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Palihapitiya - Lau Venture Creation Fund

Palihapitiya/Lau Venture Creation Fund provides two $50,000 awards to University-selected Capstone Design teams whose intention is to transform their Capstone Design project into a promising startup post-graduation. 

In 2018, the winning project was SannTek from Nanotechnology Engineering. They have developed a “marijuana breathalyser” that is capable of determining the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, present within a breath sample. Essentially, it is a breathalyzer equivalent for marijuana detection. The two-part device which features a single-use disposable cartridge and a portable analyzer has undergone user testing at the law enforcement level to establish ease of use and accuracy. Competitive products have proven too fragile or complicated to ensure proper usage and readings, making SannTek’s device a front runner. 

SannTek Team members 

The Palihapitiya/Lau Venture Creation Fund, which began in 2014 (then limited to ECE students) is a gift from Chamath Palihapitiya and Brigette Lau, founders of Social Capital, a venture capital fund that aims to solve the world’s hardest problems by starting and investing in breakthrough companies in healthcare, education, financial services , consumer and enterprise. 

With the support of Chamath and Brigette, both of these entrepreneurial student teams will be able to expand the potential of their ideas, further expanding the capabilities of their working prototypes and through mentorship explore future business opportunities for Vena Medical and VivaSpire.

Your project could be the next one to benefit from the Palihapitiya/Lau Venture Creation Fund.

brigette and chamath at capstone

Brigette Lau and Chamath Palihapitiya at the 2012 Waterloo Engineering Capstone Design Symposium in the Davis Centre.  It is here where they first saw the Athos team's wearable technology for athletes. In November 2013, Chamath's VC firm, Social Capital, provided $3.5 million in seed funding.  In November 2015, Social Capital was the lead investor of $35 million Series C funding for Athos.