Brock LINCubator announces first cohort of startups

They want to make student cards more secure, respirators more efficient, homes quieter, people happier, workplaces more collaborative and local sports easier to find.

They are part of the first cohort of the Brock University LINCubator business incubation program announced Friday, Nov. 12.

Founders of the six early-stage businesses will spend the next eight months working with experts from the Brock LINC and beyond.

“We made a conscious effort to support businesses across different industries, so you’ll see there’s a great mix of tech businesses, using things like artificial intelligence and facial recognition, as well as more traditional product-based businesses, and even a social enterprise,” said Brock LINC Executive Director Farzana Crocco.

Launched in early 2020, the Brock LINC is the University’s centre for creativity, innovation, research and entrepreneurship. The 41,000-square-foot facility is housed in the Rankin Family Pavilion at the base of Schmon Tower.

As one of Brock LINC’s programs, the LINCubator will help the early-stage ventures reach their next stage of business development by working in collaboration with Brock Partnerships, Innovation and Intellectual Property Advancement (PIIPA), Goodman Group, Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, as well as external partners such as Innovate Niagara, Haltech and the Niagara Angel Network, a group of more than 50 individual investors from across southern Ontario.

Crocco said narrowing down the strong applicant pool was challenging — so much so that the original plan for five initial startups was expanded to six.

“This is a very diverse group of businesses making up the first cohort of the LINCubator and they are all aiming to solve very interesting and compelling problems,” she said. “We ended up expanding the cohort slightly to support all of these great ideas.”

The entrepreneurs will have access to desk space, meeting rooms, business services and a collaborative community in the Brock LINC space. In addition, there’s no cost for them to take part.

“What’s next for the group is an intensive eight months,” Crocco said. “We’re already working on onboarding everyone to the program and assessing their businesses, key goals and milestones. We have a really fantastic group of mentors who will be supporting this cohort with their business questions and challenges.”

Members of the first Brock LINCubator cohort are:

Adrien Belcastro, Dextrous Technologies
Founder of ‘Flex Wallet,’ Belcastro has identified a lack of security and outdated policies with physical student cards. With the use of QR codes and facial recognition, Flex Wallet will digitize university student cards, offering an easier and more secure way to pay for meals, access transit and dormitories, and more.

Hayden Maass, Bornea Dynamics
Launched in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bornea Dynamics focuses on innovative technologies within military, security and policing applications, which lead to the development of their CDAM-9 Anti UAS technology — a prototype defensive technology that targets and defeats adversarial drones effectively. The company is also developing an inclusive respirator intended for those with facial hair, eliminating current requirements for respirator users to be clean shaven.

Sean McCann, SereniVent
A mason by trade, McCann discovered a lack of development in modern soundproofing techniques for existing homes. McCann’s easy-to-produce solution led to the creation of SereniVent, which offers a low-cost, easy-to-install solution to soundproofing ductwork.

Vishal Badiani, Millo
Badiani’s virtual collaboration platform Millo offers companies a way to connect staff across an organization, breaking silos and creating better conversations. Using artificial intelligence technology, Millo collects data from users to make relevant connections to co-workers based on preferences from interests, hobbies and mentorship, and helps newly-onboarded individuals find connections in their place of employment.

Joe DeLuca and Pat Kelly, Melody Minds
Melody Minds is a non-medical service that offers fun, inclusive music and multimedia programs for brain injury survivors and people with intellectual disabilities. DeLuca and Kelly have extensive backgrounds in social work and occupational therapy support work, garnering skills that have allowed them to tailor a non-traditional approach to using music and multimedia as vehicles to achieve growth in social, emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual health.

Kyle Chiki, Local Sport Search
Local Sport Search is an online platform that combines all things sports into one place — from intramural sports to adult sport leagues, events and fitness centres. The platform provides personalized search filters to find an activity based on a number of factors such as days of the week, type and competition level. Targeting athletes and parents, the site offers organizations and league owners exposure to potential clients.

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