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The Review

Basecamp 2023: Unveiling this year’s winners


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Basecamp 2023: Unveiling this year’s winners

And just like that, DMZ’s favourite time of the year has come and gone. Seeing a new group of talented young entrepreneurs complete DMZ’s Basecamp program is always inspiring.

Basecamp serves as a nurturing space for innovation, allowing up-and-coming entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into reality. After witnessing the growth of this cohort, we are confident that the future of innovation is bright and in capable hands.

Basecamp serves as an 8-week tech incubation program for students to unlock their potential, and collaborate alongside other youth innovators, industry experts and accomplished entrepreneurs.

Participating teams had the opportunity to pitch their startups to a panel of judges for the chance to take home one of six grants worth $5,000 to put towards taking their business to the next level.

DMZ was honoured to sit down with the winners to learn how the Basecamp program fast-tracked their startup’s trajectory.

DMZ Basecamp 2023 participants, ClearCardio, pose with their $5000 cheque

Clear Cardio

Clear Cardio is an affordable, accurate, wearable machine that instantly detects heart issues. Before starting Basecamp, the pair had no experience in the startup ecosystem. Basecamp provided them with the tools to nurture ClearCardio from concept to reality.

“[Basecamp] is the perfect way to get into the startup world, especially if you’re high school students like us, as the program is a beginner’s guide to everything business-related you need to kick start your journey, ” said Nima Vasigh, Co-Founder of Clear Cardio.

The PilotASD team poses with their $5000 cheque


Founded by two Toronto Metropolitan University students, PilotASD is a platform that simplifies finding tailored resources to make the future more accessible for autistic youth. Given their computer science background and experience with product development, the pair partook in Basecamp to better understand entrepreneurship and how to start a business.

“Basecamp set us up to thrive in Toronto’s entrepreneurship scene, and we’re delighted to be a part of it. We’re excited to see the journey ahead with PilotASD and where our future will take us, ” explained Cindy Fang, Co-Founder of PilotASD.

A group of students from startup NearMe pose with their $5000 cheque


After years of isolation during the pandemic, three students came together to tackle the loneliness epidemic. NearMe is an innovative app that uses geolocation to connect post-secondary students based on interests and promotes in-person interactions. Looking back at their experiences in Basecamp, the trio found that the program served as a launching pad, equipping them with skills to tackle pitching, marketing and finances.

“The connections we made with Basecamp mentors gave us strategic insights on how we can elevate our startup. They helped us navigate topics that we aren’t necessarily getting taught in school,” said Rayan Ahmad, Co-Founder of NearMe.

DMZ Basecamp 2023 participants, Aidify, pose with their $5000 cheque


This sibling duo is fighting for student success and academic integrity. Aidify is a typing analytics tool to help teachers detect plagiarism and assess student effort. Aidify highlighted how the mentors stood out as a remarkably influential part of the program. They were able to absorb startup fundamentals and found themselves inspired by their success.

“Starting a business was never a serious option we considered for our futures, but that’s changed now that we know the ins and outs of running a business. Basecamp has given us a ton of confidence knowing that it’s a real possibility for us,” said Charlie To, Co-Founder of Aidify.

PocketClass smiles upon receiving a $5000 cheque


PocketClass is a platform for extracurriculars that simplifies the interaction between parents and instructors through their integrated search, scheduling and payment features. CEO and Founder Lisa Huh plans to join DMZ Masterclass workshops to continue elevating her business.

“Basecamp is the go-to program for early-stage and aspiring founders. It acts as your compass in the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship, with resources, mentorship and a supportive community for your journey from idea to success,” explained CEO and Founder of PocketClass, Lisa Huh.

DMZ Basecamp 2023 participants, Capable, pose with their $5000 cheque


Although she didn’t reach the final pitching round, Jazel Dela Paz was selected by her fellow Basecamp peers as the lucky recipient of the Peer Choice Award. Her startup, Capable, aims to make adulthood easy by helping young adults confidently prepare, manage and navigate the responsibilities of adulthood stress-free.

“Basecamp allowed me to expand my network, introducing me to a strong network of startups and mentors. Their support, motivation and accountability were invaluable, especially during critical moments when I needed it the most,” said Founder of Capable, Jazel Dela Paz.

These students and their startups are shining examples of the innovation that spurs when passion, hard work, and support intersect. As we draw the curtains on yet another exciting Basecamp chapter, we’re confident these startups will make their mark in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for years.

Cheers to their success and a summer filled with learning, growth and success!

Looking to join Basecamp in 2024? Subscribe to our TechTalk newsletter and stay informed on program applications here. Until then, we invite you to check out DMZ Masterclass to master your business skills at

DMZ’s Year in review: Coffee, capital and community

After an eventful 2022, the DMZ is taking a step back to appreciate all we’ve accomplished this year alongside our community and supporters — from onboarding startups to launching new programming and international expansion.

Scroll and reminisce with us!
Note: These are stats as of November 1, 2022.

Our coffee machine is one of the most popular amenities at the DMZ! It’s clearly a community favourite, with an estimated 10,438 coffees made in 2022.

Up, up, up, and away — startup fundraising numbers surged to a whopping $258,672,261 this year!

That’s right — six DMZ companies were acquired in 2022 (Sensibill, Gridcure, GrowthGenuis, InkBox, Fortuna, OnCall), and three acquisitions were made by DMZ companies: Singlekey acquired Naborly, Manzil acquired Muslim Will, and Daylight Automation (formerly known as FormHero) acquired Proof Data Technology.

Start spreading the news! In October 2022, The DMZ re-opened in New York City — a tech ecosystem valued at $147 billion — to continue empowering the next generation of global startups.

Let’s network! In 2022, the DMZ brought together over 1500 attendees in 40+ events in the tech ecosystem.

Our community had a ton of media traction over the past year. The DMZ had 2.39K+ features in the media, and our DMZ startups had an enormous media presence with 36k+ highlights.

Startups come and go at the DMZ, but they always leave an imprint in our community. This year, 357 startups graduated from DMZ programs, including Startup Certified (38 students), Basecamp (22 companies), NEP (27 companies), Launchpad (86 students), Incubator (8 companies), AMEX Blueprint (100 companies), Pre-Incubator (45 companies) and BIP Connections (31 companies).

The DMZ stays busy! This year, we ran programming for multiple existing programs: BIP Social Impact Stream fuelled by Unilever Canada, Black Innovation Connections with Dream Legacy Foundation, Launchpad for Entrepreneurs powered by Desjardins and AMEX Blueprint powered by the DMZ.

In addition, we housed the launch of the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Program (NEP) — a virtual ideation program sponsored by the Future Skills Centre and media sponsored by Canadian Business that helps Canadian newcomers develop startup fundamentals. We also partnered with Toronto-based venture capital firm GroundBreak Ventures to launch our PropTech stream as part of our incubator program to help high-potential PropTech startups transform the real estate landscape.

There’s a reason we’re known as a world-leading tech incubator. This year we received over 812 global applications. We’ve still got it.

What a year! Want to take part in 2023’s stats? Discover the DMZ and our programming here. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest tech news, updates, and special offers.

These young innovators are redefining what it means to be studentpreneurs

Meet DMZ’s Basecamp winners

From student to startup founder, the DMZ’s student incubation program, Basecamp, helps young entrepreneurs create tech solutions to growing social and economic gaps in society.

Over the course of the summer, 22 student-led startups had the opportunity to develop and market their business idea, receive one-on-one industry mentoring, and attend expert-led workshops to gain a better understanding of the Canadian tech ecosystem. 

Bringing their innovative business ideas to life, it was another successful summer for the books! 

From edtech, artificial intelligence to cryptocurrency solutions, participating companies were anything but juvenile. 

Today’s students are digital natives. With more resources and tools available than ever before, there is a new wave of studentpreneurs who are punching well above their weight and developing unique solutions to a handful of society’s biggest challenges. 

Wrapping up the 8-week program, participating teams had the opportunity to pitch their startup ideas to a panel of judges for the chance to take home one of five grants — designed to help startups launch into the next phase of their growth — of up to $5,000 CAD.

So, who were the top winning teams of the DMZ’s Basecamp, and how are they redefining what it means to be studentpreneurs? 
mindful minutes image
After learning that only 8% of people who set goals actually achieve them, Dev, Urvush and Adisha knew there had to be a better way for people to stay accountable and accomplish their goals.

Dev Parekh

Mindful Minutes is a personal development platform that helps individuals achieve their short and long-term goals by leveraging community and group accountability.

“The Basecamp program provided us with a lot more goodies than we had expected! Over the course of just 2 months, we were able to gain valuable startup knowledge, incredible mentors and a community of like-minded motivated entrepreneurs!

The program has definitely enhanced the way we run our business, and connected us with important people and necessary resources needed to succeed.” The team plans to use their winnings for marketing, referral programs, incorporating their business, and research and development.

Urvish Patel

As leaders of a personal development startup, the team at Mindful Minutes truly understands the importance of a balanced lifestyle. 

“While taking care of your business, remember to take care of yourself. While there may be certain weeks that you need to put in the extra hours and effort to make something happen, always remember that burnout is real and can happen to anyone. Learn how to pace yourself!”

While running your own startup has a lot of perks — like being able to work at your own pace, and being your own boss — Mindful Minutes highlights that working for a startup requires a lot of commitment and grit.

Adisha Shankar

“Contrary to what some people may think, founding your own startup can easily require more from an individual than a 9-5 grind. Nonetheless, it is definitely a rewarding experience to witness the growth of Mindful Minutes.”

Mindful Minutes plans to establish a referral program to help them scale, and are developing their platform. They hope to reach a couple hundred members by year end to start making an impact on their users’ personal development.

Keep up with Mindful Minutes on Instagram!

“While taking care of your business, remember to take care of yourself. While there may be certain weeks that you need to put in the extra hours and effort to make something happen, always remember that burnout is real and can happen to anyone. Learn how to pace yourself!”

site scope image

Andy Xu

SiteScope provides AI and computer vision applications for safety and automation in the construction industry. They offer two solutions: hardhat detection and traffic control automation.

“As first-time entrepreneurs, our team has grown significantly throughout the Basecamp program.

We really enjoyed the legal, incorporation and leadership workshops. Our Basecamp mentor throughout the program was perfect — she answered all our questions, and played a critical role in SiteScope’s pitch deck development. We couldn’t have done it without Ingrid Polini and the entire DMZ team!”

Tom Pruyn

SiteScope plans to use their winnings to develop a hardware prototype.

While the Basecamp program wraps up with a demo day, SiteScope encourages all future participants not to treat the program like a competition. 

“As students, we can get pretty competitive, but networking and sharing advice with the entire cohort made the experience so much more rewarding. Take the opportunity to learn and share your knowledge with others.”

Vraj Patel

While many believe studentpreneurs live and breathe for ‘grind culture’, SiteScope emphasized that their fellow founders genuinely cared about their product and embraced work-life balance.


“As students, we can get pretty competitive, but networking and sharing advice with the entire cohort made the experience so much more rewarding. Take the opportunity to learn and share your knowledge with others.”

skilly iamge
Skilly is an ed-tech company that makes learning and teaching more accessible for people around the world. Their app allows individuals to trade skills for skills they want to learn — all for free.

Luke Galati

“Our Basecamp experience was amazing! 

The DMZ’s Basecamp helped us foster an understanding of the business principles within the tech world, and we’ll be able to apply these learnings in our future!

We were surrounded by talented students who were hungry to grow their businesses, and learn from the DMZ team and the Entrepreneurs in Residence. Our mentor, Ayodele Pompey, was such a positive influence, and inspired us to be the best professionals that we can be.”

Skilly plans to use their winnings to develop their MVP. With their user experience and user interface designs for their app underway, their next step is to build the product and then launch. 

Ayesha Azad

Skilly encourages other inspiring studentpreneurs to start their ventures as soon as they can.

“Find people who can support your vision, and build with like-minded people who want to achieve the same goal. Keep progressing, however you can. As long as you keep moving forward, you’ll reach your goal.”

While juggling school and a startup can be challenging, Skilly believes that studentpreneurs don’t need to choose between their education and business. 

“We believe that it’s possible to be ambitious and change the world, while still fulfilling the goal of getting your degree and graduating with your peers.”

Skilly is looking to hire a Chief Technology Officer to help bring their product to life. They also look forward to continuing their growth as a company with the DMZ Basecamp Fellowship.

“Find people who can support your vision, and build with like-minded people who want to achieve the same goal. Keep progressing, however you can. As long as you keep moving forward, you’ll reach your goal.”

Designed exclusively for fashion professionals, RESERVE is a B2B marketplace that features retailers and independent designers for commercial designer rentals. A stylist’s best friend, RESERVE saves time, money, and stress by providing an online directory of designer items available for rent and delivering apparel directly to fashion shoots.

Omar Abul Ata

“As a solo founder with a non-technical retail background, Basecamp was an integral part of my journey. 

From learning about fundraising cycles to understanding the mechanics of how a startup is run, Basecamp has allowed me to progress myself and my confidence as an entrepreneur.” 

RESERVE plans to use the winnings to secure their website domain and social media handles. Omar also hopes to use the funding for their launch campaign’s digital marketing, which includes partnerships with micro-influencers, retailers and independent designers.

Omar highlights there are only so many hours in a day to get work done, and encourages other studentpreneurs to readjust their priorities if the hustle comes at the cost of mental and physical health. “Treat the process like a marathon, not a sprint.” 

Although studentpreneurs may sometimes look like they have everything figured out, Omar underscores the importance of resilience and how every day is an opportunity to learn something new and overcome challenges. While some days will be better than others, a startup’s ability to learn and overcome adversity is far more telling than its solution alone. 

“Being in a startup is like being in the middle of a mosh pit at a heavy metal concert — it’s total chaos. However, that is also the beauty of it, as an entrepreneur you have to learn to trust the process.”

RESERVE looks forward to completing their MVP, and their beta launch to onboard their first batch of rentees and renters. By late November, RESERVE plans to have a soft launch exclusively for Toronto.

Keep up with RESERVE on Instagram!

“Being in a startup is like being in the middle of a mosh pit at a heavy metal concert — it’s total chaos. However, that is also the beauty of it, as an entrepreneur you have to learn to trust the process.”

Are you an inspiring studentpreneur looking for support to help build your business idea? Follow the DMZ on Instagram and X to stay up to date with all of our student programming!

From student to startup founder: See how these young entrepreneurs launched a company in eight weeks

Again in 2020, selected high school and university students from across Canada and the U.S. will get the opportunity to bring their innovative business ideas to life with the help of expert training, mentorship, and the potential to win up to $15,000 in grant money.

Read below to learn how students can apply, and for examples of past DMZ Basecamp companies who have achieved considerable success.


At just 15 years old, Riya Karumanchi joined Basecamp and developed SmartCane, a technology that was born out of her combined passion for helping people and her knowledge in machine learning.

SmartCane is a technologically-enhanced version of the common white cane typically used by those who are visually impaired. Riya’s motivation to develop this solution came when she realized the original white cane was never updated to take advantage of newer technologies. The SmartCane device leverages GPS integration, object detection, location sharing and an emergency button, giving users more independence and safety. Additionally, features like optic detection, wetness sensors, audio feedback and computer vision help to describe a person’s surroundings.

Since graduating Basecamp, Riya has gained over $70,000 in funding and assistance from some of the world’s top companies such as Microsoft and Google. She is a DMZ Fellow and an Innovator at The Knowledge Society and is recognized as one of the Top 20 Teen Entrepreneurs Worldwide, among many other awards and accolades.


Hamza Khan, Founder and Business Development Lead of software company Vimto, saw a gap in the market to help foreign startups scale internationally to contest in new markets. He realized that while so many startups around the world are creating great products and services, not all companies know how to effectively sell. Vimto’s platform acts as a company’s own Digital Growth Consultant, providing the tools and knowledge base to extend all channels’ growth and business development.

Through Hamza’s own knowledge in marketing and entrepreneurship, and with the help of the DMZ Startup Certified program and Ryerson Global Innovation Challenge, Vimto was founded. Since graduating from Startup Certified, Vimto has grown to a team of five and Hamza has travelled to several countries for research and development purposes, including Turkey, India, UAE and Germany. To date, the team has raised $30,000 from bootstrapping and grants and has seen $1,500 in monthly recurring revenue.

In Hamza’s experience, the best part of Basecamp and similar programs are the connections you make along the way – social capital is one of the most valuable resources you will get from a program like this.

Basecamp 2020 applications open

This year, Basecamp is going virtual, making the program accessible to any high school or university student in Canada and the United States. 

The usual program fee will be waived for all Canadian students, coast-to-coast!

If you’re a student and ready to do big things in the world of entrepreneurship, the DMZ wants you. Learn more about Basecamp and apply now: