The Entrepreneurship Hatchery  ☰ 

Kevin McLaughlin

Kevin Mclaughlin founded AutoShare, Toronto’s first car-sharing company, to reduce the enormous environmental damage caused by vehicle emissions. His company has since saved Torontonians both time and money in vehicle insurance and maintenance, providing well-needed financial relief during the 2008 recession. Now, after successfully overcoming numerous challenges in securing capital and business ownership, AutoShare has achieved over $6 million in annual revenue and a network of over 12 000 auto-sharing members. AutoShare was sold to Enterprise in 2014.

Kevin has integrated the values of environmental-consciousness in both his business and his personal life. He has also founded other companies in the shared-mobility and urban transformation space, including and Currently, Kevin is president of Nesko Technologies, a mobile taxi payment, hailing, and demand prediction platform.

Yvonne Felix

Yvonne Felix is an award winning Artist and Entrepreneur carving out the landscape for equality through technology. Yvonne was born legally blind but did not discover this until after she was struck by a car at the age of 7. A graduate of the Dundas Valley School of Art, accomplished installation artist and successful arts education collective, all before she was given the opportunity to see again after 31 years. She is now the head of Partnerships at a company that makes technology that allows the legally blind to see.In her spare time she focuses on well being, sciences and public/motivational speaking.

Joshua Wong

Joshua is the President and CEO of Opus One Solutions, a software engineering and solutions company empowering the electricity grid to transform into a platform model for the decentralized energy economy.

Prior to Opus One, Joshua was the Director of Engineering at eCAMION Inc., a grid-scale energy storage provider. Moreover, Joshua was head of smart grid at Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited, where he led the policy, strategy, regulatory, business, and engineering development of Toronto’s smart grid infrastructure, including Toronto’s 25-year smart grid roadmap.

Joshua is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto, Masters of Electric Power Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and completed executive programs from MIT Sloan, IMD Business School, and Harvard Business School.

Marissa Wu

Marissa Wu is the founder and CEO of Rhythm Consulting and formerly the founder of Onyx Motion and Director of Client Strategy at Ten Thousand Coffees.

Rhythm Consulting is a Toronto-based company that offers marketing and product management consulting for small businesses and tech startups who want to be recognized in the global market. Prior to her entrepreneurial ventures, Marissa was a Marketing Proctoid at Proctor and Gamble. Since leaving full-time employment, Marissa has founded two of her own companies: Onyx Motion and Rhythm Consulting.

As the CEO and Co-founder of Onyx Motion, a digital coaching application for smart-watches, Marissa was able to help athletes improve their skills on the court. In fact, Onyx Motion has even been used by members of the National Basketball Association like Ben Gordon of the Texas Legends and Bill Burgos, an Orlando Magic Coach. In her years as an entrepreneur, she was featured in the likes of the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and CBC’s Dragon’s Den.

Mike Silagadze

Mike Silagadze is the Co-founder and CEO of Top Hat, an education software company based in Toronto. Top Hat is changing the way classroom instruction is done on a mass scale. The tools Top Hat offers allows for the fostering of a positive learning environment for students and effective teaching for instructors at an affordable price. 

Mike founded Top Hat in 2009 with Mohsen Shahini who is now the Chief Academic Officer for the company. Noticing that the graduation rate for university students in North America is below fifty percent, Mike and Mohsen realized that there was a problem of student engagement in the classroom. Through Top Hat, Mike and his team have aimed to better the relationships between students and their instructors and make the university experience a positive one for all. Since its inception in 2009,the company has raised close to 50 million dollars in revenue.Top Hat has been praised by Maclean’s Magazine as ‘A Narwhal’, one of the four Canadian companies to watch that could pass a billion dollar valuation this year!

Prior to Top Hat, Mike was an early employee at Miovision Technologies in Waterloo. Mike is a graduate of the University of Waterloo in Electrical Engineering. Through his expertise, Mike has helped Top Hat become a giant in student engagement software. As an established leader in his field, entrepreneur, and lecturer, Mike has a lot of insight in running a business.

David Ceolin

David was the founder and CEO of Digital Cement, a digital services firm at the intersection of marketing technology, customer experience design and data analytics.   Digital Cement’s innovative marketing programs delivered topline revenue for international clients like Kraft Foods, FedEx, and Dell. Pitney Bowes acquired Digital Cement in 2007. David is also the author of a best selling book about entrepreneurship (The Idea Guide). David now runs his own investment firm Innovation Grade Ventures, focusing on new and disruptive technology ventures in both private and social ventures. David has also received the Top 40 under 40 award, given annually to individuals from multiple disciplines that demonstrate vision, leadership, innovation, achievement, and community impact. He was also named one of the Top 100 alumni in the history of Wilfrid Laurier University.  David serves on company boards in Canada and the US, and is an accredited board director via the Institute of Corporate Directors.  (LinkedIn profile)

Steve Cosman

Steve founded Shoebox in 2012 and has grown it to millions of users. In this talk he’ll discuss various lessons learned about growing an early stage startup spanning technology, marketing, culture and more.

Steve is the co-founder and CEO of Shoebox. Shoebox is a consumer cloud service used by millions of users to help people relive their best moments everyday. Prior to Shoebox, Steve worked in computer vision and augmented reality at Microsoft.

Aditya Kapoor

Aditya Kapoor is a second year full time MBA student at Rotman School of Management. He trained as a lawyer in India and briefly worked as an energy lawyer before quitting to join his family venture, astroYogi. astroYogi started as a content licensing company, tying up with MSN, Yahoo and Google, among others, and eventually transitioned into a service platform connecting astrologers/tarot readers to customers in a marketplace model. Using this experience, Aditya co-founded OyeHelp, a digital healthcare platform, aimed at connecting doctors to patients using video and cloud telephony.

Aditya also headed the digital marketing and technology initiatives for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in 2014 and aims to be involved at the intersection of social media, technology and political campaign management.

Maxim Antipin & Saif Abid

Maxim Antipin holds a BASc in Electrical Engineering with a Minor in Engineering Business from the University of Toronto. He is the co-founder of the healthcare technology company SwiftPad, which is an IBM Innovation Partner and 2016 UTEST alumni. Maxim also volunteers his time as an executive committee member at IEEE Toronto where he received the “Outstanding New Leader award in recognition of leadership in the first year. Maxim is passionate about the intersection of engineering and business in the healthcare industry. His capstone project “Indoor Auditory Navigation” was the recipient of the “2017 CNIB Hochhausen Prize”. He continues to strive for positive change in Canada’s healthcare system by empowering & connecting pharmacists with innovative technology.

Saif Abid is a Computer Engineer from the University of Toronto and CTO of SwiftPad – a healthcare company which is also an IBM Innovation Partner. Saif has a deep interest for Golang, distributed systems, data engineering and as of recent, functional programming. When he’s not reading research papers and textbooks for fun, you can find him in the gym or out on a jog. Saif is a big believer in solving problems which impact individuals on a global scale. For example, as his Capstone project, he helped build an “Indoor Auditory Navigation” system for the visually impaired. The project went on to receive the “2017 CNIB Hochhausen Prize”. Ultimately, Saif’s passion is to build novel engineering solutions to help those who need it the most.

Rick Baltman

Rick Baltman has served as the President and CTO of 2XL Games since 2005 during which time the company developed its first PS3 and Xbox 360 title from the ground, up. Prior to co founding 2XL Games, Rick served as a Lead Programmer at Rainbow Studios where he programmed the core game play technology for all of its games. Previously, he co founded and managed two other business that developed the Maya Real-Time Game Engine for Alias|Wavefront and ReelMotion, a vehicle simulation tool used by Hollywood special effects companies to animate cars, aircraft and spacecraft in many movies and TV commercials. Prior to his work in the entertainment industry, Rick worked as an Attitude Control Systems engineer on a wide variety of aerospace projects including satellites and unmanned aircraft. Rick received a M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University and a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto.

Steve Ballantyne

Steve Ballantyne is a social entrepreneur who co-founded and leads successful companies in the beverage & real estate industry. As the Founder of STATION Cold Brew, Steve and his team built Canada’s largest independent cold brew coffee company in a few short years. He also co-founded Neighbourhood Buzz, a company that provides end-to-end digital marketing services to the property management industry across Canada. Steve is actively involved in the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and start-up community in Toronto, with experience running four businesses thus far. Are you thinking about becoming an entrepreneur? With his wealth and breadth of experiences, Steve’s stories and advice would be invaluable to budding entrepreneurs.

Samar Harb

Samar is the President and Founder of Green Press Inc.. Green Press was founded as a means of helping people live a healthier lifestyle with an effective means of nourishment. Trying to maintain a healthy diet is difficult in the hectic and stressful lives that many individuals experience. Samar’s vision is to help each individual lead a healthier, more energetic life by providing delicious and nutritious juices that one can incorporate into their daily lifestyle.

Samar is an Honours Bachelor of Arts graduate from University of Toronto and a registered Holistic Nutritionist from Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.

Tom Leung

Tom is the Co-founder and CSO of BenchSci and holds a Ph.D degree in Epigenetics from University of Toronto. As a team of former bench scientists, Tom experienced the challenges of finding commercial antibodies first-hand. Tom used to spend hours, and sometimes even days, searching for antibody usage data in the literature. Those days are now over! Throughout the past 2 years, BenchSci has developed a machine learning software that can find and extract antibody usage data in the form of published figures. BenchSci used its software to decode millions of papers, and then took all the data, indexed it, and made it easily discoverable for scientists. BenchSci’s goal is to help scientists find antibodies that have been proven to work by the scientific community, and therefore achieve scientific discoveries faster.