Winter 2021 Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Finalists Announced

Monday, March 15, 2021

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 50 applicants, and each team has recorded their five-minute pitch on their research for online audiences and esteemed judges. Teams are competing for $7,500 of funding 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:

Billion Dollar Stream - Monday, March 22nd - Register for the event

AI Ethics: Biases within Machine Learning (ML) Models and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms have caused unfair discrimination to less represented or unrepresented populations. The problem comes from the data acquisition stage in which the sample does not achieve democratic parity, defined as equalitarian representation of the general public.

AquaCell Energy: The adoption of renewable electricity is limited by the lack of energy storage technologies well suited for commercial & industrial projects.

Maesos Technologies Inc.: Pests and diseases are decimating global field yields as the current methods to monitor these threats are insufficient to mitigate this problem.

SALTchip: Currently there is no cost-effective means to replicate a laboratory environment in a variety of uncontrolled settings. Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technology has the potential to be used in diverse locations but, it is not yet commercially viable to manufacture the chips in mass quantities.

Shteinbok-Weland Aerospace Group: The constant external damage of the ISS can present serious threats to both mission success and astronaut lives, if not detected quickly. Nonetheless, there is very limited capability to inspect the space station for damage, as the only reliable method currently involves time-consuming and expensive astronaut extravehicular activity (EVA) and is only performed in response to suspected threats, which presents an unnecessary strain on both resources and safety.

Zoobia: To transition to using renewable energy, we need a good way to store energy. However, grid scale energy storage has not advanced as fast as renewable energy has.

Open Stream - Tuesday, March 23rd - Register for the event

Cove: Safety plans, a proven suicide intervention strategy, lacks effectiveness in non-controlled settings.

EcoOffice: Modern sedentary desk work is increasing and it is creating millions of new working environments that are not equipped with the right ergonomic equipment to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) nor mitigate the health risks associated with sedentary occupations.

FutureAC: The world’s air conditioning usage - already 10% of all global energy consumption, is set to explode over the next 30 years. The resultant is energy demand that outstrips supply due to the underwhelming efficiency of modern air conditioning which must improve to avoid an energy crisis.

Green In You: Lack of coordination between the major players in the textile industry results in the failure of any efforts towards the establishment of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and causes the fashion industry’s take-make-waste model to persist.

Fab: Lack of traceability of the clothing in the fashion industry is inhibiting the growth of sustainable textile use.

Vision Spatial Technologies: In ski resorts, there are high-risk jumps with blind landing zones. Riders cannot see hazards on the landing areas of jumps before they ride them, leading to injury-causing accidents, increased liability risk for the resort and tying up staff resources.

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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