The University of British Columbia is a bedrock of transformational research and innovation that is changing the world.
From human health discoveries and technological advancements to climate solutions and social impact, UBC entrepreneurs are putting BC and Canada on the global stage, leading ventures who are solving the most pressing challenges we face today.
A selection of those ventures were highlighted yesterday at the entrepreneurship@UBC 2022 Venture Showcase at UBC Robson Square.
Presented by entrepreneurship@UBC, the showcase was an opportunity for a diverse group of investors, mentors and ecosystem supporters to hear in-person pitches from eighteen up-and-coming startups.
The event was at full capacity with 300 attendees and another 150 zooming in online.
“More than ever, this year’s venture teams showed us how success is being found in the link between innovative ideas and a thirst for solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” noted Michelle Sklar, Head of Venture Growth Strategy at entrepreneurship@ubc.
“From rethinking ‘peculiar-surplus’ food waste to AI monitoring software for the advancement of sustainable fisheries around the world, to a world without blood-type constraints through to developing an e-platform to help women become financially independent, we’re proud of the wide scope of ideas emerging through entrepreneurship@ubc.”
Teams pitched in three categories including, Ones-to-Watch, Sneak-a-Peak, and Ready-to-Raise with People’s Choice awards for each category.
Ones-to-Watch: BryoSphere Biotechnologies
Many plant-derived antioxidant compounds have shown great promise as active ingredients in skincare and pharmaceuticals, however, because of their high cost, many companies have not been able to include these compounds in their formulations.
BryoSphere will use genetically modified moss cultures to produce specialty antioxidants. By doing this, they can offer expensive compounds to businesses at affordable prices and use an environmentally sustainable manufacturing method.
Sneak-aPeak: Ondeck Fisheries AI
OnDeck delivers scalable automated monitoring software for commercial fisheries. Their tools automate the review of video footage from fishing vessels to help fishers meet mandatory compliance measures.
Driven by artificial intelligence, OnDeck’s cloud analytics platform makes monitoring significantly cheaper, faster, and more scalable than existing monitoring strategies. By enabling fast and scalable monitoring, the team is making compliance affordable for fishers, which will ultimately revolutionize fisheries management and conservation around the world.
Nyoka engineers bioluminescent enzymes to replace the toxic chemicals used to create chemiluminescence. Their tech has the same features as chemical light, but is made from sugars and proteins instead of petrochemicals. Nyoka’s formulas have improvements in performance, manufacturing efficiency, cost, safety, and sustainability.
Nyoka’s technology is also non-flammable, generates no heat, and the manufacturing process creates 95% less greenhouse gas emissions. Their first product is a compostable replacement for the roughly 2 billion chemical light sticks used for fishing lures annually by commercial long-line fishing vessels.
The year all of the pitching ventures align with UN Sustainable Development Goals and are committed to social justice values including diversity and inclusion. Half of the ventures were female founded or co-led.
“It’s been a whirlwind year and it feels like there is a lot of optimism,” said entrepreneurship@ubc Interim Managing Director, Dr. Sean Lumb.
“When we created the first Venture Showcase three years ago, we wanted to bring the community together and celebrate the incredible ventures being pursued by UBC entrepreneurs as we engaged with those across the university. They’re dedicating time and energy to solving major challenges faced by our world today including the climate emergency, human health and social justice.”
Photos: OnDeck photo by Bruce Claggett