3 exciting projects win the COVID Challenge

by Startup Montréal
3 June 2020

3 exciting projects win the <post>COVID Challenge

Each winning team will receive prizes worth over $100,000

PingLit, Education Challenge

Portail Résidence, Health Care Challenge

EnLigne, Employment and Social Solidarity Challenge


Montreal, June 3, 2020 –Three promising projects were selected as Grand Prize winners for the <post>COVID Challenge, a virtual competition to find innovative solutions to the societal issues that Quebec now faces because of COVID-19. Nearly 400 people submitted projects for the 4‑week challenge, which was organized by Bonjour Startup Montréal, Desjardins (through Cooperathon) and Google Canada, in collaboration with several other stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.The winners will further develop their projects with the help of experienced entrepreneurs and experts from many fields.

Every project submitted had to respond to a real need to in one of these 3 areas affected by the pandemic: healthcare, education and employment.For each of these areas, only one winner was selected.

Education Challenge winner: PingLit

In the context of digital education, how can teachers evaluate their students’ progress in the learning process through the use of techniques like gamification?

Submitted by Justine Gagnepain, a web developer and UX Designer, and Emmanuelle Germain, a professor of literature, PingLit is a platform that uses recent educational innovations to make reading more fun and encourage students to go deeper. The platform lets students build virtual libraries made up of playful pictures related to the books they read.

 Health Care Challenge winner: Portail Résidence

In the context of social distancing measures, what methods can we develop to increase and improve close human connections with our senior citizens?

Co-founded in 2018 by Simon Bélanger and Jonathan Chirwa, Portail Résidence is an online platform for private seniors’ residences in Quebec. The platform allows people to find the best possible living environment for seniors.

Employment and Social Solidarity Challenge: EnLigne

In order to ensure a return to work that respects individual integrity in a context of physical distancing, how can technology contribute to the establishment of good health and safety practices in places like factories, universities, restaurants, shopping centres, public transportation and concert halls?

Submitted by Alexandre Ratthé, captain for Jazz Aviation and Ubisoft developers Brian McWilliams and Mariya Zinchenko, EnLigne is a mobile app that creates virtual lineups for neighbourhood stores, so that customers can save their spot without worrying as much about physical distancing.

About the competition process and panel

Finalists had to successfully complete all 3 phases of the competition, including writing a business plan, prototyping their projects with the help of industry experts and pitching their project to a panel of experts.

There 3 winning projects were selected by a panel of 9 experts:

  • Fab Dolan, Head of Marketing, Google Canada
  • Bruno Morency, Managing Director, Techstars Montréal AI
  • Stéphanie Jecrois, Co-founder, Technovation Montréal
  • Marie-Pierre Faure, Deputy Director, Institut Transmedtech
  • Martin Brunelle, Vice-President of Growth, Acquisitions and Development, Desjardins
  • Amina Gerba, Chair of the Board, Entreprendre Ici
  • François Lacoursière, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Ivanhoé-Cambridge
  • Liette Lamonde, Executive Director, Montréal inc., and Co-founder, Bonjour Startup Montréal
  • Fabienne Colas, Founder and CEO, Fabienne Colas Foundation

Selection criteria

Projects were analyzed based on many criteria, including the participants’ understanding of the challenge at hand and the viability of their proposed solution. Projects were also judged on their relevancy, innovative approach and concrete benefits for intended users.

A springboard toward completion of a concrete project

Each winning team will receive prizes valued at over $100,000, including customized coaching and workshops, mentoring, workspaces at the Notman House and access to a variety of Google services. These teams will also have access to the Desjardins Startup in Residence program, and a chance to develop a pilot project with a Quebec-based business. The full list and details of the prizes are available at https://post-covid.ca

About the Cooperathon (Desjardins)

The Cooperathon is one of the world’s largest open innovation competition focused on social impact. With a presence in Canada, France, Belgium and Chile, this international competition brings citizens, communities, entrepreneurs, researchers and academic and institutional groups together to develop a socially responsible future. www.cooperathon.ca

About Bonjour Startup Montréal

Bonjour Startup Montréal is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the creation, growth and public exposure of Montreal startups, with the goal of positioning the city among the world’s 20 most dynamic ecosystems. It is supported by Quebec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, the City of Montreal, the Fonds de Solidarité (FTQ), Teralys Capital, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. https://bonjourstartupmtl.ca/en/

About Google Canada

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a global technology leader, Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. Google Canada has offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa with over 1,500 Canadian Google employees working on teams across Engineering, AI Research, Sales and Marketing.

List of project collaborators

CTREQ, Fondation Luc Maurice, Founder Fuel, Gouvernement du Québec, Humanov-is, InVivo, Ivanhoé Cambridge, lg2, Maison Notman, Montréal NewTech, Mtl inc., OSMO Innovation, Real Ventures, Sparkboard, Startup en Résidence, Techstars Montréal AI

For more information, please contact:

Khatidja Kassam, Communications Advisor, Bonjour Startup Montréal

khatidja@bonjourstartupmtl.ca| 514-659-1518

For more information, please contact:

Jean-Philippe Lepage, Public Relations Advisor, Desjardins

jean-philippe.lepage@desjardins.com| 514 260-1819

For more information, please contact:

Luiza Staniec, Corporate Communications, Google Canada