The first cycle of the FYP Accelerator Program was concluded with a demo-day where the seven participating MSFEA teams from different majors pitched the business plan of their technically innovative final year projects. The demo-day was the crowning of a 7-month acceleration program which exposed the MSFEA participating students to business planning skills that they were otherwise unfamiliar with. With the help of mentors, guest entrepreneurs, subject-matter experts, and hands-on exercises, all seven teams were successful in presenting a perfectly prepared business pitch of their FYP in front of esteemed judges and MSFEA faculty and students, guests, and investors.
This event took place as part of IDEAS 2018 where student innovations and startups were highlighted. The seven participating projects were SkanMD, Genie, IoB, Flo, Woody, StandAid, and Min Baytak. Two teams, IoB and SkanMD won the first and second prize, respectively, totaling $20,000 and generously sponsored by touch (named the touch-MSFEA Startup Awards.)
The following summarizes the FYP Accelerator Experience from the perspective of the second place winner Nader Shafi who is still working on the promising biomedical startup SkanMD:
“As senior year students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, my colleagues (Jean Paul Dochoyan, Hassan Fahs) and I (Nader Shafi) agreed with Professor Joseph Costantine and Professor Rouwaida Kanj that we would like to work together for our Final Year Project. It is known that we collectively aspire to integrate Radio Frequency (RF) technology into Biomedical applications. As a result, we decided to build a device named SkanMD, short for Skin Anomalies Monitoring and Detection that allows medical professionals to non-invasively and instantaneously diagnose and monitor different skin diseases, such as cancer, psoriasis, and severe acne.
During the Fall semester, we applied to the MSFEA Startup Accelerator, and we were successfully selected to participate. The startup accelerator was an essential step for us as it introduced us to the main concepts and challenges that startups must have in mind. The program gave us exposure to the startup ecosystem as we had numerous speakers who shared their experiences with us and allowed us to obtain practical skills in pitching and preparing business models. At the end of the academic year, we won the 2nd place award that came with a prize of $5,000 at the MSFEA IDEAS 2018 conference's entrepreneurial track after competing with 8 teams, runner ups in the program in front of a jury of industrial and entrepreneurial experts. To our delight, we were also nominated and received the MSFEA Dean's Creative Achievement Award after presenting to a jury of professors representing the different disciplines of MSFEA. Currently we are pursuing our graduate studies and we are eagerly pushing towards finishing our Minimal Viable Product (MVP).
The project is currently under the development phase at the RF and Antennas Lab in MSFEA and we plan to validate it on a wide range of synthetic or mimicking-skin material prior to heading to human trials. After finishing our prototype, we plan to pitch our project at startup competitions to obtain the required funds from investors to fully launch this startup and progress further. We are highly motivated and excited to see our dream coming together as a product that can serve humanity and improve their lives."
Read the article published on the AUBNews page.
The full AUB MSFEA-Touch Startup Award Event video is available on Youtube