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UTEST, the tech accelerator co-directed by MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto, was named to BlogTO‘s Top 10 list of technology accelerators on November 8, 2015.
The list was published just weeks before the announcement of the fourth UTEST cohort, and included recognition of TrendMD and Whirlscape as notable startups among the graduated UTEST companies.
Here’s the excerpt:
UTEST, a collaboration between U of T and MaRs Innovation, is in its fourth year of operation with 15 teams. The program is one year in length and is only available to current students, recent grads and university faculty. UTest invests $30,000 in its companies in return for 5% equity. Two notable alumni are scholarly content recommendation engine TrendMD and mobile keyboard creator Whirlscape.
The article also mentions Slyce as a breakout company from the INCubes accelerator; the company acquired York University technology through a license deal negotiated by MaRS Innovation prior to their IPO.
TORONTO, ON (August 10, 2015) — Toronto-based law firm Aird & Berlis LLP (A&B) has become the sponsoring legal partner to the University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology Program (UTEST).
UTEST is a 12-month incubation and acceleration program co-managed by the University of Toronto (U of T) and MaRS Innovation that allows selected U of T-affiliated early-stage startup companies to incorporate, use office space, receive mentorship and access $30,000 in funding, with opportunities for follow-on funding from MaRS Innovation.
In 2014, UTEST was named one of Canada’s most promising start-up accelerators in an online series by BetaKit, a digital publication that covers Canadian technology.
“We are thrilled to partner with A&B and leverage their legal expertise for our startups and emerging companies,” said Kurtis Scissions, who co-directs UTEST with MI’s Mike Betts. “To date, 17 companies, including Granata Decision Systems, Whirlscape, Crowdmark, eQOL and TrendMD, have successfully graduated from our program. We look forward to adding A&B’s Startups Team of lawyers to our mentorship group for the UTEST program, beginning in 2015.”
- UTEST was named to FundThrough.com’s list of “6 Exciting Canadian Startup Accelerators to Watch in 2015.” Program co-directors Mike Betts and Kurtis Scissons point out that UTEST does take an equity position in the incubated companies and does not run on a grant basis as mentioned in the article. (It’s a sweetheart deal, but not that sweet.)
- UTEST company Nvest was featured in a Globe and Mail story, “Next big sector to face disruption? Financial services” by Brenda Bouw. Here’s a quote:
“Another emerging fintech startup is Nvest, an early-stage, crowd-sourced stock recommendation platform. Nvest compiles recommendations from its users, many of which are average retail investors, and builds a performance history others can track. The credibility of recommendations is based on a user’s past performance. Nvest co-founder Fredrick Zhou likens it to LinkedIn for stock recommendations. ‘Nvest is a place where investors post their trading resume.’ Investors are taking notice. Nvest recently received funding from the University of Toronto Early Stage Technology program and it is in the process of pitching the business to angel investors.”
MaRS Innovation enjoyed an exceptional year in 2014. Our team continues to collaborate with researchers within our membership to help bridge the commercialization gap between their world-leading research and creating successful start-up companies or licenses.
Here are our picks for the top 10 news stories from MaRS Innovation’s portfolio.
1. Triphase Accelerator Corporation, in which MaRS Innovation is an investor, started the year with a bang by signing a collaboration and option agreement with Celgene Corporation. In October, Triphase initiated a Phase I clinical study to evaluate marizomib in Glioblastoma (GBM) with Celgene, signed an agreement to provide Celgene with an option to acquire a new bi-specific antibody (licensed by Triphase from PharmAbcine) and closed the year by announcing that Triphase’s proteasome inhibitor, marizomib, demonstrates potent synergistic anti-multiple myeloma activity in combination with pomalidomide.
2. Flybits Inc., spun out of Ryerson University, announced a $3.75 million Series A financing with Robert Bosch Venture Capital to advance its context-aware mobile experience platform. The company was also named a Red Herring Top 100 North America winner.
3. XLV Diagnostics Inc., spun out from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, secured a $3 million Series A investment round with Boston-based Bernard M. Gordon Unitrust. XLV’s product will provide mammography image quality equivalent to top-of-the-line mammography machines currently in use, and will do so at a fraction of the cost of current generation systems. The funding will support continued product development and regulatory approval.
Products range from wearable digital coaches to socially-drive financial investment tools
TORONTO (Dec. 2, 2014) — The University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) incubator, co-directed by U of T’s Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO) and MaRS Innovation, has announced its third cohort of computer science start-up companies.
Betakit and Electronic Products &Technology covered this announcement; TechVibes featured Syncadian and Onyx Motion in recent features. The U of T magazine also featured Syncadian and CEO Hanna Janossy in this recent profile.
The five companies and the diverse sectors they target are (scroll for full company descriptions):
- FlatFab Inc. — 3D printing (designing 3D objects that print in 2D)
- ICE3 Power Technologies Inc. — hardware (universal charger for portable devices)
- Onyx Motion Inc. — wearables (digital coaching)
- Nvest Inc. — financial investing (socially-driven stock recommendations)
- Syncadian Inc. — digital health (fatigue management for enterprise clients)
Past graduates include Whirlscape, TrendMD, Crowdmark, eQOL and Granata Decision Systems, among others.
The Puls, announced by the musician and entrepreneur on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at the Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, is expected to be released in time for the 2014 holiday season.
Mashable’s Karissa Bell describes how Whirlscape’s keyboard integrates with the Puls:
Puls uses a small predictive keyboard that fits in the very bottom section of the screen. The keyboard was developed by Minuum, the Y Combinator-backed company that has also developed keyboards for Android Wear and Google Glass.
UTEST graduate Whirlscape was featured in Raju Mudhar’s Toronto Star article, “Toronto’s Whirlscape debuts tiny Minuum keyboard on iPhone,” which examines the company’s successful launch of their innovative, one-line keyboard for Apple’s iOS 8.
The UTEST program, co-directed by MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto’s Innovations & Partnerships Office, gives nascent software companies start-up funding, office space, mentoring and business strategy support. Whirlscape was among the program’s first cohort.
The article was published October 6, 2014. Here’s an excerpt:
An Indiegogo success 18 months ago, the company created a tiny keyboard called Minuum for Android devices. Now, iOS and the vast Apple market beckoned. It required new hires, a couple months of round-the-clock development, and a practical rebuilding of their product from scratch so it could be ready to launch with iOS 8. All the work paid off: in the first two weeks of availability, they have sold more than 30,000 apps to the new iPhone audience.