McGill Lean Startup 2016 Final Presentations Recap

On the evening of Monday, December 5, 2016 over 120 students and entrepreneurs from the McGill community gathered into a fully packed lecture room to watch the Final Pitches of the eight startups in the McGill Lean Startup Program.

Marking the end of 10 weeks of intense business model, customer discovery and pitch development, these eight startup teams have come a long way since the beginning of the program. In the span of just under three months, many of these startups have developed from a rough plan into the beginnings of a monetized venture.

READ ALSO: McGill Lean Startup 2016 Highlights

Renjie Butalid, Marketing & Operations Advisor for the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship and Lead Instructor for the McGill Lean Startup Program, providing introductory remarks

The event resembled the structure of the classes themselves. Renjie Butalid, Lead Instructor for the McGill Lean Startup Program, opened the event by introducing the three judges for the evening: Alexander Haque, who led the first McGill Lean Startup Program (formerly McGill Lean LaunchPad) cohort last year and is now Director of Developer Relations at Retinad VRTim Tokarsky, Montreal-based Angel Investor and long-time judge and mentor for the McGill Dobson Cup; and Professor Gregory Vit, Director of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship.

From L-R: Tim Tokarsky, Prof. Gregory Vit and Alexander Haque, played the role of judges for the Final Presentations of the McGill Lean Startup Program 2016.

The judges questioned the teams from strategy to finances to current partners, while providing insightful advice and mentorship. The eight teams then took turns pitching their companies to the audience, followed by questions and feedback from the judges.

1. Voco Studios

Voco Studios is building the future of storytelling by providing anyone with the opportunity to produce professional quality content. Co-founders Ian, George and Lou, all met in undergrad while working at TVM: Student Television at McGill.

From L-R: Ian McNeice, Lou Gatti and George Popi, co-founders of Voco Studios during the Q&A session

View Voco Studios’ Demo Reel below:

2. Saccade Analytics

Saccade Analytics develops software that enables doctors to better diagnose concussion and dizziness. This McGill startup emerged based on the research of Dr. Iman Haji while a Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill.

Dr. Iman Haji, CEO & Co-Founder at Saccade Analytics and Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University during the Q&A session

3. 2D-CrystaLab

2D-CrystaLab develops crystal nanotechnology for clinical applications, including toothpaste designed for cleaning dental implants. This McGill startup emerged based on the research of Dr. Faleh Tamimi, Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at McGill and Canada Research Chair in Translational Craniofacial Research, and Dr. Ashwaq Al-Hashedi, Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill.

From L-R: Dr. Faleh Tamimi, David Hauptman, and Dr. Ashwaq Al-Hashedi from 2D-CrystaLab during the Q&A session

READ ALSO: Founder Spotlight: Prof. Faleh Tamimi

4. BoxKnight (formerly Parscit)

BoxKnight is a delivery service that allows customers to schedule the delivery of their online purchases after 5pm. BoxKnight enables online retailers to easily integrate their services in the checkout process using their API or Shopify app.

From L-R: Peter Psyharis, Maya Botti and Hasan Ahmed, co-founders of last-mile delivery service BoxKnight (formerly Parscit) during the Q&A session

5. Avocado Desserts

Avocado Desserts aims to redefine the snacking industry by making delicious healthy. Co-founder Chloe Anderson, a Food Science Masters student in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, was part of a team that won first place at the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) & MARS Product Development Competition in Chicago in 2015.

From L-R: Chloe Anderson and Enrico Cremonese, co-founders of Avocado Desserts during the Q&A session

6. TmDesk

TmDesk is a virtual desk made for teams. The online platform can host every sketch, plan and idea in one place accessible from the web. Current McGill undergrad students and co-founders, Zi Tong Wang and Alan An, met while studying at CEGEP together. 

From L-R: Zi Tong Wang and Alan An, co-founders of TmDesk during the Q&A session

7. PairUp

PairUp is an online platform that connects property managers and summer vacancies. Martin Stuart, founder of PairUp, recently closed a $100,000 seed round while in the McGill Lean Startup Program.

Martin Stuart, founder of PairUp, presenting his startup

8. GradLounge

GradLounge aims to drive better research by tackling some of the biggest barriers to knowledge exchange between graduate students at universities. GradLounge emerged based on the frustrations of McGill Neuroscience PhD candidates Pascal Kropf and Sean Reed, when it came to trying to identify and connect with other graduate students conducting similar research in their areas of interest.

Sean Reed, co-founder of GradLounge, presenting his startup

READ ALSO: 2016 McGill Dobson Cup Award Winners

Overall, the McGill Lean Startup Program was designed to prepare these early-stage startups to compete in the upcoming McGill Dobson Cup 2017, McGill’s premier startup competition where over $100,000 are awarded as seed funding to McGill startups across 4 Tracks: Innovation Driven Enterprise, Small & Medium Enterprise, Social Enterprise, and Health Sciences.

Applications to compete in the McGill Dobson Cup 2017 are being accepted from December 18, 2016 to January 18, 2017

From the quality of the presentations from these teams, it looks like the McGill Dobson Cup 2017 competition will be fierce!


Judith Li

Judith is a student in her last year at McGill, majoring in International Management with a minor in Political Science. As Relations Coordinator at the McGill Dobson Centre, she is beginning to mentor start-ups and hopes to gain enough experience to initiate her own venture. Above all, she loves to discover through reading, travelling, and talking with people of different backgrounds.