13th Schulich Startup Night Goes Virtual
For the first time ever, Schulich Startup Night (SSN) took place virtually on Zoom this month. The pitch competition was scheduled for early afternoon and a fireside chat followed in the evening.
The bi-annual event attracted nearly 150 students, alumni and industry professionals and gave students and alumni an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of top industry professionals for a chance to win a $5000 cash prize.
Chris Carder, Schulich Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Schulich Startup Night Organizer, and Dezsö J. Horváth, Dean of the Schulich School of Business, kicked off the event with special welcome remarks and acknowledgements.
“The entrepreneurial spirit at Schulich has never been stronger. We now have 150 companies and more than 200 founders in the Schulich Startups community. In the past three months, the Schulich Startups team has made a significant impact in our community. They have organized three VIP workshop events, hosted Idea Jams to support our top students and alumni, launched virtual internships for our MBA India students and spearheaded the Digital Main Street initiative. As you can see, entrepreneurship is part of our School’s DNA,” shared Dean Horváth.
The alumni pitches featured Aadil Kazmi (BBA ’15) of Ship Swyft, Akousa Asare (iBBA ’16) of Essence Luxe Couture (Muse) and Gaurav Madani (MBA ’19) & Arnab Dastidar (MBA ’19) of Soul Rooms. The student pitches featured Lorenzo Luis Peñate (BBA ’21) of Greeni and Taimoor Haseeb (MMAI ’20) of Grasshopper, Zainab Jangda (BBA ’20) of Playcoco.
After much anticipation, the judges announced Aadil Kazmi (BBA ’15) as ‘Schulich Startup Night Alumni Winner’ and Zainab Jangda (BBA ’20) as ‘Schulich Startup Night Student Winner’.
In addition, Akousa Asare (iBBA ’16) took home the ‘People’s Choice Award’ and ‘Bereskin & Parr LLP Startup Innovation Award’.
Once the competition concluded, guests were invited to tune into the fireside chat in the evening with guest speaker Andrew D’Souza, CEO and Co-founder of Clearblanc. The host was Daniel Warner (MBA ’12) of MediSeen.
During the session, D’Souza shared that “talent, ideas, ambition and hard work are evenly distributed around the world, but opportunities may not be – largely due to the access to capital and access to the media to tell your story.” He discussed how the network he formed while living in Silicon Valley helped him get started, how he was able to unlock access to capital for founders, and why he decided to return to Toronto to launch his business.
Thank you to our generous sponsors, including our Official Cash Prize Sponsor, Audrey S. Hellyer Charitable Foundation; our Supporting Sponsors, Bereskin & Parr, Zeifmans LLP and Innovation York; and our Prizing Sponsors, BEST Lab, Indochino, and Ownr. We sincerely appreciate your support of Schulich student and alumni startups.