Student teams win $50,000 each to pursue startups

Thursday, March 23, 2017

An endoscope for arteries and a wearable oxygen device are the goals of two Waterloo Engineering student teams that have won $50,000 each to turn their fourth-year design projects into business startups.

Vena Medical and VivaSpire were announced today as this year’s recipients of awards from the Palihapitiya/Lau Venture Creation Fund to spend at least four months working on their Capstone Design projects in Kitchener-Waterloo after graduation.

The fund was created in 2014 by accomplished Waterloo Engineering graduates Chamath Palihapitiya and his wife Brigette Lau, founders of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm focused on solving some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Vena Medical, which is developing an endoscope using infrared light and a thin fibre optic cable so doctors can see inside arteries, is the work of mechanical engineering students Phil Cooper and Michael Phillips.

VivaSpire, which hopes to replace bulky portable oxygen tanks with flexible, unobtrusive devices worn like clothing, is made up of nanotechnology engineering students Mostafa Saquib, John Grousopoulos and Chris Hajduk.

Click here for the full story on the winning teams, which are both based at the Velocity Science lab on campus, and their projects.

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