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Up Start program turns research into impactful ventures  

Ten promising teams receive grants to advance commercialization efforts

Ten teams of students and researchers commercializing their novel technologies have received a boost of $15,000 each from Waterloo Ventures, administered by Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo) and Velocity’s Up Start program.  

The teams will access funding and business advisory support to facilitate commercialization of their products, which range from advancements in cancer screening and time saving software for emergency room nurses to increased efficiencies in construction and for electric vehicles. 

Up Start allows founders to work closely with advisors and receive practical guidance throughout the process of commercializing their research and early-stage ideas into commercial ventures that create positive societal impact. 

Boosting cancer screening using nanoscience 

CT Murphy (BASc ’23) founded CELLECT so that every woman may have easy access to cervical cancer and HPV screening.  

Cervical cancer caused by HPV is the fourth most common cancer in women globally, and yet some don’t get screened as Pap smears can be intimidating or inaccessible.  

“No one is fixing this problem — and I’m going to do something about that,” Murphy says.  

Image of CELLECT founder CT Murphy

CELLECT’s technology can eliminate the need for Pap smears altogether by adding nanomaterials to menstrual products to diagnose HPV and cervical cancer using menstrual blood.  Validating the business and executing a plan is the path through which Murphy’s desire for equal access to cancer screening can become a reality.

Scaling access to safe milk across East Africa 

Another Up Start recipient is Safi, a non-profit company developing the world’s first, small-scale pasteurization device for rural dairy farmers in East Africa. Beyond eliminating milk-borne disease pathogens, pasteurized milk is a more profitable commodity for rural farmers as milk collectives, which act as distributors, pay more for pasteurized milk.  

Martin Turuta, Miraal Kabir and Daria Margarit co-founded Safi during their undergrad in the Faculty of Mathematics.

“We want to go even further with validation and user testing because pasteurization and the supply chain is complex,” Turuta says. “We’re planning a much bigger pilot and will use Up Start to maximize our success.”

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