Zennea Technologies is the big winner of the annual Coast Capital Venture Prize at SFU (l-r: Janice OBriain, Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection associate director; students Ryan Threlfall and Rachel Chase, co-CEOS; and Wayne Before, chief commercial officer for Coast Capital Savings).

Companies from mechatronics and engineering take home top prizes at SFU's largest entrepreneurship competition

February 20, 2018

Zennea Technologies, a company founded by School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering and Beedie School of Business students, took home the top prize worth $35,000 at the Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition last week.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the mentorship, support, and resources that we’ve received from Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection and SFU,” says mechatronics student Ryan Threlfall, who is the co-CEO of Zennea Technologies.

The team receives $10,000 cash and $25,000 in ‘in-kind’ prizes. The company also took the top prize at SFU’s 2017 Opportunity Fest.

Zennea Technologies was born out of the Technology Entrepreneurship at SFU program, which brings together mechatronics and business students. Motivated to help improve sleep quality for individuals with sleep apnea, the team (Threlfall, Nell Du and Oliver Luo from mechatronics along with Rachel Chase from business) is producing ‘sleep wearables,’ including a smaller, portable battery-operated alternative to the large CPAP machines currently used by sleep apnea patients. They also hope to develop solutions to reduce snoring, track the quality of sleep, and help improve overall health.

Female-Founder award also goes to Zennea Technologies
In addition to the top prize, Du and Chase took home the Female-Founder award. The pair was recently selected for the 2018 cohort of The Next 36, a national initiative to transform young student innovators into leading entrepreneurs. Read that story here.

Top Science Venture award goes to BioInteractive Technologies
Engineering and mechatronics alumni Lukas-Karim Merhi and Gautam Sadarangani received the Top Science Venture award. Their company, BioInteractive Technologies, has developed a gesture recognition wristband that allows users to interact with mixed reality environments, robotics and other devices without using a traditional controller. The company was recently selected to the join Techstars, one of North America’s largest start-up accelerators, to help bring the wristband to market. Read that story and see the product demo video here.

The Venture Prize, presented by the Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection program at SFU, is in its seventh year of celebrating entrepreneurial excellence at the university. Following on preliminary rounds, entrepreneurs from the SFU community pitched their start-up ventures in a final dragon’s den-style event in hopes of winning the Top Venture Prize award or one of several other category and attribute prizes.

Read the full story with the list of all winners here >>