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Students confront the world’s biggest problems with startup ideas 

Velocity Pitch Competition Semi-Finalists Announced

A breathalyzer to diagnose breast cancer, a drone system to light up dark public spaces and a robot to make roof shingle installation faster, safer and cheaper: these are just a small sample of the wide range of University of Waterloo students startup ideas that are advancing to the Velocity Pitch Competiton semi-finals. 

And students aren’t shying away from tackling big problems that we are all familiar with. 

An estimated 30,500 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Globally, 2.3 million people were diagnosed in 2022. 

Agosh Saini, master’s student in mechanical and mechatronics engineering, submitted the idea behind Gradient, a breathalyzer to help diagnose breast cancer in women. 

Krysta Traianovski, Velocity’s associate director of founder development, said students are excited to bring their ideas to life. 

“Students are dedicated to understanding problems and are eager to dive in and build effective solutions,” she said. “The Velocity Pitch Competition is an opportunity to refine their business idea and pitch it in front of a live audience, celebrating the traction they have gained and inspiring fellow students to follow in their footsteps.” 

The semi-finals take place June 26th and 27th at the Institute for Quantum Computing QNC 0101. There 25 student teams will have three minutes to pitch their business idea live in front of the University of Waterloo community and expert judges for the chance to win their share of $20,000. 

The top eight teams will advance to the Velocity Pitch Competition finals. 

Pitching on Wednesday, June 26:

A chatbot helps high school students choose the right university by automating major selection processes through personalized conversations and tailored recommendations. 
Submitted by Jade Choghari, undergraduate student, Faculty of Math.

Brewtrack helps coffee shops track inventory, understand costs, and provide analytics to enhance profits. 
Submitted by Ernest Wong, undergraduate student, Faculty of Math. 

Care Connect is a platform that helps the elderly and their families find instant and short-term care services. 

Submitted by Madhulika Akumalla master’s student, Faculty of Engineering; Shang Ye, master’s student Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Faculty of Engineering.

ComedySet is a platform for stand-up comedy fans who want to see more live comedy. It finds events and comedians performing in their area. 
Submitted by Youssef Ben Ammar, master’s student Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Faculty of Engineering; Stephen Baldwin, master’s student Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Faculty of Engineering; 

Ecosense’s software allows waste management companies to reduce operating costs and carbon emissions by cutting out unnecessary trips to partially filled commercial waste bins. Submitted by Shangheethan Prabaharan, undergraduate student, Faculty of Engineering; Rukshi Thiyagayogan, undergraduate student, Faculty of Engineering.

Escape Platforms is an event management platform for young professionals to go offline and connect locally. 
Submitted by Hyeseong Jun, undergraduate Statistics, Faculty of Math.

Gradient is a breathalyzer designed to diagnose breast cancer in women through a noninvasive and point-of-care procedure. 
Submitted by Agosh Saini, master’s student Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Faculty of Engineering.

IllumiSafe is a cloud platform that utilizes drone technology to monitor and optimize nighttime lighting in transportation and parking areas to enhance safety and energy efficiency through smart lighting management. 
Submitted by Shene Abdalla, master’s student, Faculty of Engineering.

InnSight is developing a camera analytics solution that proactively identifies and addresses operational and security inefficiencies in hotels. 
Submitted by Rahim Merchant, undergraduate, Faculty of Math; Rahman Merchant, undergraduate, Faculty of Math.

LYMB Prosthetics are making affordable prosthetics for low-income regions through advanced technology that records muscular electrical signals (sEMG). 
Submitted by Sabeeh Ahmed, undergraduate, Faculty of Health.

PyroGuard is developing a new material to protect firefighters from cancer.  
Submitted by Drew Davidson, PhD candidate Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering; Kade Truman (MBET ’23).

StormSafe Infrastructure Solutions uses multisensory data collection and deep learning techniques for high-precision road storm management to improve infrastructure resilience and public safety. 
Submitted by Hasti Shwan, PhD candidate, Faculty of Engineering.

Talk and Order is a restaurant phone assistant that takes customer orders and integrates them directly into the restaurant’s system, reducing missed sales and employee overhead. Submitted by Ishan Baliyan, undergraduate student, Faculty of Math; Daniyal Mohammed, undergraduate student, Faculty of Math.

Pitching on Thursday, June 27:

Automax AI is an assistant for real-estate appraisers that helps them save time and money by automating the property valuation process. 
Submitted by Humza Ahmed, undergraduate student from the Faculty of Engineering.  

Canopy Robotics is bringing robots to the roof for faster, safer, and more cost-effective shingle installation. 
Submitted by Afraz Hemraj, undergraduate student from the Faculty of Engineering; Johnny Huang, undergraduate student from the Faculty of Engineering; Jaylon Laidlaw, undergraduate student from the Faculty of Engineering; Yashraj Nagpal, undergraduate student from the Faculty of Engineering; Nushaab Syed, undergraduate student from the Faculty of Engineering; Leon Xu, undergraduate student from the Faculty of Engineering.  

CiteEcho is a platform for researchers to create and discover information-packed short videos that improve conference navigation and provide post-conference access to a searchable video library for academic papers. 
Submitted by Richard Olaniyan; Adama Olumo, PhD candidate, Faculty of Engineering.  

Doro is a daily mental health coach offering early support through self-reflection, therapeutic journaling, and skills learning. 
Submitted by Ramtin Rassoli; Rastin Rassoli, undergraduate Computer Science, Faculty of Math.

DriveAdds connects advertisers with drivers who want to earn extra income by wrapping their cars with targeted ads to maximize visibility in desired locations. 
Submitted by Yaroslav Brovchenko, undergraduate Computer Science, Faculty of Math; Volodymyr Savchuk, undergraduate Computer Science, Faculty of Math. 

Echo Notes is the world’s first future-self messaging app. 
Submitted by Fraser Morrison, undergraduate student, Faculty of Engineering; Josiah Plett, undergraduate student, Faculty of Math; Kishore Rajesh, undergraduate student, Faculty of Engineering. 

A one-stop dance platform that makes learning accessible, interactive, personalized; and provides a vibrant community for dancers globally. 
Submitted by Qing Wang, undergraduate, Faculty of Math. 

MyPharmacist automates medication reviews by providing real-time therapeutic analysis and streamlining documentation to deliver better patient care and enhance pharmacy returns on investment. 
Submitted by Brian Hui, undergraduate, Faculty of Science; Musab Iqbal, undergraduate student School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science; Aram Mohammadi, undergraduate student School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science. 

Noteflow is a non-linear, collaborative computational notebook designed to enhance version control and workflow efficiency for data scientists. 
Submitted by Maisha Thasin, undergraduate statistics and computational mathematics, Faculty of Math. 

Plug is developing a versatile N-chlorotaurine cartridge, a tool that helps quickly create materials that can fight germs and work well with the human body. These materials can be used for various medical purposes, such as healing wounds or creating implants.
Submitted by Andrei Perez, master’s student Nanotechnology Engineering, Faculty of Engineering.  

Red Blue Quantum Inc. is a one-stop shop for the design, fabrication and experimental characterization of superconducting chips. 
Submitted by Mohammad Ayyash; Noah Gorgichuk, PhD candidate, Faculty of Science; Dr. Matteo Mariantoni (PhD ‘09); Christopher Xu, PhD candidate, Faculty of Science. 

Register To Cheer On These Student Founders On June 25 & 26