• Entrepreneurship at UBC

entrepreneurship@UBC's 2019 Round Up.

Updated: Dec 19, 2019



2019 has been a big year.


At entrepreneurship@UBC, we work with ventures that are disrupting industries, driving change and impacting the world. In 2019, we’ve seen startup breakthroughs on a profound scale. There have been some amazing achievements in our community this year and we couldn't be more excited to share them with you.


Without further adieu, here is our 2019 Round Up. Enjoy.



The Perfect Pairing

Selma Blair and the Alinker!



March: Selma Blair was seen multiple times this year using the Alinker, a three wheeled bike created to help those with mobility/ability issues maintain a full and active life. Founder BE Alink designed the device to challenge society’s assumptions about disability, simultaneously empowering users whilst inspiring social change.  Read more about Selma and The Alinker here and here and hereThe Alinker is graduate of entrepreneurship@UBC's Social Venture Incubator program.



Stories that broke the news:

In the best way possible


January: At the beginning of the year, we saw Nada featured in HuffPost - and for good reason. As one of the world's first zero-waste grocery stores, they are leading the charge for more a sustainable supply chain and influencing consumers to make more purpose driven actions when it comes to their purchases. They've diverted over 30,500 containers from landfill and show no signs of stopping. Read the article, here


April: April saw two reasons to celebrate as both Valerie Song, CEO and Founder of AVA and Rachel Chase, CEO and Founder of Zennea made BCBusiness' 30 under 30 list! Both are creating waves in their respective industries and are set to make an impact on the global stage. Find out more, here


June: ChopValue was featured in Yahoo Finance! The 2017 Social Venture Alum was highlighted for their leadership in sustainable goods and manufacturing, saving more than 18 million used chopsticks from landfill by turning them into trendy design pieces. See it yourself, here


August: August was bright and sunny for more reason than one. This month marked Brighter Investment's signing of an agreement with the Government of Ghana! Through their unique future income sharing model, Brighter Investment is gearing up to fund a record number of University students in Ghana, making education and opportunity accessible to all. 


September: Starting the fall season out right, we saw Brianna Blaney, Founder and CEO of deepND, featured in an article by Innovate BC! A standout leader and business person, Brianna shared her journey as an entrepreneur and experience in the HATCH Accelerator program. deepND enables predictive hiring and retention for hourly workers, hiring better workers and keeping them longer through AI. Read more, here



Ready for takeoff Launches in 2019


Swipe through to see images from companies who launched in 2019!


March: Neighbour Lab launched their first community installation in Victoria! Neighbour Lab is creating more cohesive and resilient communities through shared community structures. In 2019 they saw not one, but two launches as they installed their second structure on the Arbutus Greenway in Vancouver in collaboration with The Thingery in September. Congrats on an amazing year! See here October: CUPPY launched their pilot program at Grounds for Coffee in East Van! CUPPY is a new cup-sharing program that aims to cut back on the use of single-use plastics, incentivizing people to live a more eco-friendly life. We can't wait to see where you go next! Read more, here October: Congrats to the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS) for officially launching the HATCH Makerspace this past October! This area is home to futuristic tech enabling the next generation of entrepreneurs to catapult their innovations out into the world. Think 3D printers, water jet cutters and plasma cutting tables - pretty unreal! November: WeCause made it official! The team launched their app that connects changes makers with causes that need their support late November. WeCause believes in the ripple effect and our ability to make a lasting impact on the world. Get involved and be a part of the change, here 2020: After 3 years of hard work, AVA is ready to grow and go to market! The team announced that they are officially launching their indoor smart garden in the first quarter of 2020. The future has arrived! Read about it here and get on their waitlist, here



Investor Day 2019 A year's worth of preparation and training



May: May 8th marked our second annual Investor Day held at UBC Robson Square! This event is a culmination of a year’s worth of mentorship, training and preparation, showcasing 10 selected ventures who are part of the HATCH Accelerator program. Events like Investor Day play a key role in preparing venture's to pitch and building relationships with the local investor network. Take a deeper dive on Investor Day, here



Let's Celebrate! Awards and Recognition


February: Congratulations to Anandia Labratories and Aspect Biosystems on winning big at the 2019 LifeSciences BC Awards! They won for the awards of Deal of the Year and Growth Stage Life Sciences Company of the Year, respectively. Check it out, here May: Vesalius Cardiovascular won the night at VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation's “Innovators Challenge” in May taking home a sweet $300k! Their device, based on proven surgical concepts, achieves the result of surgical valve repair whilst replacing the typical   2-3 month recovery with 2-3 days. Read more about it here June: July marked AbCellera's winning of "Company of the Year-Scale Success" at the BC Technology Impact Awards! AbCellera is accelerating the discovery of antibodies through cutting-edge technology to rapidly measure their properties whilst harnessing the natural power of the immune system. Check it out here August: Talk about cleaning up...after winning MaRS’ Opiod Data Challenge in August, Brave Coop won the Ohio Opiod Technology Challenge, and a cool $1,000,000! Brave builds tools that offer people who use drugs remote and anonymous support to prevent accidental deaths, working to combat the overdose crisis in North America. Read more, here August: A star in the HATCH Accelerator program, BarrelWise won the Agritech Innovation Challenge, taking home $50k! BarrelWise is enabling winemakers to practice their art more efficiently, reducing time spent on barrel management by 70% and propelling the future of Agritech. Read about it, here October: When we say we work with ventures set to impact the world, we mean it. An excellent example of this is Mangrove Water Technologies, who was awarded $5 million in the Emissions Reduction Alberta Challenge for Innovative Carbon Uses. Mangrove's solution uses CO₂ to turn waste products from oil and gas operations into valuable chemicals, reducing GHG emissions in the oilsands mining industry. Read it, here November: Congratulations to Aspect Biosystems and UBC Applied Science Dean, Dr. James Olson and industry partner Polymer Research Technologies for being awarded $448K by Innovate BC through their Ignite Program! This program selects projects based on their promising commercial/technical viability and ability to be market ready within 3 years. Aspect is a leader in clinical 3D bio-printing and human tissue engineering and is an alumni of entrepreneurship@UBC. Well done! More details, here


NovemberAcuva Technologies was commended by Frost & Sullivan for their advanced UV-LED water purification solutions being used worldwide, winning their Global New Product Innovation Award! Recently, Acuva entered into a partnership with the largest drinking water fountain and water dispenser manufacturer in the Philippines to install their product in schools, shopping malls, restaurants and resorts. Read about their win and impact, here



Social Venture Showcase  Pitch for Purpose



October: We had the pleasure of supporting our inspiring cohort of Social Ventures as they shared their solutions some of the world's most prolific social, economic and environmental problems at 2019's Social Venture Showcase! This group is already making an impact and we can't wait to see what they do next.  Check 2019's Social Venture cohort, here



Keeping the pulse on our community A collection of advice to start your 2020 off right


What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

Kari LaMotte, Managing Director, entrepreneurship@UBC: "In late December, partners/customers often fade into the background while they focus on their families. I take this natural downtime to block one week as ‘time away’ to review the prior year, formally recording how we did against the annual goals we set for the year, laying out my thoughts on the critical goals for the upcoming year. I also take this time to create a priority list of any unfinished commitments/tasks, using the “Getting Things Done (GTD)” email triage system. By the time I return in January, my head is clear, I’ve had focused downtime, and I’m rejuvenated and ready to hit the ground running! How do you cap off your year?" Jon Cartwright, entrepreneurship@UBC EiR, Founder and Chairman of Foodee and Chief Growth Officer of Zolo: "Velocity, or how fast your revenues and customer adoption is growing, is the single biggest indicator of how likely you are to succeed. A majority of the world's most successful startups (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Tesla, LinkedIn) did not exist 10-20 years ago, yet have dominated and defined markets because of their exceptionally high velocity rates. As you move into 2020 ask yourself how you can increase your velocity." Rob Rohling, Director of the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS), and Founder of Sonic Incytes and Sonus: "I believe every team member should attend sales training. To take a quote from that training “There are two kinds of companies: those who think they are customer focused and those who really are.” Companies who really are customer focused have a much greater chance of success. Although sales training often seems foreign to technical people, having some skills in sales is extremely useful in many ways and will stick with you for the rest of your career." Sarah Applebaum, entrepreneurship@UBC EiR, Partner at Renewable Tech Ventures: "When raising capital, it's important to have a great story about the problem you're solving and your path forward. It's even more important to be able to support that story with data about your market and traction to date."



Pitches & Pitchers entrepreneurship@UBC's annual event



November: Late last month, members of our innovation ecosystem came out to witness the next generation of ventures in the HATCH Accelerator program pitch their venture at Pitches & Pitchers 2019! What resulted was an evening packed with people, connections and compelling ideas set to impact the future of BC's tech and startup landscape.  Read our round up, here



Partner Spotlight Celebrating our community


Everyday we get to work with passionate, excited and ambitious entrepreneurs who are literally changing the world as we know it. We couldn't do this without the generosity and support of our funding partners and collaborators, Innovate BC, Genome BC and the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS). Thank you!





We can't wait to see where next year takes us. See you in 2020!



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entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC) is an initiative that propels UBC innovations out into the world through entrepreneurship, by providing UBC students, researchers, faculty members, alumni and staff with the resources, networks, facilities and funding they need to succeed.


The HATCH Accelerator is made possible in collaboration with the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS).



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