McGill Dobson Chronicles

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Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the McGill Community
Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

Recap: Pitching Your Startup

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 20:19

Editor’s Note: This is an event recap by Caroline Veilleux-Foppiano from last week’s workshop on how to pitch your startup. She’ll walk you through a clear summary of what the Dos and Don’ts are when it comes to pitching, including examples. If you want the slides from the event, go here. If you want Guillaume’s checklist for pitches, go here

This week Guillaume Racine held a pitching workshop for the semi-finalist Dobson Cup teams. Guillaume is the co-founder of Return Magic, a startup providing return software to ecommerce merchants, which has been bought by Shopify. He is also an angel investor, allowing him to share knowledge from both sides of the entrepreneurship world. For this workshop he shared the does and don’ts of pitching and his insights on the importance of the Q&A period.

The Dos and Don’ts of Pitching:
  • Be a line and not a dot: Build a relationship with an investor before asking for something: let them know who you are and your idea. Early on, Return Magic compiled a list of possible investors and emailed them a monthly update, including their accomplishments and progress. This allowed investors to see their evolution over time, which they appreciated – and it showed that they were actually improving. 
  • Do your research: Know your investor so that you can cater your pitch to them.
  • Love the game: You must be fully present and engaged with the process of developing your startup. Showing genuine passion and confidence for your project, will help you.
  • Roll with the punches: Rejections can be hard to deal with, but every pitch is a battle. You won’t win every time, but you must keep your composure and keep improving.
  • Mind the timing: There are many things you can’t control, like when you will find the perfect co-founder. But you can control when you choose to go to market or when to ask for something. By waiting you allow yourself to tell the best story of you and your startup. Wait for your story be tight and have the metrics to back you up.
  • Show your magic: Lead with what has made you successful and special. Maybe it’s your team, or your large achievements using a small amount of resources.
  • Eat, sleep, repeat: Repeat your pitch 40 to 50 times before you present, it should be second nature which will allow you to read the room and focus on the audience.
  • Don’t have all the answers: You don’t need to have an answer for every question. Never make up an answer, just say you don’t know but will follow up.
  • Do follow up: After a pitch, follow up and thank your audience for their time and answer a question they had that you might not have been able to answer. Showing your hustle and persistence by sharing progress and how you are working with their feedback, is how you make an impression.

The Q&A Period:

This period is more important than most think, since it’s when the judges will make their decisions. A long answer will waste time that could be used answering more questions. So, when answering the questions be very straight to the point. You can achieve this by thinking of a headline for your answer and using that. Allowing the judges to inquire more if they would like and showing you have clear thinking around your idea. If your pitch is good, the judges will be curious to learn more and will try to poke holes in your idea. If you can stay strong during the questions, it will show the strength of your startup. To prepare for this, find someone to listen to your pitch and play devil’s advocate. Have them ask harsh and tough questions so you are ready for them.

Guillaume shared his experiences from being both an entrepreneur and an angel investor to the workshop which allowed for a great learning experience for everyone attending the workshop. The last thing he shared was to bring who you are and be yourself during your pitch. It will shine through and speak to your audience.

Announcing the Mastercard Foundation-Dobson Startup Awards in the McGill Dobson Cup 2019

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 11:55

The 11th edition of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship’s annual flagship startup competition – the McGill Dobson Cup powered by National Bank, will feature a new prize totaling an amount of $23,000: the Mastercard Foundation-Dobson Startup Awards, focusing on Social Enterprise.

The Mastercard Foundation (MCF) Scholars Program at McGill is proud to be a new partner of the Dobson Cup competition. We are excited to award 3 prizes to scholars who will present social entrepreneurship projects that will contribute to improving lives of others.” – Pauline L’Écuyer, McGill’s Director of International Student Services and The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.

Established under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at McGill University, the MCF-Dobson Startup Awards supports ventures competing in the Social Enterprise track of the McGill Dobson Cup. The awards will be offered to viable, sustainable, and scalable social ventures and community projects that create economic opportunities for others.

Valued at a total of $23,000, this award will be given to three deserving teams competing in this year’s startup competition, who demonstrate innovative ideas in the areas of social entrepreneurship. The award will be divided as follows: First prize at $15,000, Second prize at $5,000 and third prize at $3,000.

To be eligible for the MCF-Dobson Startup Awards in the McGill Dobson Cup, at least one team member must have an affiliation with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (i.e. current Scholar or MCF Alumni). Since 2006, the Mastercard Foundation has been tackling poverty reduction, youth employment to help build a better future in the world’s youngest continent: Africa.

Beyond the funding, exposure, and mentorship from world-class entrepreneurs, industry experts, and thought leaders that startup teams will receive, this is a truly invaluable experience to grow their businesses. We are proud to work with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at McGill University to power the next generation of social entrepreneurs.” – Renjie Butalid, Associate Director of the McGill Dobson Centre, and battle-tested social entrepreneur.

The Mastercard Foundation-Dobson Startup Awards in this year’s McGill Dobson Cup 2019 powered by National Bank is part of a series of additional prizes in this year’s startup competition, including the McGill EngInE Prize ($5,000) sponsored by the McGill Faculty of Engineering, and the Food and Agribusiness Convergent Innovation Prize ($5,000) sponsored by the McGill Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (FAES), the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE), and Trussbridge.

How to code your own landing page

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 20:05

Editor’s Note: This is an event recap by Michaela Deneva from an event we hosted in collaboration with Le Wagon earlier this school year. 

She’ll walk you through the basics you need to understand about coding your own landing page, including sample code and screenshots. 


Qu’est-ce que Le Wagon? Le Wagon is a coding school..for entrepreneurs! Their mission? Bringing technical skills to creative people.

⦁ Interested in starting your own startup?
⦁ Thinking of changing your career?

If you answered YES to either of those questions, then the 9-week coding program offered by Le Wagon might be THE challenge to embrace! What’s in it for you? A unique opportunity to create a product, code it from just an idea and pitch two weeks later.

During a 2-hour workshop, Victor from Le Wagon introduced us to the basics of HTML and CSS, and showed us just how fun it can be to code your own landing page. The online presence of a startup is an essential marketing and advertising tool. When it comes to creating your landing page – the face of your business and the first page customers are exposed to on your website – it is important to employ the 4 C’s: Clear value proposition. Clean design. Call-to-Action. CRM first milestone.

Not all of those are necessarily achieved through coding. There’s a variety of tools that business owners can use instead, such as LaunchRock, Strikingly, Squarespace, Unbounce, etc. In fact, it is difficult to code a landing page for many different platforms and ensure the same quality for each. For example, a tablet vs a laptop version. In terms of setup, Google Chrome and Sublime are the recommended basics to build your page from scratch.

The three coding languages which are commonly used for web design are HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Each helps manipulate the page content in a specific way. HTML is used to structure the content. As Victor said, without structure, there is no design. If we were to refer to the example of a house, coding in HTML is “creating the four walls of the base”.

Next, CSS is used to design the content, specifically fonts and color. A popular library is Bootstrap. Note that writing the CSS part of the coding within the HTML code is bad styling. In addition, deleting the head part of the HTML code would cause a lack of organization on the page and there would be no design. A useful tip on how to avoid these mistakes is calling the Chrome Inspector which allows you to view the code of the page you are currently on. On a Mac it can be called through the CTRL+OPT+I shortcut. Last but not least, JavaScript is used to add animations.
The skeleton of a landing page using all three languages looks the following:

<!DOCTYPE html>
        <!– html code –>
                   <!– Stuff to display–>
<!– end of file –>

Precise indentation of the HTML code is recommended to facilitate the correct distribution of displayed content. Syntax-wise the core has four elements:

In the content attribute, a paragraph can be added with <p> or </p>. Emphasis is shown with <strong> or <em>. A list is added with <li>, and an image needs to reference the specific name:

As already mentioned, employing CSS helps us choose the right font and color for our content. Typical CSS vocabulary is:

When it comes to colors, each one has a specific color reference. Black is 0, and white is 255. The desired color shade can be achieved by playing around with the numbers. Fonts can have many characteristics, some of them are:

We have all experienced it ourselves or at least heard of the way AirBnB operates, and more specifically its website. There is a series of pictures with info underneath and customers can select the desired picture which hyperlinks to an accommodation listing. This “hyperlink” option is also called a div. The div & box model is just what it sounds like: an image with a margin in a bordered box. The box itself can be designed differently. The border can be solid, dashed or dotted. The shadow can be in different pixels or blue. And where do we get the perfect pictures from? We don’t want .png or .jpg files. We need a font of icons which we can easily find at Fontawesome.
Next is the grid system. In other words, how is your landing page distributed and viewed on different platforms. It is necessary to build a solid framework to ensure the same quality on each screen. To do so, you need to create a “box” called a container which contains several rows. Then the rows are filled by cols (an abbreviation for columns), or also called the elementary blocks. There are four media definitions:

Each screen can only accommodate a certain number of rows and cols. For example, a 4-col layout can be represented as follows on a phone and a tablet:

Enjoyed reading about the basics of designing your own landing page? For detailed steps on how to start coding your own, please visit Le Wagon’s GitHub. If you wish to go even further, check out Le Wagon Montreal! Happy coding, everyone, and structure equals no design!



Food, Fetherston, and a Fire – Kiffin’s start

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 12:24
The origin story of Kiffin – a sustainable food business

Tune in on: Youtube / iTunes

(or just search for “Made At McGill” on your phone’s podcast app)

Everybody likes good food. Not everybody has access to it. And not all good food is good for the planet, or the people preparing it.

That’s why McGill MBA alum Natasha Alani and chef Aaron Fetherston started Kiffin. They’re on a mission to make real food accessible to real people. And they’re doing it while running an operation that’s sustainable and ethical every step of the way.

This heroic journey spans across several chapters. It involves moving from San Francisco to Montreal, a building burning down, and an ominous letter As you read between the lines and see the pattern of Kiffin getting up every time they fall, you’ll see there’s more to it than a series of hardships.

It’s a story of resilience and renewal. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of its predecessor, Kiffin has gotten up every time it has fallen. And not only did they get up, they got stronger.

McGill Dobson Cup 2019: Announcing the Startups Pitching in the Semi-Finals

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 11:43

The McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce the teams moving on to the Semi-Finals of the McGill Dobson Cup 2019 powered by National Bank. After much deliberation and a thorough application review process, the Dobson review panel has selected 108 teams to move on to the next stage of the competition: CONGRATULATIONS!

Competing within four tracks: Health Sciences (15 teams), Social Enterprise (35 teams), Small Medium Enterprise (34 teams) and Innovation Driven Enterprise (24 teams), the selected startup teams will have the opportunity to pitch in front of world-class judges and mentors.

McGill Dobson Cup 2019 Semi-Finals Pitches:

  • February 19, 2019 – Health Sciences Track
  • February 20, 2019 – Social Enterprise Track
  • February 21, 2019 – Small & Medium Enterprise Track
  • February 22, 2019 – Innovation Driven Enterprise Track

The teams that make it past the Semi-Finals will be invited to the Finals round of the competition, scheduled to take place on March 27th, 2019. The competition will culminate with the McGill Dobson Cup 2019 Awards Ceremony, taking place on April 4th, 2019, where over $150,000 in seed funding will be awarded to the most promising startups.

Get your tickets for the Awards Ceremony now to find out who wins – tickets sell out fast!

The McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit their business plans. Thank you for your support and hard work… and don’t worry, even if you were not able to compete in this year’s McGill Dobson Cup, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue your entrepreneurial endeavours!

Stay tuned and keep an eye on our Facebook page for up to date information or signup to our mailing list for more information.

Additional resources

*For teams competing in the McGill Dobson Cup 2019, we highly encourage you to attend the following workshops listed below. The workshops are free to attend, however registration is required as spaces are limited. Watch your email inbox for additional information.



Health Sciences Track – February 19, 2019

1. Arkangel AIArkangel is a health guardian design to prevent chronic diseases. It’s like Siri for health. We use AI to automate a medical program developed at the US. Center for Disease Control to prevent diabetes.

2. AxonWe’re building a $1000 portable brain imaging scanner for point-of-care diagnosis in ambulances, field hospitals, sports teams, and patient rooms.

3. BetaSense: We are a dynamic team that aims to tackle invasive problems in nuclear medicine and give them a Non-Invasive solution to enable personalized medicine in a greater number of clinics.

4. C-Marker: C-Marker is a composite disclosing agent that was developed at Professor Tamimi’s lab at the Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University. C-Marker is a new material that will help dentists identify the margins of white fillings and facilitate their complete removal without removing sound tooth structure.

5. Compos Mentis: We are an AI-powered digital platform aiming to improve recovery outcomes of people living with mental illnesses.

6. Denovogen: Denovogen is a biomedical technology company focused on the design and commercialization of innovative medical devices. Our first product aims to improve communication and visualization in the surgical theatre.

7. eRA Rehab: Harnessing the power of smartphones to create a strong ecosystem between customers and clinicians to enhance the recovery process.

8. FluoID Inc.: FlůID Inc. is dedicated to developing non-ionizing molecular imaging methods (without radioactivity) reducing the time and costs associated with advancing potential clinical candidates to studies in man.

9. GynoteckGynoteck is a leading innovator in medical diagnostics, preventative, and treatment methods for women’s health. We aim to personalize medicine as every woman is different.

10. LFANT: LFANT is a company dedicated to the development of safe, reliable, and readily available commercial kits for the self-administered detection of STIs in the interest of public health and awareness.

11. MicroPredictome: MicroPredictome aims to create licensable AI algorithms to predict the risk of different gastrointestinal diseases based on sequencing data from the bacterial population of the human gut.

12. Modus Inc.: Modus Inc would be a cutting-edge facility capable of developing and validating affordable blood-based biomarkers for brain diseases (much like tests saliva for DNA) and provide a report on the degree to which one is destined for AD – Yes, No and how much. Continuing to research methods, discoveries or techniques from Life Sciences to bring to commercial markets.

13. nplex biosciencesWe are developing the next-generation of protein-based blood tests. Our platform promises to unlock unprecedented efficiencies in drug development, biomarker discovery, and ultimately, precision medicine.

14. Tracheo-Sure: Tracheo-Sure aims to revolutionize endotracheal intubation for airway management by creating a surgical device to improve speed, efficiency, and patient safety while reducing overall healthcare cost and improving medical education.

15. VitalTracer Ltd.: VitalTracer is a medical smartwatch that measures all vital signs continuously, including cuffless blood pressure. Our mission is to provide quality solutions that accurately capture vital signs to keep users alert and aware of their health at all times. Our solutions will revolutionize the relationship between patients and caregivers by creating an easy and accurate way to track, record and share all measured parameters.


Social Enterprise Track – February 20, 2019

1. 3.D.E: 3.D.E is an additive manufacturing company that focuses on applying 3D printing technology to address challenges of affordability, availability, and accessibility of prosthetics and educational model kits in low resource settings in Zimbabwe.

2. Avantage Emploi: Avantage Emploi will address higher than average refugee and asylum seeker unemployment as well as Quebec’s severe labour shortage by matching these newcomers with employers and providing the necessary support.

3. Avocadeau: “Grubhub for home-chefs! And we are ecologically friendly!” For health-conscious and green consumers who want to save time and maintain a healthy diet. We provide an online catering marketplace where users order from nutritional supported home chefs!

4. B3D Performance Inc.B3D Performance specializes in additive manufacturing (3D printing) using metal powders. We develop instrumentation to monitor the powder quality to reduce production costs and minimize the impact on the environment.

5. Buy Your Own BulkBuy Your Own Bulk (BYOB) is a non-profit organization which goal is to provide affordable organic or fair trade dry foods to the McGill University community while reducing waste production.

6. Canadian Peer Support Network (CPSN)The CPSN is a non-profit organization aiming to implement Peer Support Centres across Canada to improve the mental health services available on university campuses by empowering students to help their fellow peers.

7. Collectif Commun’ArtCollectif Commun’art is a Non-Profit Organization promoting young promising artists and donating all funds to a special art therapy program, “Espace Transition”, created by the Ste-Justine Hospital for children affected by different mental illnesses. We host an annual silent auction of photographs, sculptures, paintings and digital art.

8. CommunityConnect: An app that addresses the resource disparity of donatable goods by connecting the general public with vulnerable members of the local community.

9. Educational Mentorship and Scholarship Forum (EMSoF)EMSoF provides firsthand and reliable information that helps Nigerian students secure scholarships in reputable foreign institutions of learning, thereby achieving their academic dreams.

10. FarmarvestFarmarvest is an agriculture-focused start-up that leverages crowdfunding to allow anyone from anywhere to choose rural farmers to partner with and profitably invest in agricultural projects in rural Africa.

11. HAi-Bridge: HAi-Bridge advances knowledge and innovation by investing in the youth. It accomplishes this by providing a conducive learning and research environment that forge change-makers

12. KayaCareKaya ChildCare was set up to provide the hardworking Kayayoo mother with the option to get the needed development for her infant in the critical formative years of a child’s life; from age 0 to 5.

13. Liaisons: A multifaceted social enterprise providing consulting services to community organizations and SMEs. Our consultants are skilled professionals – mostly newcomers – with prolonged unemployment/underemployment who simultaneously participate in Liaisons integration programming.

14. LocalThreads: LocalThreads is a B2B web services that strives to provide a streamlined medium for connecting five main takeholders of the creative process in fashion: designers, retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and suppliers.

15. Ma MobiCliniqueMa MobiClinique will be the first mobile and smart paediatric care unit in Montreal, Quebec, offering primary and secondary care to children.

16. MealCareMealCare decreased food waste and food insecurity by diverting surplus food from food vendors, and delivering it community organizations through a volunteer-led, low-cost and sustainable model.

17. Mechtech App: Mechtech is an app that was conceived with the aim to connect large-scale and small-scale farmers whilst solving problems both parties encounter in the agricultural sector in Africa.

18. Mini-CycleMini-Cycle knows the value of durable and ethically made clothing. We sell new and preloved kids clothes and guarantee to buy it all back, thereby creating a closed-loop circular economy.

19. Monstrash: Monstrash is a creative augmented reality app that unifies masses of eco-friendly pedestrians into an avid litter pickup task force through tangible environmental impacts and an exciting gameplay experience.

20. Panthalida Technologies LimitedPanthalida Technologies Limited was established in July 2018 in Kenya with the goal of leveraging Information and Communication Technology to provide services that support businesses and efficient farming practices.

21. PDT Food Depot: PDT food depot redistributes surplus food from food producers to communities and organizations in need.

22. Photizo Language Services: Photizo English Services is an English tutoring company that partners with international Japanese companies to offer English tutorials to over 1500 employees over the course of 3 years.

23. PhotofundPhotofund provides creative services to the Montreal community. We generate opportunities for students to gain practical experience in photography, videography, and design, while also providing financial donations to local charities.

24. PicclesPiccles is a collaborative coloring experience that lowers anxiety, relieves boredom, and fosters connection by engaging people in the cathartic act of coloring.

25. Portail ResidencesPortail Residences is an Airbnb type web platform for privately owned senior homes. Its main mission is to facilitate access to health care lodging resources for elderly people.

26. Rebicycle: Rebicycle is a social enterprise that sells custom upcycled bicycles. Through the sale of Rebicycles, we provide refugees with affordable transport and sustainability-oriented start-ups a venue for their promotion.

27. Safe Kasupe Limited: Water is not the source of life, it is life. At Safe Kasupe Ltd, we provide affordable clean water to eradicate negative social and health consequences of using unclean water.

28. SokoMtaaniSokoMtaani leverages mobile technology to create a digital marketplace that revolutionizes how local farmers connect with city markets.

29. Solergy SystemsSolergy Systems is specialized in the implementation of solar energy projects on remote locations and off-grid sites. We want to use solar power to build and support a better world.

30. SURIV: We are reinventing the way people donate by making in fast, gratifying and by maximizing the impact of your donations where it matter most to you. The best thing is that you can track your impact along the way and see how you and the community are making a difference!

31. Thriving Age: Our mission is to help retirement homes become thriving communities where residents realize their greatest human potential through intergenerational experiences, continuous personal development, and community building.

32. Turbodega: Turbodega is a software management tool that builds a network of small grocers in emerging countries and tracks their daily-sales in real time to provide them: 1) lower cost of goods, 2) access to fair working capital lines of credit, and 3) data-backed business advice.

33. UsToo: UsToo.Care anonymously and securely matches survivors of sexual violence based on aggressor or location. Curvivors can collaboratively work with legal representation or police investigators, and access mental health professionals.

34. VehxVehx provides student art talents with portfolio showcase, professional networking and peer learning services. From traditional arts to digital designs, Vehx is your number one choice for highly customized artworks.

35. Yonja: Poor sanitation is a major setback to development. Yonja is here to provide the missing link between waste management service delivery companies and households for efficient, affordable and quality services.


Small Medium Enterprise Track – February 21, 2019

1. 2ndHelpTransport newly purchased second hand items hassle-free

2. AntemodeAntemode is an ethical and sustainable fashion e-commerce platform, bringing all the best conscious fashion brands in one integrated shopping experience. Finally, shop according to your values.

3. BumpN: An integrated platform enabling Bars & Nightclubs to engage with their customers, providing the customers with many experience enhancing features and venues with highly actionable insights on their customers.

4. Casa 88Casa 88 is a meal service business based in Montreal. It provides home-cooked food using our unique recipes. We offer 8 meals per week for a price of $65-$72

5. CHK PLZCHK PLZ is a mobile payment application that streamlines the billing process at bars and restaurants, allowing customers to split items and pay the bill directly from their smartphone.

6. DawaSwift Technologies Inc.DawaSwift is a web and mobile-app based software platform that offers real-time, on-demand and pre-scheduled pharmaceutical product delivery to customers whenever they need them from wherever they are by connecting them to local pharmacies and local drivers. From within the platform, customers can choose non-prescription items from a pharmacy or upload their prescriptions to the pharmacies’ ‘inboxes’ after which they choose to accept or reject an automatically generated bill from the pharmacy, then DawaSwift drivers pick up the product at the pharmacy and deliver the product to customers

7. E-Meks: E-Meks provides an inexpensive functional food product in different processed forms to rural households in Nigeria.

8. Eco Discuss: Eco Discuss is a software Startup providing smart and evolutive chatbots to green companies helping them gain more efficiency in their processes and increase their sells.

9. foodscout: With foodscout, users can discover a wealth of culinary experiences and order and pay ahead for pickup or from their table for sit down meals.

10. FYT: FYT is a content creation platform for fitness influencers that allows their users to participate in monthly challenges involving live or on demand workouts through a mobile app.

11. GEEK-itWe are an online community platform and a geek culture convention dedicated to bring local communities to the web. Our core service is to enable unique retailers and artists to showcase their products to the public online and offline.

12. Hearth: Hearth aims to improve student life and experiences by providing them with services to find their perfect housing and roommates. This simple application will strive to make housing search easy.

13. Host a PetHost A Pet is a marketplace that connects pet owners with certified Hosts that can offer up to six services. Our goal is to generate trust in our clients and good relationships to nourish a community and create a second family for these pets.

14. KhaosAt Khaos, we are dedicated to helping companies and creators tell stories. To start, we are building fully functional turnkey rentable studio spaces for podcasting, video recording and livestreams.

15. LunaLuna is a nightlife social media mobile application that allows users to know what their friends are up to and discover all the excitements that their city has to offer.

16. MacheMache is an innovative catering company that provides corporate events with food from local restaurants and producers, offering a unique service to guests and organizers.

17. Maxime BlackMaxime Black is a creation studio for ready-to-wear menswear clothing. It aims to create technical, practical and comfortable clothing embellished by our craftsmanship and use of exclusive fabrics.

18. MiNutritionWe are a nutrition company developing an easily accessible online app that provides a subscription service to a platform which connects competitive athletes as well as recreationally active individuals with our team of certified sports nutritionists.

19. NoteBingeNoteBinge is an eCommerce marketplace that provides economic opportunities for students, while bettering the academic experience of others, by delivering top-tier quality lecture notes to its subscribers at student-friendly prices.

20. Out of the Box: For parents, who are eager to bring their children’s development to full potential, the “Out of the Box” is a set of 14 scientifically designed, interchangeable, early development toys.

21. Quokka Reward LimitedQuokka is an employee’s recognition and rewards platform tackling high staff turnover, low motivation at job in business by offering perks, recognition badges, loyalty program, milestones and challenges embedded in blockchain-based network

22. RestoplyRestoply is a marketplace that enables hungry consumers to save money on food by taking advantage of restaurants’ slow times.

23. ShuttleControlShuttleControl is a Software-as-a-Service designed to revolutionize the way courtesy shuttle services are offered around the world. We offer an all-in-one solution to increase customer satisfaction and make shuttle operations easy.

24. Slickk: Slickk is a platform that directs its users to hairstyles that are likely to suit them given their physical characteristics, along with the information and products necessary for them to achieve these styles.

25. Starting Blox: Starting Blox is the perfect snack energize you. With its innovative ingredients, this layered block covered in decadent carob chocolate will win your heart and help you win your day.

26. Storage FellowsStorage Fellows offers affordable and bespoke full-service storage for students, including pick-up and drop-off, by leveraging volume-based pricing and a student workforce.

27. UBI Beef InspectionUBI is a unique meat inspectors network for international meat trade that assures quality, tackles down Food Waste and improves Food Safety, working at half the price of competitors.

28. Ugly Harvest: Ugly Harvest produces nutritious and delicious dehydrated soups using ugly and non-conforming produce to tackle the issue of food waste.

29. Underwear WorkerTraditional job hunting is pooped. Work is now everywhere, anywhere, especially in one’s underwear. Join this remote movement. Become hired by the best. Find your worldwide calling.

30. Upward PetsUpward Pets is the first upcycled pet food business on the Canadian market. We help conscious consumers nourish their pets and the planet with sustainable treats made from upcycled food.

31. Vins Prose: Vins Prose plans to develop, import, package and market a range of canned wines for distribution in Quebec grocery and convenience stores.

32. Way with Words: Way With Words as a lifestyle boutique agency provides young Chinese-speaking communities with a one-stop online platform that accesses to various local activities and events.

33. YourCoursesYourCourses aims to provide university students an open platform to share their experience on courses they took and thus help future course-takers to better prepare for their courses.

34. YumaYuma is a service that offers meal plans at your work. When you need personalized meals delivered to your workplace at the best price, Yuma doesn’t take it as a joke.


Innovation Driven Enterprise Track – February 22, 2019

1. 2ship: 2ship is an innovative way to simplify the shipping process for businesses by eliminating the 3PLs and making the process two-party based, while increasing transparency and reducing market inefficiencies.

2. Biots: A company that produces alga rich in organic essential amino acids.

3. CannafishCannafish aims to work with fish farmers, valorizing their waste using a unique bioreactor technology and worms to produce a biological hydroponic solution to grow a wide variety of crops.

4. Chatler Technologies IncChatler is on a mission to innovate the way we interact and buy from businesses on mobile devices. Using chatbot technology, Chatler brings the conversation into mobile commerce.

5. ChitoDryChitoDry makes novel biodegradable environmentally compatible materials from crustacean waste, creating with Nature in mind for a better tomorrow.

6. CoTeacherCoTeacher is an AI-Powered content generation engine for the E-Learning industry

7. Cupp: Cupp is an AI powered question & answer platform for retaining company knowledge and accelerating employee onboarding. Ask a question, we send it to the right people in your organization. Answer a question, we reward you.

8. CurrentCurrent is a predictive hiring analytics tool that leverages organizational and individual employee data to help companies build better cultures and hire better employees.

9. DigiAdChain: For advertisers and publishers, who look for a secure, fast, and transparent marketplace to trade directly, DigiAdChain is a reliable, efficient, and anti-fraud marketplace that bypasses middlemen using AI-Blockchain Technology.

10. Dispersa: Dispersa focuses on developing novel technology that harnesses the power of oil-degrading bacteria to present an efficient, 100% biodegradable, and low-cost solution to address oil contamination.

11. First MarkFirst Mark creates software for film sets to run digitally, safely, and with less effort, so that production teams focus on what matters – making great films, series, commercials, and shows.

12. Galdun Green: Galdun Greens’ initial target market will consist primarily of dairy farmers within the Quebec region. The health condition of cattle, and the other factors which influence either dairy production or growth, are usually assessed visually by farmers. Major issues with this approach is that they’re relatively subjective process, and the efficiency of keeping tracking of a large herd is difficult.

13. Interius Farms: Offering a solution to stabilize volatile Canadian produce prices and make the Canadian food system more sustainable, Interius Farms uses novel vertical farming techniques to grow on-site with clients year-round.

14. Lab Practice VR: A program that teaches laboratory experiments in virtual reality. This aims to equip students with adequate knowledge of an experiment via an interactive walkthrough designed for lab courses and programs.

15. Lightbeans Technologies inc.Lightbeans Technologies Inc. (“Lightbeans”) is a Quebec City-based tech startup specialized in the field of 3D product visualization. Through its advanced technologies, Lightbeans allows manufacturers, distributors, retailers, designers, and architects to present their products or projects remotely on the web, in augmented and virtual reality, with an enhanced level of realism.

16. LitView: LitView aims to be the starting point for every academic project by offering the most efficient online literature-review platform. We want students to search ideas – not keywords.

17. MIXONSET Inc.: At MIXONSET, we are changing the way people listen to music with innovation… our Robot DJ app lets listeners create personalized high-quality music mixes automatically.

18. Next Up: Next Up revolutionizes the shareholder engagement process by offering a forum-based platform where stakeholders can discuss, ask questions, organize and act on issues concerning corporations.

19. Observe AgricultureObserve Agriculture is a Montreal-based AgriTech startup founded by students from McGill University. Our first product is a modular crop quality sensor. To learn more, visit us at

20. OneSpot: OneSpot is an IOS application that gives users a retrospective view of their lives by recording and analyzing every possible moment no matter the significance, because often times the moments that are forgotten were those most worth remembering.

21. Rokulo – Connected Mining TechnologiesWe create innovative machine learning and drone technologies to help mining companies of all sizes attain the next level of production efficiency, and transition into a more digital, connected and lower-carbon future.

22. SCBY: At SCBY, we are the catalyst promoting Change Champions for sustainability by manufacturing and supplying a cruelty-free leather alternative.

23. Spentra: Spentra is a cleantech company that creates innovative, proprietary processes for the sustainable and affordable manufacturing of bioplastics.

24. Yellow Co.: The infamous magic internet money, Bitcoin, is spawning a truly open financial system for everyone, anywhere. Finally, we have the easy way to buy bitcoins, and store them securely for future rainy days. Hop on!


Many thanks to the National Bank for their continued support of the McGill Dobson Cup and the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The McGill Dobson Cup powered by National Bank and hosted by the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship

Startup Spotlight: Nimbus Tutoring

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 13:47

Editor’s Note: Our writer Grayce Zhu sat down with Ben Attal (Co-Founder, COO) from Nimbus Tutoring to understand their vision, their challenges, and their story.

The Nimbus Tutoring app is dedicated to delivering the most convenient way for students to connect with the best tutors for in-person, course specific lessons at the university level. If you’re interested in being or hiring a tutor, get Nimbus on the App Store or Google Play.

What does Nimbus do?

Nimbus is focused on connectivity and accessibility in student tutoring. In a lot of ways, it’s something that’s been difficult or expensive to get. We saw the value of a peer support system backed up by technology. We can also provide students who are willing to work during the year with a job that fits around their university schedule. When you think of a student job, it’s working as a cashier or a waiter and those are great but they’re not necessarily the most intellectually stimulating. They’re definitely a burden on your life because you can’t just easily schedule and reschedule. Nimbus provides a unique opportunity for students to find work that is interesting and less overwhelming.

Why did you decide to join Nimbus?

I heard about it through one of my friends, Abdul, the CMO of Nimbus. Abdul is one of those people who always has a million projects going on. We had worked together before but this project just stood out to me. This is something that’s missing in the world and something that I think I can have a really positive impact on. At that point, I was looking for something to be interested in outside of school. I’ve always had stimulating jobs in the summer but that fulfillment you get from working on something interesting and enjoyable everyday is missing in the school year. I heard about this opportunity so I simply signed up.


What was your role when you first joined the company?

In the beginning, I did anything I could to help. I spent the beginning of my time at Nimbus

doing tons of class announcements and handing out fliers. I was fulfilling the most basic functions. Luckily, I soon developed a good relationship with Will. We work really well together.  With more responsibilities, I was promoted to the position that I am in now.


How do you balance your studies with your work at Nimbus?

I’m studying mathematics at McGill. I have six courses left in total. I’m trying to balance school and work but honestly, the balance is skewed in one direction right now. I don’t do much for school. It’s pretty much Nimbus all the time, but I can’t complain. I really enjoy it.


What has been the most difficult challenge in getting Nimbus off the ground?

In the beginning, the most difficult challenge is building credibility. When you first talk to people about this app, they think it’s cool but not something that is professional enough for them to want to pay for and use. We spent a lot of time going out and talking to people, people who would be our first customers. We explained the research and the work we put in. This is not something we’re just doing for fun. It’s useful. It was difficult because we had to put in a lot of our own time and effort into this first step, but it’s not something that we would look back on and call a tough time. It was exciting.

Nimbus Tutoring won 2nd place at the McGill Dobson Cup 2018 powered by National Bank (SME Track)

What is the most difficult challenge in running Nimbus?

What’s difficult, especially in technology startups, is balancing the different timelines of the different sectors of the company. From an operations or marketing perspective, it’s best to let people know what we’re doing as soon as possible but at the same time, we have to take into account that building an app takes a long time. For example, we launched a new version of the app this year that was fully reworked over the summer. We anticipated completion in August, but that got pushed to September, then October, then to the end of October. We had made decisions in planning based on the initial expected completion date of the app but the plans weren’t possible because the new version of the app wasn’t working to the extent that it was expected to. It’s difficult to keep marketing teams motivated without a product to market.


How did you overcome this challenge?

We’re still figuring that out right now. What we’ve done to keep people motivated is to focus on the fact that, at the end of the day, we’re not worried. We’re not worried that we’re a little behind on what we projected in revenue. The solution is not to panic. We’re going to get there. We do everything we can to prepare for when everything is ready. We do things that, although off from the original timeline, will definitely help for the future. Never tell yourself that just because things don’t go according to plan, that it can’t be done. It’s about just doing things that are always helping, always building, always moving forward.


How do you build a good team?

This is something we thought about a lot. One of the guest speakers from the McGill X-1 accelerator over the summer was telling the story of how he built his company. His name is Rubin Gruber, one of McGill’s most successful alumni. He said that your most important job as an early startup is to make sure that you are hiring great people.

We have a recruitment process where everyone currently in the company in a decision-making capacity has to approve every new hire. Instead of making a decision after one interview, we will have three or four interviews. Sometimes even after a long discussion, three of us will say yes and one will say no. In those cases, we don’t move forward with the candidate. It’s important to have everyone on the same page. There are so many amazing people out there and so many of those people are looking for this type of position. If you are patient, you will find the right person.

Everything is relative to scale. We can’t worry about a one-week delay right now if it’s someone we’ll be working with for, hopefully, three years or more. You don’t want to make the wrong decision long-term based on a short-term goal.

Ben Attal (COO) and William Liu (CEO) of Nimbus Tutoring, pitching at McGill’s Boston Demo Day.

What makes a good team member?

I think the people that ask the most questions are people who we want to work with the most. We don’t know everything. They don’t know everything. If we keep asking questions, that’s how we best move forward.


How do you manage your team?

It’s important not to micromanage and it’s important not to overwhelm someone with too many jobs. I’ve found that it’s best to clearly define the goal we have as a company, how we’re planning to reach those goals, and the minimum requirements we expect. This way, people   are thinking for themselves.


What are you most excited about moving forward?

Right now, I’m excited for people to see the new version of the app that our development team put thousands of hours of work into.

Moving forward, I’m excited about being in a period where we have teams everywhere who we can trust to do the work we want. We are able to go back to when our only focus is to be creative and think big. The most rewarding part of being in a startup is when there are just three of you around a white board talking about a specific issue and how to plan for it over the course of the next year. I’m excited to figure out what our real next steps are.


What are the next steps for the company?

We’re thinking about how we’re going to bring Nimbus to different levels of education. Right now, it’s a peer-to-peer platform for universities but middle schools, high schools, and CEGEPs also need tutoring. For those levels of education, there isn’t yet a reliable means to find tutors at affordable prices. Being able to cater to the whole range of education is something we’re really looking forward to.

The Nimbus Tutoring app is dedicated to delivering the most convenient way for students to connect with the best tutors for in-person, course specific lessons at the university level. If you’re interested in being or hiring a tutor, get Nimbus on the App Store or Google Play.

Recap: What it takes to win the McGill Dobson Cup (19 tips)

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 14:41

Editor’s Note: For those that missed it, here are the slides from the December info session on the Dobson Cup:

Get your tickets for the Awards Ceremony now to find out who wins – tickets sell out fast!  

On January 10th, our program manager Jihane led a presentation on what it takes to win the McGill Dobson Cup 2019 presented by National Bank. We also brought in some past winners from the competition, including the teams from Nimbus Tutoring and Cura Therapeutics, who won prizes the year before. There was plenty of time for audience Q&A, where the founders were able to provide detailed, tailored advice to all the new applicants. We’ve distilled some of that advice so that you can apply it to your business.


1. Pick the right Track

When you pick which track your startup goes into, you need to be thinking about what kind of help you want to get from the judges and mentors. Do you need feedback in the medical field or do you need something with more innovation driven experience and guidance? Narrow down which track your company fits into and then go from there.

2. Know everything about your company and the industry

During the pitches, if you seem like you don’t know your industry, your judges (who are experts in the industry) will call you out on it. Knowing everything about your industry gives you credibility in front of the judges, which gives you a better chance of winning.
This includes: market research at a macro level, market research at a micro level (through customer interviews), the biggest roadblocks that other companies are facing, and why your product can overcome them.

3. Demonstrate and highlight your progress

Being accepted into the McGill Dobson Cup is just the first step of this competition. Making and showing progress is what makes you win. Once your team gets to the Semi-Finals, your judges will be looking for major progress when you approach the Finals. You will need to provide them with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). The judges need to see that you are working and committed to your company. Show the judges traction, however small it may be, and this will make you stand out.

4. Think long term

It’s great to have an idea and even greater if you are able to go forth and win the McGill Dobson Cup. However, you also need to be thinking about how you are going to take the experience of the McGill Dobson Cup and the potential funding you might get to help build into a long-term goal of the company. The McGill Dobson Cup is a stepping stone towards a bigger journey.

5. The key to success = commitment

The company that you are about to create, or have already created, has to be one of your top priorities in life. You need to be working on this company as hard as you possibly can and the judges need to see this.


6. Assemble an All-Star team

Product is important, but ultimately you need to have the people who have the specialized skills necessary to build that product.


7. Know what you’re being judged on

Judges will look at the feasibility, growth potential and innovation, as presented by the teams. Specifically for the Social Enterprise Track, social impact will be assessed.


8. Make progress between the Semi-Finals and the Finals

If you can show that you’re actively working on your business and that you’ve taken feedback and used it to learn, you’re that much better off when you’re presenting to the judges in the Finals.


9. Show that you are all in

When you’re speaking during the pitch or the Q&A, find a way to demonstrate that you are obsessed with your vision and that you are dedicated to seeing this through.


10. Tell a story

Judges will hear up to 10 pitches a day, so using emotional stories to differentiate your pitch will make their job easier and make your company more memorable.


11. Show your prototype

Bring samples, frameworks, products, or some kind of tangible Minimum Viable Product. You know how it’s said that a picture is worth 1000 words? Well a prototype is said to be worth 1000 meetings – bring one!


12. Talk about early traction

Even a few thousand dollars of revenue or letters of intent are useful. Judges are constantly judging whether or not you’re solving a problem. And the best way to do that, is by showing that people want and are using, what you’re building.


13. Make the most of it by keeping an open mind

Talk to the other teams and ask the judges questions! This competition is meant to embody experiential learning and provides students with invaluable feedback, mentorship and networking opportunities.


14. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Recall that you have 20 minutes in total: 5 to pitch, and 15 for Q&A. The Q&A is TWO-SIDED! You can ask for specific advice, or even introductions. And bring a small notepad to take notes – it’s practically useful and signals your dedication.


15. Use the competition as a FIRST STEP

Don’t get too attached to winning – ultimately, entrepreneurship is a marathon not a sprint. The most valuable things in the competition are the lessons learnt, the feedback you get, the people you meet, and the confidence you build. Focus on those!


16. Don’t be on time, be early

If you’re even a few minutes late, we will have whichever team is ready take your place. Our competition is scheduled in multiple locations at precise times – we don’t have the capacity to accommodate everyone’s schedule.


17. Re-evaluate your business between the Semi-Finals and Finals

If your financials change, or you uncover a new insight that could change the course of your business, that’s okay. In fact, that’s the kind of learning that happens in any successful business and is a reflection of progress. You may send in updated business plans that we’ll hand off to the judges.


18. If you’re a solo founder, find a co-founder: going into business alone is hard

Sign up for McGill Dobson Match, ask your friends, and go to networking events. But don’t rush into an equity split, you want to take your time while judging what they can bring to the table as well as their character and energy.


19. You don’t have to have a tech company

Roughly 1 out of 3 companies that go through the McGill Dobson Cup have a tech component in their business: apps, patented medical breakthroughs, physical feats of engineering, and unique algorithms. However, there are plenty of businesses that are not technological in nature – ultimately, you will be judged on the value you bring to other people’s lives, whatever form that takes.


Get your tickets for the Awards Ceremony now to find out who wins – tickets sell out fast!  

Recap: McGill Lean Startup Demo Day 2018

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 15:53

Editor’s Note: The McGill Lean Startup Program is a 10-week hands-on program that immerses early-stage McGill startup teams by having them test their business ideas and hypotheses outside the classroom. Inside the classroom, we deliberately trade off lecture time for students/teaching team interaction.

Since the end of September, 9 early-stage McGill teams have been going through the build-measure-learn customer development process and have been working on their pitches in preparation for this event. On December 3rd, we had them pitch in front of over 100 people including several judges to show the city what they’ve been up to. There was also a brief Q&A after each pitch.

Also note that applications for the McGill Dobson Cup 2019 powered by National Bank, are now open – click here to apply. Deadline: Wednesday January 16, 11:59PM EST.

Intro video

The pitches Arkangel: Uses AI to prevent chronic diseases Ugly Harvest: Turns “ugly” harvest and waste food into vegan and gluten-free produce Fofo: Video-only social media app that allows you to film and post your videos instantly with no time constraint HOST: Provides office space and tech consulting for healthcare professionals Observe Agriculture: Handheld instrument that measures active constituents in a given crop Turbodega: Helps small grocery stores improve their competitiveness by digitizing their sales and procurement operations CHK PLZ: Mobile app that streamlines the billing process at bars and restaurants Motek: Uses innovative material to enhance the efficiency of air-drying technologies PDT Food Depot: Food bank in China that redistributes surplus food from farms and bakeries to communities in need What’s next? The McGill Dobson Cup powered by National Bank of course – applications are now open, just click here!

Q&A with Abhishek Gupta, founder of the Montreal AI Ethics Institute

Sat, 11/17/2018 - 16:44

Editor’s Note: Abhishek Gupta is the founder of the Montreal AI Ethics Institute, a machine learning engineer at Microsoft, and an AI Ethics Researcher at McGill University. Last week, he won the Community Organizer of the Year award within Montreal’s startup community for hosting the official Montreal AI Ethics Meetup. The award is given to the individual who best mobilizes people in the community for good.

At McGill’s annual Trottier Public Symposium, this year’s theme was artificial intelligence. On day 1, there was a roundtable discussion including the likes of Dr. Doina Precup (Google DeepMind), Dr. Derek Ruths , Dr. Ian Kerr, Dr. Tal Arbel, as well as Alex Shee (ElementAI), where Dr. Joe Schwarcz asked them a series of thought-provoking questions related to the future of technology.

We decided to ask Abhishek those same questions, given that he is perfectly positioned to add uniquely valuable ethics-related insights. Abhishek has been invited to the G7 Multistakeholder Conference on Artificial Intelligence being held on December 6th.

What does the term “artificial intelligence” mean to you?

It’s an umbrella term that encompasses a lot of the things we hear about today including machine learning, deep learning, and reinforcement learning. AI is an evolving term. If you asked someone what it meant in the 80s or 70s, it’d be vastly different from today.

The key idea that underpins all of that is the ability to solve new challenges in a novel environment in a way that we would typically expect from humans. We don’t have an algorithm to solve everything. You can go learn skiing today, or cook indian food, and you don’t necessarily have to be loaded with specific programs to do that – you can just innately learn new things in new environments.


There are many misconceptions about AI and where AI will take us. Which concerns do you think are legitimate? On what aspect of life do you think AI will have the greatest impact?

Biggest misconception is that AI is some amorphous entity that’s going to subsume everything that humans do and take all our jobs. At the end of the day, it’s just software — at least in the near future. People attribute more “intelligence” to these systems than they have.

Transparency, fairness, inclusion, ethics – these are legitimate concerns. Things like superintelligence and robots taking over the world are not relevant in the moment and probably don’t deserve too much attention.

Ultimately it’ll help us automate menial, unfulfilling tasks that feel like drudgery. That’ll be its biggest impact: allowing us to spend more time on work tasks that are fulfilling and satisfying. Everyone has a few things they hate in their job, and a few they love.


What level of sophistication do you think robots can eventually achieve? Is there a chance they can develop  “a mind of their own” and operate outside of human control?

No one can predict this – humans are known to be terrible at predicting the future. Consciousness might just be a byproduct or an emergent property of inherently complex interactions within the brain.  In that case, it seems theoretically possible. But in the near to medium term, that’s not a concern.


What role will “machine learning” play in the practice of medicine? Will medical education have to undergo a paradigm shift? What about general university education? Is the traditional lecture becoming a dinosaur?

Doctors can focus on the complex cases by automating the simple, repetitive tasks. In the developing world, doctors are always short-staffed. And in some places, there are no doctors at all and so AI can democratize at least some aspects of medicine.

In terms of education, we should be focused on preparing the next generation for a very different future. This includes encouraging learning how to learn, soft skills (interacting with people, empathetic), and promoting a culture of learning in new contexts quickly. That’s what education needs to be all about.

Yes, the education system in its current state is a dinosaur – but disruption is already happening because of wider availability of information on the web. This means that instructors should be focused on helping students develop skills in the classroom instead of providing content.

Same with medical education: learn empathy, learn to work on complex cases, learn to co-exist and work with machines instead of working against them. People see it as a competition but it’s really more of a collaborative process.


Algorithms are already being used for hiring, consumer purchase targeting, investment decisions, finding romantic partners, evaluating insurance risks, parole board decisions, determining crime “hot spots” and potential terrorist profiling. What privacy issues are raised and what other concerns come to mind?

The biggest privacy concern is pervasive  data collection. Machine learning algorithms can operate on large datasets with or without consent. They may then create inferences out of those detected patterns, putting people in different buckets, and making decisions on attributes that aren’t explicitly stated but inferred through data, which means there’s potential to discriminate against people on many different axes without even being aware of why and how the system arrived at such a decision.


Smart phones have become ubiquitous, allowing around the clock access to Facebook, Instagram, Google, emails and text messaging. What impact has this had on society?

It has altered the way we communicate with each other. A huge portion of human interaction now happens online, asynchronously. This can have deeper long term impacts: we may become less patient as we deal with each other, have less empathy, and a shorter attention span.

Online messaging is mostly agnostic to emotions despite emojis. It just doesn’t jive well with our biologically hard-wired way of interacting with each other and we’re seeing that with the generation that is growing up with smartphones today. Those consequences will be clear in about 10 years, including lowered in-person communication skills.


Would you get into a self-driving car or fly in a plane with no pilot?

If it has been certified for safety, yes. That’s what we often don’t discuss. We need to be thinking about how we certify the robustness of these systems. If you hop into a car, you don’t actually know how the internal combustion engine works, but you trust that it’s safe and that it will get you from A to B. It’s the same thing with airlines. They arose out of a cycle of iteration and improvement. Once we have those safety standards in place after rigorous testing and certification, I would be comfortable.


Devices such as the Apple watch can monitor heart function. Can this cause unnecessary anxiety or can it lead to lives being saved?

That’s a false dichotomy. Yes its use as a tool for preventative healthcare can help people improve their health. But having information all the time is not the best for anxiety levels.

When I call an Uber and see where the car is, I don’t like wondering why it’s going so slow and taking weird detours – that’s a frustrating experience. Constant monitoring can lead to anxiety.


How do you see space exploration unfolding since we have moved from the purely government-led era to one where technology, being more affordable, can be developed by private enterprises?

I think it’s going to accelerate the rate of innovation and quality of products and services. I’m excited about initiatives like Relativity Space, whose innovative, autonomous, 3D printing rocket factory will redefine how we access space.

The speed at which we’ll be able to create rockets will increase by an order of magnitude. And it’ll be 100X cheaper.

If they’re subject to the same level of rigor and safety standards, I don’t see why we can’t have more private companies entering the space market.

Join Abhishek at the next Montreal AI Ethics Meetup! Sign up for his AI Ethics Newsletter here.

Made At McGill: The world’s 1st electric snowmobile

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 18:45

In this episode of the Made At McGill podcast, you’ll hear from Sam Bruneau – a McGill Engineering alum who won the McGill Dobson Cup in 2016. His company Taiga Motors is building and commercializing the world’s first electric snowmobile. This is the story of how Taiga was made at McGill.

What you’ll learn in this episode:
  • Why Sam and his team turned down job offers from Tesla
  • How they got their first important pieces of feedback
  • How you can leverage one investor to get more funding from another

Tune in on: Youtube / iTunes

(or just search for “Made At McGill” on your phone’s podcast app)

Every pitch from McGill Demo Days 2018

Sun, 11/04/2018 - 00:15
First, the thank yous!


Huge thank you to the 100+ mentors involved with the program and the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship this past summer.

San Francisco

We had an incredible time touring Silicon Valley and meeting with a number of McGill Alumni and friends of the university at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Y Combinator, B.Yond, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners and Sequoia Capital. And we held our Demo Day at Sonder’s offices at Sonder’s headquarters!

Many thanks to Francis Davidson, Elton Satusky, Kat Mañalac, Ned Taleb, Jack J. Young, Aaref Hilaly, and Chris Turlica.


It’s always great to see the warm welcome that McGill University gets every time we visit Boston. From our colleagues at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship to our Alumni and friends at Fuze, TechCode Accelerator – US, Schooner Capital, Flagship Pioneering, Canadian Technology Accelerator – Accélerateurs technologiques canadiens Boston, UGo Smoothies and Pitch DNA.

It was fantastic to co-host McGill Boston Demo Day yesterday at the Fuze offices with Jihane El Atifi featuring our lineup of incredible McGill startups.

Many thanks to Steven Kokinos, Rubin Gruber, Scott Yaphe, Anthony DeOrsey, Avak Kahvejian, Stuart Paap, Susan Ahern, and Morgan Abraham.


Together with Jihane El Atifi and the McGill Alumni Association, we hosted over 100+ people at our Toronto Demo Day event.

While in the city, we had the opportunity to meet with many alumni and friends of McGill from TechToronto, Ramen Ventures, Panache Ventures, foodora, MaRS Discovery District, Ryerson DMZ, SAP Co-Innovation Labs and

Many thanks to Alex Norman, Prashant Matta, Ali Zahid, David Albert, Prakash Surapaneni, Glen Moffatt, William Dogué, Stephanie Hip, Jaxson Khan, and Mark Hyland.

New York City

Grateful to have been hosted at the Third Bridge Group Limited offices in Midtown Manhattan by McGill University alum Mergen Davaapil and his team Danaé Hirsch, Michael Marconi and Basile Chauffour – many thanks!

It was great to finish off Demo Days 2018 with 80+ people in attendance.

Excellent to be in New York City after a month-long trip that started in Montreal, taking us all the way to San Francisco, Boston and then Toronto.

While in NYC, we had the opportunity to meet with Alumni and friends of McGill from Tech:NYC, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, dim3branding and the Canadian Technology Accelerator NYC.

Many thanks to Bryan Lozano, Jeremy Harper, Tessa Battistin, Sabine Landolt, Joshua Kleyman and Khawar Nasim.

Looking forward to McGill Demo Days 2019 already!


The pitches! 1. Keenoa

An AI-powered app built as a platform to connect dietitians and patients. Patients can simply take a photo of their meal, and Keenoa will identify the nutrients.


2. Haven Hub

A social enterprise that reimagines primary healthcare to curb the overuse of emergency services by offering home care therapies.


3. CURA Therapeutics

Developing innovative immunotherapies to cure pancreatic cancer and other solid malignancies with their patented technology and PhD expertise.


4. Krypto

Monitors & analyzes blockchain transaction to help financial institutions.


5. Nightline

National organization focused on implementing local support services for students at night and in-depth training sessions across Canada. It is currently looking at global expansion.


6. SMS Jobs

Targets the blue collar industry’s hiring process with its unique platform connecting employers and employees to communicate job offers and make appropriate matches.



Revolutionizing supply chain management as a unique collaborative Supply Chain Management platform automating informational and transactional flow throughout the external supply chain.


8. Nimbus Tutoring

An education platform that connects students with tutors for in-person, course-specific tutoring lessons at the university level.


9. Orbityl

Orbityl’s sensor integrates into earbud headphones and monitors brain activity from inside the ear. Algorithms translate the complex patterns in the signal to specific thoughts from a user.


10. Saccade Analytics

Saccade Analytics believes that accurate diagnosis of brain function is key to protecting patients and improving health outcomes. They use advanced eye-tracking software and analytics to provide a novel, more effective way of diagnosing neurological disorders at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional methods.


11. Remixed

Transforming the concept of traditional trail mixes by introducing dehydrated beans and re-purposed fruit, providing an affordable alternative that combats food waste.

12. Entr

A platform that helps you discover and book unique venues and creative spaces for your next event. Entr also recently raised a $1.13 million seed round towards expanding across Canada while continuing to build its product and optimize the user experience.


13. Taiga Motors

The world’s first electric snowmobile designed from the ground up that is faster, more reliable, more efficient & better connected to winter.