YSpace creates pathways for tech innovators

person holding poster board with the word innovation and related sketches

Innovative tech startups will have an opportunity to advance their groundbreaking ideas after participating in an accelerator program through YSpace, York University’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub within the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation.

Enrolled in YSpace’s Technology Accelerator program, 12 market-ready tech startups spent four months shaping their pathways for growth and capital readiness. The program facilitates entrepreneurs in obtaining specialized guidance from entrepreneurs-in-residence, growth mentors and other experts, with a tactical approach. Participants engage in intensive workshop sprints and mastermind sessions to nurture their leadership skills, and receive tailored mentorship support throughout the duration of the program.

Tech Accelerator Demo Day 2023
Tech Accelerator Demo Day 2023 winners: Linggo, Carity and Aruna Revolution.

The program culminates in the Technology Accelerator Demo Day, this year held Sept. 28, where three startups from the 2023 cohort were awarded cash prizes for their innovative tech ideas.

“The YSpace team has had the privilege of supporting the growth of 12 highly innovative ventures through this year’s accelerator cohort,” said Nafis Ahmed, entrepreneurship manager at YSpace. “The Demo Day is a celebration of these incredible ventures and their accomplishments over the last several months, creating an opportunity for the founders to connect with investors and leaders within the tech ecosystem. We are truly proud of their achievements and excited to follow along their entrepreneurship journey.”

Demo Day, sponsored by the City of Toronto, RBCx and Houser Henry & Syron, offered participants the opportunity to present their groundbreaking ideas to a panel of industry experts and potential investors.

Five promising startups from this year’s cohort took the stage armed with creative solutions poised to disrupt their respective industries. Among the participants were Linggo, Benefi, Carity, Aruna Revolution and Happipad.

Following the pitches, three standout startups were recognized with the top three spots.

The title for first place – a cash award of $15,000 – was awarded to Linggo, a startup that provides assistive communication technology and clinical training to support a person’s ability to communicate, develop language and socialize with others on a daily basis.

Ling Ly Tan, co-founder of Linggo, said working with YSpace and being part of the Tech Accelerator program “went above and beyond my expectations, and has been the best accelerator experience I’ve had to date.

“Nafis and the entire team provided unwavering support for our team, facilitating valuable connections, with many opportunities to meet with well-matched investors. The mentors assigned to us played a pivotal role in reshaping our company’s strategy and driving its subsequent growth. Moreover, I was really impressed by the depth of knowledge and backgrounds of the speakers who presented to us on fundraising and business strategy during the program.”

Securing the second-place prize of $10,000 was Carity, for transforming car buying and selling through consumer-led digital solutions powered by conversational artificial intelligence.

The third-place prize of $5,000 went to Aruna Revolution, for revolutionizing menstrual health management by creating compostable menstrual pads that are made of local food and crop waste.

David Kwok, director of entrepreneurship and innovation at YSpace, expressed his pride in the program’s achievements

“I truly believe that we have built something unique and different here,” he said. “Our tactical approach and hands-on focus to help the companies grow is second to none. Year after year, we’ve seen the calibre of the companies improve and that is really a testament to the program that we’ve built and the team that we have.”

He also remarked on the national impact of the program, noting that two of the top five startups were from Nova Scotia and B.C.

The next cohort of applications will launch in January 2024. Learn more about the Technology Accelerator program here.