Electronic Products & Technology

UBC Ventures launches incubator lab for tech startups

Stephen Law   

Electronics Engineering Software Production / Materials Test & Measurement Engineering Supply Chain incubator

The University of British Columbia (UBC) recently opened a new space for technology startups to build and test their inventions, grow their businesses, and transform ideas into commercial products.

The new incubator space, named HATCH, is home to 11 ventures that are getting ready to launch their products on the market. HATCH is the latest addition to UBC’s growing commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

LET'S is one of 11 ventures in the new HATCH space. Photo: Paul Joseph (Credit: UBC)

LET’S is one of 11 ventures in the new HATCH space. Photo: Paul Joseph (Credit: UBC)

“We are delighted to welcome HATCH to the entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC) network,” said Phil Barker, associate vice president, research. “From water purification to medical imaging to robots that detect pipeline leaks, our faculty, alumni and students are creating ventures with great potential. As part of e@UBC, HATCH will play a key role in translating our research into businesses and job creation in our province.”

The startups in the new facility have already laid the foundation for their businesses through programs offered by the UBC Sauder School of Business and e@UBC, which provides mentorship, education and seed funding to support venture creation by students, alumni, faculty and staff. With the success of these programs, more UBC ventures are ready to launch products, but finding product development and office space has been a growing problem.


Providing collaborative innovation space on campus for new businesses

HATCH was created to address this problem by providing the first collaborative innovation space on campus for new businesses to build and test prototypes. Admission to the program is through a competitive selection process and is open to technology startups and social ventures. With the program, ventures will also have access to mentoring from resident HATCH entrepreneurs and office space. It is expected that within one year, most ventures will outgrow the space.

“The companies that are sharing this facility are past the research and development phase and are ready to push their products to market,” said Adrian Banica, executive chair of Illusense, a company that has created a laser sensor mounted on a robot that detects small cracks and leaks in pipelines to improve safety. “The whole process of going to market is fraught with challenges and HATCH is helping us navigate those tough waters.”

HATCH is expected to eventually house up to 35 ventures at a time in the coming years.

Backgrounder: The 11 HATCH ventures

A&K Robotics is creating an autonomous self-driving robot that can move around indoor spaces where GPS and other systems do not work. http://www.aandkrobotics.com

Acuva Technologies is designing a portable water purification system, using UV-LED light technology, to be used in remote communities, cabins and on boats. http://acuvatech.com

AVA Technologies is creating micro-gardens that take care of themselves so people can grow their own produce at home or in offices. http://avagrows.com

ExcelSense Technologies is developing cameras and sensors that self-clean, for use in harsh industrial settings, so mud, dust, oil, grease and saw dust can be detected and cleaned from their lenses as required. http://www.excelsensetechnologies.com

Illusense is a pipeline inspection technology that can detect pinhole leaks by sending a robot equipped with ultra-high resolution lasers through hundreds of kilometres of pipeline. http://illusense.com

LET’S is developing Takhti, a long-range wireless server for communities without Internet connectivity so they can access resources to support education and promote health and socioeconomic wellbeing. http://lets-ica.com

Microdermics is designing a cost-effective way to deliver drugs and vaccines using microneedles, tiny structures that do not cause pain or bleeding http://www.microdermics.com Microdermics recently won the top prize in the 2016 BCIC-New Ventures BC Competition.

Moovee Innovations is developing autonomous vehicles that communicate with their surroundings to enhance transportation safety and prevent congestion. http://www.mooveeinnovations.com

Sonic Incytes is developing a portable ultrasound technology to diagnose liver disease and other medical conditions safely, quickly and affordably using a non-invasive method. http://sonicincytes.com

Tesseraz is designing a material that could replace glass so that sensors and electronics can be embedded, while improving insulation and durability. http://www.tesseraz.com

Vital Mechanics Research is creating a technology that simulates and behaves like skin and soft tissues. http://vitalmechanics.com


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