inmedia Public Relations Inc.

July 3, 2008

Easy glucose monitoring for diabetics, fresh drinking water from the ocean and robotics design for the masses compete for $10,000 prize

Filed under: — inmedia @ 9:20 am

Easy glucose monitoring for diabetics, fresh drinking water from the ocean and robotics design for the masses compete for $10,000 prize

Enterprising students vie for top spot in 8th Annual Technology Venture Challenge

Ottawa, Ontario – May 14, 2008 – Imagine a pain-free method for millions of diabetics to monitor their blood glucose levels, or a low-cost distillation process that can deliver safe drinking water from seawater. How about a modular approach to consumer robotics that slashes up-front development costs and simplifies the design process. These are the innovative ideas pioneered by post-secondary students who have made the cut to become finalists in this year’s Technology Venture Challenge.

Forty teams from Carleton University, The University of Ottawa, Algonquin College and Queen’s University answered the challenge this year, but only 15 were chosen as semi-finalists in the annual business case competition sponsored by local venture capitalists and others in the tech community. The semi-finalists were paired with CEOs and entrepreneurs who mentored them through pitch and presentation development. The top three finalists, two from the University of Ottawa and one from Queen’s University, will present their technology ideas at the final event on Tuesday, May 20, 2008.

Event schedule:
Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Reception: 6:00 pm
Team pitches: 7:00 pm
Award presentation: 8:30 pm

Venue:
Council Chambers, Main Floor, Ben Franklin Place
101 Centrepointe Drive, NepeanEach group will give a 15-minute pitch to a judging panel and in front of an audience of leading local entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists. The winner of the competition will be announced shortly after the presentations. The team whose proposal represents the most promising technology start-up opportunity will be awarded $10,000. The runners-up will each receive cash awards of $5,000.

“Once again we were impressed by the calibre and diversity of the entrants for the Technology Venture Challenge,” said Ron Killeen, managing director of the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Communications and Information Technology, one of the event sponsors. “The TVC is an excellent opportunity to showcase the entrepreneurial talent coming out of Ontario’s colleges and universities and help them learn the ropes from biz savvy veterans. I wish all the finalists good luck when they face their final challenge on May 20.”

All teams that participated in the earlier rounds of the Challenge have been invited to attend. This invitation-only event provides all the budding technology entrepreneurs an excellent opportunity to expand their network of contacts in Ottawa’s business community.
In previous years, finalists have submitted business cases in a variety of areas, including nanotechnology, cosmetics that act at the genetic level, RFID tags, biotech instrumentation, file storage, distribution software ideas, ISP service integration, medical devices, online security technology and intelligent light bulbs.

This year’s finalists are:

Spectra Glucose Check
Majid Nagi
University of Ottawa
Mentor: David Mann

Spectra Glucose Check aims to replace the glucose monitoring test strip that causes millions of diabetics pain and exposure to biohazards with a pain-free, safe method that can cut user cost by 50 per cent. The technology has been developed from Raman spectroscopy developed as a part of a PhD research project.

Studies have shown that due to pain, diabetics skip self-monitoring, harming themselves and impacting healthcare costs. Diabetic complications are estimated to cost US$132 billion a year in the United States alone. Spectra Glucose Check believes its portable product will be of interest to a growing market of over 170 million diabetics worldwide who are urgently seeking a pain-free, non-invasive monitoring solution. From an initial R&D budget of $750,000, the company hopes to generate revenues of $35.4 million by the end of 2011 and break even in mid-2011.

Water For All
Moh’d Rasool Qtaishat
University of Ottawa
Mentor: Garth Dickey

Water for All was founded on a humanitarian vision of bringing a low-cost source of potable water to the hundreds of millions of people living in areas where reliable sources of drinking water are not available. The company’s technology uses a unique desalination by membrane distillation process that produces clean drinking water from seawater, which the founders hope will provide a solution to the world’s acute water supply problems.

Empyrea Technologies Ltd.
Brian Maxwell, Mike Studli, Evan Glowacki
Queen’s University
Mentor: Allan Wille

Consumer robotics is projected to grow into a $25-billion industry by 2025. Yet in order to develop a new consumer robotic device, massive investments in capital and expertise are required. There are no standard components or software. Developing a simple consumer device requires a team of highly trained and specialized engineers, custom circuit boards and assembly language programming. Empyrea Technologies has developed a series of modular robotic components that simplifies robotic design and lowers upfront development costs. The company intends to position its technology as the building blocks of the robotics revolution.

About the Technology Venture Challenge
The Technology Venture Challenge is an annual technology business idea competition run by volunteers from the educational and business community. It is sponsored by BDC Venture Capital, Carleton University Foundry Program, Celtic House Venture Partners, KPMG, Labarge Weinstein, Ontario Centres of Excellence, RBC Financial Group, Smart & Biggar, Research in Motion and the Ottawa Technology Transfer Network. The Technology Venture Challenge’s supporters include inmedia Public Relations, The OCRI Entrepreneurship Centre, HBS Marketing and Katsura Investments.

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