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Spotlight on Startups: Forget passwords, PIN codes and key cards—in style—with Bionym's 'Nymi' wristband

Entrepreneurs from Rotman's Creative Destruction Lab launch wearable bio-tech

Bionym launched the 'Nymi' wristband following their experience at Rotman's Creative Destruction Lab (image courtesy Bionym)

Imagine never having to remember another password or PIN number again. And now imagine that freedom coming in the form of a tiny watch-like gadget that listens to your heart.

Using our unique heartbeats to eliminate the jumble of complicated word-and-number combinations in these tech-heavy times was the goal of Karl Martin and Foteini Agrafioti, founders of Bionym

The U of T engineering researchers came to the Creative Destruction Lab with ideas for biometric recognition systems. Its mentors, workshops and services—including direct access to investors—then helped Bionym develop its concept, goals and products. The Nymi launched only a year later, in early September, 2013.

In the video below, Bionym CEO, Karl Martin, explains how he went from academic to entrepreneur at U of T. 

This video is part of a new U of T News series called Spotlight on Startups, which profiles the many entrepreneurial efforts growing from the hundreds of companies spun out from research and connections sparking every day at the University of Toronto:

U of T hosts more than 50 enterprise-fostering courses, programs, labs, clubs, contests and speaker series across its faculties, departments and campuses — and then there are all the innovations developing in informal settings. U of T ranks No. 1 in North America for number of startups launched. And its roster of spin-off companies driving innovation in Toronto and around the world continues to grow.

(Video directed and edited by Johnny Guatto; Co-produced by Brianna Goldberg and Johnny Guatto)

Only a few months after Bionym completed the intense "boot camp"-like program with Creative Destruction, the Nymi is claiming features in TimePopular Science and TechCrunch. From here, Martin says Bionym will launch into another round of fundraising, as they continue to expand plans for their staff and their product line.

To learn more about entrepreneurship at U of T, and other spaces at the university, like the Creative Destruction Lab, the Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Innovations & Partnerships Office, and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering—all of which helped Bionym develop into the internationally recognized company it is today—visit the Spotlight on Startups series page.

Brianna Goldberg is a writer with U of T News.

Visit the University of Toronto entrepreneurship site to learn more about U of T's enterprise-fostering courses, labs, programs and more.

More about Bionym

Bionym is a leader in cutting-edge biometric recognition systems. It develops innovative identity and convenience-based security solutions for modern problems, using revolutionary technologies to protect privacy and ensure data security. Bionym was part of the inaugural cohort of the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. In August 2013, Bionym closed $1.4M (CAD) in seed financing, with the majority of the investment via the Creative Destruction Lab “G7” members. Bionym was founded in 2011 and is located in downtown Toronto, Canada.

More about Creative Destruction

Read more about how the Creative Destruction Lab provides guidance, access to early-stage investors and clients, as well as workshops, professional services and office space on their website.

More about the Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship supports entrepreneurs turning research discoveries into innovative products and companies. In turn, these companies create skilled jobs for local students and graduates of the University of Toronto. In addition to lab and office space for start-up companies, Banting and Best’s Impact Centre and the Innovations & Partnerships Office provide aspiring entrepreneurs with education, mentorship, and resources to support their company. Read more about how Banting and Best's dynamic space supports companies like Bionym, on their website.

More about the Innovation & Partnerships Office (IPO)

Read more about the IPO and how it facilitates research, partnerships and and commercialization at U of T on their website.

(Read a previous article about the first Creative Destruction Lab cohort from U of T News)