The Entrepreneurship Hatchery  ☰ 

Two Second-year Students’ Photography Lighting System Wins the $20,000 Lacavera Prize

Creating a light, affordable camera lighting system to replace the heavy bulk of typical photographic equipment earned Anastasiya Martyts (EngSci 1T6) and Tiange Li(Life Sciences 1T6) The Entrepreneurship Hatchery’s first $20,000 Lacavera Prize.

Martyts and Li presented Modly – their modular, customizable lighting system – at the Hatchery’s Demo Day on September 12, competing with eight other teams to win the top prize sponsored by entrepreneur and telecommunications executiveAnthony Lacavera (CompE 9T7). Their product grew out of Li’s desire as an amateur photographer for an easy-to-use, portable system capable of creating versatile lighting effects. Martyts describes it as “a system for hobbyists developed by hobbyists.”

The multidisciplinary duo will continue to develop the lighting system with the help of Hatchery mentor Anil Bhole, an intellectual property lawyer, and co-mentor Amy Chong, a Rotman School of Management MBA candidate.

Three other teams at Demo Day won the Orozco Prize,  named after the Hatchery’s  executive director, Joseph Orozco and sponsored by Professors Jonathan Roseand Vaughn Betz, both of The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering:

  • AirExposure
    Denis Loboda (MechE 1T3), Neil Sharma (MechE 1T3) and Peter Izraelski(geography and communication culture & information technology) use drones mounted with professional camera equipment to create a cost-effective method of aerial cinematography;
  • Sonar
    Jane Guo (EngSci 1T2) and Benjamin Slater (EngSci 1T3) harness web-based video conferencing to connect mental health therapists with patients; and,
  • DealsHype
    Michael Zhang (Pharmacy 1T5) and Satyam Merja (Pharmacy 1T4) provide small businesses with web-based customer rewards programs that give consumers mobile access to coupons and specials.

The business ideas pitched at Demo Day reflect the Hatchery’s goal of fostering entrepreneurship by creating a collegial environment where students can turn brilliant ideas into viable businesses. The featured teams also illustrate the cross-disciplinary nature of the Hatchery, which is based within U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering but encourages collaboration with other disciplines.

“Ten to 15 years from now, we’ll be able to point to a number of successful entrepreneurs and say they developed their formative experience at the Hatchery,” says Professor Jonathan Rose, who also serves on The Entrepreneurship Hatchery’s Advisory Committee.

Modly wins 2013 Lacavera Prize for Entrepreneurship

Hatchery team Modly won the Lacavera Prize for Entrepreneurship for their development of a modular lighting system for use by photographers.

The award, with a cash prize of $20,000 has been given to Anastasiya Martyts (EngSci 1T6) and Tiange Li (Life Sciences 1T6) after their official Hatchery Demo Day presentation, describing their stackable, affordable and multi-functional photographic lighting system targeted at amateur and experimental photographers who seek flexibility and variety within their lighting systems.

The idea behind the product was initially developed Tiange, who as an amateur photographer, saw the need for easy-to-use and versatile tool for creating desired lighting effects for his work.

The team will continue to work with the Hatchery, further developing the technology and business plan with their Hatchery mentors intellectual property lawyer Anil Bhole and Rotman School of Management MBA Candidate Amy Chong.

Speaker Series: Jeff Dennis

Hatchery Speaker Series: September 24, 2013 – Jeff Dennis

On September 24, 2013, the University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Hatchery will be pleased to welcome Jeff Dennis of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin as part of the ongoing Hatchery Speaker Series.

Mr. Dennis received a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Brown University and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Western Ontario. He worked as a lawyer earlier in his career in Weir and Foulds and Blake, Cassels & Graydon. He later got involved in his own entrepreneurial ambition through the founding of various business ventures including Ashton-Royce Capital Corporation, Flagship Capital Partners Inc., Cale Financial Corporation and Oneworld Solar Corp. He also co-founded the Toronto Chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization where he has been involved with various projects to motivate entrepreneurialism in young people. He is currently the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.

Speaker Series: Pierre Beaumier, PhD

Hatchery Speaker Series: Pierre Beaumier, PhD

Please join us at the Hatchery on September 17, 2013 for our ongoing Speaker Series, featuring on this day, Dr. Pierre Beaumier.

Dr. Pierre Beaumier holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Loyola College of Montreal and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Windsor. He is on the board of Hospitals In-Common Laboratory and has served as board chair of Maxxam BioDiscoveries, and Mann Equitest. He is a past president of the Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario and the Canadian Society for Chemistry. He is presently serving as President of CanAlt Health Laboratories and Courtesy Services 4 Inc.

In the past Dr. Beaumier has spoken at the Hatchery before regarding the marketing of Brazil nuts in order to address nutritional deficiencies through his involvement in Triangle of Life Products Inc. The topic of his lecture now will be on the prospects of DNA testing to configure health determinants and provide dietary guidance.

Hana Zalzal

When Hana Zalzal started her cosmetics company, her goal was simple: to make make-up better, easier, smarter. Fifteen years later, CARGO Cosmetics has grown to be one of the most innovative and sought-after brands among professional make-up artists, celebrities, and consumers worldwide.

Hana continues her hands-on approach to product development and marketing. She prides herself on continual innovation with product introductions that have taken the media by storm. Her Award-Winning innovations have been featured in publications such as Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and a multitude of fashion and beauty publications. As well, they have garnered international design and innovation awards such as the Red Dot award out of Germany, the Dupont Award for packaging innovation, and the highly-acclaimed IDEA award. CARGO products have also been honored by inclusion in official gift bags for prestigious events such as the Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes. These products have also been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Dr. Phil show. CARGO’s famous blushes were even a question on Jeopardy!

Hana has made personal appearances on Dr. Phil, Bloomberg Television, Canada a.m, and has been featured in the pages of People Magazine.

Hana has worked with celebrities such as Courteney Cox and Lindsay Lohan to create lipsticks (housed in the first-ever compostable lipstick tube made out of corn) that raise money for charity.

Hana has been honored with awards such as:

  • Canada’s Top 40 under 40
  • New York Fashion Group International Rising Star Award
  • 2006 Brand Innovator of the Year (Brand Packaging magazine)
  • Arbor Award (University of Toronto)

She proudly serves on several boards including:

  • The International Advisory Council, Schulich School of Business
  • The Chair of Civil Engineering’s Advisory Board

Hana resides in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and their three children. She was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1964 and came to Canada at the age of two. Hana holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto as well as an MBA from the Schulich School of Business. She has previously worked as an engineer, marketer, and financial analyst.

Cameron & Todd

Cameron and Todd founded AeroVelo to take on high-profile engineering challenges in aerospace and human-power, in the spirit of leading society towards a healthy sustainable future and to inspire people to take on the impossible. Working together since 2006, their team has flown the World’s first human-powered flapping-wing aircraft, set human-powered land-speed records, and has recently won the 33-year old Sikorsky Prize for a human-powered helicopter. Their projects have focused on providing an experiential education program to undergraduate engineering students and “doing more with less” via innovative engineering approaches. They will provide perspective on their technical approaches critical to achieving several engineering World-firsts, as well as insight to how AeroVelo was established and will grow in the future.

Bio: Todd Reichert graduated from University of Toronto Engineering Science (Aerospace Option) in 2005, and his Ph.D. in 2011 from the U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies. Cameron Robertson graduated Engineering Science (Aerospace Option) in 2008, and his Master’s in 2009 also at UTIAS. During their studies, Todd and Cameron led the team that designed and built the Snowbird Human-Powered Ornithopter. On August 2nd 2010, the Snowbird became the World’s first human-powered flapping-wing aircraft to sustain flight, the realization of an ancient aeronautical dream. For this achievement Todd and Cameron were named co-recipients of the CASI Trans-Canada McKee Trophy, among the highest honors in Canadian Aerospace. In 2012 Todd and Cameron established AeroVelo Inc, undertaking the Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter Project with the aim of capturing the 33-year old AHS Sikorsky Prize, for the first flight of a human-powered helicopter to exceed 60 seconds duration and reach 3m in height. On June 13th, 2013, Atlas completed a flight satisfying all prize requirements, a historic milestone. AeroVelo’s next focus is on high-speed aerodynamic bicycles capable of 130Km/h..

Probal Lala

CEO, About Communications a national provider of phone and internet services to small to medium sized businesses.

Title: “Whatever does not kill you….”

Outline: Friedrich Nietzshe is credited with the origins of this quote “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” There is no more apt description for the life of an entrepreneur – much of the true learning and inspiration in business comes from the extremes of both success and hardship. In today’s talk I hope to share with the audience a couple of my “near death” experiences as an entrepreneur.

Bio: A Telecommunications Executive with over 20 years of Industry experience, Probal has held a range of diverse executive positions from V.P. Sales at Lucent Canada, CEO of AirRoamer to V.P. and G.M. Internet Operations at Bell Canada. A passionate believer in the role of entrepreneurs in our economy, Probal spends much of his spare time on the development of young entrepreneurs. He is a founding member of Toronto’s Maple Leaf Angels – an organization helping fund tech startups, , a regular panelist on BNN’s “The Pitch”, and an advisor to MaRS ICE Practice.

How many times does a cell divide before it dies?

Cytospan Technologies

Chris and Michael came to the Hatchery with a brilliant idea. They wanted to use technology to create a bench-top instrument to automatically quantify the replicative life span of cells. This instrument could be used in the research of cancer and aging. They believed in their solution and they had the drive and passion to implement it. The Hatchery was there to support them. They founded Cytospan.

The Idea

Chris and Michael came across the idea for Cytospan during their summer positions. They found that the majority of experiments for replicative life span are with a micromanipulator. This technology is over 50 years old. It his slow, has low output and is laborious. Cytospan saw a chance to lead innovation in this technology to make the future more promising. They are now developing the technology to automatically quantify the replicative life span of cells.

The Hatchery

The Cytospan team came to the Hatchery with the idea. They were confident it was a solution for advancing life sciences. They had the drive and the Hatchery was there to set them on the road to create a successful startup.

We organized a one-on-one mentorship, provided guidance to define a business model and created an advisory board. We helped them gain access to University Resources to better develop their technology, while simultaneously providing guidance on how to pitch to potential investors. The Hatchery network was there to support them during their journey.

The Results

Chris and Michael graduated in May 2013. Their work ethic and dedication makes us proud seeing them pursue their dream. Cytospan is still working hard on developing its technology, and pitching to investors. We are excited to see how Cytospan revolutionizes the field of genetic research and drug discovery!

A startup is not just an idea. It’s an idea in motion. Our supporting insights and expertise in the startup world, combined with talent and work ethic provided Chris and Michael the competitive advantage to succeed.

Laudantium, Totam Rem Aperiam,

Laudantium, Totam Rem Aperiam,

Find out how the creators of ‘Nanoleaf’ were placed on the path to success


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Speaker Series: Bijan Vaez

Speaker Series: CTO and co-founder of EventMobi

On October 1, 2013, the Hatchery Speaker Series will feature Bijan Vaez, the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of EventMobi.

Mr. Vaez has a Bachelor of Applied Science in computer engineering from the University of Toronto. Prior to founding EventMobi, he was employed as a product marketing engineer at AMD, built an award-winning iOS application, and founded a real-time RFID tracking consultancy named Traksem in the San Francisco Bay area. At EventMobi, he develops innovative platforms for mobile event applications that can service thousand of clients and attendees across the world.

Grocery Go

Undergrads Jidong, Yifan, Maria and John created GroceryGo. Backed by a powerful algorithm they collate groceries flyers. They’ve already attracted their first investor.