Entrepreneurship Week took place last week at the MaRS Discovery District and showcased the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem at U of T. Attendees were treated to the Startup Showcase, which highlighted emerging companies; a talk by Arlene Dickinson of Dragons’ Den; and the RBC Pitch Competition.
“Our vision for Entrepreneurship@UofT Week was to amplify and accelerate the impact of entrepreneurship at U of T,” said Keri Damen, the Managing Director of University of Toronto Entrepreneurship. “By bringing together the greater community of students, startups, incubators, and the partner organizations who support them, we are creating connections across the community that are needed to accelerate our startups’ growth and create the game-changing ventures of the future.”
Damen also emphasized the importance of featuring startups by students from non-traditional backgrounds and encouraging these students to pursue social entrepreneurship.
The showcase featured 70 startups working in artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine, health sciences, clean technology, and advanced manufacturing. Below are some notable ventures, many of which offer opportunities for students.
Health-Bridge aims to break down the language barrier in healthcare. STEFAN KOLLENBERG/THE VARSITY
Imagine if your grandmother, who doesn’t speak a word of English, fell down and broke her hip. You are able to call an ambulance to her house, but cannot make it there in time to translate for the paramedics.
Enter Health-Bridge, an image based diagnostic tool for non-English speaking patients, founded by Haman Mamdouhi and his team with the goal of eliminating the language barrier in healthcare. Originally based out of the Entrepreneurship Hatchery, they placed first at UofT’s Healthy Generation Fund and Next Canada Startup Sprint. Most recently, they were named one of 12 finalists for Enactus Canada’s student entrepreneurship competition.
They are currently looking to bring on passionate students with a background in computer science, mobile development, and graphic design.
DashMD is an app that helps you manage your treatment plan outside of the hospital. STEFAN KOLLENBERG/THE VARSITY
Have you ever left the hospital unclear on how to take care of yourself? You’re not alone. This happened to Dash MD co-founder Zack Fisch-Rothbart after he broke his leg in two places. He was handed a stack of pamphlets while leaving the hospital but was unclear on exactly what he needed to do to get better. Three weeks later, he was back in the ER with compartment syndrome from his cast being too tight.
Dash MD is run by Fisch-Rothbart, Cory Blumenfeld, Simon Bromberg, and Rob Iaboni. Their goal is to help other patients avoid falling through the cracks of the health-care system by providing resources to help manage their aftercare journey.
In the upcoming month, they will be partnering with a big player in the Ontario health space. The startup is also currently hiring front-end, back-end, iOS, and Android developers, as well as designers.
StageKeep is a tool that helps dancers visualize choreographies. STEFAN KOLLENBERG/THE VARSITY
When choreographers are creating a dance routine, they often draw up ideas on paper and then meet up with dancers for long practice sessions.
StageKeep was founded by William Mak and Axel Villamil to make this process more efficient by digitizing the planning and communication aspects of these routines. Villamil, a dancer himself, often found it difficult to meet with a full team for long hours and found it expensive to book studio hours. The app — currently available on the Google Play Store — allows dancers to come to rehearsals better prepared, helps choreographers save time, and shows directors how to save money.
Phenomic AI aids researchers in analyzing data from high-content screening. STEFAN KOLLENBERG/THE VARSITY
In the last decade, many biomedical labs have adopted high-content screening, a method that uses automated microscopes to image cells exposed to thousands of different drugs. A downside of this method, however, is that it can take months to sift through the data and analyze it. Phenomic AI automates this tedious process for researchers and professionals employing a deep-learning based platform that analyzes all the imaging data.
Phenomic AI has been featured in The Guardian, and its team members have also discussed the technology with Prime Minister Trudeau. They plan to announce pilot projects with major industry partners in the near future, and are currently looking for members to join their their data science and software teams.
Just Vertical promotes sustainable indoor growing with wall-mounted hydroponic systems. STEFAN KOLLENBERG/THE VARSITY
Just Vertical — founded by U of T Masters of Science graduates Conner Tid and Kevin Jakiela — produces vertical hydroponic growing systems that can be easily stored, supply their own light, and are 95–99 per cent more water efficient than regular soil-based growing techniques.
This startup is a environmentally sound and space efficient solution for those living in condos or apartments that do not have the space to grow plants. Next month, the startup plans to sell new models of the system made of bamboo composite — an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to plastic.
RBC Pitch Competition
Hatchery Alumnus XPAN was awarded the RBC Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Hatchery NEST 2018 team VECO won the People’s Choice Award.