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OCAD U alumni, Alwar Pillai and Abid Virani, co-founders of Fable Tech Labs, were named in Forbes Magazine’s latest Top 30 under 30 list.

The annual list includes innovators from Canada and the United States featuring 600 trailblazers in 20 industries. Pillai and Virani, were named to the list in the “Social Entrepreneurs” category.

Graduates of OCAD U’s Masters of Inclusive Design program, Pillai and Virani founded Fable Tech Labs in April, 2018. As a social enterprise, the company provides flexible employment for people with disabilities while offering an essential service to companies that are required to comply with digital accessibility standards.

Inclusive Design (INCD)
Abid Virani and Aliwar Pillai, co-founders, Fable Tech Labs (photo courtesy: Forbes)

OCAD University’s newest entrepreneurs from the Imagination Catalyst squared off at the Cassels Brock Pitch Competition on September 27, competing for $5000 in start-up funding.  Abid Virani, co-founder & COO of Fable Tech Labs, took the top prize, out-pitching their colleagues from OCAD U’s business incubator.

The Cassels Brock annual pitch competition was sponsored by Cassels Brock, City of Toronto, StartUp HERE Toronto, and Steam Whistle.

Fable is a startup that helps companies and development teams build accessible digital products by engaging people living with a disability in user testing. Fable is founded by two OCAD U Inclusive Design graduates Alwar Pillai and Abid Virani.

Other Imagination Catalyst startups that took part:

  • Pathways, founded by Dane Carlsen (Industrial Design ’18): an online platform that interactively maps out career pathways for university students
  • Play Ball, founded by Hugo Voss (Industrial Design ’18): a startup that’s re-imagining the cross-section of traditional sports balls
  •  Prosthetics of Mind, founded by Wendy Whaley (MFA ’18): a biometric XR content studio that creates immersive experiences to empower, inspire, motivate and connect

The judging panel comprised of four Imagination Catalyst Advisory Board members:

  • Aly Somani  ̶  Lawyer, Cassels Brock
  • Jeannette Wiltse  ̶   Operating Partner and CFO, Relay Ventures
  • Nancy Jain – President, G&N Developments
  • Paul Rowan – Co-founder, Umbra

Imagination Catalyst is a creative industries, design and social innovations ecosystem at OCAD University. The IC business incubator supports highly diverse group of companies and entrepreneurs all committed to design-driven innovation.

Imagination Catalyst is funded and supported by OCE’s Campus-Linked Accelerator program along with Relay Ventures, Gobalive Capital and Cassels Brock, among other public and private partners.


Imagination Catalyst
Pitch competition winner, Abid Virani, receives prize cheque from Cassels Brock’s Aly Somani. Photo courtesy, Valerie Poon.
Judges and entrepreneurs at Imagination Catalyst’s annual Cassels Brock Pitch Competition. Photo courtesy, Valerie Poon.


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