Lake Winnipeg ’20 AquaHacking Finalists: What Are They Up To Now?

By Carmen Joy King June 21, 2021

The Finalist teams of the Lake Winnipeg 2020 AquaHacking Challenge have been busy with the continued development of their water tech solutions and start-ups since the Final event in October 2020. An important partnership with North Forge allowed for 3 of the 4 Finalist teams to join their incubation program in Winnipeg once the AquaHacking competition was over, providing them with business development resources and mentors. In only 8 months, the Lake Winnipeg Finalist teams have taken their solutions and business development to the next level. Find out all the details here!

What are some recent updates and developments in regard to your tech solution or business development? 

Particuleye Technologies: Since the Lake Winnipeg 2020 Final event we incorporated our company as Particuleye Technologies Inc.  All the while we’ve continued our product development by improving the imaging and reliability of our prototype. On the business side we are working on a business plan and doing market research to ensure we are headed in the right direction. Through this market research, we’ve reached out to additional researchers with expertise in the microplastic field and have made some valuable connections. We also recently launched our company website and email server. 

LaSIR Nutrient Technology: Our recent focus has been networking with potential customers and understanding each of their specific needs relating to nutrient testing to tailor our solution to fit their problems best. We have met with several agronomy firms in the prairie provinces for interviews to ensure that our continued tech development moves in the right direction. So far, we have found that our prototype nutrient testing device, the NuFinder, is well on its way towards becoming a viable market option to solve these issues. 

Typha co.: Typha co. recently placed 1st in two start-up pitch competitions: the University of Winnipeg Pitch It competition and another one coordinated by RJCCQ for the prairie regions of Canada. Typha co. is still very much involved in the research and development stage. We are currently working extensively towards developing a proof of concept, refining our functional prototypes, and creating strategic partnerships.    

Water Secure: Water Secure is working on development stages of our online map, while further exploring contracting options for our localized testing centres.  

What has your incubation experience been like, post-AquaHacking Challenge? 

Particuleye Technologies: The North Forge Incubator has been great. It has really pushed us to take a step back and think about our business from a customer’s perspective. 

LaSIR Nutrient Technology: The ongoing incubation process with North Forge has helped reinforce the fundamental business principles we began developing during the 2020 AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg Challenge. North Forge has also provided us with a wide variety of specialized business resources we would not have access to otherwise. 

Typha co.: Typha co. has recently been accepted to North Forge’s Ascent cohort, which will grant us a full year of incubation. North Forge has provided us with training resources, access to experts, as well as networking opportunities. 

Water Secure: The incubation program has been very beneficial to our team. It is highly informative on developing our value proposition for our business, alongside giving helpful resources and tools our team can use to further accelerate us towards achieving our goals.  

How have you invested the seed funding you won through AquaHacking? 

Particuleye Technologies: So far Particuleye Technologies has been able to invest the AquaHacking seed funding into purchasing upgraded technology for our prototype, covering lawyer fees, Mitacs contributions, and buying our own 3D printer. The seed funding has helped us so much by speeding up our business technology development, both now and in the future. We also successfully entered the Mitacs E-Accelerate program for one term which provided funding of an additional $10,000 over a 4-month period. These funds will be essential to allow our business to enter into the market with a well refined product and will also allow us to fund future research and development. 

LaSIR Nutrient Technology: We have invested our seed funding in the continued technological development of our prototype testing device. Without this funding award from the AquaHacking competition, we never would have been able to assemble the components to build a working machine. Now, with the help of the AquaHacking seed funding, our prototype is already functioning and in the refinement stage. 

Typha co.: Typha co. plans on utilizing the AquaHacking seed funding strictly for research and development purposes. We have initiated three research projects across Canada and we are hoping to leverage the initial seed funding towards obtaining greater funding sources from the provincial and federal government.   

Water Secure: Water Secure invested the seed funding in technologically advancing our business. The majority of the funding went towards developing our online interface. The funding was a very important and key factor in starting our project’s first phase of development. We are grateful for the opportunity the platform has provided us.  

What are your next steps? 

Particuleye Technologies: Our next steps are to calibrate and validate the Particuleye and make a user interface to easily control the device and view results before sending the device for beta testing. From there we will sell the Particuleye to our early adopters and generate revenue to continue our product development. 

LaSIR Nutrient Technology: The following steps for our start-up development are to continue tech development and cement our business plan’s fine points with the experts at North Forge through the second stage of their incubation process. 

Typha co.: Our next steps include applying for federal and provincial grants. Additionally, we plan to speak to new potential customers to develop trial tests for our horticulture products and to develop supply chain logistics. We are hoping that, by this summer, we will no longer be a pre-revenue company.   

Water Secure: Water Secure is focused heavily on the development of our interface but hopes to phase out our localized lab testing as soon as possible. This would be inclusive of licensing for our practices, with contract-based agreements. We hope to have a pilot project running in the upcoming year to see how effective our solution would be in practice before targeting the majority of the remote communities.  

Any special remarks you’d like to share? 

Particuleye Technologies: The weekly masterclasses hosted by Chris Giantsopoulos at North Forge incubator have been very helpful to keep us accountable and on top of our customer development.

LaSIR Nutrient Technology: Our advice to anyone considering taking part in an AquaHacking Challenge is to put your ideas out into the world and take solace in stepping outside of your comfort zone because you never know where you may end up! 

Typha co.: Through North Forge, we’re glad to have recently been accorded a new mentor, Darren Fast, and for the on-going support from an entrepreneur in resident, Rose Bhojani.  Typha co. is actively looking for new mentors and would like to invite AquaHacking alumni to connect with us

Water Secure: Water Secure would like to thank the AquaHacking platform for connecting us to all the resources thus far. 

How can people reach out or learn more about your work? 

Particuleye Technologies: If you are interested in contacting Particuleye Technologies feel free to connect with us over LinkedIn, Twitter, send us an email or visit our fresh new website.

LaSIR Nutrient Technology: The best way for anybody curious about what we are doing is to contact us by sending us an email at lasirNT@outlook.com 

Typha Co.: We can be reached through our website or on Instagram

Water Secure: You can visit our website.