Fall 2020 Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Finalists Announced

Monday, November 23, 2020

To be a successful entrepreneur, it is essential that you find an important problem to solve, and thoroughly understand its scope, scale, and history. That’s why the Problem Lab hosts the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition, where teams of students are tasked with the challenge of identifying important industry problems and conducting research, before pitching their findings for the chance to win a share of up to $30,000 in funding.

This term’s competition will see the student teams competing in two different categories: Open Problems and Billion Dollar Problems. 

Twelve teams were selected as finalists from over 60 applicants, and each team has recorded their five-minute pitch on their research for online audiences and two panels of esteemed judges, competing for $7,500 of funding and 1st place in their respective categories. Teams will also have the opportunity to double their funding following the event, as they work with the Problem Lab to develop a solution to the problem identified. Below are the finalists and the problems they’ve identified:


De La Forêt: There are potentially dangerous substances found in commercial skincare products.

Watch the pitch

Ecovision: The e-commerce fashion industry is not sustainable.

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Elevate: COVID-19 has highlighted serious quality of life issues in long-term care facilities.

Watch the pitch

Emre: Healthcare systems that support refugees and displaced people have not advanced in decades, making it nearly impossible to prevent and control disease outbreaks.

Watch the pitch

FutureAC: Increasing A/C usage is straining energy systems due to inefficiencies in current A/C technology.

Watch the pitch

Karpos: Restoring hand motion after stroke is frustrating for both patients and physiotherapists because treatments are very long and slow.

Watch the pitch


Carbon Capture: Carbon capture, utilization, and storage has not been widely adoped due to anemic policies, resource imbalances and lack of return on investment.

Watch the pitch

CON-crete: Concrete's lack of durability is the systemic issue of its economic and environmental unsustainability.

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Masque: Current masks used for personal protective equipment (PPE). in healthcare settings are too irritating, improperly sized and hot for all day usage.

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Firewatch: As the climate warms, wildfires are evolving into unmanageable climate emergencies that destroy the land we live on and seek sustenance from.

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SALTchip: In its current state, lab-on-a-chip technology is too costly and challenging to manufacture at scale.

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Team Selene: Lunar dust is a major threat to the success of lunar missions due to its effects on equipment and on the health of astronauts.

Watch the pitch

The Judges

The panel of judges this term will be drawing on their developed industry knowledge and their own entrepreneurial experience to select the two competition winners on Friday, November 27th, 2020:

Barbara Fennessy
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Dr. Barbara Fennessy oversees Applied Research across Conestoga College and collaborates with Conestoga’s Centres of Excellence to develop and implement the college’s Applied Research Strategy.  She works with faculty, students, as well as industry, academic, community and government partners on a wide range of research initiatives, encompassing areas such as advanced manufacturing, information technologies, food processing, early childhood education, and healthcare for seniors.  Barbara has also served as Conestoga’s Vice President International Education and as Chair in the School of Business.  She has led the development of Centres of Entrepreneurship at Conestoga College, Niagara College, and East Cape Technikon in South Africa, in addition to a Centre for International Trade for Niagara Region. Barbara has held senior management positions in the public, private and not for profit sectors, and has operated her own management consulting firm.  Barbara serves of the Board of Directors for the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation and for the Waterloo Accelerator Centre.

John Carbrey
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John Carbrey is the CEO and Founder of FutureSight. As a passionate entrepreneur, John has worked in the B2B software industry for more than fifteen years and has extensive experience as a software as a service CEO building Intrafinity, CivicLive, Talentova, and SharpSchool. John has been recognized with numerous entrepreneurial awards including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, National Research Council’s National Innovation Leader Award, and BDC’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In 2015, John sold Intrafinity to SchoolMessenger and then led a global technology team serving over 100 Million parents and students in the U.S. and Canada. Today, John spends time mentoring, investing and building new businesses with emerging entrepreneurs. John and his wife Faith have been involved with Matthew House (a refugee reception centre), YSM’s Evergreen Youth Drop-in Centre, and their local church.

Perry Everett

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Perry Everett is the Co-founder and Head of Business Development at Arylla. Arylla is a company focused on making counterfeit goods a thing of the past. Arylla uses invisible ink to help resellers of luxury goods verify authenticity. Luxury brands partner with Arylla to apply the ink during production in exchange for a share of the revenue. Arylla is the first platform that enables luxury brands to monetize the resale of their products while fighting to reduce the number of counterfeits being sold online.

Janelle Chalouhi

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Janelle Chalouhi is currently the Head of Business Development at Communitech, responsible for private revenue generation for the organization. Before joining Communitech, Janelle worked at University of Waterloo where she was the Director of Principal Gifts where she managed all philanthropic partnerships that exceeded $1 million. She was Assistant Director to the Medical Director at St. George University Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon. Also in Beirut she was Founder and CEO of her own Fundraising and nonprofit management consulting firm (Addo International Consulting). From 2003 to 2009 Janelle lived in NYC where she was Director of a Capital Campaign at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY and Executive Director of the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Foundation in Valhalla NY. Before 2003, Janelle also worked for CCS Fundraising a PR and fundraising firm out of NY where she worked on both the Archdiocese of Washington DC and Boston Campaigns.

Carl Spiess

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Carl Spiess is a Portfolio Manager and Director at ScotiaMcLeod. He graduated from Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo and earned an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier. He has over 30 years of investment management experience. For corporate clients he oversees numerous Group Retirement Savings Plans and continues to help select Canadian families save and invest for a comfortable retirement.

Kyle Faller

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Kyle is the Co-founder and CEO of Intelline, a Kitchener-based startup building industrial diesel generators that use 40% less fuel. Kyle studied mechanical engineering for 3 years at the University of Waterloo before pausing his studies to pursue Intelline full-time. Intelline has graduated Y-combinator, raised their seed round, and is now growing their team to begin delivering generators to mining customers in 2021.

The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition is made possible by $300,000 in funding from Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, principals of Quantum Valley Investments® and founders of Blackberry. 

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