Get involved with the eCapstone at the Cheriton School of Computer Science!

Register for the Fall 2021 eCapstone  |  Winning 2020 eCapstone projects  |  Student testimonials

In 2020, the Cheriton School of Computer Science launched a new extracurricular entrepreneurial program for upper year undergraduates and graduate students known as the eCapstone. Delivered by the Math Innovation Office, the eCapstone gives students an opportunity to explore the market potential of their class projects as well as any personal projects they are keen to commercialize.

When students opt in to the eCapstone, they participate in a series of workshops that guide them through the entrepreneurial process — from problem identification to customer discovery to developing a proof-of-concept to pitching an idea to a lay audience. Workshops are led by industry leaders as well as alumni entrepreneurs.

photo of students at capstone

Forty students participated in the 2020 pilot cohort and five teams submitted a pitch to judges for a chance to win one of three grants to further develop their business ideas.

We are especially grateful to Steven Woods and a number of engineers at Google Canada who volunteered their time to deliver the 2020 workshops, and to the Cheriton School of Computer Science alumni who volunteered as mentors, giving students the opportunity to meet and get advice from experienced industry professionals. 

photo of a student and professor at eCapstone

Interested?

register iconThe e-Capstone is an opportunity for CS students to take initiative and develop entrepreneurial skills by solving a real-world problem they are passionate about. It is also an opportunity for industry partners and alumni to become involved with the Cheriton School of Computer Science. 

The eCapstone is offered every term, starting in fall 2021. 

Undergrad and graduate CS students
Interested in signing up for the fall 2021 session of the eCapstone? Please register on Airtable.

Industry partners and alumni
Would you like to become involved with the eCapstone as a mentor? Please contact Camelia Nunez, Director Innovation & Research Partnerships at the Faculty of Mathematics, at cnunez@uwaterloo.ca

eCapstone funding is made possible by the generosity of Sam Pasupalak, a Cheriton School of Computer Science alumni and co-founder of Maluuba, a company acquired by Microsoft in 2017 for $140M. Through Sam’s philanthropy, we are able to offer three grants totalling $5,000 to the top three student projects.

Fall 2021 eCapstone schedule

Date Activity or milestone
Sep 26, 2021 Last day for students to opt in
Oct 6, 2021 Problem identification (workshop)
Oct 20, 2021 How others have done it (workshop)
Nov 3, 2021 Customer discovery (workshop)
Nov 17, 2021 Proof-of-concept (workshop)
Dec 1, 2021 How to get buy-in for your idea (workshop & pitching)
Dec 14, 2021 Live pitches • Top 3 winners announced • Certificates of completion from the Math Innovation Office

Download the eCapstone info brochure (PDF)


Winning 2020 eCapstone projects

Three prizes worth a total of $5,000 were awarded to the top three eCapstone projects in 2020.

1st Prize • SalesBoost • $2,500

CS students | entrepreneurs: Lucas Harvey and Rushi Gandhi

Salesboost is a Shopify app that adds post-sale cross-selling functionality to any Shopify store. Merchants can increase their average order value by offering discounts on additional products after a customer makes a purchase.

How will the funding be used?
Lucas and Rushi are planning to use the money for marketing and advertising. They will be creating informational videos, marketing assets and covering advertising expenses on both Shopify and social media.

2nd Prize • Arbitrium • $1,500

CS students | entrepreneurs: Ahmed Hamodi and Greg Maxin

Arbitrium is a collaborative decision-making platform for organizations to make group decisions, currently focused on the grant application space. Our product is a web application where all stakeholders in the process — administrators, reviewers, and applicants — can perform their part of the decision-making process virtually and efficiently. Future application spaces include recruitment, scholarships, venture capital firms, and many more.

How will the funding be used?
Ahmed and Greg will use the money for product upkeep — servers, databases, deployment, etc. — and helping to support some of their sales efforts. The product is currently complete, and the focus is on user acquisition. 

3rd Prize • WatWeLearn • $1,000

CS students | entrepreneurs: Cynthia Ren, Tracy Meng, Yizhe Liu, Francis Sun

WatWeLearn is an all-in-one platform for interactive e-learning. This project's goal is to provide seamless, interactive, and trackable online learning experiences for students and instructors. We hope to connect learning by demonstrating dependencies in course topics using graph visualization

How will the funding be used?
The team plans to use their prize funds to pay for web servers, cloud computing resources, obtaining consulting advice from professionals, and connecting with course staff for potential improvements.


A few things students told us about their eCapstone experience

“We really liked the first workshop with Derek Phillips, as he opened our minds towards identifying small and big problems worth solving with our expertise. We also liked the pitching workshop, there were many useful tips, dos and don’ts that really helped us formulate our own pitch.”

“The most helpful workshop was the one on Pitch Practice because it gave us a clear structure for our pitch. In fact, we even used the example provided in the workshop to format our pitch effectively. We also benefited from tips such as using eye-catching icons, limiting text and ending with a summary slide.”

“The most helpful workshop for our team was the third one with Ronuk Raval since we were at the stage of customer discovery. So the insights we got from that workshop were very valuable and applicable to us at the time.”