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Tech e@SFU start-up wins third place in global sustainability competition

Jun 18, 2019

John Nguyen, Devpreet Bhullar, Refayet Siam, founders of technology start-up Novion have won third place in the global Enzen Hackathon (l-r).

The SFU student founders of technology start-up Novion have won third place in the global Enzen Hackathon after competing against more than 650 companies. The three-phase hackathon sought solutions for tackling worldwide energy, water and environmental challenges.

Novion grew out of the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program (Tech e@SFU), where John Nguyen, who is graduating from SFU’s Beedie School of Busines, Devpreet Bhullar, who graduates this month from mechatronic systems engineering, and mechatronic alumnus Refayet Siam teamed up to develop an intelligent water-monitoring system. The system informs managers and tenants of their water usage, and improves cost-efficiency, life-cycle planning and asset protection.

Driven by a strong mission and an optimistic outlook, Novion braved new waters to participate in the international competition. The almost-year-long hackathon began with team members submitting an online prototype and report, followed by an in-person pitch in Bangalore, India and then a final presentation to water sustainability professionals in London, U.K.

“While we are developing water-management solutions for B.C., our plan is to learn about the different ways we can make a global impact on managing water use in the far future,” says John Nguyen. “Attending the hackathon helped us expand our network of global connections and better understand the magnitude of water-related challenges around the world.”

Novion’s third place win earned its members a $2,000 cash prize. As well, the team developed a formal partnership with Enzen, a technology firm operating in the energy and water sector. In this new partnership, Novion will share its expertise in data analytics, internet of things, and facilities management while Enzen will share its global expertise and connections. Together, the two companies plan to tackle one of the world’s largest environmental challenges—water sustainability.

Tech e@SFU is a high-tech entrepreneurship program, funded by Innovate B.C., formerly BCIC, and the SpencerCreo Foundation, offering hands-on training, mentoring, funding and guidance from faculty members in both the SFU Beedie and Mechatronics Systems Engineering.

The students create their own teams aimed at developing a high-tech start-up that addresses an issue impacting a market. The program is open to students from SFU Beedie, MSE and all faculties taking the Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

To learn more, read the full story on SFU News.