Skip to content

Announcing the Spring 2019 Velocity Fund $5K Finalists

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, students from the University of Waterloo pitched their early-stage startup ideas at the Velocity Fund $5K Qualifiers. A total of 42 teams pitched their innovative ideas hoping to be one of the 10 teams selected to move on to the Velocity Fund Finals $5K on Thursday, July 18, for the chance to win one of four $5,000 prizes.

The $5K competition provides equity-free grants to early-stage startups to help remove some of the barriers that hinder innovation and entrepreneurial growth. Each participant at the Qualifiers had exactly 3-minutes to pitch their solution to a real-world problem and convince the panel of judges that they should get a chance to win $5,000. The judges, either startup founders themselves or Student Venture Fund members, provided feedback to each student on their pitching style and insights on ways to improve their business ideas. The six judges deliberated and selected the top ten contenders moving on to the finals.


Tian Qin, Associate at the UWaterloo Student Venture Fund
Harleen Kaur Jolly, CEO & Co-founder at Ground News
Jay Mahoney, Founder of Tugolo
Carolina Restrepo, Senior Analyst at the UWaterloo Student Venture Fund
Mahdi Sharif, Co-founder & SVP Product Engineering at Glove Systems Inc.
Lichen Zhang, Co-founder & CEO of PriveHealth


Clout AI

Clout AI provides a data analytics platform for music industry professionals to maximize sales and gain insight into trending performers.

Counter Culture

Counter Culture is creating a consumer-focused home appliance that extracts cannabis concentrate safely and easily.

Emergency Response Africa (ERA)

ERA is an EMS technology company that provides care to victims at the scene of an emergency and facilitates access to hospital care.

Insula Medical

Insula Medical is developing a compact and ergonomic insulin delivery system.


IuvoDerm is developing a product that improves the healing process of diabetic foot ulcers through antimicrobial properties and drug diffusion.

Prefection Labs

Prefection Labs is developing an implantable biosensor to detect infections in hip and knee replacements.


Stacktronic is developing a modular battery framework to reduce the capital and engineering resource costs of developing a battery pack for industrial electric vehicles.

Theia Labs

Theia Labs helps businesses understand storefront experiences better by using cameras that run proprietary computer vision algorithms.


VOYHS gives trans people the resources to train their voice in order to boost their confidence and improve their lives.


WatFly provides an urban electric flight solution.

This spring we are extremely lucky to host special guest speaker Hongwei Liu, who will be sitting down for a candid fireside chat with Velocity Director, Jay Shah. The chat will dive into the hard truths of building a startup and our guest speaker’s journey from student to CEO. Hongwei is the Founder and CEO of Mappedin, a startup that enables property owners to efficiently manage their floor plans and provide best-in-class wayfinding technology for their visitors. While pursuing an Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, Hongwei won the Velocity Fund back in 2011. Since then, he has led the company’s growth from a small founding team to a 65 person operation based in Waterloo. To date, they have mapped over 450 venues in 25 countries, totalling 400M square feet. Their many customers include shopping centres, healthcare facilitators, retailers, and city districts.

The fireside chat will take place at 11:00 a.m. and the $5K pitches will begin shortly after a free lunch at 12:30 p.m. Register to attend or join in via live stream!

The Spring 2019 Velocity Fund Finals $5K is run in partnership with the Student Venture Fund