Singing sticker startup aims to improve kid’s literacy in impoverished communities

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.”

UTSC’s “The Hub” gives student apps a starting place

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.

Startup Atomwise raises $6 million to leverage artificial intelligence for drug discovery

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.

New tech to watch: from grad research to market-ready products

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.

3 Rotman MBA grads named as Canada’s top female entrepreneurs

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.