Recap: McGill Lean Startup Demo Day

Editor’s Note: The McGill Lean Startup Program is a 10-week hands-on program that immerses early-stage McGill startup teams by having them test their business ideas and hypotheses outside the classroom. Inside the classroom, we deliberately trade off lecture time for students/teaching team interaction.

Since the end of September, 8 early-stage McGill teams have been going through the build-measure-learn customer development process and have been working on their pitches in preparation for this event. On December 4th, we had them pitch in front of over 100 people including 3 judges to show the city what they’ve been up to. There was also a brief Q&A after each pitch.

Meet the cohort!

1. Composite Marker

You may be familiar with this situation if you’re a dentist: A patient comes in, and you need to stain their white fillings but you actually end up staining more than that – the whole tooth! You’re not happy about it, and neither is the patient. This exact situation is costing dentists hours every week…hours that they could be spending on other clients or even at home with their families. But what if you could do just that? Composite Marker stains white fillings but not the surrounding tooth, allowing dentists to replace and repair fillings more efficiently and safely!

2. Cura Therapeutics

Steve Jobs, Alan Rickman, Patrick Swayze, Syd Barrett, Bill Hicks, and Joan Crawford. What did they all have in common? Pancreatic cancer. It is estimated that 1 man in 74 will develop pancreatic cancer in his lifetime and 1 in 27 will die from it. It is estimated that 1 woman in 72 will develop pancreatic cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 66 will die from it. We are proud to say that Cura Therapeutics is developing a cure for pancreatic cancer with their novel immunotherapy technology right here at McGill.

3. DomeAge

A geodesic dome is a hemispherical thin-shell structurebased on a geodesic polyhedron. The triangular elements of the dome are structurally rigid and distribute the structural stress throughout the structure, making geodesic domes able to withstand very heavy loads for their size. DomeAge provides a kit that allows people worldwide to construct a personalized geodesic dome, effortlessly. This has applications like use for camping, impromptu habitats for picnics, and best of all, they look cool! See the Biosphere in Montreal to see what a big one looks like.

4. EBHnow 

There’s a major problem that dentists have: understanding the implications and effects of different medications and conditions on dental care. They can sort through endless databases and studies to find what they need, but this slows down their work immensely. What if there were an AI-based system that could bring you the answers right to your finger tips? A sort of personalized dental care research assistant, that’s more reliable and more dentally-focused than something like WebMD. EBHnow  is the hub of evidence-based healthcare data. They provide updated solutions for dental inquiries.

5. Informed Experiments

There is a major bottleneck on the way we perform cancer research: the complexity of gene networks. Molecular genetics presents an increasingly complex picture of the genome and biological function. Evidence is mounting for distributed function, redundancy, and combinatorial coding in the regulation of genes. It’s extremely difficult for researchers to step over this boundary and carry on with their research. Informed Experiments’ AI algorithms are looking to distill the complexity of gene networks to accelerate cancer research.

6. Inti Aerospace 

Agriculture is probably not the first thing you think of when you think “high tech” and “innovation”, right? But the fact is, from the dawn of civilization, it was food production and transportation that has necessitated mankind to step up their tech game. From plows to seed selection, complex drip irrigation systems and mechanized farming, FOOD has driven lots of innovation. The next revolution? Vertically integrated solar drones that require minimal human fiddling. Inti Aerospace’s solar-powered platform helps farmers maximize crop yields by providing precise crop imagery at an unprecedented rate.

7. InVivo AI

The process for drug discovery and approval takes ages. It can take decades to know whether or not a medication will be feasible in terms of toxicity and chemical stability. And in the meantime, everybody including investors are left waiting with no informed idea of whether or not it could work – many investors are not scientists, after all. What if there were a sort of pre-approval process that could be done rapidly and accurately that would give you a high-level overview of the chances that a drug will be approved? InVivo AI is your clinical trial crystal ball, using the power of machine learning to predict failure through all phases of drug development.


Should doctors be required to take a calligraphy class? Jokes aside, miscommunication of what medications somebody is on is a serious issue. Especially if that person isn’t capable (for one reason or another) to communicate that to you. Unforeseen negative effects from drug interactions and allergies are just the tip of the iceberg of what this issue can lead to, whether it’s you or your loved ones. That’s where PHIRE comes in, helping you manage your medications for a safer, healthier family.

What’s next? The McGill Dobson Cup of course – applications are now open!

Dobson Chronicles

The Dobson Chronicles is the official blog of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship.