Thriving…Not Just Surviving

While the world has been on pause during the pandemic, innovation on campus has continued to flourish. Startups generally have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. As challenging as launching a startup is in the best of times, doing so during a pandemic presents smaller ventures with even greater challenges in accessing funding, research and testing facilities, and supply chains. Unexpected disruptions or delays such as those created by COVID-19 can decimate a fledgling venture.

For example, DeepND, a HATCH accelerator venture that was using AI to increase retention of hourly workers for restaurants, had to regroup and pivot in order to survive the pandemic, as restaurants around the world closed to in-person dining. From that pivot a new venture, Pocketed, was born. The founders Aria Hahn and Brianna Blaney were able to take their learnings from the HATCH program and use them to build and validate their new venture in just 14 weeks. Pocketed helps businesses access billions of dollars in grants and tax credits with their intelligent matching platform.

Brianna Blaney

“Our company was born in a pandemic, out of the ashes of the economic hardship that forced us to close the doors of our last venture. While it’s always hard to leave behind a project you’ve invested time, energy, and heart into, you never move on empty handed. In fact, the idea for Pocketed came from our own frustrations trying to navigate non-dilutive funding for our last business. When we started to dive into the problem, we quickly learned that we weren’t alone in experiencing these pains – and now we have the opportunity to solve it for everyone!”—Brianna Blaney, DeepND/Pocketed co-founder

Given the added challenges that all new ventures have faced during the pandemic, it is extraordinary and a testament to founder resilience and the UBC entrepreneurial support network that four new ventures are joining the HATCH accelerator program:  ABOzymes Biomedical Inc., Cargo Sprout, Neupeak Robotics, and Total Flow Cannula. These ventures are tackling pressing global problems, from eliminating blood type as a constraint for blood transfusions or organ transplants, to integrating freight logistics, to reducing crop wastage and addressing labour constraints through robotics, to safely re-routing patient blood flow outside the body when required. The potential global impact of these ventures is perhaps what drives their founders to push on through adversity—they’ve tasked themselves with something they believe in.

HATCH Technician David Roberts

UBC has created an extensive network to support such new exciting ventures. In HATCH, the startup accelerator in the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS),  entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC) and ICICS, have created a place where entrepreneurs who strive to make a difference receive the resources—such as the HATCH Makerspace—and guidance to achieve their greatest potential. Working one-on-one with a bench of entrepreneurs-in-residence, ventures are able to reach major milestones, while developing a strong network of industry professionals to help them see continued success and further Canada’s innovation economy. Graduates of HATCH have expanded nationally and globally, driving innovation in healthcare, sustainability, and more, making significant impacts on the world’s well-being.


“It is very satisfying to welcome new HATCH ventures and watch them learn, grow and succeed in making an impact. The ventures are also a vital part of our academic and social network in ICICS by providing connections among our researchers and the world of entrepreneurship.”—Rob Rohling, ICICS Director

More detail on the four new HATCH ventures:

 ABOzymes Biomedical Inc. is an early stage, Vancouver-based enterprise with an innovative, unique and proprietary platform which will realize a world where blood type is no longer a constraint for those receiving life-saving transfusion or organ transplant.

CargoSprout:  CargoSprout is a no-setup logistics integration provider for freight forwarders and 3-party logistics warehouses (3PLs). The venture provides access to thousands of trucking, drayage, warehousing, and distribution services on a single hub.

Neupeak Robotics: is developing autonomous fruit-harvesting robots designed to save farmers money by charging a fixed rate per pound of strawberries collected, at a rate competitive with traditional labour. The robots are designed to work safely among humans, so they can be incorporated into any farm’s operations as seamlessly as possible.

Total Flow Cannula: Total Flow Cannula is a novel, specialized tubing (cannula) that ensures blood flow to a patient’s leg during extracorporeal circulation procedures (use of a heart-lung machine). The new design enables surgeons to pursue preventive treatment or implement an immediate rescue strategy without additional devices or surgical procedures.

For more information related to HATCH or to read about other HATCH ventures, visit  or email