Dec. 15, 2023

UCalgary students harness power of AI to stimulate engagement between investors

New technology opens doors for stakeholders to better connect with each other in the venture capital investment sector
The AI Portal team posing for a group shot
From left: Jash Dubal, Mohammad Homayoun, Max Brown, Nour Amer, Sola Akinbode, Steven Duong Samantha Lafleur, Advancement

A group of students from the Haskayne School of Business and Schulich School of Engineering have teamed up through an internship with Flathead Forge, a venture studio, to innovate within the venture capital investment sector.

The six University of Calgary students have developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered investor portal that will allow stakeholders within the venture studio, which is a hybrid approach to venture capital that combines elements of entrepreneurship and venture capital, to engage with each other.

“The portal is an AI-powered, LinkedIn type of interface where you can post things and upload files, videos and other types of media,” says Jash Dubal, BSc (Eng)'22, a master’s student in computer and software engineering.

Haskayne MBA student Mohammad Homayoun says this tech will fill an important void within the industry. “There is a gap in how venture funds create meaningful engagement between their stakeholders. The AI portal our team created enables the flow of information as well as actions between limited partners, founders and strategic advisors,” says Homayoun.

Team members add that the approach of using an AI “concierge” as a co-pilot to users in the venture studio ecosystem is an ideal real-world application of this powerful new technology.

The team was put together through a summer internship. “They had this grand vision of a way to bring partners, investors and sherpas (who are knowledgeable individuals who can help founders of companies) together to help us collaborate … they hired software engineers to build this portal as a means of fostering collaboration,” says Max Brown, BComm’23.

The team also recognized the trust they were given and were excited to step up to the challenge, although this did not come without nerves.

“First there’s an initial phase of excitement where you’re meeting new people and are passionate about the idea,” says Schulich computer and software engineering student, Nour Amer. “Once that starts to fade away and you enter the implementation phase, anxiety and doubt start to creep in.

“But that period also brought the most excitement and motivation, as I was energized by the challenge of completing the project on time.”

The team ultimately came out victorious, proving naysayers wrong.

“In the beginning phases of this project, many people advised the general partners at Flathead Forge against recruiting a full team of interns to tackle this complex project over other more experienced professionals in the industry,” says Steven Duong, BSc (Eng)’22, a master’s student in computer and software engineering. “The biggest accomplishment for me was proving that, as interns, we had the talent and determination to fully build an MVP (minimum viable product) in two months that effectively services our customers and stakeholders.”

The team is proud of the work they have done. The project has helped build their confidence and bolster their experience, leaving them motivated to continue their work in the realms of innovation and software.

Team alum Sola Akinbode, MEng’23, says the project enhanced his confidence in his work.

“The whole purpose of a venture studio is very innovative. The idea is to create synergies within the portfolio companies to help them scale quickly and have a better success ratio compared to their competitors and peers,” Akinbode says. “The product we built is a prime example of this purpose in action as it allows for collaboration between companies, helps them grow, assists in cross-selling and helps them synergize and attack market problems more efficiently, leading to overall business success and heightened performance.”

The portal is now used by a small number of internal users and the UCalgary students are currently pushing forward with a larger project with several team members joining together to launch a new startup with an initial investment from the venture studio. Their startup,, leverages the core technology the team built for the portal and adapts it for business-to-business AI supply chain applications.

 This type of entrepreneurial thinking and collaboration further illustrates UCalgary’s positioning as Canada’s entrepreneurial university by highlighting the drive students have for innovation.

The team found this internship opportunity through UCalgary Elevate. For more internship opportunities, you can visit its webpage.

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