Judges and companies at competition

Membio wins 1st place at The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition

Yesterday evening, six teams of University of Waterloo students pitched major industry problems to a panel of judges for a shot at $7,500 in funding. Each team pitched for five minutes and provided extensive research about the history, scope, and impact of their chosen problem. Presented by Velocity and the Problem Lab, and generously funded by Quantum Valley Investments®, this competition provides financial awards to support the research and development efforts of teams who demonstrate the most thorough understanding of problems.

Crista Renner, Velocity Business Advisor, and Ben Graham, Problem Lab Researcher, co-hosted last night’s event, but the kickoff was delivered by Larry Smith, esteemed Adjunct Associate Professor of economics at the University of Waterloo and mastermind behind the Problem Lab. Teams of up to four students prepared intensely to pitch their problem to an audience of students, community members, and a panel of judges. Following their pitch, each team answered questions from an expert panel of judges including Meredith Fuller, Quarry Managing Director, Vlado Jokic, Co-founder of Footloose Cames, InsightNG, and Snowbird.aero, and Susan Motkaluk, former CEO of Southbridge Development Corporation.

After six engaging pitches, 1st place and $5,000 in funding was awarded to team Membio. Founder, Shane Kilpatrick is a Master of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) graduate, and the problem he discussed was how life-saving medicines for detrimental diseases cannot be commercialized due to their complexity and problems with manufacturing and scientific innovation. Membio is a Velocity Science company currently working on a solution to the problem identified. Velocity Science is a partnership between Velocity and the University of Waterloo Faculty of Science, providing students with mentorship, wet lab access, high-tech equipment, technical resources and basic consumables that students can use to develop, test and implement their startup ideas.

Membio pitching
1st place winner Membio pitching at The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition.

The 2nd place, $2,500 award was given to PriveHealth, who tackled the healthcare industry problem of cyber attacks on big data due to the spread of the internet, mobile devices and the use of outdated software. The 3rd place People’s Choice Award was selected by the audience and was awarded to FoodLinks who pitched the problem of traceability in food supply chains, outlining how produce cannot be traced along every step from farm to market resulting in a huge loss of profit for retailers and consumers when there is product recalls.

Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all who participated in and attended the event!

The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition is made possible by $300,000 in funding from Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, principals of Quantum Valley Investments® and founders of Blackberry.