Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU 2015 cohort showcases interdisciplinary ventures

Aug 19, 2015

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The 2015 Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU cohort.

The 2015 Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU cohort.

Drone technology that can be used to monitor crops, a medication management device, and an app-enabled pregnancy monitoring device were just some of the innovative interdisciplinary technology ventures showcased at the final class presentation for the 2014/15 Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU cohort.

The Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU program, offered in collaboration with the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), pairs together students from SFU’s Beedie School of Business and School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) to launch a market-driven technology startup.

This year’s cohort formed five teams, each focused on developing products that address real-world wants and needs. The students collaborated on their ventures for a year, building teams, creating prototypes, performing customer development, establishing networks, and finally launching their firms.

The final class presentation, held on August 5 at the SFU Surrey campus, allowed the students to showcase their businesses and technology demos to a guest panel of judges from SFU’s Venture Connection Student Incubator, SFU’s Innovation office and the BC Technology Industry Association, who provided assistance to the students at several points throughout the program.

This year’s Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU cohort of businesses included:

  • ePione, a medication management device that helps people maintain their drug regimen through notifications via a smartphone app.
  • Artemis Technologies, an image and data analytics company using drones to provide more timely and cost effective crop monitoring services to Canadian vineyards.
  • BirthAlert (Acceleration Innovations), an app-enabled device that accurately tracks the contractions of pregnant woman, bringing peace of mind to new parents.
  • Cthulights, which designs and manufactures digital lighting displays that enable DJs to create custom light shows that respond to musical changes in real time.
  • Triton Systems, an app-enabled aquarium tank monitoring system that provides real-time water monitoring and analysis through mobile systems alerts.

“This cohort has set a very high standard for what students in this program can achieve, and this program has set a high standard for what entrepreneurship education at SFU can achieve,” says Sarah Lubik, Beedie Director of Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU.

“It was remarkable to take a step back during the evening and realize just how far the students have progressed throughout the program, not only in developing their excellent prototype products and business plans, but in their appreciation of the group’s diversity of skills and perspectives,” says Kevin Oldknow, MSE Director of Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU. “The high level of enthusiasm and communication was wonderful to see, and the presentations were greatly enjoyable.”

Prior to the conclusion of the program, two of the teams, Artemis and Triton, had been selected as clients of SFU’s student incubator Venture Connection. Artemis, Birth Alert, and Triton also qualified for the second round of the BCIC – New Ventures competition, which provides early-stage tech entrepreneurs with education, mentorship, and exposure to help build a successful venture.

The cohort also won significant awards and funding at SFU’s annual Opportunity Fest showcase. The Most Investable category saw Artemis and Birth Alert take first and second place respectively; Triton took home gold in the Technology category; while Epione earned joint first place in the Innovator’s Choice category and joint third in Most Impactful. All participating teams plan to continue with their ventures after the conclusion of the program.

“Our business idea would not have begun if it were not for the Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU program,” says Kevin Holdcroft, founder of Cthulights Digital Entertainment Designs. “The program gave us all the resources necessary, along with the mentorship we desperately needed.”

The Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU program was launched in 2012 through a donation from SFU alumnus Dr. Ken Spencer and a matching grant from BCIC. The program was re-imagined and re-launched last year to focus more on the team-building necessary for entrepreneurs to tackle and execute ambitious projects.

For more information on Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU program, visit