Building a Startup with McGill Inventions Recap

From November 13-19, 2016 McGill hosted its 4th annual McGill Innovation Week (MIW) to give the opportunity to showcase many activities surrounding innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. On Thursday November 17, the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship collaborated with IDEA (Invention Development and Entrepreneurship Assistance) to present an event on Building a Startup with McGill Inventions. The purpose of the event was build bridges between McGill’s rich diversity of research  and innovation, and its growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Mark Weber, the Technology Transfer Manager at IDEA (pictured above), explained the role of IDEA in assisting researchers in transferring research outcomes to markets. IDEA is responsible for the protection and commercialization of McGill intellectual property. They have mentored over 90 startups by advising on business opportunities with industry partners, facilitating the legal agreements and identifying financing opportunities, among other things. Before opening the event with an overview of the Montreal Startup Ecosystem, Mark Weber emphasized the importance of building a network through collisions and highlighted that COLLISION was the theme of the event!

As showed during the MIW, the Montreal Startup Ecosystem is booming. To describe it in further detail, Nagui Naoum from PME Montreal and Anne-Marie Larose from Aligo Innovation were invited.

PME Montreal
Nagui Naoum, Project Manager and Management Consultant at PME Montreal, presenting at Build a Startup With McGill Inventions – November 17, 2016

The PME Montreal network offers a full range of professional services for private-sector and social economy entrepreneurs on the Montreal Island. Nagui Naoum, the Project Manager and Management Consultant at PME Montreal, presented the multiple actors that contribute to the ecosystem. PME is contributing to the Montreal Startup Ecosystem by working with a network of various stakeholders and partners. Nagui ended his presentation by presenting the 12 states of mind entrepreneurs need to have in order to succeed, such as don’t expect immediate results!

Aligo Innovation
Anne-Marie Larose, CEO of Aligo Innovation, presenting at Build a Startup with McGill Inventions – November 17, 2016

Anne-Marie Larose, CEO of Aligo Innovation, discussed how they transform inventions into innovations and translate these into profitable business opportunities. Anne-Marie  described the steps to take an invention to the point where it creates value for the investors and the universities.

Dr. Tony Falco
Dr. Tony Falco presenting at Build a Startup with McGill Inventions – November 17, 2016

Later in the evening, Dr. Tony Falco joined us to talk about his journey from a startup to global success. Dr. Falco described the two main elements that helped him in his experience. The first one was to Fail Early in the Field. Through interesting research, he highlighted how human behaviour is hard to predict and that you should always test your assumptions. To illustrate the second element, Dr Falco shared the story of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and the 140 years it took to finish its construction. The moral of this story was to focus on the importance of persistency and the fact that a lot of energy is required in order to build a successful business.

Cristina Mottillo, Co-founder and CSO at ACSYNAM, presenting at Build a Startup with McGill Inventions – November 17, 2016

For the second part of the event two startups from the IDEA office pitched in a Pecha Kucha format (20 slides/20 second each). The first one was ACSYNAM, a startup dedicated to the manufacturing and sales of advanced porous materials using a technology that enables low-waste and clean production of a chemically and structurally diverse broad range of products. Cristina Mottillo, Co-founder  and CSO, described how their technology enables the environmentally-responsible and large-scale manufacture of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).

Bioresource Engineering McGill
Viacheslav Adamchuk pitching Precision Agriculture and Sensor Systems at Build a Startup with McGill Inventions – November 17, 2016

To close off the night, Viacheslav Adamchuk, from the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill, pitched Precision Agriculture and Sensor Systems. They focus on the development of Proximal Soil and Plant Sensing Systems. Through Geospatial Data Processing and Management they want to expand a practical implementation of Precision Agriculture.

Overall this event was not only a way to present the multiple resources that researchers and entrepreneurs have on campus, but also across the city of Montreal to take their inventions and turn it into a business. Building on this event, for the past ten weeks, 8 McGill startups have been following the McGill Lean Startup Program with the goal of turning their idea into a sustainable business. To find out how they’ve done it, join us on Thursday December 5th to hear them pitch!


Maher Ayari

Maher Ayari is from Montreal and is currently a third year student at McGill University pursuing a Major in Finance and taking courses in International Business as well as Entrepreneurship. He is the President (2016-2017) of the McGill Dobson Student Executive Team (SET) and was the Program Coordinator for the 2016 McGill X-1 Accelerator Program.