Engineering Entrepreneurship Series: 2013-2014

Steven Lamb.Steven Lamb

Stories of Thriving Entrepreneurship

Oct. 3, 2013, 5-6 p.m., Sandford Fleming 1105

Abstract: Steve will share his experience from senior year at U of T to present day where he is starting his 5th entrepreneurial venture. He will discuss his journey from his early stumbles to his later successes.

Bio: Steven Lamb is a successful serial entrepreneur, who brings a broad range of strategic positioning, management skills and leadership experience. Steve has a wealth of success but his current passion is in developing data storage companies that target medium to large corporations. Steve is currently launching his fifth start-up having been a founder and/or CEO in each of the previous four which collectively have sold for approximately $300 million. Steve holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering (1990: Eng Sci – Electrical option) and a Master of Science (2004: Physics) both from the University of Toronto.

Farhan-Thawar.Farhan Thawar

‘An Xtreme Story’

Oct. 16, 2013, 5-6 p.m., Bahen 1170

Abstract: Growing a start-up company from 10 to 350 employees in five years is not an easy feat.  Join Farhan Thawar as he recounts the leadership, managerial and personal skills required to be the VP of Engineering at the recently acquired Xtreme Labs, a mobile application development company that began as a startup in 2007.

Bio: Farhan has been named one of “Toronto’s Top 25 Most Powerful People”, and is a well-known and respected figure in Toronto’s tech community. Before joining the Xtreme team, Farhan held the positions of Chief Software Architect at Achievers,  Canadian Head of Search & MSN Platform for Microsoft and Technical Lead at Trilogy Software. In addition to being a programming and engineering guru, Farhan also uses his wealth of industry and mobile expertise to mentor aspiring mobile and tech startups.  Farhan has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo and an MBA in Financial Engineering from Rotman. Farhan has been published in TechCrunch, Wired, VentureBeat, and Forbes Magazine.

Probal Lala.Probal Lala

‘Whatever Does Not Kill You…’

Oct. 29, 2013, 5-6 p.m., Bahen Centre for Information Technology 1130

Abstract: Friedrich Nietzshe is credited with the origins of this quote “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” There is no more apt description for the life of an entrepreneur – much of the true learning and inspiration in business comes from the extremes of both success and hardship. In today’s talk I hope to share with the audience a couple of my “near death” experiences as an entrepreneur.

Bio: A Telecommunications Executive with over 20 years of Industry experience, Probal has held a range of diverse executive positions from  V.P. Sales at Lucent Canada, CEO of AirRoamer  to V.P. and G.M. Internet Operations at Bell Canada. A passionate believer in the role of entrepreneurs in our economy, Probal spends much of his spare time on the development of young entrepreneurs. He is a founding member of Toronto’s Maple Leaf Angels – an organization helping fund tech startups, a regular panelist on BNN’s ‘The Pitch’, and an advisor to MaRS ICE Practice.

Russell Verbeeten.Russell Verbeeten

‘You Are the Growth Platform…But So Are the Latest Technology Trends’

Nov. 6, 2013, 5-6 p.m., Bahen Centre for Information Technology 1130

Abstract: It seems that there is no one secret to success, but there are very certain ways of avoiding it. I will share my story as part of a founding team (which knew basically nothing) that successfully grew two mobile application companies, both of which were acquired.

Bio: After completing a BASc in Electrical Engineering at the University of Toronto, Russell was part of the founding team of two mobile technology companies which both had successful exits after growing to a team of over 80: Vortex Mobile was a new media marketing services provider and Vortex Connect developed mobile workforce software products. Following the acquisition of these companies, Russell researched the diffusion of technology in society at the University of Oxford, earning an MSc in Social Science of the Internet. Russell is in the process of starting another technology business.

Tod Reichert and Cameron Robertson.Cameron Robertson & Todd Reichert

‘AeroVelo: Achieving the Impossible, Human-Flight on the Power of a Cordless Drill’

Nov. 21, 2013, 5-6 p.m., Sandford Fleming 1105

Abstract: Cameron and Todd founded AeroVelo to take on high-profile engineering challenges in aerospace and human-power, in the spirit of leading society towards a healthy sustainable future and to inspire people to take on the impossible. Working together since 2006, their team has flown the World’s first human-powered flapping-wing aircraft, set human-powered land-speed records, and has recently won the 33-year old Sikorsky Prize for a human-powered helicopter. Their projects have focused on providing an experiential education program to undergraduate engineering students and “doing more with less” via innovative engineering approaches. They will provide perspective on their technical approaches critical to achieving several engineering World-firsts, as well as insight to how AeroVelo was established and will grow in the future.

Bios: Todd Reichert graduated from University of Toronto Engineering Science (Aerospace Option) in 2005, and his Ph.D. in 2011 from the U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies. Cameron Robertson graduated Engineering Science (Aerospace Option) in 2008, and his Master’s in 2009 also at UTIAS. During their studies, Todd and Cameron led the team that designed and built the Snowbird Human-Powered Ornithopter. On August 2nd 2010, the Snowbird became the World’s first human-powered flapping-wing aircraft to sustain flight, the realization of an ancient aeronautical dream. For this achievement Todd and Cameron were named co-recipients of the CASI Trans-Canada McKee Trophy, among the highest honors in Canadian Aerospace. In 2012 Todd and Cameron established AeroVelo Inc, undertaking the Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter Project with the aim of capturing the 33-year old AHS Sikorsky Prize, for the first flight of a human-powered helicopter to exceed 60 seconds duration and reach 3m in height. On June 13th, 2013, Atlas completed a flight satisfying all prize requirements, a historic milestone. AeroVelo’s next focus is on high-speed aerodynamic bicycles capable of 130 km/h.

Karl Martin.Karl Martin

‘The Bionym Story: The Uncertain Path of Technology Commercialization’

Nov. 26, 2013, 5-6 p.m., Bahen 1130

Abstract: Bionym was founded by two UofT ECE PhD grads with groundbreaking technology and little idea of what to do with it. This talk will tell the story of commercializing new technology and trying to find that elusive product-market fit. There were many failures, but no mistakes.

Bio: Karl Martin is the CEO and co-founder of Bionym. He holds BASc (Engineering Science, 0T1), MASc (ECE, 0T3), and PhD (ECE 1T0) degrees, all from the University of Toronto. He expertise is in biometrics, security, and privacy. He has served as an expert witness in these areas and was also an instructor for a senior level ECE course at UofT. He has been quoted by several major media outlets, including the CBC, CNN, BBC, The Economist, The New York Times, Time Magazine, and Wired. He is also an active volunteer within the IEEE Toronto Section.

Larry Tricinci.Larry Tricinci

‘Establishing an Electrical Utility Company in the GTA’

Jan. 21, 2014, 5-6 p.m., Sandford Fleming 1105

Abstract: An overview of the business plan and obstacles faced when wanting to establish an Electrical Utility Company in the GTA. Since 1997 Beacon Utility Contractors Limited has provided electrical contracting services to its clients.  Employing engineers, technologists, licensed electricians and linemen, as well as excellent office staff we have been able to plan and execute multifaceted construction projects in the GTA and southern Ontario. Whether on Ontario Highways, municipal roadways, or private lands our commitment to safety and excellence has always been consistent.  The scope of our services has ranged from installing and maintaining traffic signal and street light systems, constructing primary and secondary hydro plant, high-mast lighting construction, LRT electrical infrastructure construction, private commercial site servicing, and 24 hour emergency service. The key to our success has been the implementation of new technology, the continued training of our staff, our commitment to safety and our ability to adapt when faced with construction and scheduling challenges.

Bio: Upon graduating Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1988 Larry began his professional career working for a consulting firm, Totten Sims Hubicki in the civil design department.  Within six months of graduating he moved on to a municipality, The City of North York in the Public Works Department.  In the construction section of public works he further developed his project management skills while studying at night to obtain his Master Electricians License.  In 1997 he established Beacon Utility Contractors Limited.

Hana Zalzal.Hana Zalzal

‘Lessons Learned Living as an Entrepreneur’

Feb. 6, 2014, 5-6 p.m., Sandford Fleming 1105

Abstract: Hana will speak about the lessons she learned, the things she didn’t see coming, the things she should have seen coming, the good, the bad, and the ugly side of being a business owner.

Bio: When Hana Zalzal started her cosmetics company, her goal was simple: to make make-up better, easier, smarter.  Fifteen years later, CARGO Cosmetics has grown to be one of the most innovative and sought-after brands among professional make-up artists, celebrities, and consumers worldwide.  Hana continues her hands-on approach to product development and marketing.  She prides herself on continual innovation with product introductions that have taken the media by storm.  Her Award-Winning innovations have been featured in publications such as Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and a multitude of fashion and beauty publications.  As well, they have garnered international design and innovation awards such as the Red Dot award out of Germany, the Dupont Award for packaging innovation,  and the highly-acclaimed IDEA award. Hana resides in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and their three children.  She was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1964 and came to Canada at the age of two.  Hana holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto as well as an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.  She has previously worked as an engineer, marketer, and financial analyst.

Sep Seyedi.Sep Seyedi

‘Revolutionizing the Mobile Space: The Story of Plastic Mobile’

Feb. 27, 2014, 5-6 p.m., Sandford Fleming 1105

Abstract: Sep will discuss the benefits and challenges of working at the bleeding edge of digital innovation, as well as some of the projects in the works in the company’s “Innovation Lab”; a concept and experimentation zone where engineers, designers, project managers, strategists and marketers work together to explore new software and hardware, connecting mobile with our everyday lives.

Bio: Sep Seyedi co-founded Plastic in 2007 after recognizing a growing divide between the mobile space and quality creative work. Sep set out to fix the mobile industry. His plan? Simple. He would transform the mobile space from something primitive and ill-used to an industry of change, superlative user experiences and ingeniously constructed solutions. Like we said, simple. As an engineer, Sep loves problem solving, building things and ultimately creating sound,
fluid experiences. As the CEO of Plastic Mobile, Sep Seyedi thrives in his role. He is a collaborator at heart and welcomes all ideas, dismissing none. This approach allows him to lead through the carefully crafted mobile initiatives that have attracted such high-profile clients such as Rogers, Pizza Pizza, AIR MILES, ING DIRECT, Rogers Media and Axe, among others. Long before launching Plastic Mobile, Sep began cultivating a mild obsession for the mobile space. He led the technology department at Critical Mass, where he started a practice to try and bring forward mobile initiatives for NASA, Citibank, Mitsubishi and Michelin. Sep’s diversified portfolio, smart approach, passion and perseverance have made Plastic a competitive agency that prides itself in being the best at creating meaningful user
experiences. Sep is a graduate of the Engineering Science program at the University of Toronto, known to hold its own amongst the likes of MIT in North America.