Announcing our 10 Startup Survivor Challengers

May 10, 2021

The Forge, a business incubator funded by McMaster University, has announced that 10 McMaster student led startups have been selected to participate in The Forge Startup Survivor: Summer Program and Pitch Competition. The inaugural Startup Survivor program is aimed at McMaster students and recent alumni with novel and scalable business ideas. The Summer program will run from May till August, 2021 and will culminate with a pitch competition in the Fall awarding up to $75,000 to the participating startups.

This year the competition was fierce, The Forge received the highest number of applications it has ever gotten for a summer program and pitch competition. The startups showed professionalism and grit as they passed their first grueling Challenge of validating their business idea by conducting non-biased customer discovery interviews with potential customers. The Challengers will continue to complete a series of challenges throughout the summer focused on innovation, validation, and business development and will receive cash prizes to further advance their startup. Only the top five teams will be selected to participate in The Startup Survivor Pitch Competition for the chance to win additional prize money in the fall.

The Forge restructured their Student Startup Pitch Competition and Summer Program, run in the past six years, by gamifying the business development process to increase engagement and enjoyment for students currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly launched program gives students the opportunity to work on their businesses over the summer, before competing in the pitch competition in the fall.

The following startups have passed their first challenge and have been selected to the program:

Aidan Giangregorio (MSc in eHealth, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, and DeGroote School of Business, 2021)
Imagine you have two hours of availability tonight; you want not only to stream but also create clips from your content. You could either stream for two full hours and have AiLights, a product that revolutionizes highlight capture using AI and machine learning, automatically produce highlights, or you could spend an hour and 15 minutes gaming and 45 minutes on content creation. Why reduce the footage you can capture in that two hour period when you should be focusing on gaming. Now, you can rely on AiLights to ensure you capture all of your gaming highlights with no effort and have them readily available to post to the most popular social platforms.

Shaun Lee (BE in Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, 2023)
Allegiant’s mission is to create a more secure and safe community through a commitment to innovation, simplicity of use and customer security. We look to design an app that uses voice recognition to connect people with emergency services.

Dahlia Health
Christopher Juman (Master of Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization, Health Science Faculty, 2021)
The feminine hygiene industry has remained largely unchanged with products that are inconvenient, uncomfortable and unsatisfactory for most women. Menstrual cups provide solutions for the pain points that many women experience and have demonstrated tremendous growth potential. However, due to issues with insertion, removal and cleaning, many women have not adopted menstrual cups. We have developed a product that combines all of the benefits of menstrual cups while also solving the issues of insertion, removal and cleaning, making the perfect menstrual product for women.

Gurkeerat Gill (BTech, Faculty of Engineering, Alumnus 2020)
Everyday consumers are not purchasing from sustainable brands due to higher costs, lack of time to research sustainable brands and fear of greenwashing. Through a cashback app, consumers will be incentivized to shop sustainably from a list of trusted and vetted brands. Brands will want to be on the app so that they can target a new demographic of shoppers that otherwise would not have even come across their business. This app will bridge the gap between everyday consumers and sustainable brands, allowing them to scale.

Jarvis Real Estate Solutions
Oksana Chunitska (B.Eng.Society, Faculty of Engineering, 2023)
A software application that allows tenants to submit work orders, provide details and convey times of availability to the property manager who can utilize all the information to facilitate the order at hand.

Kinisi Technologies
Michelle Ragany (MTEI, Faculty of Engineering, 2022)
We help rowers build muscle and posture memory with our small, wireless, portable device. The rower simply connects the device via Bluetooth to our application, wears the device on their back, and gets rowing! Throughout the workout, the rower can choose how often they want vibration reminders to modify their posture, and afterwards, the athlete can see analytics on their posture performance, having the ability to compare it their historic posture, and average posture. At Kinisi Technologies we strive to keep the rower in training to help them succeed all season long!

Jong Lee (MSc eHealth, Degroote School of Business, Engineering, Health Science Faculties, Alumnus 2020)
New mothers find it very challenging to adjust to new lifestyle as parents while also recovering from deliveries at the same time. Misely will make this transition as easy and seamless as possible. Our platform will connect new mothers with interviewed, background-checked and top-rated professionals to make their postpartum period the most joyous and enjoyable time of their lives. Our services range from basic home care duties (cleaning, cooking, laundry) to professional massage and lactation support.

Vinay Patel (PhD Biomedical/Medical, Faculty of Engineering, 2022)
Current metal finishing and coating companies are struggling to meet municipal wastewater treatment targets for phosphorus due to their inability to monitor phosphorus. Current phosphorus monitoring systems are chemical based and require trained personnel. At Phosphosens, we offer a monitoring platform that simplifies phosphorus detection using a chemical free technology. Enabling the user to achieve rapid and hassle-free phosphorus detection in any water stream. The rapid phosphorus detection will help the wastewater operators to save cost on chemicals by enabling them to dose chemical based on the phosphorus input of the stream not just on water flow rate like conventional systems.

Protagonist Health
Pallavi Dutta (MSc in eHealth, Health Sciences Faculty, Alumnus 2020)
Let me paint you a picture; you go to your physician and they tell you that you are at risk of developing a chronic condition and that you need to eat better, exercise more or prioritize sleep – and that’s about it! You wake up the next day with the intention of being active even though it’s that time of the month, but your domestic responsibilities get the best of you, so you tell yourself that you’ll be active later – but later never comes. I conduct behaviour research and we want to take a data driven approach to your problem with Protagonist Health, where we want to use the research-based concept of ecological momentary assessment, which is a real-time data gathering technique, to help you adopt healthy behaviours and reduce your risk of chronic conditions. This app will prompt you to provide data about YOURSELF so that we can do the tough part; analyze and provide recommendations catered to your personal needs so that you can be the hero of your own health!

Anastasia Koudrova-Wilkinson (BASc Human behaviour specializing in autism and behavioral sciences, Science Faculty, 2022)
The problem is that within the autistic community there are few resources for children to choose from when needing to learn how to communicate using a device. The resources out there are also currently unaffordable for many parents, they lack the ability to be used in all environments, and often takes the child very long to form a sentence. The app we are developing will be cheap, accessible on all devices and device providers, and provide recommendations on what to say based on past usage. The autistic community is currently craving for a new and improved communication device and this is it.

Startup Survivor Challengers with names