Text in blue box: "Finalists announced" on a black background

The finalists have been announced for the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition!

To be a successful entrepreneur, it is essential that you find a problem to solve, and thoroughly understand the scale of the problem. The larger the problem, the larger your profit could be. That’s why Velocity and the Problem Lab have teamed up again to host the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition, where teams of students were tasked with the challenge of identifying important industry problems and conducting research, before pitching their findings for the chance to win a share of up to $7,500 in funding.

Six teams were selected as finalists from forty-three applicants, and they will each make a five-minute pitch on their research to a panel of judges on Thursday, June 14, competing for $5,000 (1st place) and $2,500 (2nd place) in funding. Both teams will also have the opportunity to double their funding following the event, as they work with the Problem Lab to develop a solution to the problem identified. This term, the finalists have identified problems ranging from the complexity of next-generation medicines to large-scale data theft. Below are the finalists and the problems they’ve identified:

  • Aerosmart: During emergency landings, pilots may be forced to dump fuel from their planes to reduce weight and land safely. This release of jet fuel has economic, safety and environmental impacts that need to be solved.
  • Axtra: The flaws of modern computers and the resulting issue of large-scale data theft and destruction.
  • FoodLinks: The opaque nature of agricultural supply lines to both retailers and consumers.
  • Membio: The unprecedented complexity of next-generation medicines has made them impossible to manufacture at scale preventing the commercialization of cures to many detrimental diseases.
  • PriveHealth: Big data in healthcare has the potential to impact millions of patient lives but is highly susceptible to security breaches.
  • ReceptiSense: Foodborne illnesses affect 1 in 10 people globally because consumers do not have a reliable method of detecting spoilage levels of food costing billions from lost time at work and medical expenses.

At the past Winter 2018 competition, Exor won 1st place for their thorough research and pitch on the fall armyworm infestations in agriculture. 2nd place was awarded to Cultured, who identified the research-practice gap in scientific research. The 3rd place People’s Choice Award was selected by the audience and awarded to Gazeify who identified that there are no scaleable solutions for eye-tracking technology on mobile to help companies in e-commerce track and improve user experiences.

The panel of judges this term will be drawing on their developed industry knowledge and their own entrepreneurial experience:

Meredith Fuller
Currently Managing Director of the Buyer Engagement practice for B2B marketing firm Quarry. This practice is responsible for delivering impactful, integrated marketing campaigns that transform clients’ brands and drive demand. Lately, she has been in demand for her expertise and point-of-view on everything Account-Based Marketing. During her 18 years with Quarry, Meredith has worked with clients spanning a variety of sectors, including technology, finance, and telecommunications, among others.

Vlado Jokic
Currently a Co-founder of Footloose Games, InsightNG (AI platform), and Snowbird.aero (aviation operations). Through years of startup and consulting experience, he has developed a keen eye for finding gaps in our understanding of important problems. His notable consulting experience includes modernizing operations of a century-old business, designing digital distribution solutions for the film industry in the pre-YouTube days, streamlining professional sports operations (NBA, NHL, NFL), and building a digital philanthropy platform.

Susan Motkaluk
Former CEO of the Southbridge Development Corporation, and responsible for the redevelopment of the entire Southbridge Care Homes Portfolio. Southbridge Care Homes acquires, manages and redevelops long-term care homes and retirement communities in Ontario. Susan’s initiatives included the creation and implementation of a long-term strategy representing about $1 billion in construction. With over 25 years of management experience in public and private sectors, Susan has expertise in sustainable development, water resource management, information technology and energy.

The Spring 2018 Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition will be held from 7:00pm – 10:00pm on Thursday, June 14 in Room 105 in (AL) Arts Lecture Hall, on the University of Waterloo campus. Attendees from the university and the broader community are all welcome to watch the pitches. The audience (that means you) will decide which team wins the 3rd place People’s Choice Award! Please register to attend.

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.