Today was an exciting day for startups at the 17th Velocity Fund Finals, held at the University of Waterloo. Twenty emerging companies battled for their share of $125,000 with a series of 3 minute pitches, judged by a panel of experienced venture capitalists and founders. By the end of the competition, 7 startups were standing with their prize cheques held high.
The judges were impressed by the competitors, with Jacqui Murphy, VP Marketing at Auvik Networks commenting:
“I was a venture capitalist for 10 years and I’ve judged a ton of pitch competitions, and this was the best series of pitches in a row I’ve ever seen! Not only are [competitors] talking about technology, they are talking about markets, and talking to customers before launching – Kudos to everyone.”
The winners of the Velocity Fund represent some of the most exciting new companies in Canada, with a focus on innovative medical advances and virtual reality. Three of the four Velocity Fund $25K winners are developing hardware devices that impact everyday lives by preventing and treating medical conditions that can be life-threatening. Penta Medical won a $25,000 prize, and an additional $10,000 with their wearable device that integrates physiotherapy to make treatment of tissue injuries more convenient, and efficient. Also winning $25K prizes, and entry to the Velocity Garage startup incubator, were Avro Life Science with their colorful stickers that deliver seasonal allergy medication to children without the hassle of pills or syrups, Curiato Inc., which is developing a smart mattress to prevent the occurrence of ulcers, and Mirage VR, for their immersive virtual reality experience.
The winners of the Velocity Fund $5K competition are more early-stage companies that will use the funding to grow their venture. Eggplantr won with their digital tool to generate and print permaculture planting layout plans on biodegradable weed barriers, to enable novice gardeners to grow their own food. VivaSpire won with their compact oxygen delivery systems for patients in need of oxygen therapy, and Chasr Athletics was selected for the People’s Choice Award by the audience for their smart athletic cones that track and time athletes throughout their training drills.
Hundreds of students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and community members were in attendance to watch the pitches, emceed by Jay Shah, Director of Velocity. Shah highlighted that participating student entrepreneurs came from a variety of majors, including Environmental Studies, Nanotechnology Engineering, Arts and Business, and Computer Science. He also noted that from its beginnings in 2011, 60+ companies have won the Velocity Fund Finals and 4 in 5 are still in business, or have been acquired.
Thank you to everyone who competed, and congratulations to the winners! Each year, we are more and more impressed with audience engagement in person, and on our livestream. If you were unable to watch the event, check out our livestream recording. We are already planning the next Velocity Fund Finals in March and will see you then as we give away another $125K in seed money to emerging startups!
The Fall 2016 Velocity Fund Finals was sponsored by Thomson Reuters.
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.