We are so excited to welcome the following cohort of impact motivated entrepreneurs into the Canadian startup ecosystem and, of course, the Spring family!
After a challenging (almost) two years since the start of this pandemic, these business owners applied and got selected to participate in Spring’s IMPACT Startup Visa (ISV) Accelerator Program. The ISV program helps immigrant entrepreneurs who own businesses that create a positive social or environmental impact, move to Canada, apply for permanent residency status and scale globally through the Canada Startup Visa immigration pathway.
From preventative health-tech to redesigning training in high-risk industries leveraging VR technology, this group of passionate individuals remind us to never settle for a broken status quo, and to keep working towards more inclusive solutions.
And with that, we invite you to grab a pumpkin-spiced latte, have LinkedIn open on another tab and connect with this group of inspiring individuals.
Introducing the Cohort
Did you know one in eight women develop a breast abnormality in their lifetime? Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer and AI Talos makes this possible through two simple things—an app, and a $25 compact thermal camera. The platform helps prospective patients self-screen for any abnormalities at home and identify potential areas of concern; this will help them decide whether they need to see a doctor. Access to easy and affordable screening will encourage more frequent check-ups, therefore increasing the chances of catching threats early and significantly improving survival rates.
Manny is a serial entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the digital industry. He is the founder of numerous successful startups such as Sibirani, an iOS store based on PWA with three million active users, an award-winning digital agency with 500 enterprise clients, and a fitness and calorie tracking app called Brookli with 100K active users. Having lost somebody dear to him from breast cancer, and after successfully launching multiple startups, Manny decided to focus his strengths on developing a solution that would prevent women from finding out about breast cancer at too late of a stage.
Manny Movahedi| Founder and CEO, AI Talos
SMEs are crucial for healthy economies yet have faced many setbacks and challenges due to the pandemic. Many need to urgently develop and implement an online presence to continue serving their customers despite previously relying on face-to-face in-person interactions. This shift is an opportunity for technology to help. CommonsData is a machine learning company working to assist SME owners with decreasing the costs associated with undertaking this shift. The company helps businesses and organizations identify the commonalities and characteristics of their customers, helping them gain a comprehensive understanding of who they’re serving and qualify sales leads using their proprietary algorithm. A CommonsData success story, Infinititel—a startup internet service provider in Australia—achieved a 50% drop in acquisition cost for new customers after deploying the company’s core technology.
After graduating from the University of Victoria with a BSc in computer science, David has spearheaded numerous internet apps and services for the property, telecom, and financial sectors. Throughout his career, he led to solving capacity issues for reputable websites in Hong Kong and co-founded a B2B marketplace in China with a venture capital firm. In the past 15 years, he focused on the online marketing and operation of the financial brokerage industry. He co-founded and led a retail forex & bullion broker brand which fills the market gap of the Chinese community. This brand accrued 8,000+ clients and a trading volume of USD 675 billion after eight years of operation.
David Yuen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, CommonsData
Jeremy has over 20 years of experience in e-commerce development and online marketing. During his career, Jeremy has had success in managing teams from different departments, and I.T. infrastructures. In the past eight years, he created a retail forex & bullion online portal, setting up teams including website development, e-marketing, and customer service. Passionate about web development and e-business, Jeremy is always pursuing new trends of technology and looking for the next breakthrough.
Jeremy Chu | Co-Founder and Managing Partner, CommonsData
Daraa Nano BioSense
Daraa Nano BioSense is on a mission to simplify the process and cost of early screening for diseases to reduce mortality and morbidity rates. The company designs and develops disposable, autonomous and user-friendly devices, which do not require intrusive equipment or specialized skill. The goal of simplifying the screening process is to make it accessible to the general public so that screening happens more frequently; affordable and accessible screening will help individuals identify risks early on and take appropriate measures of care. Translating science-backed research to user-friendly technology and commercial success is Daraa’s superpower!
Avinash is a researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. His doctoral thesis on quantifying brain volume shrinkages in dementia patients from MRI images was at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland – a top-three biomedical engineering graduate program in the US. Since then, he’s built technology companies and scaled them to growth across three major geographies: the UK, US and India. Being fortunate enough to have his throat cancer diagnosed very early led him to research the technology of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Avinash’s research has been published in the highest-ranked peer-reviewed academic journals, such as Nature and Science. Outside of work, Avinash enjoys philosophy and music.
Avinash Ambale, Founder and CEO, Daraa Nano BioSense
There’s no doubt that technology over the past few decades has significantly improved the lives of many. The internet has allowed for a more equitable distribution of knowledge and access to services. However, as lives become increasingly dependant on technology, the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve and mature, and the need for reliable cyber security increases. IntellectTech is determined to become a trusted ICT security partner providing cyber threat intelligence, customized risk assessment and a management platform. Helping core organizations within communities such as schools, hospitals and banks stay secure is the team’s bread and butter at IntellectTech.
Specialized in strategy & business development, Dennis has over 20 years of ICT management experience covering publicly-listed banks, telecommunication & technology corporations and government-owned technology institutions. Since 2008, he founded several startups, which have led to successful mergers and acquisitions. Dennis has also driven the HK FinTech Startups and Cloud-Computing entrepreneurship development program when working in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and served in the HKCS community as the Council Member & Chairman of Cloud Computing SIG.
Dennis Lee, Founder and CEO, IntellectTech
With over 30 years of experience in IT, William has extensive knowledge in IT governance, compliance, risk management, information security, quality assurance and system development. Prior to IntellectTech, he was the IT Compliance Team Lead of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. He graduated with BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from the University of Alberta, a MSc in Quality Management, and a Ph.D. from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In addition to his extensive work and academic experiences, William is passionate about using his knowledge to help others. As the founding member of Engineering Without Borders (Hong Kong), he plans to accelerate the quality of life of disadvantaged communities and promote sustainable development. In addition, he was a judge and mentor for Google’s Empowering Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) Program and has been a judge of an inter-collegiate social venture startup competition (HKSEC) since 2012.
William Kwan, CTO, IntellectTech
Expanding one’s social circle outside of social media and creating genuine connections offline is becoming more difficult. Throw in a pandemic and it’s like adding salt to an open wound. InvOut is an online-to-offline (O2O) social media platform focused on helping people overcome social isolation. The platform is designed to bring people out of their virtual bubbles and into the real world by connecting them with events and activities in their communities. Unlike other event platforms, InvOut is focused on connecting people through, casual, spur-of-the-moment type of activities and events. For instance, if you and two friends want to play basketball in the evening but need at least three other players to be able to play, you can post the activity on InvOut and recruit three other players from your neighbourhood.
Atef is an entrepreneur at heart with a passion for bringing ideas to reality. He co-founded and sold two businesses in completely different sectors, learning a lot from the entire journey. His first business was a European brands outlet store in Egypt and the second, an automobile service center. After successfully selling his shares in both businesses, Atef realized he wanted his third venture to create a positive impact in the growing social isolation epidemic.
Atef Tolba, Co-Founder and CEO, InvOut
Eman is a detail-oriented problem solver with over ten years of experience in operations and project management. Her strengths include setting KPIs, reporting frameworks and optimizing processes. After having studied Project Management at AUC, Eman has successfully led major digital projects within her previous company.
Eman Wahdan, Co-Founder and COO, InvOut
With more than six years of experience in marketing, specifically in social media marketing, Hoda is working on expanding the InvOut social media platform into the Canadian market and worldwide. Besides work, Hoda likes to spend time with friends and family!
Hoda Tolba, Co-Founder and CMO, InvOut
Energy is an essential resource yet historical methods of generating energy are harmful to the long-term vitality of the planet. This is why a sustainable future calls for innovative, clean energy generation technologies, with reduced cost for consumers in order to increase uptake. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Nonlinear Dynamics is a company that is stepping up to this challenge as a fully funded, state-of-the-art research and development business. Their core goal is to develop intellectual property that will significantly reduce the cost for consumers to adopt renewables and EVs, and thus aid the world in more rapidly becoming carbon neutral/negative.
Jonathan is the CEO and the angel investor in Nonlinear Dynamics. With a dedicated passion in entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technologies, Jonathan has been building machines since a very young age. Before starting Nonlinear Dynamics, he had a laboratory in his home where he built prototype machines to investigate the effects of parametric impedances in generators. Jonathan has a wide range of industry contacts through networking over the years and with a diploma in Electrical Engineering and a bachelor’s degree in technology management from NAIT, he is well equipped to lead this venture into its commercialization phase. Jon has a passion for bringing sustainable technologies to market that help the largest polluting sectors become carbon negative.
Jonathan Zerbin, Co-Founder and CEO, Nonlinear Dynamics
Nicolas was previously a director of Tec Avenue Ltd, a start-up in the UK. Nicolas and two other founders raised £130,000 in a crowdfunding campaign for 11% equity at a £1mil valuation for premium consumer electronics products. This then led to a successful launch. Nicolas left eighteen months after launch to finish his Ph.D. studies at the University of Cambridge in electrical engineering focusing on wireless power transmission and generation. He is a published scientific author in his field and also has access to a range of industry contacts through Cambridge and through his other endeavours such as Jaguar Land Rover and Dailmer-Benz.
Nicolas Scirocco, Co-Founder and CSO, Nonlinear Dynamics
Pivot Science Publication
Pivot Science Publication Corp. is a global e-publisher of scholarly journals in science, technology, engineering and medicine. Determined to reduce the inequity in access to education and credible research, the team at Pivot Science are developing the platform with the intention of making it freely accessible to the public. Another key aspect of Pivot’s platform includes promoting the development of STEM fields by streamlining the way research gets published. This is done through the platform’s multi-functional online editorial system, which includes a user-friendly interface to help researchers implement best practices in getting published—think Canva for research!
Min entered the scholarly publishing industry by joining one of the world-leading open-access science publishers—MDPI. Later she served several large and start-up science publishers as publishing director or consultant. Then, with more than a decade of experience in scholarly publishing, Min founded Pivot Science Publication Corporation and Pivot Science Technology Company, providing publishing and editorial support services worldwide. Outside of work, Min enjoys music, travel and cooking.
Min Wan, Co-Founder, Pivot Science
Ellen has been in the scholarly publishing industry for more than ten years. She served both publishing magnates like MDPI, ACS (American Chemical Society) and several start-up publishers. With rich and wide experience, Ellen co-founded Pivot Science Publication Corporation and Pivot Science Technology Company with Min. Outside of work, Ellen enjoys exploring the world by travelling as much as possible.
Ellen Lu, Co-Founder, Pivot Science
Proximity is on a mission is to transform and improve how workers across high-risk industries are trained. Currently, over 300 million people suffer work-related accidents each year despite a global expenditure of 300 billion dollars in training. This presents an opportunity to redesign the way practical training is administered; Proximity aims to do this by leveraging virtual reality software technology. Through immersive virtual environments and gamified learning methods, Proximity’s software provides more effective training with greater capacity for knowledge retention compared to conventional classes focused solely on theory. By helping workers learn better employers can effectively avoid accidents, and in the process, not only save billions of dollars in company costs but also save the lives of millions of workers.
An international business administrator with experience working at technology and IT companies such as Hewlett Packard and International Data Corporation, David has extensive experience in sales and marketing while also being a VR aficionado. Before Proximity, he co-founded Latin America’s first VR arcade in Peru, Virtual X, and is now looking to leverage his strengths in creating and developing his impact venture—Proximity!
David Alva, Co-Founder and CMO, Proximity
Did you know that drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury and death worldwide? And that timely intervention can help shift this statistic in a positive direction and, more importantly, save lives and prevent injury? By offering revolutionary and smart solutions to increase safety and security from the sea to swimming pools, Sensowarn Technology is on a mission to decrease death rates and health complications caused by drowning. Sensowarn is an AI-based wristband that aids lifeguards by detecting and locating swimmers who are in danger early so that they can be rescued before serious threats to life and health due to drowning occur. The wristband’s unique functionality and competitive advantages translate to higher accuracy, quicker detection, and more lives saved.
With over 18 years of experience, Saeid is innovative and performance-driven with a deep passion for technology and business. Before devoting his work full-time to Sensowarn Technology, Saeid served as a senior software engineer, data scientist, and project manager at a high-tech company whose clients include Intel, Apple, and Western Digital. This role has allowed him to develop strong leadership and administrative skills. He also founded Tarasheh Design & Production Co, 2005, with a vision to reduce electricity consumption in roads and public places, automations, and packaging machines.
Saeid Joneidi Yekta, Founder and CEO, Sensowarn Technologies
Mohammed has a track record in managing large projects to completion in the oil and energy industry. As he progressed in his career, his technical know-how as a well engineer quickly expanded to include large-scale project management. Now, Mohammad is looking to challenge himself in another way—by leading the supply chain operations at Sensowarn Tech. Mohammad is excited to leverage his skills to develop and scale a solution that can save lives.
Mohammad Manesh, Supply Chain and Operations Director, Sensowarn Technologies
A serial entrepreneur and business developer, Mehdi is an adrenaline-junkie for startups in the growth stage. While the nature of managing businesses in this stage is often a rollercoaster of emotions, wins and challenges, Mehdi embraces the experience, always striving to move forward with a clear vision in mind. His extensive experiences in sales and marketing management roles make him a valuable complement to Sensowarn’s executive team.
Mehdi Ardakani, Sales and Marketing Director, Sensowarn Technologies
SUPAC Inc. was established in 2012 with a mission to reduce plastic pollution by changing the material compound of packaging typically used to store fresh foods. By manufacturing plant-based polymers (plastics) and biopolymers, the team at SUPAC Inc. plans to accelerate the evolution and widespread adoption of more sustainable packaging materials. This technology not only positively impacts the food and beverage industry, but also the medical and sanitation fields. Think about how much more waste was created since the start of the pandemic with disposable masks, each individually packaged in plastic. They say good news comes in threes, which so happens to be the case with SUPAC; their material is not only planet-friendly but people-friendly too with the capacity to extend the shelf life of food items while decreasing the transmission and spread of viruses.
After obtaining a Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering, Moein went on to gather over ten years of experience in the polymer and bio-polymer industries. This experience coupled with a passion for innovation and problem-solving led Moein to join his friends at B.P. Sharif to develop technology that would extend the shelf life of packaged items. He also joined Shahid Gandhi Company where he manufactured nano-reinforced gas pipelines, revolutionizing the entire industry in Iran. Moein’s success thus far can be contributed to his well-rounded nature. Apart from his technical expertise in materials science, he thoroughly enjoys and is involved in the business side of projects including customer experience, sales and marketing. Moein is currently determined to launch his own business in Canada and become a global leader in developing plant-based biodegradable materials.
Moein Babaienejad, CTO, SUPAC Inc.
Access to meaningful work improves well-being and has a positive impact on livelihoods as well as economic development. TalentMatch Inc. helps facilitate matches between talented tech professionals and creatives located in Africa with global startups. By identifying qualified individuals and connecting them to opportunities they may not have otherwise had access to, TalentMatch is elevating traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities. Besides serving as a gateway for companies to access tech talent, TalentMatch recently launched their flagship product PayDay, an app to facilitate global payments between employers and sourced talent.
After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Sciences from Southern Arkansas University, Favour launched his first impact company, College Situation. After three months of being found, College Situation, which connects students worldwide with schools and scholarships, was acquired by ABiNetwork. Determined to continue on the path of making educational and professional development accessible, Favour then founded FavCode54, a tech initiative with IBM aimed to teach, mentor and develop the next generation of African Software Developers. Now, after multiple successful entrepreneurial experiences, Favour is focussing on scaling his new impact venture, TalentMatch, from a new home base—Canada!
Favour Ori, Founder and CEO, TalentMatch
Zamin is a technology company developing a business model and mobile app to enable a more impact-focused mindset around ridesharing called reciprocal carpooling. Reciprocal carpooling is meant for impact and community-conscious car owners who value carpooling as a lifestyle choice; a choice primarily driven by environmental and social concerns. On Zamin, a user exchanges Zmiles, Zamin’s own currency, instead of money with other carpoolers. Users earn Zmiles for every mile they drive, which can then be spent on taking rides. Carpoolers on Zamin are members of your own community, such as neighbours, colleagues, or classmates. Your driver for the day is not providing a service to earn money but is doing you a favour which you’ll either pay forward to someone else in your community or reciprocate.
A behavioural scientist with extensive academic experience in researching consumer choices, Ali strongly believes behavioural insights can play a major role in designing impact-driven interventions and business models. His academic background, experience and passion for consumer behaviour and positive change led him to launch the conscious carpooling app, Zamin.
Ali Faraji Rad, Founder and CEO, Zamin