Design for Startups

Fall 2021

Over the course of 12 weeks, nine student designers will work directly with the technical and business leads of nine BC companies to explore and develop a new methodology for connecting design to Internet startups as part of Design for Startups.

Student designers will consider existing design gaps, perform user interface/usability studies, and develop design strategies for the companies in residence.

Fall 2021 company-student partnerships are:


Appara is an integrated legal services platform that saves legal teams time and delivers enhanced productivity. Unlike other products, we focus on the core of what you do, transactions and administration. Appara is built on the back of our proprietary automation engine and intelligent analyzer and leverages strategic integrations with industry leaders (Office 365, Quickbooks, DocuSign, AdobeSign). Further, our platform delivers a significantly improved corporate records management experience to our customers. This means that our management team’s know-how is paired with market leading AI, allowing you to complete your work in one place – accurately and fast.

Alexandra Livsey will work with Appara.


CargoSprout is a one-stop shop for businesses of every size to book combinations of trucking, warehousing, and freight transportation. Our digital platform is built on finding commonality with our partners and uses a shared information ecosystem to eliminate the hassles of planning and managing logistics workflows.

Nargis Shaikh will work with CargoSprout.


Rentrax is a cloud-based software app founded by Iraj Akbari. Disappointed by existing products on the market, Akbari founded Rentrax in 2015 based on his own experience in the rental industry. Since then, Rentrax developed more features and now more than 65 paying clients from all around the world are dependent on Rentrax to run their business more efficiently.

Rentrax also acquired a lot of valuable experience in the booking and inventory system and recently developed an application for amenity booking and strata management.

Chen XiaoTian will work with Rentrax.


Kai Analytics and Survey Research is a Vancouver-based market research firm that helps organizations understand their customers’ opinions and experiences. We use natural language processing technologies to quickly summarize thousands of open-ended responses into actionable insights. Kai Analytics developed Unigrams,  a qualitative data analysis platform designed specifically to help higher education administrators quickly understand the demands of their students, the concerns of their faculty, and the climate of their campus.

Jeffrey Li will work with Kai Analytics and Survey Research team on Unigrams.


KIT Research is a business intelligence platform that transforms your consumer and survey data into interactive stakeholder reports. We help market researchers, brand insights teams, and marketing departments across all industries understand their customers’ preferences, values and expectations. Quicker.  

Sitalakshmi Lakshmanan will work with KIT Research.

StandardFusion is an Integrated Risk Management GRC Software that simplifies the way you manage risk and compliance.

Shraddha Kumbhar will work with StandardFusion.


PlayWize is where players make smart moves. For every player in the sporting industry – create, find and score sporting, educational and brand opportunities all over the world.

Years of research, a bunch of common sense, and some technology nerds later, and we have figured out a digital formula which benefits every player in the sports industry.

Laurensia Vinny will work with PlayWize.


Divisin is an emerging provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the urban/suburban built-to-rent real estate (“PBR”) industry. Our business, in this rapidly growing segment of the real estate market, is constantly analyzing purpose-built rental communities across key cities in North America. Our goal is to help our clients understand pricing opportunities for rental housing in their market.

George Macrae will work with Divisin.


LearningBranch builds assessment and training products that help businesses shift customer service into customer excellence. Our vision is to become the world’s leading provider of AI-Driven communicative competency training and assessments, allowing millions of learners to communicate more effectively and professionally, improving their lives and careers in a connected world.

Isabella Samantha will work with LearningBranch.


This project is supported by Digital Technology Supercluster for the duration of 2020 – 2022. Funding for student salaries is provided by Innovate BC.