Industry Liaison Office announces Tech Venture Challenge teams

Eleven technology-based entrepreneurs have been chosen from a field of 27 to advance to the next phase of the 2015 Tech Venture Challenge (TVC), the annual business start-up competition presented through the University of Saskatchewan Industry Liaison Office (ILO).

The teams now begin a race for the $50,000 grand prize.

"Each year the quality of the applicant pool grows and the judging is a bit more challenging," said Tom Roberts, ILO acting managing director. "As I look at the successes of our TVC alumni—the rates of business continuance and expansion—it's clear that the program is working to support entrepreneurs and improve the likelihood of startup success in Saskatchewan."

Over the next four months the participants will attend workshops and benefit from business and advisory support from the ILO. They will be professionally mentored and guided, leading to the selection of three finalists in May, 2015.

Prizes are awarded competitively: $50,000 for first place, provided by the ILO; $15,000 for second place co-sponsored by PwC and Mariner Innovations. This year's third-place prize will be awarded from a new Tech Community Fund.

The first place package also includes office space at Innovation Place, mentoring and professional services from PwC, banking services from RBC and web-application services from Blacksun.

The U of S Graduate Student's Association continues to offer a $10,000 low-interest loan to the top-rated grad student team. New to the competition this year is a Mariner Innovations ICT Award (professional services valued at $5,000) to be awarded to a team selected by the TVC judges.

"I am once-again impressed with the variety of business ideas that have come forward. They are all at different stages of commercialization, however, the thought and effort that has been put into the applications is inspiring," said Laurie Dmytryshyn, TVC judge and minority investment portfolio manager at PIC Investment Group.

"As judges we witness the very first steps of some aspiring Saskatchewan entrepreneurs eager and desiring to make a difference in the province we call home," said Terry Derenisky, TVC judge and regional vice-president of Mariner Innovations.

The 2015 Tech Venture Challenge field is:

1.    Biktrix - Roshan Thomas, Rethan Thomas, Aathmeeya Roshan
Innovative design and manufacture of electric bikes and conversion of pedal bicycles to electric.

2.    C-Light - Michael Konreczny
High-efficiency super-capacitor LED lights to replace kerosene lighting in developing countries.

3.    Kasiel Solutions - Serese Selanders
Mobile medical alert device for seniors.

4.    Luxsonic - Michael Wesolowski, James Montgomery
A platform for high definition portable imaging solutions for teleradiology and development of new medical imaging technologies.

5.    Magno Plug - Will Topping, Arash Janfada, Mitch Langan, Mallory McGrath
An alternative to the traditional three pronged plug.

6.    Patient Prep - Ryan Sander, Dan Merino, Nick Rutherford
A mobile application for medical professionals to organize patients' information and improve patient care.

7.    Pattern Magic - Jodi Barrington, Sheila Maithel
A web-based application for creating custom-fit sewing patterns.

8.    Gold Processing, Salimi Team - Hiwa Salimi, Stephen Foley, Loghman Moradi, Zain Ali
An innovative, highly efficient and cost-effective gold-extraction technology.

9.    Scitus BioSciences - Wayne Craig, Mark Hetherington, Jay Robinson
A technology platform using locally grown plant extract formulations to develop products for the pharma, ag and food sectors.

10.    Self Scanning & Checkout Mobile App - Saurav Bharduaj, Andrey Grishin
A mobile platform for the retail market.

11.    Tablet-based colour vision test - Mike Sheinin, David Flatla
A computerized tool to assess and monitor colour vision in patients.

Tech Venture Challenge is sponsored by the U of S Industry Liaison Office, U of S Graduate Student's Association, PwC, Mariner Innovations, Innovation Place, Blacksun, RBC, and the Saskatoon Tech Community. The competition is open to any member of the U of S community including employees, faculty researchers, students and alumni.

For more information, contact:
Laurel Reich
Industry Liaison Office
University of Saskatchewan

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