Failure in a startup context can signify many different things- from boundary-pushing forms of strivingand experimentalism to faultyassumptions about customers and commercial potential. With just over half ofnew ventures surviving their first five years of operation, entrepreneurs have ashort runway to find their stride. Determining which risks to take on and howto manage them is vital.

In recognition of how important experiential learning is tothe making of a successful entrepreneur, Alberta Innovates and Innovate Calgaryhave joined forces to expand a program for aspiring entrepreneurs: the Life SciencesFellowship Program. This unique, two-year, full-time fellowship program combinesstartup funds and lab space with external advisory, coaching, and talentdevelopment resources to rapidly upskill Fellows in launching and growing astartup while navigating the commercialization process. Recruitment is underwayfor the third cohort, with an emphasis on Digital Health (applicationdeadline: September 15, 2020).

The current roster of fellows includes:

Cohort One

Chechen BingNovusTX DevicesHigh resolution medical ultrasound imaging with beam focusing.
Jeremie BourquiWave View ImagingNon-invasive, non-radiation medical imaging for breast cancer.
Cody DoolanIllucidxPoint-of-care diagnostic chip for COVID-19.
Chris D'esterreAndromeda Medical ImagingPerfusion algorithm calculated from standard MRI medical imaging for Stroke imaging.

Cohort Two

Raied AburashedVibratusWearable peripheral neurological testing to characterize and correct gait.
Christopher BladenZymedyneNovel pharmaceutical for chronic pain.
David KatzAIndlit Medical AestheticsQuantitatively-driven cosmetic surgery visualization software.
Ling TangAnthoBioProprietary natural health product formulation neuroprotective in multiple sclerosis models

We encourage the business community to reach out and connect! Keep an eye on the evolving suite of startup supports and programming offered by Innovate Calgary and partners.

Fellow Spotlight: David Katz

Life Sciences Fellow and CEO of AIndlit Medical Aesthetics

David Katzis an AlbertaInnovates sponsored fellow who is developing an automated pipeline for rapidprocessing and analysis of digital surface images. The underlying technologyemerged out of an international research project that tested the extent towhich genetic syndromes can be diagnosed from 3D images of human faces. Theresearch involved training a machine-learning algorithm on a large database ofsyndromic and non-syndromic 3D facial images and resulted in the creation of ahigh-resolution generative model of non-syndromic 3D facial shape.

Through his newlycreated startup - AIndlit Medical Aesthetics Inc. - David is workingwith cosmetic surgeons to develop cosmetic surgery visualization and planningsoftware that integrates patient aesthetic preferences with recommendationsderived from statistical models of human variation, providing a far superior,confidence-building solution for the surgeon and patient. 

Vector field depicting the direction and magnitude of mean differences between male and female faces over a dense mes

Launching astartup amid the COVID-19 lockdown added a whole new suite of challenges to thealready uncertain endeavour of building a company. David's resourcefulness hasenabled progress on many fronts, including working out the corporate structureand business development strategy to allow for multiple core technologyapplications. He looks forward to securing Mitacs Fellows and ramping up customer discovery andengagement in the coming months. David is also eager to help organize moreopportunities for Fellows to share learnings and network with the broaderstartup ecosystem in Alberta.

Three monthsin and the fellowship still feels like a bit of a fairy tale to David. By hiscalculation, the experience and contacts to be gained are well worth the riskof investing oneself full-time in launching and growing a startup: "ifyou take advantage of it, you can't lose."