A drumroll rang out following the action-packed Problem Pitch Competition. The crowd was waiting for the results of the competition, which put ten University of Waterloo teams head-to-head, as they made 5-minute pitches on important industry problems. The pitches provided in-depth research about a problem’s history, scope and impact, followed by a Q&A with judges. At stake was a share of $5,000 in grants for R&D to help the two top teams develop a solution to the problem they identified.

In teams of up to four students, students submitted applications with an industry problem and attended sessions to further understand and analyze the problems thoroughly. Students also had a chance to practise their pitch in front of competitors at a practise pitch event. The teams put everything on the line with their final pitch to an audience of 100 students, faculty, and community members.

Jay Shah, Director of Velocity, emceed the problem-focused event, in partnership with the Problem Lab, which helps students research and analyze problems. Co-hosting the event was the Problem Lab’s Larry Smith, the well-known Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo. After each pitch, teams were required to answer questions from a panel of judges: Glenn Smith, Vice President of the Enterprise Services Group at Communitech; Joanne Benham Rennick, Executive Director of the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation at Wilfrid Laurier University; and Ryan Voisin, Innovation Programs Lead at Overlap Associates.

Intelline won the first place prize of $4,000 to fund R&D for the problem identified, which is that current cryocooling methods limit the opportunities to develop technology that can contribute to significant impact because they are too expensive.

In second place was Princi6ple, who identified that employment and tax revenues are at risk, as almost half of Canadian small and medium sized enterprise owners get set to retire without effective succession plans in place. They took home a prize of $1,000 for R&D.

The audience had their say in the winners as well, and selected PComm as winners of the People’s Choice Award. The team won a pitching hardware kit to conduct business on the go.

Well done to everyone who competed and thank-you to audience members who came out to watch!

Now, an update from last term’s winners of the Problem Pitch Competition, Quick Alert. Founder Dylan Conway has expanded her team to three people, as they work on a solution to the problem of patients with allergies being unable to communicate their histamine status during a severe allergic reaction. The team has been exploring working at Velocity Science to develop their solution, and has met with other allergy-focused companies at Velocity. Next steps for Quick Alert? They are considering incorporating their company as there are large benefits of early incorporation in the medical field.

Love pitch competitions? Check out these upcoming events at Velocity:
Velocity Fund Finals $5K Qualifiers: early stage startup pitches | July 5 and July 6
Velocity Fund Finals: startups pitch for $125K in funding | July 20