Pitching for kidney care

Morteza and Andrew work in their lab in Velocity Science.

Engineering student competes for one million dollar prize in 43North

Next week, Qidni Labs will be one of 113 companies to pitch for a $1 million USD prize in the 43North semi-finals. The start-up, headed by Engineering alumni Morteza Ahmadi and fourth-year Engineering student Andrew Medonca, is based out of Velocity Science and is one of only seven companies headed to the 43North semifinals from Canada. In fact, they are the only company pitching from Kitchener-Waterloo.

Qidni Labs’ goal is to improve dialysis machines for patients waiting for a kidney transplant. That means that more than 100,000 people in North America alone could benefit from Andrew and Morteza’s success in the 43North competition.

Morteza first encountered the short life of dialysis machine filters when working on his PhD at UWaterloo. He received a fellowship with the Kidney Foundation of Canada and joined their Kidney Research Scientist Cote Education and National Training Program (KRESCENT). “The program connected me to nephrologists in Canada and helped me better understand the issues related to dialysis technology,” he said. “I also talked to many patients and realized the need for improvement in the current dialysis technology.”

Though just in his fourth year at UWaterloo, Andrew had worked with Morteza during his PhD, and was promptly invited to join Qidni Labs. “We had a meeting, and Morteza told me what he wants to do and why. I thought his idea was great; making his goal a reality would help millions of people around the world and I wanted to be part of that,” Andrew said.

Any company to even make it to the final round is guaranteed to walk away with $250,000 USD, and if Morteza and Andrew do win, they’ll take up residence in Buffalo, New York to continue working on their product.

You can read more about their work in The Record or on the Qidni Labs website.

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