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March to the Concept $5K Finals: Meet the Finalists

As snow continued melting, the sun wasn’t the only thing shining last week. Some incredibly bright and innovative University of Waterloo were working to outshine their competitors at the Concept $5K Semi-Finals looking to secure their spots in the Winter 2021 Concept $5K Finals. As per usual, the range of ideas and industries covered was expansive, and students from all disciplines and backgrounds impressed with their ingenuity and forward thinking ideas.

With a record number of applicants this semester, the Semi-Finalists already had to stand out amongst an impressive field of UWaterloo student teams and demonstrate why they had the potential to take their idea to the next level. After getting into the Semi-Finals, the work was far from over as they then had to work to convince our judges that they were worthy of a spot in the Finals. This semester, we mixed it up a little bit. In the past, the teams had just 3 minutes to pitch their ideas and that was it. As the pitches seem to get increasingly advanced each semester, we wanted to provide more opportunity for the teams to showcase their hard work. In addition to the 3 minute pitch, each team also fielded some questions from the judges, allowing them to elaborate on key points from their pitch.\

“It is exciting to see the novel ideas that the Concept teams have. Many tough problems are being thought about and the teams are showing the long term dedication that is required to make a business successful.”

Mila Banerjee

Posing these questions and tasked with selecting the top 10 semi-finalists, we assembled a team of top notch judges. Our judging panel included
Mila Banerjee, Deeptech & AI Business Advisor for Velocity, Founder of Pronti AI
Ross Robinson, Software Business Advisor for Velocity, and Roberto Babaran from the Student Venture Fund and VC Firm experience. Beyond their judging duties, they also provided feedback and advice for all the teams as well as offering some valuable potential connections. From everyone at Concept, and all the students involved, thank you judges!

After the dust settled on the pitches, our judges got together and reviewed all their notes and discussed which teams should advance. After healthy debate and careful consideration, we are proud to introduce you to the Winter 2021 Concept $5K Finalists!

AquaSensing designs battery-free water leak detection systems that reduce environmental footprint, upfront costs, and recurring maintenance requirements.

Arbitrium is a digital end-to-end decision making platform that allows organizations to easily make unbiased group decisions involving multiple stakeholders.

Emre is a cloud-based electronic medical record (EMR) system for healthcare providers in developing nations who are seeking a more efficient and cost-effective way to deliver healthcare.

A platform that allows people from under-represented groups to equitably participate in machine learning and AI development.

Maesos Technologies Inc.
Providing localized field data to optimize field operations, fight against the devastating effects of pests and diseases on crop yield, and aid in the creation of regional projections regarding the effects of climate change.

ottofollo is a robotic phone stand that keeps you in the video frame.

Prospr enables nonprofits to understand why their donors give and create stellar donor experiences to encourage more regular giving.

Scena 360
Scena 360 is an extended-reality gathering space that lets people walk in and out of conversations just as they would in real life.

Scribenote eliminates hours of costly, taxing work for doctors, nurses and veterinarians by automating medical documentation.

UW Tensil
UW Tensil is developing biodegradable cutlery as a viable replacement for disposable cutlery when the Canadian ban on single-use plastics is implemented.

Many teams chose problems that they are uniquely qualified to solve which puts them far ahead of the competition. The finalists all showed really good enthusiasm for what they are doing and chose unique problems or a new take on the problems.

Ross Robinson

Join us in the virtual audience and tune in to the Winter 2021 Concept $5K Finals on March 25th to see which of these teams takes home $5K grants. Join the fun for your chance to win some awesome Concept prize packs and JBL Speakers! Follow us on social media to learn more about these teams and stay up to date on all things entrepreneurship at UWaterloo. In the meantime, to scratch your pitch itch, check out our list of previous Concept $5K champions and watch their winning pitches. See you at the Finals!