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Embracing AI to tackle real-world problems

Velocity pitch competition finalists share the excitement for their startup ideas

Whether to help businesses increase profitability and productivity, or improve personal health management, students are drawing on real-life experiences and market research to influence their startup ideas. And many are employing artificial intelligence to solve these real-world problems.  

The summer 2024 Velocity Pitch Competition semi-finals saw students embrace the newest technologies for their startup ideas. After two nights of live pitches, eight teams were chosen from a pool of 24 to advance to the Velocity Pitch Competition finals and pitch to win their share of $20,000. 

Finalist teams included co-founders Musab Iqbal and Aram Mohammadi who discovered inefficiencies in the MedsChecks process, a consultation with patients on three or more medications or has diabetes that is to take 20-30 minutes, while on their co-operative work terms. 

Their solution, MyPharmacist, eliminates the need for manual forms and uses AI to convert speech into text. It automates pharmacists’ processes by pre-populating medication forms and can perform therapeutic analysis. It is also integrated with up-to-date trials and drug databases which provides the pharmacist with potential talking points and frees up both pharmacists and patients’ valuable time. 

Current standard practices, to ensure patients take their medications safely and effectively, can be time consuming. Especially for patients taking three or more medications. 

“I’ve spent up to an hour and twenty minutes doing a single standard consultation that was supposed to take 20-30 minutes which takes my focus away from the needs of other patients,” says Mohammadi while describing the current MedsChecks process he has used while on his current co-op term.  

Talk & Order is also aiming to give people their time back using AI. The team also wants to ensure business maximize their profits.  

Talk & Order, an AI process aimed at automating ordering from restaurants over the telephone. The team wants to ensure that the 50 per cent of customer orders that are missed currently in restaurants, get fulfilled.  

Co-founder Daniyal Mohammed says the team first started developing an app to review resumes, but they pivoted into the restaurant space. 

“In the process of trying to scale our resume app, we discovered restaurant owners were completely desperate for a solution for missed phone orders. The problem space really excited us, so we decided to focus on that.” he says. “AI can automate administrative tasks, allowing staff more time to interact with customers in-person. This way, AI enhances efficiency while preserving the personal touch that guests value.” 

Talk & Order talked to over 100 restaurants and franchises to pinpoint bottlenecks for restaurants looking to retain customers who want to order over the telephone.  

Cheer on the eight finalists as they pitch live to a panel of industry professionals, and University of Waterloo community on July 25 at 12-2:30PM at the Theatre of the Arts (Modern Languages Building.) 

Register For The Velocity Pitch Competition 5k Finals on July 25 at 12-2:30PM

Meet The Finalist Teams

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

InnSight is developing a camera analytics solution that proactively identifies and addresses operational and security inefficiencies in hotels.  

Submitted by Rahim Merchant and Rahman Merchant, both are undergraduate students in Computing and Financial Management, Faculty of Math. 

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). 

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 Computer Science, Faculty of Math; Daniyal Mohammed, undergraduate Data Science, Faculty of Math. 

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, and Stephen Baldwin, both are master’s students in the Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program, Faculty of Engineering.  

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 Mechanical Engineering, 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. 

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, Musab Iqbal, and Aram Mohammadi all undergraduate students from the School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science.