July 5, 2024

UCalgary startups take centre stage at one of world's largest tech conferences

Seven innovative ventures highlight Canada's number-one startup creator at Collision 2024
Nikhil Khanna of Nimble Science showcasing their work at Collision
Nikhil Khanna of Nimble Science showcases their work at Collision.

Seven University of Calgary startups showcased their innovations at Collision, one of the world's largest tech conferences, highlighting UCalgary's reputation as Canada's leading startup creator.

The startups — Quantized Technologies, MHCombiotic, Taylored Biotherapeutics, O-Two Carbon, Nimble Science, Deep Surface AI, and LyfeMD — span diverse fields from life sciences to quantum computing. This event provided a crucial networking opportunity for these ventures to connect with global industry peers and potential investors.

“What was most interesting to me was learning about the opportunities or programs offered by the government for startups,” says Asem Bala of Taylored Biotherapeutics. “It was also very valuable to take investors through the journey of how you develop drugs, and our approach mental health and psychiatric disorders.”

Taylored Biotherapeutics focuses on harnessing the microbiome to treat mental health issues, adopting a patient-informed approach to enhance treatments for psychiatric conditions. Despite the tech-heavy focus of Collision, Bala found valuable insights around the intersection of technology and life sciences. 

We’re talking about how AI can be at one point incorporated into the whole drug development process, including the clinical trials that we're running. And this was kind of the theme of the conference.”

Another health-care startup that drew a lot of attention at the conference was MHCombiotic, founded by Ali Pormohammad. MHCombiotic was distinguished as a Collision Impact Startup, a recognition given to startups striving to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Impact Startups undergo a rigorous selection process facilitated by the Collision team. During the Impact Showcase, MHCombiotic showcased their novel antibacterial agents designed to minimize future resistance. 

MHCombiotic has proudly participated in several Hunter Hub and Innovate Calgary programs, including AEiR, e2i, the Summer Accelerator, and most recently, the Life Sciences Fellowship.

Pormohammad credits their growth to the mentorship and support they received during such programs. “We don’t feel lonely. When you have problems, you can talk to other companies who have had similar problems,” Pormohammad says.

Inês Bartilotti of Innovate Calgary

Inês Bartilotti of Innovate Calgary.

The Hunter Hub and Innovate Calgary designed an interactive booth for Collision, giving startups a dedicated platform to showcase their work while demonstrating the strength of the UCalgary innovation ecosystem. UCeed Startup Investment Funds, Haskayne School of Business, Schulich School of Engineering, Alumni, Community & Partnerships, and CDL-Rockies were also present at the three-day event.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Derrick Hunter for his support and dedication to our startups, both leading up to and during Collision. The Hunter family's commitment to cultivating and supporting game-changing innovators and changemakers has been instrumental in accelerating ideas from conception to impact. We were thrilled to showcase some of these startups at Collision.

Entrepreneurship at UCalgary isn't limited to tech and life sciences. The university’s booth also highlighted the success of alum-built Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters by serving their coffee to an international audience. Reflecting on their journey thus far, Phil Robertson, co-founder of Phil & Sebastian, spoke to the thrill of entrepreneurship: "I think any entrepreneur is lit up by the idea of potential. You have this great idea, and knowing it has the potential to be amazing gives you so much energy."

The participation of these UCalgary startups at Collision underscores the university’s role as a powerhouse for innovation and entrepreneurship. As these ventures grow and evolve, their impact will resonate beyond the conference, contributing to advancements in health care, technology, and more.

Follow the Hunter Hub and Innovate Calgary to stay up to date with the exciting startups coming out of the University of Calgary. Hunter Hub social media channels can be found here, and Innovate Calgary can be found on LinkedIn.

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