Startup Survivor: The Pitch Competition

The Forge Business Incubator and McMaster University are proud to present our Annual $75k Pitch Competition: Startup Survivor.
Join the action on October 5 from 5-8pm at McMaster University and watch as our top student entrepreneurs compete for cash in front of a panel of expert judges. Participate in a fun evening of startup pitches, meet exciting entrepreneurs from McMaster, network with the local innovation community and win audience prizes!

Get your free ticket before October 5!

Pitch Competition taking place October 5, 2023

Register for your FREE ticket today!

Who will outlast the competition and take home the grand prize?

Startup Survivor is a 4-month Accelerator and Pitch Competition awarding $75,000 to McMaster University students and alumni with the best business ideas. The program runs annually throughout the Summer Term. We began in May with 10 startups and 21 competitors – 17 Students and 4 Alumni from all levels: Undergraduate, Masters, PhD. To support the growth of these startups, McMaster and The Forge awarded $45,000 to the 10 teams while mentoring them through intense business and technical challenges. Finalists will deliver a 5-minute pitch to the audience and esteemed judging panel. After deliberations, we’ll crown our winners and award the remaining $30,000 in our prize pool!

Join The Forge & McMaster University on October 5 from 5-8PM at CIBC Hall (McMaster University Student Center, Third Floor). We hope to see you all there!

About The Forge

Welcome to The Forge, McMaster University’s premier startup incubator and entrepreneurship hub. At The Forge, we believe in empowering innovators, entrepreneurs, and dreamers to transform their ideas into successful ventures.

The Forge is an entrepreneurial hub backed by McMaster University, catering to startups in the Hamilton, Greater Toronto, and Niagara Regions. Established in 2015, we actively engage with entrepreneurs, providing them comprehensive support in transforming their business concepts into thriving ventures. Regardless of industry, The Forge offers cohort-based programs to facilitate idea development, validation, and ultimately, sustainable growth.

Meet The Survivors


Founder: Jiayi Deng
MSc eHealth, 2022
DeGroote School of Business, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science

ChloroGrow is revolutionizing the houseplant repotting process. Presenting the first of its kind, commercial expandable plant pot that expands to accommodate large, fast-growing plants. ChloroGrow’s expandable plant pot allows users the luxury of having a seamless plant repotting experience without the excessive labour, time, and mess associated with traditional plant repotting.

Cloak The Poke

Founders: Julia Ungureanu, Fatima Gafoor, Rabbea Sidhu, Warisha Rehman
Integrated Biomedical Engineering (Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship Stream), 2024
Faculty of Engineering & Faculty of Health Sciences

Cloak The Poke is a novel and friendly solution for clinicians and parents of children who suffer from needle phobia. This non-medical device transforms the physical appearance of the needle into a fun and friendly companion! Our mission is to change vaccinations into a comfortable experience through innovative toys that securely clip onto vaccine syringes. The vision of Cloak The Poke is to create a world where children fearlessly face vaccinations with confidence and ease!


Founder: Ibrahim Iftikhar
Integrated Biomedical Engineering (Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship Stream), 2025.
Faculty of Engineering & Faculty of Health Sciences

CrowdVision is revolutionizing the live event experience. Our application provides personalized and enhanced event videos, letting you pick what moments you want to see and how you want them to look. Did you miss a highlight? Or have shaky or blurry footage? No problem! Our custom AI model improves your clips and uses crowdsourcing to ensure you won’t miss any moment. With CrowdVision you spend less time time recording, and more time enjoying and sharing unforgettable moments.

NerView Surgical

Founder: Mann Parikh
Biomedical Discovery & Commercialization, 2025
Faculty of Health Sciences

NerView Surgical is developing a novel patent-pending, non-invasive, optical system that revolutionizes how surgeons identify and protect nerves during surgeries. Our technology uses computer vision with polarized light to highlight nerves in real-time, providing surgeons with the confidence to perform surgeries safely and efficiently. With NerView, surgeons can reduce the incidence of nerve injuries, resulting in better patient outcomes and improved quality of life.


Founder: Shania Bhopa
PhD Candidate (Global Health), 2024
Faculty of Health Sciences

TechMedic is a patient-physician tool to streamline emergency room bedside education to reduce touchpoint time. TechMedic aims to reduce wait times, enhance patient experience, and increase the number of patients that are seen on shift.

Meet The Judges

Ari Rubin
Partner, Celesta Capital

Ari Rubin has over 20 years of operating experience in technology and financial services. Ari Rubin is currently a partner at Celesta Capital, a Silicon Valley-based, early stage venture capital firm focused on deep tech. Ari was previously senior director of corporate development at Qualcomm where he focused on partnerships, strategy, and M&A. He was also vice president of investment banking at J.P. Morgan and an associate director at UBS Investment Bank.

Eric Zimmerman
Co-Founder, Enhanced Medical Nutrition

Eric Zimmerman is an experienced healthcare professional with a medical device sales and marketing background and operating experience in emerging and large medical device companies, supporting research, commercialization, and business development.

Eric founded Enhanced Medical Nutrition (EMN) in 2016, originally incubated at The Forge. EMN is a life sciences company that develops medical food products to help patients prepare better and recover faster from surgery. The company improves patient outcomes with targeted nutrition and is currently market active selling products and scaling across Canada and the U.S.

Jeffrey Potvin
Founder and General Partner, Open People Network and the Supporters Fund

Jeffrey Potvin, a distinguished professional in the fields of software engineering, ecommerce management, and entrepreneurship, boasts a rich educational background with multiple degrees from esteemed institutions like Seneca College and York University. As the Founder and CEO of Open People Network, he has taken a leadership role in a company dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurial success. Under his guidance, Open People Network has played a pivotal role in supporting early-stage startups and problem-solving ventures, offering global insights into innovative solutions.

Jeffrey’s extensive career also includes positions as CEO and CTO at Hardboot Inc, where he contributed significantly to the growth of diverse businesses. He is a dedicated angel investor, participating in numerous angel groups and investing in over 70 companies across various sectors, including deep tech, real estate, Bitcoin, retail, and fintech. Jeffrey Potvin’s passion lies in preparing early-stage companies for success and championing visionary founders and teams, solidifying his reputation as a prominent figure in the world of investment and innovation.

Somaradi Khiev
Co-Founder, OPEN IP Corporation

After graduating from McMaster Engineering, Materials Science, with a Master’s in Applied Science, Somaradi Khiev went on to co-found OPEN IP Corporation which is an intellectual property (IP) agency. Presently, Somaradi is a registered Canadian patent and trademark agent.

At OPEN IP Corporaton, we work directly with inventors and Canadian companies to help protect their innovatons and grow their companies. We help our clients by identifying their intellectual property (IP), whether it be inventions, brands, or features of a product that appeals to the eye, and help them protect their IP in the jurisdictions that matter to specific business.

Yuri Kaplan
Co-Founder, AdMass

Yuri Kaplan is a tech-savvy professional with a diverse and accomplished career journey. Beginning as a freelance web developer in 2015, Yuri swiftly made a name for himself by delivering exceptional web design and development services to clients in Toronto and Hamilton. Their role as E-Commerce Manager at Felton Brushes Ltd in 2018 added depth to his expertise, and subsequent positions as a Web Developer and Social Media Manager at The Dunham Group Inc further showcased his versatility in the digital realm.

In 2020, Yuri took a significant entrepreneurial leap by founding AdMass, where he served as Founder and CEO until its acquisition by Sampler in 2023. This success story underscored Yuri’s acumen in the tech startup space. Yuri continues to make waves in the tech and digital landscape as a Product Manager for Data Products at Sampler.