U of T PhD candidate Ali Punjani (EngSci 0T2, right) is CEO of the U of T startup Structura Biotechnology. His sister, Saara Virani (left), is the company’s chief operating officer (photo by Chris Sorensen)
The University of Toronto’s three campuses are home to nearly a dozen startup incubators and accelerators. Many EngSci students and alumni have launched successful ventures through incubators like the U of T Entrepreneurship Hatchery, or serve as mentors to help students bring smart ideas to market.
To mark U of T’s virtual Entrepreneurship Week, here are some startups launched by EngSci students and alumni to keep an eye on in 2021:
The startup Structura Biotechnology arose from research by PhD candidate Ali Punjani (EngSci 0T2), who serves as the company’s CEO. Its software helped researchers to quickly understand the 3D structure of the coronavirus spike protein early in the pandemic, the first step on the road to vaccine development.
Read about Punjani’s work in the U of T News.
Co-founded by alumna Seray Çiçek (EngSci 1T6 PEY), LSK Technologies has developed a portable diagnostic system for rapid testing for infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
Read about Çiçek’s work in the U of T News.
Cindy Chen (Year 4 EngSci) is co-founder of Themis, a startup that uses AI to decrease the time it takes to draft legal contracts.
Read Chen’s work in the U of T Engineering News.
Clockwise from top left: Seray Cicek (1T6 PEY), Shrey Jain (Year 2), Zain Hasan (1T4), and Ryan Tam (1T8 PEY) have won Lo Family Social Venture Fund Awards.
A current EngSci student and three EngSci alumni are among the winners of the 2020 Lo Family Social Venture Fund Award.
The awards, established in 2020 Kenneth and Yvonne Lo and family, help U of T students and recent graduates take promising social enterprises to the next level. They provide support for student-driven ventures that will positively impact the global community – particularly in Asia.
A total of 18 U of T students and recent alumni received up to $30K in funding, including:
Shrey Jain (Year 2 EngSci) for Flatten, a non-profit organization developing self-reporting surveillance tool for the COVID-19 pandemic internationally.
Seray Cicek (EngSci 1T6 PEY) for her company LSK Technologies, which makes rapid COVID-19 and other tests for use in doctor’s offices and workplaces.
Zain Hasan (EngSci 1T4) for Vinci Labs, which uses uses technology to address barriers to quality healthcare including geographical remoteness and social inequity.
Ryan Tam (EngSci 1T8 PEY) for Aerlift, a drone delivery system that helps governments to provide life-saving healthcare services to some of the hardest-to-reach populations around the world.
Learn more about the award winners here.
Team Xpan (left to right: Zaid Atto (EngSci 1T6 + PEY), Seray Cicek (EngSci 1T6+ PEY), Chevis Dilbert (MechE 1T6 + PEY)) has created an expandable tool to help with laparoscopic surgery.
EngSci students are behind two of the winning startups from this year’s Hatchery Demo Day, held September 6 at U of T Engineering.
Zaid Atto (EngSci 1T6 + PEY) is the founder of Xpan, a company developing improved devices for laparoscopic surgery to increase surgical efficiency and reduce patient risk. Team Xpan — consisting of Atto, Seray Cicek (EngSci 1T6 + PEY) and Chevis Dilbert (MechE 1T6 + PEY) — took home the $10,000 Lacavera Prize. Their work has also been recognized with awards within and outside of the university.
Aakash Goel (EngSci 1T6 + PEY), the driver behind enginehire, won the $2,500 Orozco Prize for his development of a career matchmaking system for young engineers. The system uses proprietary algorithms to match companies with their ideal candidates at a low cost.
Click here to read the full story of how these entrepreneurial students are putting their EngSci education to work!