The University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) incubator, co-directed by U of T’s Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO) and MaRS Innovation, has announced its third cohort of computer science start-up companies.
The five companies and the diverse sectors they target are:
• FlatFab Inc. — 3D printing (designing 3D objects that print in 2D)
• ICE3 Power Technologies Inc. — hardware (universal charger for portable devices)
• Onyx Motion Inc. — wearables (digital coaching)
• Nvest Inc. — financial investing (socially-driven stock recommendations)
• Syncadian Inc. — digital health (fatigue management for enterprise clients)
Past graduates include Whirlscape, TrendMD, Crowdmark, eQOL and Granata Decision Systems, among others.
“We had an excellent response from the U of T community this year with over 80 companies applying to join UTEST,” says co-director Kurtis Scissons of IPO. “In June, we selected 20 to present to the selection committee; seven promising companies made the short list in August. As always, we seek companies building business-to-business customer bases, preferably around operational products with a short term to market.”
Instead of immediately receiving $30,000 in start-up funding, however, UTEST teams had a three-month try-out period. “We wanted them to demonstrate their idea is scalable and enterprise-focused while showing us their team’s capable of executing,” says co-director Mike Betts, entrepreneur-in-residence at MaRS Innovation. “Accessing mentorship and business strategy assistance, along with use of the UTEST offices, generated a healthy competition.”
UTEST is part of the Banting & Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, a growing ecosystem of accelerators, incubators and commercialization support services at U of T, and is supported by the University of Toronto’s Connaught Fund. The companies are also eligible to become clients of MaRS Discovery Districts ICE or Healthcare practices.
“Getting into UTEST helped us take our idea from an idea to a company,” said Sheikh Mohammad Ahsanuzzaman, CEO of ICE3 Power Technologies. “The mentoring and funding we’ve received has allowed us to smoothly and efficiently start building as we create a world-class power supply company.”