Alumni startups get half a million each in Y Combinator funding

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Alumni startups represented the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering well in the most recent round of companies that received seed funding from being part of Y Combinator (YC), one of the most prestigious startup accelerators in the world. Every year, YC hosts a program that is split into two cohorts in the winter and spring. The successful candidates receive $500,000 in seed funding along with other resources to help startups on their journey. The program is highly competitive, with only 260 companies selected out of 27,000 in the latest cohort. 

The first is Attunement, which was co-founded by Briar Smith (BASc ’20). This company is revolutionizing mental health care through the Power of AI. The company achieves this through its innovative software that can track patient behaviour health by continuously conducting automated patient assessments, chat-based mental health detection, physiological biomarkers, and self-reported patient inputs. That way, health care providers who are treating these patients can seamlessly adjust their treatment plans. He is also the co-founder of WATonomous here at the University of Waterloo, a student research team focused on developing and training autonomous self-driving vehicles. 

Next up is DraftAid, founded by Mohammed Al-arnawoot (BASc ’17, mechatronics). It is a software tool that uses AI to help mechanical engineers create fabrication drawings from 3D models, cutting down on time and decreasing errors. The software generates detailed 2D drawings with a single click. Plus, it’s the first AI software made for CAD manufacturing drawings. Al-arnawoot credits the mechatronics program for providing him with expertise in automation, robotics, and mechanical systems, which are essential in DraftAid’s success. 

Congratulations are also in order for two other startups with MME connections who have also just been accepted into Y Combinator:


Founded by JJ Maxwell (BASc ’14, mechatronics), Double is a platform that gives users the tools to build and manage their own custom ETF. The platform will rebalance, execute, and harvest your custom strategy the second you fund it.


Co-founded by Dylan Drover (BASc ’14), Nuanced is tackling AI with AI by using its own algorithms to detect AI-generated images to decrease the amount of deepfakes, fraud, and inauthentic that get submitted to a variety of platforms.

It’s great to see so many MME alumni continue to push barriers out in the world. Learn more about these up-and-coming companies in Waterloo News.