UTE Startup Prize

Are you a startup founder or do you have a great idea you want to turn into a business? 

The University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Startup Prize is an annual business pitch competition offering $60,000+ in prizes to recognize, reward, and accelerate the University of Toronto’s most innovative startups. As part of U of T Entrepreneurship Week, the competition took place on March 7, 2022.

Early-Stage Winners

1st place: SPARKED presented by Stephanie Buryk-Iggers, Founder – awarded $10k
2nd place: SnapWrite AI presented by Athiya Rastogi, Co-founder – awarded $5k

Later-Stage Winners

1st place: HDAX Therapeutics, presented by Nabanita Nawar, Co-founder – awarded $25k
2nd place: TransCrypts presented by Ali Zaheer and Zain Zaidi – awarded $10k

Dongjun-Wang Family True Blue Prize (People’s Choice Award)

People’s Choice Award: HOPE Pet Food, presented by Kasey Dunn and Sofia Bonilla, Co-founders – awarded $3k 

Lo Family Social Venture Fund Impact Award

Impact Award: Arterial Solutions presented by Muzammil Syed, Co-founder – awarded $10k

Early-Stage Finalists

  • Arbre

    Arbre is a sustainable sun care brand, offering innovative, inclusive, and functional SPF products. Its debut product, Spruce, is a mineral-based powder dry shampoo with SPF that provides effective sun protection to the scalp for men and women.

  • HippoCamera

    HippoCamera is an easy-to-use smartphone-based reminiscence platform that mitigates memory loss, helping users create and review personalized multi-media reminiscence cues. HippoCamera is designed to mimic the hippocampus, a brain region critical to memory, and integrates keystone principles from memory research.

  • Naloomar

    Naloomar uses its novel sensor technology to detect small molecules like drugs and metabolites at massive throughput down to single cells. This enabling technology will revolutionize small molecule detection, which is a critical bottleneck for both healthcare research and diagnostics.

  • SnapWrite AI

    SnapWrite AI is a web application that enables eCommerce businesses to generate product Features and Product descriptions from Images in seconds.

Later-Stage Finalists

  • Apollo Sundials

    Apollo Sundials is an e-commerce focused digital manufacturing company that developed proprietary software to make personalized sundials, engineered for your specific address. Anniversaries, birthdays and corporate events are best commemorated with a timeless gift, custom made by Apollo Sundials.

  • Arterial Solutions

    Arterial Solutions is a novel diagnostic company that seeks to introduce the first-ever blood test for peripheral arterial disease (PAD), enabling a timely diagnosis. Subsequently, the quality of life of PAD patients is markedly improved (i.e. reduced PAD-related complications), primary care physicians benefit from an accessible and sensitive test, and healthcare systems benefit from 100…

  • TransCrypts

    TransCrypts is automating and simplifying the issuance and verification of official documents/data for organizations. As well as democratizing personal ownership of data, by giving users ownership and access to their own data, and the choice of how and with whom they wish to share that data.



1st Prize: $10,000

2nd Prize: $5,000


1st Prize: $25,000

2nd Prize: $10,000

Lo Family Social Venture Fund***

Impact Award: $10,000

Dongjun Wang Family True Blue Prize

People’s Choice: $3,000

  • University of Toronto Entrepreneurship (UTE) community: At least one founder is a current full-time U of T student, post doc or a recent alum from a full-time program (i.e. graduated no earlier than July 2020).
  • Affiliation with a U of T Accelerator is strongly encouraged.
  • Open to all faculties and sectors.
  • *Early Stage Prize: Startups must have received less than $50,000 in cumulative funding or investment, and less than $25,000 cumulative revenue as of November 12, 2021.
  • **Later Stage Prize: Startups must have received between $50,000 and $200,000 cumulative funding or investment, and less than $100,000 in cumulative revenue as of November 12, 2021.
  • Entrants must be able to present their pitch to the panelists in-person the week of March 7-11, 2022; if social distancing or other restrictions are in place, this event could be virtual.
  • Startups are only eligible to pitch once per category in the Prize.
  • Companies who are not yet incorporated may apply, however incorporation is required in order to receive the prize money.
  • Primary applicant must complete U of T’s IP Education Level 1 course by November 12, 2021. For applicants who already have a strong foundation in their IP knowledge, completion of Level 1 can be replaced by completion of a Level 2 Topic. If you already have extensive knowledge or experience with IP matters and wish to take Level 2 without taking Level 1, please request a waiver of the Level 1 pre-requisite on the Level 2 Registration Forms by typing “UTE Startup Prize Application Waiver” in the field that asks “What date did you complete Level 1?”
  1. Competition entry in October/November: Please submit your application form before 5:00 p.m. on November 12, 2021. Applications received after this time will not be considered.
  2. Competition preparation with an advisor in January: The 10 applicants selected to compete will be notified in January and encouraged to work with an advisor from one of our accelerators to help them prepare. Please note that UTE may reassess Early Stage startups in January 2022 and reserves the right to reclassify to Later Stage category based on the eligibility criteria.
  3. Competition day the week of March 7-11, 2022: The competition will take place the week of March 7-11 with five startups competing for the Early Stage Prize and five for the Later Stage Prize. Each startup will present a five-minute pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors followed by a five-minute Q and A from the panel. If social distancing or other restrictions are in place, this event could be virtual.

At both the entry and competition day stages, the panel of judges will be looking for the startup’s:

  • Problem Identification / Opportunity: A clearly articulated and compelling value proposition
  • Viability: Clear knowledge of the market and evidence of demand for the solution
  • Growth potential: Sustainable and scalable business model
  • Innovation: Unique solution, differentiated vs. competitors, including intellectual property considerations
  • Talent: A strong team
  • Communication skills: An effective and persuasive overall Executive Summary and pitch presentation
  • Strategy & Financial Plan: How you plan to use the prize money

Additional areas of evaluation specific to the Lo Family Social Venture Fund – Impact Award are as follows:

  • Problem identification: Is the venture addressing a well-documented and significant social or societal challenge?  Are they clearly able to highlight the need or demand for their solution as a response to this challenge? Is the proposed social venture design and methodology well thought out and achievable?
  • Impact, Future Plans, and Knowledge Translation: If this project is successful, what might the quantifiable impact or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) be? Is the team committed to continuing with this project after the competition, regardless of whether they win this award?  Does the solution look at the societal challenge on a global scale, especially with regard to communities in Asia (an asset but not required)?

Applications to the 2022 UTE Startup Prize are now closed. To check the status of your application, log in to your UTE Community Portal account here.