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New Companies From UNB Program Pitch To Business Leaders

The one year master’s program is aimed at science, computer science and engineering graduates looking to develop their ideas into businesses. The program, run through University of New Brunswick’s J. Herbert Smith Centre, allows students to gain practical skills needed to build and manage technology-based companies.

The three companies pitched, Trispectra Innovation, Phys Technologies and Rising Tide Technologies, have been in the works since the MTME program started in September 2015. This is the first year the program has been offered.

Trispectra Innovation is developing a sensor-based communication platform for utilities that automates fault detection on distribution lines. Their product, Trispectra Grid Systems, is being developed to help utilities efficiently respond to power outages. They are collaborating with the UNB Smart Grid Research Lab and the Smart Grid Innovation Network for product development and testing.

Phys Technologies has developed a mobile sensor that attaches magnetically to a variety of gym equipment to measure the speed and orientation of load being lifted. It calculates the user’s power output during every repetition and provides this data to the user through a mobile application on their smartphone.

Rising Tide Technologies is developing a new way to extract energy from tidal movements. This new method is meant to overcome adverse environmental effects and technical limitations of methods already in existence and to combine tidal power extraction with energy storage to generate on-demand power.

Dhirendra Shukla, chair of the J. Herbert Smith Centre, says the hope through the MTME program is that students will emerge with a company and investment to get off the ground.

“The program is designed specifically so that they can launch a company,” he said. “Every week we bring in people from industry, from investment, from a broad spectrum of people in the community.”

“There’s a huge belief that university education is not practical, is not relevant and what we’re trying to show is that it is relevant, it is practical … This is a sort of partnership between the university, entrepreneurs, the community at large.”

Students in the MTME program have weekly opportunities to pitch their companies, get feedback on how they can communicate their ideas better as well as what they should work on, and how to tweak as necessary.

MTME candidate and Trispectra Innovation co-founder and CEO Emmanuel Albert says he learns and adapts with every pitch.

“We get all these incredible people from the industry who’ve done this, who’ve been in our shoes and they give us the feedback we need to develop not just our product, but also from a startup business perspective,” Albert said.

“Some things falls in between the cracks so these kinds of sessions help us not just present and pitch to people, but also think about the business. It gives us a more holistic point of view.”