MakerLaunch: Propelling student start-ups to new heights

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019

Luis Anacona, Ali Kazal et Ismail Benmbarek, fondateurs de Wandure

Luis Anacona, Ali Kazal and Ismail Benmbarek, founders of Wandure

By Sarai Castrejon

“From product development to customer acquisition to pitching. We were truly in awe at the effort put into planning and launching the MakerLaunch program.” — Ismail Benmbarek

MakerLaunch is an initiative that supports University of Ottawa students or recent alumni in their entrepreneurial goals by helping them to launch new start-ups and fast track the commercialization of their technologies.

Watch the launch video

The program was founded by seven University of Ottawa alumni along with corporate founder Brion Raffoul, an intellectual property firm. Together, they have raised 1.5M$ to support the program which is managed by two-time alumna Midia Hassan.

In addition to access to a pool of talent, mentors and coaches, MakerLaunch offers entrepreneurs a seed grant of $50,000 earned over nine months of milestones.

MakerLaunch is designed to propel start-ups that have passed the ideation stage, and have created some traction to success, by surrounding them with the team, facilities, and tools they need to launch and scale.

Here are the start-ups currently enrolled in the program.


 Rizvi Rab et Haris Ghauri

Robert Boukine (standing) with Rizvi Rab (left) andHaris Ghauri, two Noibu employees.

Founded by Kailin Noivo, Robert Boukine and Filip Slatinac, Noibu aims to help e-commerce companies detect critical errors before their customers experience them.

Having programs such as Startup Garage, MakerLaunch, E-Hub, the Entrepreneurship Concepts and  Elevator Pitch competitions have provided the necessary mentorship and funding needed to kick start a successful tech start-up.” — Robert Boukine

Since the start of the program in March 2019, the teams have been meeting with their coaches every six weeks to assess progress toward their milestones. These meetings help the teams reach important targets to accelerate the growth of their start-ups.


Équipe Wandure

The co-founders of Wandure, from left : Ismail Benmbarek, Luis Anacona and Ali Kazal.

Wandure is a mobile app that connects avid travelers locally via a travel buddy matchmaking system. Created by Ismail Benmbarek and Ali Kazal, the app offers users a growing collection of rare and unusual last-minute travel activities, tours, and experiences that can be booked through the platform.

“uOttawa and the Faculty of Engineering are the main reasons we are even operational at the moment. They have essentially allowed us to pursue our venture full time, which is a real dream-come- true.” — Ismail Benmbarek


Tunch Akkaya et Midia Hassan debouts sur une scène lors du dévoilement du programme MakerLaunch.

Tunch Akkaya and Midia Hassan at the enveiling of the MakerLaunch program.

Founded by Tunch Akkaya and Elijah Wu, GameStrat is a cutting-edge sideline replay system that gives coaches and players the ability to review plays in real-time during practices and games.

"We are looking to get as much support as possible through mentorship and with MakerLaunch, we feel that it will help us grow and learn" —Tunch Akkaya

Once the nine months are over, the teams will showcase their hard work and dedication at the MakerLaunch Demo Day, a day designed to not only celebrate and highlight the achievements of the cohort, but also to serve as an opportunity to receive further exposure and, possibly, funding.

Application period for the second cohort will open in September 2019.

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