Teams contending in 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition

Teams contending in 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition

By Phil Gaudreau

August 8, 2017


[Dunin-Deshpande Innovation Centre, Summer Pitch Competition, Aug. 16, Isabel Bader Centre for the Perorming Arts]
A dozen startups will compete for their share of up to $100,000 in funding.

In less than two weeks, eight student entrepreneur teams and four regional ventures will compete at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, vying for up to $100,000 in seed funding for their businesses.

The sixth annual Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition gets underway at noon on Wednesday, August 16. The presentations will take place from noon to 6 pm, with the awards presentation commencing at 6:45 pm.

For the past five years, the pitch competition has been an opportunity for the summer students to get seed funding to help launch their ventures following the program. Due to generous philanthropic donations, the pitch competition was expanded this year to incorporate four regional ventures, two of which belong to the open cohort QyourVenture program, who are eligible to compete for the pool of funding available.

One of the 2016 Pitch Competition participants. Who will take home prizes this year? (Supplied photo)

“We are pleased to be expanding the pitch competition and inviting the community in through the generous support of The Dunin Foundation and Gururaj and Jaishree Deshpande. The Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition will be an exciting event that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship at Queen’s and in our region,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. “The 35 participants in this year’s Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) cohort come from across many different disciplines – including Queen’s students and two Loyalist College students. They have worked hard over the past four months, drawing on the training and mentorship provided by numerous faculty, staff and alumni.”

Meet this year’s competitors, in their own words

Dream Again

Dream Again is working on the customization of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks. The problem with current CPAP therapy is that there are only standard-sized fitting masks for full-face, nasal, and nasal-pillow users. While extensively researching the market, Dream Again has concluded that the best way to find a solution with the current masks, is to focus on the main problem with them, which is non-compliance. There are many reasons for non-compliance, the main ones being: reducing leakage, size, and discomfort. We are working to provide an alternative mask option which helps solve these issues. Our “custom-fit” solution uses scanning and 3D printing to meet these needs.

Focus Forward for Indigenous Youth

Focus Forward for Indigenous Youth’s mission is to improve the quality of life in Indigenous communities by empowering youth through opportunities that will develop employable skills and greater self-confidence. In collaboration with these communities, Focus Forward for Indigenous Youth develops educational programs which will enable youth to improve their own living conditions and develop a greater understanding of land-based living. As facilitators, we create a design, source materials, and acquire funding to make the projects into a reality. Our vision is to scale this program across Canada, empowering youth with the tools they need to succeed while helping their communities thrive. Whether it’s building a greenhouse, a tiny home or something completely unique. The possibilities are endless to create a prosperous and sustainable future for all.


Fitra provides health clubs with tracking and feedback tools that keep members motivated to reach their fitness goals. Fitra provides seamless workout tracking by retrofitting existing strength machines and free-weights with sensors, connected to a mobile app, to create an integrated smart gym experience. This is paired with a club management dashboard, which will give operators valuable insight on how members are interacting with their facilities.


School boards currently lack resources to fund educational assistants and special education programs, while teachers do not have time to complete research into teaching strategies for each student with learning disabilities. Kuebiko allows teachers to provide for each student by generating a list of evidence-based learning strategies for the students with diverse needs and characteristics. The teachers will be able to further personalize their teaching by Kuebiko's feedback loop, which uses the teachers' assessment of effectiveness to generate tiered and specific strategies.

Mero Technologies

Mero Technologies is a cloud-based technology startup delivering insights on washroom supply levels to cleaners and property managers. The platform enables its customers to ensure facilities are always kept clean, cleaning staff are properly managed, and that buildings uphold their commitment to sustainable environmental practices. Mero’s product not only saves building managers' money, but also ensures a building's dispensers are always functioning as they should be: with fully stocked supplies.

Monetta Tech

Monetta Technologies is developing a meeting management software that utilizes speech to text technology to automate note-taking during meetings, while providing productivity data and a document repository for your team. Monetta Technologies will revolutionize how meetings minutes are taken and used, by providing teams with a seamless method to keep track of their progress, thereby increasing team accountability and driving productivity in the workplace.

Ozira Foods

Ozira Foods is working to bring the newest and most sustainable superfood to market in Canada. Khai Nam is a plant-based meat alternative with a strong nutritional profile boasting 30 to 40 percent protein; it is high in fibre, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Ozira grows, harvests, dries, and grinds Khai Nam to produce a highly nutritious fine powder that can be incorporated into any meal. Khai Nam is vegan, common allergen-free, and has a significantly lower environmental impact than any meat on the market.

Reverie Baby

Reverie Baby aims to tackle the issue of sleep deprivation in new parents by reducing the frequency of non-essential infant night wakings. Integrating the functionality of today’s best baby monitors with a wide array of research-backed soothing techniques, the Reverie Baby Smart Sleeper detects the sleep/wake state of your baby and automatically initiates one or more on-board soothing techniques to help ease the baby back to sleep without the need for intervention. Reverie Baby offers the first monitoring and soothing solution personalized to each baby’s unique sleep habits, learning what techniques are most effective and delivering unique routines to match them.

Spectra Plasmonics

Spectra Plasmonics delivers a chemical sensor for applications including food safety, forensics, and law enforcement. With state-of-the-art capability, this device saves time and money in detecting trace levels of harmful compounds in complex mixtures.

TimberWolf Cycles

TimberWolf Cycles integrates performance cycling and history's most tested material: wood.  Producing high-performance road bikes from this natural material yields aesthetic and technical elegance.  The unique properties of a variety of woods soften road vibration while efficiently delivering power to the road through an exceptionally light weight and beautiful frame.


Whisk is creating a better restaurant experience. By offering a mobile payment platform, no longer will customers have to wait for the bill. Users can easily access deals, split items amongst friends, and pay right from their phones. Restaurants will benefit from quicker turnover, greater customer insight, and happier patrons. By seamlessly integrating with existing restaurant systems, there are no capital or training costs to worry about. It’s time to start dining and dashing…legally.

Your Mobility Innovations

Your Mobility Innovations is dedicated to innovation in the area of assistive devices for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Our product is an adjustable grab bar that can easily adjust to meet the needs of rapidly changing users. Our mission is to change the lives of anyone with physical limitations by improving their independence, safety and confidence with in their community.


To learn more about the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre and the QICSI program, visit or come to The Isabel on Wednesday, August 16 at noon for the Summer Pitch Competition.