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The Forge Student Startup Competition: Meet the 2019 Engineering student finalistsMarch 18, 2019

The fifth annual event will take place on Wednesday, March 20 in CIBC Hall at 5:30 p.m.

The largest and most anticipated student entrepreneurship competition at McMaster is back this Wednesday, March 20. Eleven out of 12 teams in this year's Forge Student Startup Competition are from the Faculty of Engineering. The event, hosted by the Forge Business Incubator, allows students and recent graduates to pitch their ideas to judges for up to $100,000 in grants and cash prizes.

Finalists and their co-founders enter the Forge Summer Startup Academy and spend the summer with advisors and mentors working on their startups. Judges this year will be Jim Orlando from OMERS Ventures, Sion Balass from The Group Investments and Gay Yuyitung from the McMaster Industry Liaison Office.

Last year, biotechnology student and co-founder of local biotech company AgeRate Cole Kirschner won the competition for developing a non-invasive test for determining biological age.

“The Forge Student Startup Competition was the launch pad for AgeRate,” says Kirschner. “Winning the first-place prize of $13,000 in funding gave us the boost of confidence we needed to start the company. Since then, AgeRate became a part of the Forge ecosystem which provides invaluable mentorship, resources and support.”

The Engineering students in this year's competition are:

Yihao Fang, PhD in Computer Science '20

Lexivalley Inc. offers A.I. education through an interactive robotic platform. In doing so, children become the next generation of A.I. builders and lowers the teaching barrier for educators and parents.

Liam Flannigan, Engineering Physics ‘19

As a Nanoparticle Reactor Instrumentation and Measurement System, nanoRIMS is a simple- to-use benchtop system for automated small batch gold nanoparticle synthesis and optical characterization. nanoRIMS will save research staff time by automating the labour intensive and error prone process of manual nanoparticle synthesis.

Jacoby Joukema, Software Engineering and Management ‘19

InFlow provides a cloud based approach to people counting for facility managers. By harnessing existing security camera infrastructure InFlow is able to provide real-time aggregate data on how facilities are being used by their patrons.

Jessica Kun, M.A.Sc. Biomedical Engineering ‘19

Timely and accurate urine analysis is critical to the diagnosis of a number of infections. FastAN Solutions delivers a fast, cost-effective, and universal solution to an otherwise time-consuming and expensive problem.

Mario Ponce Tovar, Engineering Physics '19

Eclipse aims to improve driving safety and comfort by blocking glare from bright lights on the windshield. Our device can protect the driver's view from multiple light sources simultaneously, and keep track of them as they move across the driver's view.

Kainat Qayyum, Civil Engineering & Minor in Innovation '21

Lushness is a company which formulates cosmetics that come with aromatherapy benefits. Aromatherapy can help with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Jesse Rowley, Computer Engineering ‘21

Rsearch Inc. greatly decreases the resources spent for the data collection phase of academic research whilst providing a centralized hub for participants to make quick money.

Kashif Siddiqui, Electrical & Biomedical Engineering ‘19

Farmers and the Canadian government are forced to spend millions of dollars to import workers to harvest fruits, a job that is tedious and unsought after. F-arm aims to automate harvesting with advanced robotics to make the entire process more efficient.

Nicholas Simard, Industrial Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering ‘22

There is currently no way to objectively demonstrate brain damage following mild traumatic brain injury, more commonly known as concussion. Using data analytics, TBIFinder Inc. provides objective imaging assessments, quantifying the presence and severity of concussion.

Aditya Thakkar, Electrical and Biomedical Engineering ‘19

Oxii Labs is building a novel inhaler sensor and software platform to help asthma patients manage their disease and reduce attack risk.

Ryan Ticlo, Computer Science ‘19

Senso Minds is developing a line of sensory products for children affected by sensory processing disorder (SPD) —a condition that prevents the brain from receiving, interpreting and responding to environmental stimuli. Our products maximize sensory stimulation and integrate into everyday life, allowing children to participate in and enjoy daily activities. 

Headquartered at McMaster Innovation Park, the Forge has worked with 110 startups that have raised a total of $21 million. The Student Startup Competition will be held on March 20, 2019 in CIBC Hall at McMaster University from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. As seats are limited, interested guests are encouraged to register through Eventbrite.