This U of T Engineering grad is leading the ‘Vinyl Renaissance’

If you had told a young Rob Brown (MechE 0T0) that he would someday run one of only two companies in the world that make vinyl record pressing machines, he would never have believed you.

“Vinyl was dead,” he says. “Growing up, I had a turntable and enjoyed listening to it, but by the time I started my undergrad at U of T, it was all CDs. And after Napster, even those started to disappear.”

FACIT’s Prospects Oncology Fund invests in Ontario-developed medical device and novel therapeutic platform technologies

TORONTO, ON (September 26, 2019) – Three promising Ontario-based oncology innovations are recipients of seed capital through the latest round of FACIT’s Prospects Oncology Fund. Medical device start-up Xpan Inc., Dr. Igor Stagljar of the University of Toronto, and the Drug Discovery Program at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) were selected to receive seed funding among a top-tier pool of applicants.

Xpan Inc., whose CEO Zaid Atto also won FACIT’s Falcons’ Fortunes pitch competition earlier this year, is developing expandable surgical access ports that aim to increase safety and efficiency of minimally invasive surgeries. Dr. Stagljar is developing a unique and disruptive system for detecting protein-protein interactions in real time for drug discovery applications, while OICR’s Drug Discovery Program, led by Dr. Rima Al-awar, will receive funds towards the development of a platform targeting multiple members of the WD40 repeat domain (WDR) family with small molecules. The lattermost project builds on OICR and FACIT’s recent success in executing a $1B USD strategic transaction with Celgene for a related WDR5 asset.

U of T researchers, entrepreneurs to showcase work at Elevate 2019 tech festival

Researchers and entrepreneurs from the University of Toronto are set to showcase their innovative work to a global audience during Elevate 2019, Canada’s largest technology and innovation festival.

The week-long event, which kicks off Friday, features hundreds of speakers and is expected to draw tens of thousands of attendees. U of T will play a central role thanks to its contributions to Toronto’s thriving technology ecosystem and research that underpins key advances in fields like artificial intelligence (AI) and precision medicine.

At this year’s festival, U of T experts will be featured prominently at Elevate AI, a day-long program on Sept. 25 devoted to conversations around AI research, applications and commercialization held at the MaRS Discovery District.

The scheduled speakers include Brendan Frey, the founder and CEO of Deep Genomics, which is using AI to build life-saving genetic therapies.

“Lots of companies talk about using AI to disrupt drug discovery, but nobody has made it work yet,” says Frey, a professor in U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering with cross appointments in the department of computer science and the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research.

‘Love, humility and compassion — from that you can build anything’: A&S alumna and social entrepreneur Diva Turial

Think about some of the things that take three minutes in an average day — boiling a kettle, brushing your teeth, listening to a song. Three minutes can pass in the blink of an eye. 

Yet in just three minutes, alumna Diva Turial presented a detailed plan to a panel of judges to help young women in Afghanistan overcome hunger and unemployment. It was so convincing, she won the Falling Walls Toronto Pitch Competition and will be taking part in a larger competition in Berlin in November. 

“I believe it’s my responsibility to serve women in Afghanistan who have abundant potential but lack of resources and opportunities, because I was once in their shoes,” she says. “Now I have the privilege of living in a country like Canada that’s very resourceful, so I’m trying to do my part.” 

Undu wins national James Dyson Award

Undu is a wearable heat pack designed to mitigate menstrual pain. This beautiful, form-fitting device aims to be worn on an active body, providing discreet, comfortable, flexible pain relief.

What it does

Undu uses novel air-casting technology to create the world’s thinnest wearable gel pack that applies heat precisely where needed, so you can go about your day, pain relieved.

Your inspiration

Half of all people who menstruate experience persistent pain 1-2 days per month, often resulting in time away from school, work, and daily life. Current solutions for menstrual pain relief fall into two primary categories: pharmaceutical pain relief like Tylenol (patent: 1955) and the hot water bottle (patent: 1903). Unsurprisingly, the modern hot water bottle doesn’t wear well outside of the house. A historically underrepresented market for design solutions, we thought the menstrual pain market needed some innovating.

Half of all people who menstruate experience persistent pain 1-2 days per month, often resulting in time away from school, work, and daily life. Current solutions for menstrual pain relief fall into two primary categories: pharmaceutical pain relief like Tylenol (patent: 1955) and the hot water bottle (patent: 1903). Unsurprisingly, the modern hot water bottle doesn’t wear well outside of the house. A historically underrepresented market for design solutions, we thought the menstrual pain market needed some innovating.

 

From aircraft brakes to brain disorder diagnoses: Meet the winners of U of T’s Demo Day startup competition

When it comes time to launch their careers, some University of Toronto students may be stepping into jobs they created themselves.

Four promising startups shared a total of $42,500 in seed funding at the seventh annual Demo Day, hosted by the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery – one of several startup hubs on campus. The student-generated innovations range from contactless aircraft braking technology to tools that will help nurture the next generation of e-sports superstars.

Four startups to watch from Hatchery Demo Day 2019

When it comes time to launch their careers, these U of T Engineering students may be stepping into jobs they created themselves.

Four promising startups shared a total of $42,500 in seed funding at the seventh annual Demo Day, hosted by U of T Engineering’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery. The student-generated innovations range from contactless aircraft braking technology, to tools that will help nurture the next generation of e-sports superstars.

ODAIA Raises $1.6 Million in seed funding co-led by Panache and StandUp

ODAIA, an enterprise AI Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup, today announced that it has closed a seed round of $1.6 million co-led by Panache Ventures and StandUp Ventures with participation from BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, Inovia Capital and MaRS IAF. This new group of investors joins pre-seed investors including Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners, University of Toronto’s UTEST, N49P, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), and Amar Varma, co-founder of Autonomic.ai (acquired by Ford). This round of funding will be used to make key technical hires, support early customers and prepare for the public launch of ODAIA’s AI SaaS platform.

This U of T Engineering alumna spotted a blemish in the skincare industry — and started her own company to tackle it

As early as her second year as a U of T Engineering undergraduate, alumna Laura Burget (ChemE 1T6) knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur.

“I actually ran two businesses while I was in school — I managed the Engineering Bookstore and a College Pro franchise,” says Burget. “The business knowledge I gained from these two experiences made me realize I had the skills to turn my natural skincare products into a business.”