RBC Innovation & Entrepreneurship Speaker Series: Female Founders Edition

RBC Innovation & Entrepreneurship Speaker Series is back with our first annual Female Founders Edition – in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Join us Thursday, March 7 to hear from a panel of three emerging U of T founders.

Leila Keshavjee, Saara Punjani, and Pooja Viswanathan will sit down for a panel discussion with Professor Christine Allen to discuss their entrepreneurial paths.


  • 5:00 – Opening remarks with Professor Cynthia Goh (Director, Impact Centre) and Nora Bieberstein (Innovation Partnerships Lead, T&O Innovation, RBC)
  • 5:10 – Panel discussion
  • 5:45 – Audience questions
  • 6:00 – Networking begins
  • 6:30 – Event ends

Speaker Bios

Leila Keshavjee Founder, Happy Pops

Leila Keshavjee graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Kinesiology in May 2016. With a passion for health and nutrition, she started Happy Pops all natural ice pops. She was part of the Impact Centre’s Techno program and appeared on the season premiere of Dragons’ Den in 2018. She is currently part of District Ventures accelerator.

Saara Punjani Chief Operations Officer, Structura Biotechnology

Saara Punjani is the Chief Operations Officer of Structura Biotechnology, a Toronto-based startup building machine learning technology and software for structural biologists at pharmaceutical companies and research institutions globally. Saara draws on her experience as a lawyer and her background in science to help run all aspects of Structura’s business including strategy, business development, sales, licensing, intellectual property, recruitment, and more.

Pooja Viswanathan, PhD Co-founder and CEO, Braze Mobility Inc.

Pooja Viswanathan completed doctoral and post-doctoral research in robotics and assistive technologies at UBC, Toronto Rehab Institute, and University of Toronto. In 2015, Pooja completed the elite Techno entrepreneurship training program offered by the Impact Centre (a campus-linked accelerator with a focus on researchers and companies in the natural sciences and engineering), and founded Braze Mobility Inc. She is a recipient of Ontario Brain Institute’s Entrepreneur Fellowship, and awards from AGE-WELL NCE.


Christine Allen, PhD Interim Dean, Professor, and GSK Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto

Dr. Christine Allen’s research is focused on the design and development of new materials and technologies for the delivery of drugs and contrast agents. She has received career awards from CIHR-Rx&D, CSPS and AFPC. She is co-founder and President of Nanovista Inc., a startup housed in JLABS @ Toronto, which is focused on the development of multimodal contrast agents to improve the performance of image-guided high precision cancer therapy.

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