Magnusmode: Making the World More Accessible for Those with Special Needs

Magnusmode: Making the World More Accessible for Those with Special Needs

Originally published by the Accelerator Centre. Click here for original publication.

Magnusmode® was founded out of a necessity and a passion. Nadia Hamilton, the company Founder, is the sibling of a young man with autism.  Growing up, she noticed how he struggled to do daily activities, like brushing teeth, on his own, yet he thrived when he was able to follow step-by-step instructions that Nadia herself created. She realized that when given the right tools, he was able to manage and complete tasks with greater independence, confidence, comfort, and ease. It was those early experiences with her brother that ultimately inspired the creation of Magnusmode and its flagship product, a mobile app called MagnusCards™.

MagnusCards is mobile app that community venues, corporations, and organizations (like the Royal Ontario Museum, Colgate-Palmolive, Toronto Pearson Airport, A&W and many more) use to provide step-by-step guidance for those with special needs, much like Nadia did for her brother. The mobile app has a central character, Magnus, who partners with other brand mascots (like CIBC’s Percy Penguin) to deliver life skills guidance in their area of expertise. For example, Magnus teams up with CIBC’s Percy Penguin to teach money management skills!  For people with special needs, the world can be a loud, scary and overwhelming place and Magnus and his friends help them to focus and manage activities with decreased stress and greater independence.

“People with autism and other cognitive challenges need and want access to museums, airports, public transit, and grocery stores. They have a right to these spaces like everyone else, yet they face invisible barriers to inclusion and independence. MagnusCards provides a digital roadmap and a friendly guide to daily life at home and in the community.” 

Since its launch in 2015, MagnusCards has been downloaded by with users in 77 countries and has over 30 corporate clients across North America.

The magic of MagnusCards is that it helps companies to increase accessibility, while connecting, engaging, and enabling customers with cognitive special needs. Today, in just 4-6 weeks, Magnusmode can deliver custom, branded, digital Card Decks that enable companies to join this Accessibility Movement.

It all started in 2011, when Nadia  entered and won ‘Project Wildfire’ a business pitch competition run through the Centre for Social Innovation. With that initial funding, she outsourced the development of the app to developers in China, and partnered with several Ontario-based autism organizations to test and refine the app. Magnusmode went from a neat idea to a business when companies began paying to create branded content on the MagnusCards platform.

The team continues to improve upon their existing app and have plans for new products in the future that build on relationships with CIBC, Colgate, and others. Presently, the team is located at the Accelerator Center in Waterloo Ontario, where they have three full-time employees, approximately 15 contractors, a development team in Costa Rica and they are currently hiring in several areas. The company has several private investors, including funding from the Golden Triangle Angel Network.

And the growth continues, Magnusmode continues to double revenue year over year, and has a goal of tripling revenue by the end of their fiscal year in October. Nadia shares,

” Our main focus right now is making our customers and users happy, exploring the building of new products for them, making sure we have all the right players on our team and continuing to build a product that is changing people’s lives for the better.”

Magnusmode and their client, Colgate-Palmolive, are co-recipients of the 2018 Change Maker Award from QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community). Nadia was also the recent recipient of the 2018 Harry Jerome Young Entrepreneur Award from the BBPA, Black Business and Professional Association. It was a special milestone for her and the company as she was able to attend the award ceremony with her brother, and two of Magnusmode’s clients as guests, respectively from CIBC & Colgate.

“The mentorship at the Accelerator Centre has been so helpful in several areas including sales, product development, human resources, and marketing.  I feel they are part of a broader team, working together to build a foundation that will enable us to scale operations across North America and worldwide”

Magnusmode looks forward to the continued growth and success of the company and mobile app that’s sole purpose is to educate, empower and connect individuals, companies and customers in their daily lives. “There is still a lot of work to be done, and we’ve never been more passionate or excited to do that work. It’s wonderfully fulfilling (and challenging) to be able to build a business that solves a problem, I’m so thankful to my team, Magnusmode investors, and our customers for enabling this vision.”

To connect with Nadia, join the accessibility movement with your company, or learn more about Magnusmode, please visit: