When he first read about the University of Toronto’s Master of Science in Applied Computing (MScAC) program, aspiring tech entrepreneur Kiran Sachdev knew it was a perfect fit. “I had experience as an arts entrepreneur and was looking to shift into the tech startup world,” says the straight-A+ student who graduated from the program in June.
On June 24, U of T Engineering alumni, faculty, students and staff gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CEIE). Expected to open in 2017, the building will be the beginning of a new era for engineering research and education in the Faculty.
A child-friendly handheld device that makes inanimate objects talk and sing is part of a University of Toronto startup’s strategy to improve vocabulary and communication skills for young children in impoverished communities.
“We wanted to create something that was play-based,” said U of T alumna Aisha Bukhari, a co-founder of Attollo Social Enterprise, the team behind the innovation. “We wanted it to be affordable, scalable and loved by children.”
Twitter has scooped up a machine-learning startup called Whetlab, launched by several alumni and a PhD student from the University of Toronto. Twitter announced the acquisition June 17, 2015.
Ever wish you could check your phone to see what events are going on around you? Ravi Ravindran has an app for that. Want a smart music player that is influenced by your environment and your friends? Kenneth Leung is part of a team working on it. Or what if you could binge-enter dozens of online prize contests at once? Prateek Rao has the answer for you. All three UTSC students have been working on these projects out of The Hub, a unique space in the Instructional Centre that promotes student entrepreneurship and innovation. Students from any discipline can go to The Hub with an idea and meet others, including faculty, who may be able to help them develop it and perhaps start a company.
Atomwise, an alumni startup harnessing artificial intelligence for drug discovery in diseases ranging from malaria to multiple sclerosis, has raised US$6 million in seed funding. The Wall Street Journal reports that investments came from a collection of science-focused venture capital firms, including Data Collective and AME Cloud. Atomwise also recently announced partnerships with industry players including Merck, Notable Labs and Harvard Medical School following participation in the prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator program, Y Combinator.
Watching a lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital five years ago, alumnus Geoff Frost noticed a problem: keeping lungs alive outside the body requires large, cumbersome machinery that monopolizes hospital space. “It takes up an entire operating room,” says Frost, an alumnus from both U of T’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.
Joel Meyerson takes education seriously – so seriously, in fact, that he’s launched two startups from his experiences in U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry to help others become dentists, too. “We have a mission,” says Meyerson, who graduates this spring, “to be a student service first and a business second.”
For the second consecutive year three graduates of MBA programs at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management have been named to the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 ranking of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs. Gina Rizhanovsky, President & CEO of PCMusic, an on-demand music, video, and AV provider for businesses reached the top ten in the ranking for the first time. She placed 6th overall, up from 26th last year. She graduated from the Rotman Full Time MBA program in 2006. Ann Kaplan, President & CEO of iFinance Canada, which provides small ticket consumer loans, was 14th, up from 41st last year. She graduated from the Rotman Executive MBA program in 2005. Kim Shannon, President & Chief Investment Officer of Sionna Investment Managers, a value investing firm, placed 37th in this year’s ranking, up from 57th in 2014. She graduated from the Rotman Evening MBA program in 1993.