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eleven:eleven - An Americas semi-finalist's OneStart journey

Written by - Leia Shum and Jakub Dworakowski from the OneStart America 2016 semi-finalist team eleven:eleven. Article expanded from that originally published on the eleven:eleven blog (http://www.eleven-eleven.xyz) on February 22nd 2016.

eleven:eleven is a team of undergraduate engineering students from the University of Waterloo, Canada developing Periphero: a comprehensive neuroprosthetic geared towards replacing bulky and expensive exoskeletons. To achieve this they are fusing three different fields - classical biology, advanced control theory and machine learning. For more information please go to www.eleven-eleven.xyz.

Why we Applied to OneStart 

The eleven:eleven team decided to apply to the OneStart programme as we wanted to share our idea and the technology that we have developed with the wider community. We saw OneStart as a platform that could help us make this a reality. It would allow us to acquire much needed industry knowledge, advice and support by being integrated into an unparalleled network of expert advisors. 

The Bootcamp Experience 

Attending the OneStart bootcamp allowed us to adjust our strategy. We are no longer solely focused on technical research and development but have also incorporated business logistics. This was mainly facilitated by the advice we received from the variety of various seminars held throughout the event and the numerous discussions we had with the OneStart mentors. 

The seminars were a very valuable component of the bootcamp, where we received guidance from industry leaders in a variety of topics including economics, fundraising, and intellectual property (IP). As a team the highlight for us was Matt Foy’s (Partner at SR One who co-founded OneStart with Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable) very informative seminar on how to formulate a business plan. This was especially useful as we learned what information to include in our next OneStart submission. We learnt that in addition to presenting our technology and the issue that we’re trying to address, our business plan should introduce our management team, describe our budget, point out key risks and compare current solutions. Matt informed us during the seminar that the business plan is a tool for us to “craft the story” of eleven:eleven.   

The speed mentoring session provided a very unique perspective on our project; most mentors we were paired with were from the pharmaceutical industry. This gave us a clear insight into how we would bring a product like ours to market and the challenges that we might face along the way as a medical device company.

Our eyes were also opened to some unique avenues we could pursue for funding. Although we were already aware that a product such as Periphero could have many uses outside of the medical field, (i.e. accurate feedback for athletes), we had not considered that these industries may also be interested in funding the project. For example, some mentors suggested we get in contact with DARPA or even target the gaming industry.

Through this networking event, it became clearly evident that to continue with eleven:eleven as a company, the team needs to grow and incorporate a more business-minded co-founder as well as corporate, marketing, and even perhaps kinesiologic advisors.

We also had the privilege of presenting our very first pitch at OneStart; the judges provided much needed feedback and helped us understand what it meant to “sell” both our company and our product to investors. By pitching at such a prestigious event, it has given us the confidence to begin pitching at other events, which will allow our team to grow. This skill set, the ability to deliver a great pitch, isn’t only important in order to  convince investors to buy into our idea, but also to allow us to recruit the talent necessary for our company to succeed. 


We’d like to thank the entire OneStart team and all contributors who helped produce such a wonderful event with a very welcoming environment. We also are really grateful to have been put in touch with our mentors Juan-Pablo Mas and Mark Saad. We really appreciate the time they have dedicated to eleven:eleven. We look forward to continue to work within this network and to grow as a team.