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The Forge Student Startup Competition: Meet this year's engineering student finalistsMarch 19, 2018

The Forge Student Startup Competition is the largest student entrepreneurial competition at McMaster. The fourth annual event will take place on Thursday, March 22 in CIBC Hall at 5:30 pm.

Twelve finalists will pitch their startup ideas to an expert panel of judges and compete for $65,000 in cash prizes and automatic entry into one of The Forge’s incubator and Summer Accelerator program.

Of the 12 finalists, 8 are engineering students. Get to know the students representing McMaster Engineering and their startups that range from a financial lending program to help small businesses grow, to a smart vent that reduces energy waste.

 Francisco Ho, Colvalend 

Name: Francisco Ho 
Startup: Colvalend (IQnite)
Program: Chemical Engineering & Society IV
About Fransciso: With his strong passion in developing innovative businesses, Francisco has successfully created two startups prior to Covalend. He has worked as an operations engineer, manufacturing supervisor and a investment banker. He will bring these experiences along with his Certification in Canada Securities to his current venture as he works towards developing a disruptive model for providing funding to Canadian SMEs.
About Covalend: Covalend is a P2P lending platform with the goal of helping small businesses grow. Investors fund loans to borrowers on the platform where borrowers can also connect with partnered professional service firms to help manage their growth.

Ezzeldin Tahoun, ezSec

Name: Ezzeldin Tahoun 
Startup: ezSec
Program: Computer Engineering IV
About Ezzeldin: Ezzeldin has founded a number of companies in North America and the Middle East and is an advocate for security and privacy. He was the youngest certified ethical hacker, titled when he was 14 by the EC Council. He has won multiple awards from Yale University, Princeton University, and NorthWestern University for his innovations. He is also an alumni of Harvard University, McMaster University, the American University in Cairo, and Athabasca University, where he finished degrees in entrepreneurship, computer engineering, and cyber security.
About ezSec: ezSec is a Canadian privacy and security networking solutions provider. ezSec currently develops a centralized security and anonymity portable wireless-device, the R1. It secures all wifi-enabled devices, improves network performance by blocking background data collection and ads, and more.

Cole Kirschner, BioAge

Name: Cole Kirschner 
Startup: BioAge
Program: Biotechnology IV
About Cole: Cole wants to help improve the healthcare system. He has spent 8 months working at the Genetics and Molecular Epidemiology Lab (GMEL) under Guilliuame Pare. Here, he refined his skills in bioinformatics and genetic analysis. Cole’s technical skills combined with his track record of success in the sales industry have opened the doors for him to work on revolutionary projects such as BioAge. He is incredibly lucky to work with such an amazing team of hard-working innovators looking to disrupt the healthcare sector for the better.
About BioAge: At BioAge, we want to help you understand how lifestyle and environmental choices impact how rapidly you age. We have developed a novel, cost effective method of analyzing DNA-methylation patterns to determine your biological age.
Advice for creating your own startup: McMaster is one of the top research institutions in the world and our students should capitalize on this when building their startup. When entrepreneurs work with researchers they can take an idea from the lab and present it to the world in a impactful way.

Avin Regmi , PaniniAI

Name: Avin Regmi 
Startup: PaniniAI
Program: Computer Engineering V
About Avin: Avin Regmi is passionate about using technology to create more opportunities for our society. He is always trying new things and living by the ‘Fail fast, Fail often’ mantra. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and meditation.
About PaniniAI: PaniniAI is creating an artificial intelligence platform that helps doctors make evidence-based decisions.

Best Experience: Working with co-founders who share his vision. "Every day we are reminded of the effect artificial intelligence will have on our society and we truly believe that it will be equivalent to the impact electricity had."

Leno Zhao, Longan Vision

Name: Leno Zhao
Startup: Longan Vision
Program: Mechanical Engineering IV
About Leno: Leno Zhao is currently working at a plastic product manufacturing company. He believes smart systems will benefit the manufacturing industry and society. To achieve industry 4.0, he still has long way to go.
Teamwork: Longan Vision is comprised of students from a wide range of fields; commerce, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and software engineering. All members have unique entrepreneurial and industrial experiences. Thanks to the diversity of the team, they are able to collaborate in a way that will push boundaries.
About Longan Vision: Longan Vision focuses on engineering solutions to improve technical work experience and efficiency. The company provides professional engineering products and services to accelerate manufacturing operations in plants to enter the level of industry 4.0.

Ryan Marks, Portfolio Link

Name: Ryan Marks 
Startup: Portfolio Link
Program: Software Engineering IV
About Ryan: Ryan enjoys learning about people and their struggles so that he can build products to improve their lives. Ryan has written software for a medical lab, a tech company, and a bank. 
About Portfolio Link: Portfolio Link is building an online compliance management tool for small and medium investment portfolio management firms.

Adit Patel, Smart Vents

Name: Adit Patel 
Startup: Smart Vents
Program: Software Engineering III
About Adit: Last month, Adit Patel submitted his big idea for Smart Vents to McMaster Engineering's Big Ideas Contest. He won the contest, along with five other students, and toured some of the biggest tech companies in the world in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. He decided to pursue his idea for Smart Vents following the trip. With his strong passion for creating innovative products and building software solutions, Adit has built and published several projects that are used by thousands. In the past, Adit has worked as a software developer and product designer at different startups. He will bring this experience to his current venture as he works towards solving a real world energy problem.
About Smart Vents: Smart Vents are building an energy efficient and self monitoring temperature control system for the home.
Inspiration: "The best part of having a startup is being able to work on challenging and real world problems. The inspiration for Smart Vents came from my room always being the coldest in my house. Our solution is to reduce energy waste while still allowing users to have a comfortable living experience."

Uzair Faruqui, DID Devices

Name: Uzair Faruqui 
Startup: Driver Impairment Detection (DID) Devices
Program: Engineering Physics V
About Uzair: Uzair loves to make, develop and refine products and he’d like to direct those habits into growing his own business. Uzair is excited to be involved with the Forge.
About Driver Impairment Detection (DID) Device: The device provides a quick, portable and accurate method for determining impairment levels in individuals, quantitatively measuring eye patterns, delays and responses.