Halifax wellwater testing startup Drinkable Water won the Emera ideaHUB's BUILD demo day Thursday, winning a $3,000 cash prize, while medical device maker Hollo Medical won the People's Choice Award, chosen by audience members.
Drinkable beat out a field of eight competitors – originally planned to be ten, but two founders could not pitch because of travel problems – by a panel of judges that included CDL Atlantic site lead Jeff Larsen and Aurea Technologies CEO Cat Adalay. The latest BUILD cohort received applications from 27 companies and 10 were chosen to participate.
Drinkable Water, helmed by CEO Matthew Mizzi, has developed a device that is smaller than a smartphone and tests water for about a dozen common contaminants, such as lead, arsenic and uranium. Pre-orders are open and it costs $100, with testing cartridges selling for $10.
And Hollo, led by CEO David Hodgson, has designed a spacer – a delivery device for compressed gas asthma inhalers – that is smaller and more portable than existing products. Hodgson said the device could increase patient compliance rates among children with asthma, who may be embarrassed to use a bulky conventional spacer.
"Build has set teams up for investor readiness and thinking about what's ahead," said ideaHUB Interim Director Erin O’Keefe Graham in an interview. “It takes an ecosystem to raise a startup, and I think that's what we're seeing here. We're giving them connections for what's next."
BUILD, previously called Design2Build, is an eight-month accelerator meant to help deep tech entrepreneurs develop and manufacture their products.
The program is split into three modules, with each lasting two or three months. The first module focuses on product design, the second on building a product and the third on scaling manufacturing.
Here's a look at the other companies that pitched:
Pascal McCarthy, CEO
Paradose is developing a Bluetooth-enabled hardware and software suite to track athletes' movements and assess their risk for head injuries. Its planned sales channels include both end-users and professional sports teams.
Ghazaleh Afrahi, Co-founder
Shifting Shap3s is working on Filament Pro – a machine to recycle waste filaments from 3D printers. Its beachhead market will be North American educational institutions.
Majid Nasirinejad, CEO
Deprolabs has developed an internet-of-things device to automatically water plants in offices, saving companies the cost of having to hire a watering service.
Sebastiaan Ambtman, CEO
OceanSync mounts sensors on shipping vessels to gather real-time open ocean weather data, offering weather information that is an order of magnitude less expensive than can be obtained via the conventional methods of satellites, research ships and weather buoys.
Rafaela Andrade, CEO
Myomar has developed a medical device for measuring substances in a patient's urine that can act as a heuristic for muscle health, with applications in physical therapy, among other medical fields.
HeAIZe Optics and Photonics
Hao Guo, CEO
HeAIZe is developing a device that uses electromagnetic rays to measure the fat content of livers under consideration for use as transplant organs. Currently, doctors must assess the health of a liver based on visual cues, which are imprecise and can lead to viable organs being discarded.