Startup Survivor: The Pitch Competition

The Forge Business Incubator and McMaster University are proud to present our Annual $75k Pitch Competition: Startup Survivor.
Each fall, 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!

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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. To support the growth of these startups, McMaster and The Forge awards $45,000 to the 10 teams while mentoring them through intense business and technical challenges. At the Pitch Competition, 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!

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 2023 Winners

$15,000 Grand Prize Winner: TechMedic

Grand prize winner, Shania Bhopa, posing on stage with cheque

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.

Second Place Winner: NerView Surgical

Mann Parikh, second place winner in 2023, posing with cheque on stage

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.

Third Place Winner: CrowdVision

Ibrahim Iftikhar posing with his third place cheque on stage

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.

$1000 People’s Choice Award: Cloak The Poke

Cloak the Poke team posing with their people's choice award.

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!