Thursday, November 26 started with a major announcement: the Velocity Garage is expanding to become North America’s largest free incubator.
But that was just the start of an epic day within the University of Waterloo startup community. At the 14th Velocity Fund Finals pitching competition, $125,000 was awarded to 7 incredible companies, with Acorn Cryotech, HealthIM, Sweat Free Apparel, and Thalo walking away with $25K prizes. As the top hardware or life sciences pitch, Thalo took home an additional $10K.
To kick off the $25K event in the Student Life Centre Great Hall, Velocity Director Mike Kirkup announced the Velocity Garage expansion to the capacity crowd. It was received with thunderous applause. But it was the pitches that stole the show. Companies had three minutes to pitch to a crowd of 400, demonstrating a problem, solution, traction, team and next steps.
What does this $25K win mean for the startups? The founders of the winning teams had this to say:
Lauren Kennedy: “This just helps us get to the next level. We really weren’t expecting to win.”
Ayan Abukar: “The teams were all really good, and we were just holding our breath.”
Ryan Marchewka: “We’re really excited to win. We can move our technology development forward now.”
Daniel Pearson-Hirdes: “We feel fantastic! It is awesome already being a part of the Garage. The support we’ve received is amazing and it’s such an exciting place to be right now!”
In the end, our expert panel of judges chose the best of the best. Judging the $25K competition today were:
- Ameet Shah, Partner, Golden Venture Partners
- Dan Park, Vice President, Azure Capital Partners
- Janet Bannister, General Partner, Real Ventures
- Ted Livingston, Founder & CEO, Kik
Earlier in the day, ten teams pitched in the Velocity Fund $5K competition. Three teams walked away with $5K prizes: Finuvo with Best Pitch, BioFlex Implant with Most Innovative, and the audience-selected Hash with People’s Choice.
The judges for the $5K event, Katherine Hague, VP Community Engagement & Hackathons at PCH, Andrew Jackson, VP Client Servies at Accelerator Centre, and Steve McCartney, VP Startup Services at Communitech had their work cut out for them. Mike Kirkup noted, “I can say with certainty that this is the best group of pitches we’ve seen in the history of the $5K competition.” The judges unanimously chose the Best Pitch and Most Innovative winners.
The Velocity Fund is a pitch competition that awards up to $125K per term. Sign up to our newsletter for details on the next competition in March 2016!