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Jin Lee

Faculty of Engineering students take top prizes at 2018 Forge Student Startup Competition March 28, 2018

Two McMaster Engineering student entrepreneurs and health tech startups took home top prizes at this year’s Forge Student Startup Competition, held on March 22 at CIBC Hall.

Over 400 people attended the event to watch 12 finalists, including 8 engineering students, pitch their startups to an expert panel of judges. Finalists competed for $65K in cash prizes and entry into one of The Forge’s incubator and Summer Accelerator programs. 

Cole Kirschner, a fourth year biotechnology student at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology won first place and $10K for his startup, AgeRate.

AgeRate is a novel, accurate and cost-effective test that uses a machine-learning algorithm to analyze DNA-methylation patterns, a process that represses gene transcription, and the aging process. The test can determine one’s biological age, helping people track and improve their health.

What started as a fourth year capstone project has now captured the attention of one of Canada’s leading gyms, GoodLife Fitness. Kirschner hopes to use his prize money to develop the product and pursue a trial with GoodLife.

“This competition has given us a chance to explore the marketing and business side of this capstone project and really bring this research out of the lab,” says Kirschner.

Computer engineering student, Avin Regmi won third place and $5000 for his startup, PaniniAI, an artificial intelligence platform that helps physicians make evidence-based decisions.

“We can’t wait to kick-start the project and get the development out there," says Regmi. “We will be working closely with physicians to make it work.”

The second place prize of $7500 was awarded to Ryan Threndyle, an earth and environmental science student and founder of Peersight, a startup that connects students and recent graduates with outstanding employers.

All other finalists, including McMaster Engineering’s Big Ideas Contest Winner, Adit Patel won $3000. Patel decided to submit his idea for a smart vent that reduces energy waste to the startup competition after he won McMaster Engineering’s Big Ideas Contest and toured some of the biggest tech companies in the world in San Francisco and Silicon Valley with five other winners.

The Forge is McMaster University’s on-campus entrepreneurship initiative and Hamilton’s startup incubator. The competition was sponsored by the Faculty of Engineering, Nix Sensor Ltd. and Greening Media. In partnernership with the Forge, the competition was also supported by McMaster University, Innovation Factory and the Ontario Centre of Excellence. 

Meet all the engineering student finalists from this year’s Student Startup Competition.