In early April, nine groups of students from the Lassonde School of Engineering and the Schulich School of Business at York University pitched their business ideas as part of the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) Certificate’s Entrepreneurship and Technology Ventures course (ENTR 4500).
Each group presented their original ideas to a panel of judges. In the end, team WeBoard came out on top, winning $500 and spot in the BEST Lab to work with Lassonde Professor Andrew Maxwell to turn their idea into a viable startup. The group was made up of Schulich students Aidan Davis, Ali Akbary and Benjamin Tsui, and Lassonde students Stefan Sion and Tak Gurnek.
Team WeBoard presented a DIY at-home climbing wall system that offers climbers an opportunity for varied training by connecting them to ever-growing, community-sourced boulder problems. The board will have a standardized layout of climbing holds and LEDs that connect via Bluetooth to a mobile application where users can both create new boulders and select boulders that others have created. When a boulder is selected, the LEDs will light up, indicating which holds can be used.
With the rock-climbing community growing faster than ever and the sport officially being recognized in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, there has never been a better time to launch a climbing business.
While similar products exist, such as the Moonboard, for many they are out of reach due to the high price point and the cost of the materials involved. WeBoard’s value proposition was to offer this community-based, convenient climbing solution at a price that many climbers can afford by catering to the DIY crowd that often goes hand-in-hand with the rock-climbing community.
The other groups that took part in the pitching were MyeFit, HUBB, DroneWay, Skills4U, Vlife, UniFind, WeBoard, Home Touch and Instabar.