This past March, Velocity hosted the Winter 2017 Velocity Fund Finals (VFF), a pitch competition that awards $125,000 each term to startups to help them build their business. We caught up with one of the $25K winners, Alexander Mistakidis, Co-founder of Gamelynx, for a post-VFF update. You can watch their pitch from VFF online.

Gamelynx uses cutting-edge web app technology to create games and interactive experiences that bring people together for face-to-face play. Gamelynx combines the fun and social interaction of party and board games, with the convenience and power of mobile web gaming.

1. How has your company developed since winning VFF?

A lot has changed. We’ve refocused the team and our purpose secured a small amount of funding and we recently moved to California for an accelerator. We’re looking to be more ambitious than we previously thought possible.

2. What is your company currently working on?

We’re currently heads-down building an unannounced game that we’re very excited about.

3. How have you moved forward with the funding you received?

The funding we received allowed us to invest additional services and gave us the runway we needed to stay alive and hit our next milestone. The win itself and the work environment it provided us with was what we needed to go all in. It was a game changer for us.

4. Reflecting on the time since your win, what was your team’s most exciting moment? And the most frustrating moment?

Our most exciting moment is the present: we’ve got an amazing opportunity to execute on something that we’re passionate about. We’re no longer in the student entrepreneur dilemma; we’re all in and thrilled to be here.

Our most frustrating moments are always just before our breakthroughs. Before VFF, we had run out of gas. We were all suffering from poor morale and mental health, but we were deliriously set on trying to keep pushing forward. We had to resolve some co-founder issues and ultimately decide what we were doing with our lives. It wasn’t easy, but it’s given us lots to reflect on.

5. What have you learned from building a startup?

Don’t build a business for the satisfaction you’d feel if it succeeded. Build a business that makes you feel personally successful even if it fails. Entrepreneurs have the choice, and they suffer for that choice. Make it worth it.

6. What did you like most about competing at VFF?

That’s an easy question: the community. While VFF is definitely a competition, in lots of ways it is not. There is this camaraderie and support from all parties involved. I was sad when we won but some of our peers did not. However, the great part is that they can win eventually if they don’t give up since there are 3 opportunities to compete a year. From the Velocity Fund’s inception with the help of Kik founder Ted Livingston, VFF represents a benevolent force that is a catalyst for the Waterloo community. We’re thankful and hope to give back in a similar way one day.

7. Are there any tips you can give to startups that are pitching?

Be passionate! The world wants a solution to your problem as much as you want to make one, so don’t be afraid to love your idea. Even if you don’t win, if you work hard there will always be another opportunity waiting around the corner. Also, having a semi-working demo is better than no demo at all!

Next Thursday, July 20, another twenty startups will compete at the Velocity Fund Finals in the SLC at the University of Waterloo to pitch for their share of $125,000. Don’t miss this event by registering to attend! Come join us for a great event with awesome pitches and free boxed lunches for the first 200 attendees. Audience members and live stream participants will also have a chance to win 1 of 5 VR headsets!

The Spring 2017 Velocity Fund Finals is sponsored by Thomson Reuters and Sequoia

Thomson Reuters provides professionals with the intelligence, technology and human expertise they need to find trusted answers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, and media markets. The new Thomson Reuters Toronto Technology Centre will create 1,500 high-quality technology jobs in Canada and accelerate research for cognitive computing, visualization, UX, and cloud development.