Hunter Hub

Oct. 12, 2021

TENET i2c competition brings urgently needed service for hospitals a step closer

Eight teams of UCalgary researchers pitch their startups, vying for $100K grand prize toward commercialization

The journey from an innovative idea to a new product or business can be intimidating, but for the last few years, the TENET i2c (Innovation to Commercialization) program has been helping researchers at the University of Calgary make that transition easier.

Researchers like Dr. Karen Benzies, PhD, founder of Liminality Innovations, a provider of health-care quality management solutions in maternal and newborn care. Liminality was the grand prize winner in the latest round of TENET i2c.

The TENET i2c program — made possible by a donation from Ken Moore, the co-founder and former president of TENET Medical Engineering — offers researchers from all faculties the opportunity to receive funding and training to transform their health research into a commercial product, service, or business.

“The companies that come out of the TENET i2c program have the opportunity to provide significant value to Albertans,” said Moore. “Because of the entrepreneurial training provided by the Hunter Hub, and the early funding provided through the program, they are set up for success upon entering the market.”

Prizes support journey to commercialization

On Sept. 24, this year’s program culminated in the TENET i2c competition, where the top eight teams pitched live to a panel of judges for the chance to win the grand prize of $100,000 toward commercialization. Also up for grabs were three vouchers of $10,000, provided by Alberta Innovates to the three runners-up.

The top seven startups that pitched at the TENET i2c competition, in addition to Liminality, were:

  • Alethea Medical, an AI and eConsult platform that helps physicians help patients better, through faster access to specialist advice.
  • Creative Protein Solutions Inc., which has developed a novel diagnostic platform to detect markers of infectious and chronic diseases in clinical samples.
  • Deep Surface AI’s mission is to empower better facial cosmetic surgery decision-making with software that generates 3D, AI-driven visualizations of the aesthetic possibilities best suited to each patient.
  • Illucidx endeavours to enable access to diagnostic technologies across the globe to improve patient outcomes, with diagnostic platforms currently focused on detecting malaria and COVID-19.
  • MOVE Improve, a novel digital platform that empowers and challenges people to actively and meaningfully engage, review, and evaluate themselves or their peers in order to master skills. MOVE Improve is the flagship product of Savvy Knowledge Corporation.
  • OrigamAi supports health-care professionals, departments, and hospitals to reduce the lasting effects of psychological trauma and other negative mental health outcomes for staff, while positively impacting culture and performance.
  • Wave View Imaging is developing a new breast imaging technology providing breast health information, at the point of care, without discomfort.

At the end of the competition, the judges deliberated and awarded Liminality Innovations Inc. the $100K grand prize. The three runners-up who received a $10K voucher, courtesy of Alberta Innovates, were Alethea Medical, Deep Surface AI, OrigamAi.

Accelerated opportunities

“For start-up companies like Liminality Innovations, TENET i2c accelerates opportunities to move clinical trial-validated solutions like Merge to the market,” said Dr. Benzies, a professor in the Faculty of Nursing, and a participant in the TENET i2c program.

“Merge is a performance improvement product that educates nurses and doctors to open up space in the fast-paced neonatal intensive care unit so parents can merge with the health-care team in caring for their critically ill baby.”

The $100K grand prize from TENET i2c will help us take Merge to market to address an urgent need in hospitals across Canada.

Added Benzies: “With COVID-19 health-care cost overruns, Merge reduces costs at the same time as improving quality of neonatal care and outcomes for critically ill babies.”

Entrepreneurial thinking, real-world impact 

“The Hunter Hub congratulates the winning companies and all the participants of the TENET i2c program,” said Keri Damen, executive director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking. “The TENET i2c program is an excellent example of how entrepreneurial thinking and funding support can help turn the research being done at the University of Calgary into a positive impact in the health-care industry, in Alberta and beyond.”

The Hunter Hub acknowledges the partners that helped make the TENET i2c program and competition possible: TENET Medical Engineering, Platform Calgary, Innovate Calgary, W21C, and Alberta Innovates.

Created with a generous gift from the Hunter Family Foundation in 2017, the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking is UCalgary’s community innovation hub that transforms lives and economies through fostering entrepreneurial thinking in students, faculty and the community. Our mission is to create and support game-changing innovators and accelerate their ideas from conception to impact.

The Hunter Hub contributes to the University of Calgary’s strategic vision to be the most entrepreneurial university in Canada.