The Venture Spotlight Series
Featured News:
A special congratulations to...

Aspect Biosystems!

Congratulations to Aspect Biosystems on their recent $26 million CAD raise! 

Aspect Biosystems is shaping every aspect of human health through microfludic 3D bioprinting technology that is transforming how we design, build and employ living human tissues to make humans healthier. 

Through partnerships with leaders across pharma, biotech and materials, Aspect has been able to develop ground-breaking solutions in drug discovery and regenerative medicine.

The round was led by Radical Ventures, a venture capital firm founded in 2019 who invests in entrepreneurs applying deep tech to transform massive industries. Other investors included Pangea Ventures, Pallasite Ventures and Rhino Ventures

Aspect will use this capital to advance multiple tissue therapeutic programs, expand its technology platform capabilities, and grow its world-leading team.

Aspect Biosystems is an alumni of entrepreneurship@UBC, having completed the Incubator program during the team's early venture building stage.

Read more about Aspect Biosystem's raise, here

News we're hearing and what we're reading.

Get up to speed.

  • There's nothing like starting out the decade with a feature in TechCrunch! Check out ShapeMeasure CEO Ben Blumer sharing how they are innovating on the construction industry through automated measuring and cutting in this video featured on TechCrunch's channels. Congrats! Watch it, here
  • Check out entrepreneurship@UBC and HATCH Accelerator venture, Stoko, featured in BCBusiness! The article, detailing how entrepreneurship@UBC helps propel UBC innovations out into the world, shines a light on Stoko Founder and CEO Zack Eberwein, who shares how they went from scrappy start-up to a venture with the tools to make their product properly. This is one to read... check it out here 
  • Your daily commute just got a whole lot better: TransLink has officially announced that PigeonBox is the first ever winner of their 2019 Open Call for Innovation on Customer Service and Amenities! PigeonBox's smart locker solutions will be installed in select stations, providing transit users a convenient and safe way of retrieving their deliveries. Coming to a Skytrain station near you. Read about it, here or listen to Pigeonbox CEO, Seunghwan Son, on CKNW, here
  • It’s only 1 month into 2020, but ChopValue has already made waves raising 2.6m in pre-series A funding! Creating beautiful pieces of home decor through recycled chopsticks, the company announced their recent raise and launch of their circular economy microfactory franchise, with the goal of opening 75 locations by 2025. Unreal! Check it out for yourself, here
  • Congratulations to AVA for securing a spot as one of 50 finalists (out of 900 applications!) at SXSW Pitch 2020! SXSW Pitch is a stage for the tech industry's rising stars to showcase their ideas and take their companies to the next level. As part of the Consumer Technology & CPG category, AVA is set to pitch in front of a live audience this March in Austin. Read more, here
  • In addition to raising $26M, Aspect Biosystems was cited as 1 of 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2020 by Betakit! Aspect is shaping human health through microfluidic 3D bioprinting (aka 3d tissue), transforming how we design, build, and employ living human tissues to make humans healthier. Read about them, here
  • A round of applause to ExcelSense Technologies on their newly announced partnership with Ensol Systems! ExcelSense designs and manufactures purpose-built self-cleaning optical sensors and is an alumni of entrepreneurship@UBC. Ensol specializes in designing and building rugged and reliable power, communications and surveillance systems and will be adding ExcelSense’s ToughEye cameras to their product offerings. More details, here 
  • Success! Vesalius Cardiovascular, a pre-clincial stage medical device company developing novel therapies for mitral regurgitation, percutaneously (...aka a medical device that is delivered to the heart through a vein in the leg), announced the successful completion of their first 30-day chronic animal study using their mitral valve repair device. Read more about Vesalius and the results, here
  • On high alert with the news of the coronavirus? AbCellera has confirmed they are mobilizing its pandemic response platform against the ongoing outbreak. Their rapid, high-throughput therapeutic antibody discovery tech will be used to discover coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies that could ultimately be deployed to stop transmission of the 2019-nCoV outbreak. More details, here
Keeping the pulse on our community.
A few words with...

Vanessa de Waal, from Flöka
To start off 2020, we spoke with Vanessa de Waal, founder and CEO of Flöka. An alumni of entrepreneurship@UBC's Incubator program, Flöka is a platform and app built to empower women to take care of themselves by owning their uniqueness, using AI to learn from the intelligence of the user's own body.

What is new with Flöka?

Flöka just launched the second, smarter version of our MVP (minimum viable product)! Flöka can uncover relationships between your different lifestyle habits...say your acne and your skincare regimen, or how your sleep changes with your exercise. You can find it on the
App Store. We're really excited about what's in store for the rest of 2020. 

How has your experience as part of entrepreneurship@UBC help to inform your journey with Flöka today?

As part of the Incubator program, I loved the competition talking to customers! We won every week, however, it was more internally motivated. I staked out on the street and found help from a UBC nutrition student- we talked to women in so many different places about their health and their challenges. This opened my eyes to the problem- "okay I thought this was just me, but it is definitely not just me". YC (
Y Combinator) says the happiest entrepreneurs talk the most to their customers, and I feel that. To this day, there's almost no day without DMs to our users and I love it. The connection is everything. We're building something together. 

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Be very flexible in your methods, and inflexible on your vision. Put a stake in the ground and own it. Also, pick a problem you can stay in love with. Not a solution, but the problem. Stay massively curious. 
Copyright © 2020 entrepreneurship@UBC, All rights reserved.

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