Today, as Velocity celebrated ten years of memories, exciting new startup stories were front and center at the 21st Velocity Fund Finals, as twenty startups pitched their startup ventures to a crowd of hundreds of spectators for a chance to win a share of $130,000 in funding.
Before the 3-minutes pitches began, Jay Shah, the Director of Velocity, reminded the audience of how much the University of Waterloo has supported and fostered the entrepreneurial spirit of students and alumni over the years. He credited donors Ted Livingston and Mike Stork, whose initial and subsequent donations towards the Velocity Fund played a key role in the growth of nearly 100 companies.
“Within ten years, we have grown Velocity from a residence for students to work on projects, to a portfolio of entrepreneurship programs that inform, inspire and guide the entire campus community” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity. “We have become Canada’s most productive startup incubator, supporting over 300 companies who have raised $750 million in funding and are producing serious economic and social impact. The key to this has been to attract bright and passionate founders from UWaterloo and elsewhere, and equip them with the mentorship, workspace, funding, and peer network that supports them in becoming high-growth, scalable startups.”
– Jay Shah, Director of Velocity
The day kicked off with the $5K competition at 11am, where early-stage startups showcased what they were working on, and at 1pm the event continued with the $25K competition, where later stage companies competed for the top prizes. The four companies awarded $25K prizes were SannTek, which is developing a marijuana breathalyzer; Fuzzbuzz, which offers tools to ensure that critical software stays secure; Bibu Labs, which uses artificial intelligence to provide defense against cyber attacks; and A-Line Orthopaedics which is developing implants for safer and faster surgeries. The additional $10K prize was awarded to top hardware company A-Line Orthopaedics. These startups will also receive $5,000 in IP legal services from PCK and workspace in the Velocity Garage startup incubator.
We added a fourth $5K prize this term, and the companies awarded seed money were Quantum NanoPure, which provides researchers affordable access to specialty fullerene molecules; Circadian Energy with their infrastructure to provide peer-to-peer energy sharing; Intelline with their mass customer cryocoolers; and Freewheel with their retrofit system for walking devices. Each of the $5K finalists will also receive an offer for up to two members to live in the Velocity Residence at a discounted rate, a new perk offered in partnership with University of Waterloo housing.
The judges that decided the fate of the companies pitching were venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and senior executives from the Waterloo-Toronto Corridor. $25K judges included Peter Aceto, Co-founder of eQuoshift; Jamie James, Managing Partner of GreenSoil Building Innovation Fund; Karen Madden, VP Technology & Innovation of PerkinElmer; and Greg Stewart, President of GreenSky Capital.
“We’ve all been entrepreneurs, or are entrepreneurs, and to talk about your businesses so succinctly, so thoughtfully in 3-minutes is an impossible task and you all did a fantastic job.” – Peter Aceto, Co-founder of eQuoshift
The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition included Sam DeAth, Founder of CleanWell; Donna Litt, Co-founder of Kiite, and Alexander Mistakidis; CEO of Gamelynx.
Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to the winners! If you were unable to watch the event, check out our live stream recording. We are already planning the next Velocity Fund Finals in July 2018 and will see you then as we give away another $130K in seed money to emerging startups!
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