Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU Class of 2017 makes final presentations
By Will Henderson, Beedie School of Business
In front of an audience of business experts, investors, instructors, students and alumni in front of a sellout crowd of 200 at the Westminster Savings Theatre at SFU’s Surrey Campus on August 3, students in the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU (tech e@sfu) 2016/2017 cohort made their final presentations of the business ideas they have been developing over the past year.
Tech e@SFU is a high-tech entrepreneurship program, funded by BCIC and the SpencerCreo Foundation, offering students hands-on training and support as they go through the process of founding and developing a market or solution-driven technology business. The program is open to third- and fourth-year business and mechatronics students, and students from any faculty studying for the Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It provides the funds, skills, mentorship and resources to move from innovative ideas to successful new products and ventures.
“That real experience is so valuable,” says Joseph Fredrick, a business and economics student, who is also working to complete the Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “They give you real money, real resources and you have to produce results.”
In the first months of the program, Students form interdisciplinary teams then develop their own innovation ideas and refine their business models over the course of a year, culminating in the final pitches. Following their pitches, the teams faced questions from a panel of business experts, and from the audience.
“These teams get stronger every year, and this year the teams blew us away,” says Sarah Lubik, SFU’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Co- Champion of the Tech e@SFU program. “Tech e@SFU allows students to create their own self-driven, solution driven experience and also creates a close community of students. Whether this venture goes forward or not (and some of them will), these young entrepreneurs now have strong ties with co-founders from a range of disciplines and the ability to come together with a team of people with complementary skills and view points. That will serve them well no matter what they choose to do in the future.”
This year’s cohort formed four ventures:
Bluehive Technologies, which is developing an installation-free battery system for residential use that allows users to reduce their electricity bills in areas with fluctuating electricity costs by smartly managing battery usage, and provides automatic backup power for ease-of-mind during outages and emergencies.
Team members: Emmee Agassini, Joseph Fredrick, Kevin Ko, Wilson Wong, Yesung Cha
Locus, a retail analytics hardware and software solution that provides managers with consumer behaviour information that augments their current data so that they can optimize product placement, pricing, and store layout.
Team members: Aaron Lee, Adham Elshaer, Ala’a Sha’alan Braeden Peterson, Tanvir Sooch, Tim Nosov, Tony Vukasovic
Seren Technologies, which is developing an add-on system for soilless farms to automate the sprout transplanting and crop harvesting process, to help meet the need for more efficient and cost effective methods of food production. This allows hydroponic farmers to save money and time by reducing their reliance on manual labour while increasing the efficiency of their farms.
Team members: Brian Liu, Gavin Wiese, Jason Manoharan, Puneet Sran, Sheldon Maciel, Sung Lee
Zennea, a socially driven medical technology company making improved Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices to make treating obstructive sleep apnea more comfortable and discrete than traditional solutions.
Team members: Aryan Memarzadeh, Bradey MacMillan, Nell Du, Oliver Luo, Rachel Chase & Ryan Threlfall
Several of teams will now move onto early-stage incubation in SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection.