UW startups fought for crucial funding and a chance to market their products at the 18th Velocity Fund Finals, held March 30 in the SLC Great Hall.

The finals, held triannually, invite student and alumni startups to a three-minute pitch competition to sell panelists on their product or idea.

This year, 10 startups competed in each of both the $5,000 and $25,000 funding finals. Three $5K winners and four $25K winners were chosen, and a special funding prize of $10,000 was available to the 25K competitor that offered the most innovative science or hardware pitch.

Jay Shah, Velocity director since fall 2016, acted as master of ceremonies for the event.

Find out about this spring’s Velocity Fund Finals winners:


$25K Winners

Emagin

What is it?

Intelligent, real-time software that manages water operation systems, reducing the surprisingly large amount of manual labour required in water maintenance and making it more efficient.

Who’s on the team?

Abdul Gaffoor, Mohammad Vedut, Amin Jahanpour, Mohammed Al Arnawoot, Tawfeeq Abdul Gaffoor, Mariam Javed, Megh Suthar, Ahmed Dauda, Thamjeeth Abdul Gaffoor.

How far are they?

Have partnered with utility and industrial conglomerates in Ontario, the Bay area, and the Emirates, with an anticipated revenue of $450,000 in 2017.

Serenity Bioworks

What is it?

Serenity Bioworks is working on formulas to increase the long-term effectiveness of anti-inflammatory medication by preventing bodies from developing drug immunity.

Who’s on the team?

Cody Shirriff, Master of Science in Biology ‘16, Spencer Berg, Master of Science in Pharmacy ‘16.

How far are they?

Serenity Bioworks is filing a provisional patent application this month, with plans to begin preclinical work in June 2017. Serenity Bioworks also received the $10,000 prize for the most innovative science/hardware.

Gamelynx

What is it?

A web-based gaming platform that allows groups of people to play games together with no downloads required, like a simplified virtual board game.

Who’s on the team?

Matthew Sourgoutsidis, Arts and Business ‘17, Carter Minshull, 4B Physics, Alexander Mistakidis, 4B Computer Science.

How far are they?

Gamelynx boasted over 1,000+ signups for Wisecrack, a virtual spin on Cards Against Humanity that costs $5 but can be played with friends for no additional cost.

Marlena Books

What is it?

Marlena Books creates specialized, therapeutic books for individuals with dementia. Its members are working on an app to digitize the books and add additional features.

Who’s on the team?

Rachel Thompson, Harishah Mehmood, Karen Thompson, Kristi Boulton, Pamela Fehr.

How far are they?

In addition to the books they’ve released, Marlena Books is also working on an app that provides audio and music, allows users to make notes for books they’re reading, and releases new content monthly. Marlena Books boasts $11,800 in sales since February.


$5K Winners

Para

What is it?

A cloud-based application that promises to help you make end-of-life plans in an easy and comprehensive way. While writing out a will may not be the most fun thing to do, it is important: over 55 per cent of people have no will whatsoever. Para offers a simple solution that manages legal, financial, insurance and funeral plans.

Who’s on the team?

Jill Sadler and Mustafa Al Midani, Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology candidates.

How far are they?

Currently in the prototype stage, with plans for beta testing in February 2018 and a launch in June 2018.

Rugelach, Roswell, and Rufus

What is it?

The Ped E board, an EMS spine board designed for children that accurately weighs the subject in order to make recommendations for drug usage and electrical voltage. The current system relies on Broselow tape, which measures a child’s height and then makes an approximation based on average weight for a child of that size — a potentially deadly assumption.

Who’s on the team?

Ethan Milne, 1B Knowledge Integration.

How far are they?

Has had validation studies published in two peer-reviewed emergency medicine journals, with a provisional patent secured and a patent pending.

ShiftRide

What is it?

A peer-to-peer ridesharing app that allows people to rent cars from nearby car owners at an hourly rate. Current plans place car renting at $10-20 per hour, and includes a service fee which covers insurance, roadside assistance, and support. Hardware installed into cars allows for secure monitoring of the vehicle. 

Who’s on the team?

Nima Tahami, 2B Computer Science, and Mohsen Mohsenpour, 4B Computer Science and Business.

How far are they?

Users can sign onto ShiftRide at shiftride.com. The platform currently features 1,500 renters, 100 cars, and 10 partners.