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REF NO.: 48

SUBJECT: Student-led health tech companies win $40,000 seed funding at Mel Woodward Cup

DATE: June 17

Innovative business ideas focused on health technology and nutrition won the top prizes at the 2020 Mel Woodward Cup (MWC) yesterday.

Nucliq Biologics Inc. captured the top prize of $25,000 for its plan to develop a gut check analysis kit that provides detailed analysis of gut microbial diversity, particularly of use for people suffering from digestive disorders. Nucliq is co-founded by Purvikalyan Pallegar, a PhD candidate in biology, and alumna Nikitha Kendyala (PhD (biochemistry),’19).

Propre, co-founded by alumni Colin Hunt (B.Eng.’20) and Jonathan Young (B.Eng.’20), was named the runnerup, earning a $15,000 prize. Prospre is a mobile app that tracks nutrient intake and provides meal planning for gym-goers.

The two teams also earn in-kind prizes related to marketing, legal services, business development and taxation from Altitude Media, Perfect Day, Gardiner Centre, Genesis, KPMG, McInnes Cooper and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology and Innovation.

Competed virtually

The fourth edition of the MWC, hosted by the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE), saw five finalist teams compete virtually before a panel of judges from the business community and about 140 viewers. Twenty-six teams applied for the competition.

“The primary objective of the Mel Woodward Cup is to help accelerate the most innovative and high potential student-led startups at Memorial,” said Florian Villaumé, director, MCE.

“With all the resources that the winners now have access to, we want them to take their startups as far as possible. We’re hopeful they will build successful ventures that contribute to a vibrant and diverse economy for Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The other three finalists were as follows:

  • Audyse Technology: A solution that aims to solve hearing damage for motorcycle riders caused by driving at high speed (founders: Robin Murphy, Joel Hatcher, Clark Payne and Keeley Flynn);
  • Kube Lab Inc.: A mobile application that assesses the compatibility of cosmetic products with users’ custom profiles (founders: Navid Eskandari and Sepideh Mehrani); and,
  • Report Mate: A platform that facilitates report writing by subject matter experts with the use of artificial intelligence (founders: Holly Hill and Jeremie Larouche).

In memory of Dr. Mel Woodward 

The MWC was created from a donation in 2017 by the family of the late Dr. Mel Woodward, a well-known entrepreneur who founded the Woodward Group of Companies.

Peter, Melvin and Tana Woodward collectively donated $1.13 million to Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration, in memory of their father, to support student entrepreneurs through the MCE.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency also provides support for the competition.

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For more information, please contact: Susan White, communications advisor, Faculty of Business Administration, at (709) 689-7988 or susanwhite@mun.ca.

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