IMC390 – Internships in New Ventures

This is a companion course to IMC200, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. As an internship course, instead of classes students earn one course credit by participating as interns in a technology start-up company affiliated to U of T. Students will contribute to the work needed in making an invention available to the public. This course is Pass/Fail. The internships run from September to March, and students are expected to work around 10 hours/week. IMC200 is a prerequisite for these internships. For the 2013-14 year, exceptional students will be considered who are registered in IMC200 at the same time.

How it works?

  1. Look up the available projects on the list below.
  2. Prepare an application and submit by August 26, 2013 (details below)
  3. If your application is selected, you will be invited to an interview with the company
  4. If successful, you will be selected as an intern, and our office will register you on ROSI. We aim to have all students registered by Monday, Sept. 9.
  5. There will be a midterm and final evaluation of your progress in December and March.

Application Details

To apply for a position, send an email with the following information:

  • In one single PDF file attached to your email, include your cover letter, 2-page resume, and in tabular format a list of courses and grades earned so far at U of T. Be sure to highlight in your cover letter what skills will make you particularly useful as an intern.
  • In the body of your email (not as an attachment) copy the following list and complete it with your information:
    Full Name:
    Student Number:
    Telephone Number:
    Number of project to which you apply:
    Program and year of study:
  • Submit your application to: impactcentre@optics.utoronto.ca
I loved participating in IMC39O. It provided the perfect opportunity to implement all the knowledge learnt in IMC2OO and other academic courses. It really helped me improve my communication, presentation and organization skills. It is difficult to gain practical, real world experience while in undergrad, but this course was the perfect avenue for that! Most importantly, it has made me more confident in my abilities.

Zoy Ajani, IMC390 Student ’13-’14

Project Descriptions

Project 2013/S001:
Our cleantech company is specializing in energy efficient LED lighting. Our responsibility to our clients and partners begins with providing timely test and measurement services of highest quality. We are ISO 17025/NVLAP accredited for our photometric and related services, enabling the third-party certification tests for ENERGYSTAR, DesignLights Consortium and Lighting Facts. Lumentra’s growing business necessitates proactive and effective customer relationship management. The internship project objective is to manage current customer relationship and foster new customer relationship by developing a customer database and understanding market needs. The intern will learn skills of CRM database application, marketing and basic photometry.

Responsibilities:
Study the basics of LED technologies and lighting industry.
Develop and maintain current and potential customer database.
Analyze customer needs, satisfaction, loyalty and other behaviors through proactive face-to-face, phone meetings, survey and other approaches.
Develop and implement CRM strategies.
Other duties as mutually agreed.

Project 2013/S002:
The intern will be given a medical technology case and will be asked to research the regulatory approval pathways. Expected outcomes will be what approvals are required, what is the procedure for obtaining them, how much it costs and how long it could take. Intern will also assist in grant writing in order to gain first hand experience on fundraising within the healthcare sector.

Project 2013/S003:
Today, the discovery of new medicines is significantly augmented by new computational technologies. Powerful computers allow us to simulate the interaction between drugs and disease targets, which we use to predict the efficacy of drug candidates at a fraction of the price and time of traditional wet lab experiments.

Are you interested in helping to cure diseases such as cancer and malaria? Are you a high-performance computing superstar? Do you know your ensemble learning methods from your gradient descents? We’re particularly looking for people with experience in machine learning and parallel and distributed programming to build the next generation of medical prediction engines. Specific skills include C/C++ on Unix, Python, CUDA, MPI/OpenMP. Some familiarity with biology and chemistry is a nice-to-have.

Project 2013/S004:
This project aims to develop a smart boxing glove which will gather specific performance data during an athlete’s training and transmit it wirelessly on a mobile device.

While working with the R&D team to assemble and test an existing design, the student will work with the marketing team to validate the first prototype of smart gloves with customers (athletes) in partnering gyms within the GTA. After validation, the student will help incorporate the customers’ feedback into the next generation of smart gloves in order to increase its value added.

Project 2013/S005:
This project aims to define the identity of our company which specializes in optimizing athletes’ progression by creating an “intelligent” environment that gather performance data while the athlete is training.

While the student will work with the senior executives to develop an original image for the company and to translate it into a visual branding, he/she will also work with potential customers to identify their needs in terms of user interfaces.

Project 2013/S006:
There are 80,000 people in Canada, over 1,000,000 people in the US, and about 60,000,000 children in the world who completely can not hear… For them, normal hearing-aid devices do not help; cochlea implant is extremely expensive and invasive; sign language has very limited vocabulary. They urgently need something more capable than sign language and cheaper/safer than cochlea implant. Our company provides innovative tools and specified training course to help deaf people “hear” through their eyes, and re-enable them to speak accurately. Currently, we need some student(s) to work on Market Research and Customer Relationship build-up.

Under the title of Market Research and Customer Relationship Specialist/Assistant, the student will be required to work outside the lab/office and contact deaf children directly. They will contact deaf school, help deaf child learn how to use our tools, and collect their (customer) feedback about our tools. It will be preferred if they could also recommend on how to improving our tech according to the customer feedback.

Project 2013/S007:
Our company is a design studio specifically targeting the healthcare and pharma industries. Our multidisciplinary projects play an essential role in training, education, and promotion activities. The Marketing Intern will support various marketing and business development process for innovative healthcare projects.

The student will be involved in the following activities:
1) Research: potential clients, products, and target industries.
2) Creative:
Writing the content of marketing materials
Social media activities
3) Strategy:
Assisting in Strategic Planning
Industry outreach
Assisting in the creation and execution of marketing plans
Contributing creative and analytical ideas to proposals and business plans

Project 2013/S008:
Our company is currently building some exciting new devices, one is a novel computer interface (think of the Nintendo Powerglove on steroids) and one is a novel single board computer. We are looking for a student to help design and implement a marketing strategy to increase exposure and sales of the company on these new technical products (still not publicly released).

Ideally, the candidate would be able to think outside the box and identify relevant marketing channels other than online advertising to increase the visibility of the company. The candidate may get the opportunity to represent the company at identified venues. The work would also involve some web development, and some online marketing. Because the candidate will be involved in a startup environment, he/she should demonstrate leadership and be able to work without constant supervision.

Project 2013/S009:
In this project the student will work to iteratively add new features to existing products, and assist with development of new products to address market needs. The student will work alongside the co-founders to
-Analyze our current products and markets to determine what needs the products are fulfilling
-Based on market needs, think of new features that can be added to improve the product
-Iteratively add new features to the product and validate them based on market feedback
-Identify if there’s a better way to address the same needs we are currently addressing (newer products)

Project 2013/S010:
In this project, the student will assist with Search Engine Optimization and other online marketing methods.
The student will work alongside co-founder to:
-Shortlist inbound and outbound online marketing methods
-Implement Pay-Per-Click ads using Google Adwords, manage and optimize campaigns over the long run, based on testing and feedback
-Explore and engage in activities that promote organic search engine rankings
-Assist with implementation of technology to keep track of leads, sales, and conversion rates
-Create reports with the purpose of highlighting most successful marketing tactics (SEO vs PPC, inbound vs outbound, conversion rates etc.)
-Utilize social media to increase brand awareness

Project 2013/S011:
Our company is an innovation lab aiming at making healthy lifestyle accessible and affordable. We provide an online fitness coach that analyzes users’ physical condition, provides them a plan tailored for each specific user and teaches the user what exercises to do and how to perform them using instructional videos. We have recently launched our application for beta testing. We are looking for a marketing intern who can help us in analyzing the results of our beta activities and in preparing our marketing plan for public launch.

The marketing intern will assist us with marketing and sales tasks. The student will participate in design and implementation of marketing strategies. The student will be heavily involved in creation and management of social media campaigns, email marketing and direct marketing activities. The student will also be assisting in research and analysis of different customer segments and development of specific campaigns tailored for these segments. Development of marketing and sales plans and presentations will be another part of the intern’s job at our company.

Project 2013/S012:
Our company is an innovation lab developing products in the health and fitness space. Because of the sheer size of the health and fitness market many companies have entered this space in recent years. However, majority of these products have failed to provide a long term personalized solution to the average user. The main problem with this fragmented market is that current solutions have failed to use the power of data and research to disrupt the fitness space. Our goal is to leverage the power of advanced technologies and big data to develop innovative products that are effective and affordable for average users. We launched our first web application in July and are working on optimizing the functionality and usability of the application. Meanwhile our business team is also working on feasibility of different ideas that the company is considering for future development. we are looking for an intern who will work with our business team on conducting a feasibility analysis, narrowing down the list of innovations we have in our pipeline and developing a business plan for the next idea the company should focus on.

The intern will assist the business team in the following tasks: collecting market research data regarding each of potential innovations through conducting problem and solution validation interviews/surveys; analysis of market data collected and data found through general research; conducting a financial feasibility analysis and preparing a 5 year projection; developing a business plan including a project plan for development and implementation of the idea.

Project 2013/S013:
We are a non-profit organization with the mandate to improve the quality of life in low-resource settings through low-cost, hands-on science education. The objective of this project is to bring our commercial science/engineering kits to market, with proceeds supporting outreach activities. This includes the design of innovative packaging for our products in a manner that appeals to a wide audience and the marketing of our kits through various channels.

We are seeking an individual with a talent for graphic design who will take the lead role in bringing our science kits to market. The responsibilities outlined here are an essential part of our total product development process. The role combines skills in design and marketing. The candidate will:
- be in charge of designing innovative packaging for our kits and sourcing all packaging materials,
- work closely with the product development team to provide input on the look and feel of our products
- assist in drafting our marketing and sales strategy, and
- create effective marketing materials and actively market the kits (e.g. through online media).

The candidate will also have the opportunity to be involved in other aspects of the organization, such as maintaining and creating website content as well as working with the executive team to craft sponsorship materials for fundraising efforts. These additional tasks will be decided upon in discussion with the candidate such that we can offer meaningful work experience that suit his/her interests.

Project 2013/S014:
The goal of this project is to perform a full characterization of an ultrasound imaging system. The ultrasound imaging system includes a transmit beam-former, a high-voltage pulser, transmit-receive switch, receiver and control electronics. The characterization will cover many of these modules to give a benchmark of the system performance. Depending on the results of the characterization, the system will be tuned to its optimal parameters for practical ultrasound imaging.

Students will participate in the integration and testing of the ultrasound imaging system. Typical tasks of this project includes a) hardware programming using C, python and/or verilog, b)designing, prototyping and debugging circuits, c) data acquisition and processing, c) hardware/software debugging. The student should have experience in at least one of the following fields: programming (hardware and software), circuits design/debugging, data processing, user interface design, etc (and have strong interests in learning the rest).

Project 2013/S015:
We are a green transportation company. We’re working on new urban transportation alternatives, and want to make the world a cleaner, more sustainable place by changing the way people get around. We believe in making use of technology for the good of the planet, and humanity.

We’re looking for someone who fits into this culture. As an interdisciplinary team of artists, designers and engineers, we have work of pretty much every type available for the right person. Among others, we have unsolved problems in mechanical and electrical engineering, materials science, ergonomics, and aerodynamics, to name a few. There are also opportunities in law, ethics, ethnography, psychology, interface design, and marketing. In short, chances are, we’ll have something to keep pretty much anyone busy.

Our ideal candidate is someone who is looking to change the world for the better in a big way. You have strong ethics, and a keen sense of justice. You might be a little critical of the status quo. You’re confident and independent, willing to figure out the world on your own, perhaps with a little guidance now and then. You communicate well. And finally, you believe in living life joyously.

Page last updated on August 22, 2013.