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The BEST Bridge to Startup Program: Empowering Student Entrepreneurs

In May, the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (BEST) Bridge to Startup (BB2S) program welcomed its second cohort of students who are overseeing five innovative projects. A four-month summer entrepreneurship experience, the BB2S program empowers students from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering to build startups based on their Capstone prototypes and/or research. Designed for students in their final years of an undergraduate or graduate program, BB2S is an opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurship endeavour full-time.

Students in the program are provided with a structured learning environment in which to develop their projects through educational materials and professional consulting. Each team benefits from the support of an MBA student from the Schulich School of Business who helps them with the business development of their startups. Participants also receive guidance from entrepreneur in residence Rehber Lookman, a venture capitalist with extensive experience in technology, operations, and venture funding across North America and Europe.

Another unique feature of the program is the guest speaker sessions, led by industry experts and esteemed professors who offer diverse insights and perspectives, enriching students’ entrepreneurial journeys. This dynamic learning ecosystem, enhanced by regular reflection exercises, fosters a collaborative community where students can share and grow.

Highlights of this year’s projects:


Sellstatic revolutionizes real estate sales with AI-driven solutions that streamline marketing and sales processes, allowing realtors to launch targeted ad campaigns and manage leads efficiently with real-time market insights and CRM integration.


ROUT3 simplifies the use of large language models by minimizing costs, optimizing outputs, and providing a seamless interface for developers to integrate and scale various models without technical complexities.

“The environment and support provided by the BB2S program transform seemingly out-of-reach ideas into tangible realities,” says Laxit Shahi, a recent Lassonde Computer Engineering graduate and software developer. “Discussions inspire ideas, and ideas catalyze impact. Regardless of the outcome, I am learning concepts and ideas that I can carry beyond the program. I look forward to working with my team and everyone in the BB2S program to plan, develop, and likely pivot (and pivot some more) to ship an impactful SaaS product!”

Nobl Kids

Nobl Kids is a SaaS marketplace for children’s extracurricular activities, offering a robust, low-cost class management suite that connects activity providers with parents and children to scale businesses and foster industry growth.

“As a new member of the BB2S program, I am thrilled about the opportunity to grow our business while working with like-minded entrepreneurs in a supportive, networking-rich environment,” says Huseyun Akhundov, a recent Lassonde Computer Science graduate and co-founder of Nobl Kids. “The resources and mentorship offered are invaluable in driving innovative solutions forward.”


optimaTRAX uses AI and real-time data to reduce urban congestion and emissions by dynamically adapting traffic routes, aiming for a 40% reduction in GHG/CO2 and a 30% increase in fuel efficiency.

 “As part of the BB2S program, I am incredibly excited about the unique opportunity to transform our optimaTRAX concept into a viable startup,”  says John Bagshaw, a Lassonde Space Engineering PhD student and founder of OptimaTrax. “This program not only provides invaluable mentorship and coaching but also enriches us with courses on personal development and interpersonal skills. The insights from renowned keynote speakers are particularly inspiring, empowering us to innovate and lead with confidence. The BEST team — Rehber, Andrew, Maedeh, and Dora — are helpful in creating an innovative community equipped to tackle global uncertainties and pioneer groundbreaking solutions for global positive impact.”

Smart goggles

Smart goggles use AI to analyze ocular biomarkers and brain signals for early Alzheimer’s disease detection and monitoring, aiming to enhance diagnostics, facilitate early interventions, and improve patient quality of life.

“The BB2S program empowers students with the confidence, skills and practical knowledge to become technology leaders, tackling real-world challenges and driving innovation in a rapidly evolving global landscape,” says Maedeh Sedaghat, program manager at BEST. “We are excited to see the creativity and drive of this year’s participants, and we are confident that this immersive experience will lead to significant growth and achievement.”

Learn more about the BEST BB2S program.