The Techno program teaches students, researchers and faculty a broad range of skills that do not only apply to building a business. Regardless of the path you choose, the lessons you take with you after Techno can be applied to many different aspects of your life, including various fields, future jobs, and even education.
These Techno alumni have all accomplished different things and chosen different paths for their company and their careers. Here are a few of their stories:
Raise Serious VC cash and move to California
Atomwise is taking the computational drug discovery world by storm. The company originally called Chematria is an alumnus of Techno2012. After signing research partnerships with hospitals and businesses, including SickKids, CAMH and Merck, the company turned south of the border and participated in the W15 term of the vaunted accelerator Y Combinator. That opportunity led to a $6 million round of financing by investors Data Collective, AME Cloud Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Khosla Ventures and the OD Fund. The company recently launched its AIMS program to provide drug leads selected by its software system.
Partner with leading academics
Pathcore has always had a strong relationship with hospitals and academic institutions. Founded by a U ot T professor and former research engineer at Sunnybrook Research Institute, the idea behind Pathcore’s digital pathology platform is strongly rooted in the experience of both researchers and clinicians. The Techno2012 alumnus recently announced a major development project with six leading cancer centres across the U.S. and Canada, funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. This funding will help develop the company’s software, which is already used in over 100 institutions, and will extend their reach even further.
Bootstrap your business through sales
Happy Pops are the perfect summer treat. The company was founded by Leila Keshavjee after taking both the Impact Centre’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Internship in New Ventures courses. Despite having family in the food business Leila was always interested in charting her own path. Since participating in Techno2016, Happy Pops have been sold at venues across the province and featured in national publications. Growth has come through sales, and the bootstrapped company is looking forward to another banner summer of tasty treats.
VertoNova Analytical Inc. was founded by academics from the University of Toronto’s Department of Chemistry to develop a radical new approach to mass spectrometry. One of those academics is Dr. Arash Zarrine-Afsar. While the company has become dormant for the moment, Dr. Zarrine-Afsar is continuing his work on developing new tools and techniques to study the dynamics of biological systems. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto and a Scientist at UHN’s Techna Institute. These tools may one day become the basis for another Impact Centre company.
Continue to pursue advanced degrees
Somnitude is working to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep at night. The company creates eyewear that is designed to protect you from blue light that disrupts sleep. Its founder Amol Rao, is still in the process of finishing his Masters in Industrial Engineering. Amol has found being in school helpful while building his company. He has been able to supplement both the science and business behind his company through courses such as, sleep physiology, data analytics and more. Amol took part in Techno2016, and is continuing to balance school and work, taking advantage of the resources available to him while in school.
Work with Contract Research Organizations
Cytospan Technologies is a life science company that is developing automated laboratory instruments to enable the efficient measurement of cellular lifespan for drug discovery and genetic research. Their company is transforming cellular research methods that look at aging and aging-associated diseases. Cytospan Technologies was founded and developed by brother’s Michael and Chris Pettigrew, who took part in Techno2012. Since that time, the brothers have continued to develop Cytospan’s technology, working with a contract research organization (CRO) to advance their work further. Building on their experience founding Cytospan, Michael moved to the Bay Area where he works in biotech venture capital, and Chris moved to London where he works for GSK.
Partner with industry leaders
Illuster Technologies provides universities and other educational institutions with a state-of-the-art hardware/software platform for teaching electronics, bringing industry standards to the educational process. Founded by three graduates from the University of Toronto’s engineering program, their technology began as a final year project. Since taking part in Techno2014, they have continued to grow the company, partnering with Quanser. Their partnership with Quanser is mutually beneficial, allowing Illuster to gain new experience in business and engineering. Quanser is helping them grow faster and is distributing AELabs globally.
Moonlight for a multinational market leader
Enceladus Imaging Inc. develops intelligent machine vision hardware for the manufacturing and automation sectors. They create machine vision cameras with state-of-the-art software to produce market-leading image quality and fidelity. Enceladus was founded by for individuals from the University of Toronto, including Kalin Ovtcharov. After participating in Techno2015 they continue to develop their technology, helping companies to solve important industry problems. While currently working at Microsoft in hardware development, Kalin and his cofounders continue to moonlight the development of Enceledus.
Heather Clayton is a Communications Intern at the Impact Centre