attitude, we can handle anything. We’re ready!


Serese Selanders

3 words to describe you…

Tenacious – Kind – Strategic

What is your favourite feature with SolusGuard so far? 

My team (okay, they’re not a feature, but they are my favourite thing about SolusGuard)

What book would you recommend to our community? 

We can’t just read for work, make time to read for pleasure! 

For work: The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

For fun: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Steing


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