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Meet Your Fall 2020 Concept $5K Winners

As we close the book on another semester of online classes and events, we recognize the non-stop innovation from UWaterloo students and celebrate the newly crowned Fall 2020 Concept $5K Winners. As the pandemic slows down many industries and businesses, these incredible students continue to develop new ideas. With an eye on the future and unperturbed by the chaos of the present, we saw another 75+ teams apply to compete in the Concept $5K.

Student Ideas covered an incredibly wide variety of sectors, and our Semi-Finals featured representatives from every faculty. Our new Climate Change Grant, in partnership with UWaterloo’s Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) saw a number of impressive teams advance to the Concept $5K Finals. Of the finalists, four are directly focusing on climate change solutions.

“New enabling technologies are going to play a big role in tackling climate change by helping us decarbonize our lives and reduce risks to our health, infrastructure and safety. When IC3 set out to partner with the team at Concept, we wanted to use this first Climate Change Grant to test our belief that UWaterloo students and faculty are particularly well-suited to play an outsized role in finding climate solutions.”

Simon Glauser, Managing Director of IC3 said of the new partnership

Simon’s beliefs rang true as the innovative ideas presented proved the community’s ability to tackle climate change issues. “What we got was an overwhelmingly clear signal that UWaterloo has the potential to be a major hub for climate technology innovation.” Simon said of the competitors, “We’re looking forward to building on this initial step to give students and faculty a path to bring their ideas to the world”.

Also impressed by the ingenuity and ideas from UWaterloo students was our panel of judges making the tough decisions to award these grants. A big thank you to these fine folks who took the time to review the pitches, heartily debate, and eventually select the winners. This semester that honour went to John Dick, Velocity/Concept Business Advisor, Ashley Keefner, Director of Business Operations & Strategy at Membio, and Qhalisa Khan, Analyst at Amplify Capital. All of the finalists presented incredible ideas, but the winners stood out amongst a highly impressive field.

And the winners are…


ChangeRoom is a fashion-tech startup that connects the vast array of sustainable clothing brands with the growing number of eco-conscious customers through an intuitive and simple mobile marketplace.  

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Ayush Bhargava, Management Engineering, University of Waterloo
Raymond Wu, 1A Biomedical Engineering, University of Waterloo
Alvin Dai, 1A Computer Science, University of Waterloo
Rishi Goel, 1A Commerce-Marketing, Queen’s University

Miss Mechanic

An on-call automotive service support system provided by women, for women, to make informed decisions in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

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Stefanie Bruinsma, Master’s of Business Entrepreneurship & Technology Student
Mike Cassell, Master’s of Business Entrepreneurship & Technology Student

mtion Interactive

mtion Interactive is developing a twitch for virtual reality.  

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Jeremy Hartman, PhD Student Computer Science, University of Waterloo
Daniel Vogel, Associate Professor, Computer Science, University of Waterloo
Remy Sui, Curator-in-Residence at Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong

XP Fantasy

XP Fantasy is an esports community platform where users can use their knowledge, experience and passion for various esports to compete in daily fantasy contests to win tangible prizes.

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Arjun Bhushan,3B Software Engineering, University of Waterloo
Justin Wong, 4A Global Business & Digital Arts, University of Waterloo
Aparna Bhushan, Graduate of University of Western Ontario, Doctor of Law

Climate Change Grant Winner

UBIAir – Air Pollution Monitoring Platform

A real-time, crowdsourced, IoT-based air quality monitoring ecosystem using IoT sensors for air pollution surveillance. 

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Shahan Salim, PhD Student Public Health and Health Systems
Plinio Morita, UbiLab Director and Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems

The People’s Champ

In addition to these winning teams chosen by our judges, we also relied on our virtual audience to help pick their representative as the People’s Champ. We had over 7,000 views of the pitch videos this semester and lots of encouraging comments and likes. The winning team will take home $500 in grant funding as well as the hearts of our online audience. The people have spoken, and this semester your People’s Champ is Cove! Cove is building a platform that provides healthcare providers and their patients with digital suicide intervention tools they can use to improve mental healthcare outcomes related to suicide.

A big thank you to everyone who got involved and was able to participate in the Concept $5K Finals from a safe social distance. The Concept $5K competition will return again next semester. Until then, continue to refine your ideas and prepare for the virtual spotlight by meeting with Concept Coaches.

Once again the University of Waterloo community has shown its passion for entrepreneurship and dedication to innovation. We look forward to a bright future featuring even more incredible ideas like the ones highlighted today. To stay in the know about other exciting opportunities and to see how these teams progress follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter for your weekly dose of Concept news.