The top 10 finalists competed for investments from two Velocity pre-seed investment funds at the Velocity Fund Pitch Competition (Winter 2020). Winners include a health tech solution that can rapidly diagnose illnesses such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Kitchener, Ontario (February 27, 2020)
With the unveiling of the Velocity Health Tech Fund, the second pre-seed investment fund from Velocity aiming to support Canadian health tech startups, the incubator invested a total of $300,000 into five early-stage startups at the 26th Velocity Fund Pitch Competition (VFPC). This represents a 50% jump from the usual $200,000 investment at each VFPC. The number of investment recipients also increased from the usual four startups to five.
This VFPC was hosted at Catalyst137, a 475,000 sq. ft. space purpose-built for makers in Kitchener-Waterloo. The top 10 finalists showcased their high impact business, ranging from a VTOL (vertical take-off) drone solution targeting the agriculture industry, to a new visa application solution supporting immigrants across the globe.
Prior to the winners announcement, Jay Shah, outgoing Director of Velocity (Incubator), surprised over 200 attendees with the launch of the Velocity Health Tech Fund.
“We’ve discovered another limitation that is stifling some of the most ambitious companies in health. That limitation is finding investors that have the capability to understand deeptech, health startups, and the capacity to invest in them,” says Shah. “So we collaborated with partners in the Waterloo Region and launched the Velocity Health Tech Fund.”
Livia (Guo) and I are surprised and excited to receive 100K funding. This definitely brings us a step closer to the commercialization of our device. We can’t wait to start addressing the issues we are facing today, including the emergence of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.Seray Cicek, Co-founder & CEO of Life Sciences Key Technologies
Largest amount invested ever into a startup at VFPC
Life Sciences Key Technologies (LSK), a health tech startup from Toronto that is aiming to decentralize healthcare diagnostic testing, earned a total of $100,000. This is the largest amount ever for a Velocity Fund recipient. Half of the investment will come from Velocity’s first micro-VC fund; the other half will come from the new Velocity Health Tech Fund.
“Livia (Guo) and I are surprised and excited to receive 100K funding. This definitely brings us a step closer to the commercialization of our device. We can’t wait to start addressing the issues we are facing today, including the emergence of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” says Seray Cicek, Co-founder & CEO of Life Sciences Key Technologies.
The other four early-stage startups selected to receive $50,000 investments tonight are:
- Supervisa: making immigration visa applications simple, affordable, trustworthy and fast.
- Forward Robotics: making aerial crop spraying faster, cheaper and safer with autonomous vertical take-off & landing drones.
- Dolphyn: building “Google Drive” for data scientists.
- Caribou: coordinating personalized medical travel experiences. (Note: this is an additional $50,000 investment from the Velocity Health Tech Fund.)
Female founders dominate VFPC Winter 2020
It is worthy to note that 70% of all startup finalists for this edition of VFPC are (co-)founded by female entrepreneurs. This represents a sevenfold increase in female founder participation when compared to the pitch competition from last winter. In fact, four out of the five startups receiving an investment tonight have at least one female co-founder as part of the company.
An in-depth investor exposure to deeptech & health tech startups
Prior to the pitch competition, all finalists had opportunities to meet with numerous early-stage tech investors from the Toronto-Waterloo corridor. Along with products/services from the winning startups, these investors were exposed to advanced technologies including a location intelligence platform, an innovative medical device targeting orthopaedic surgery, a highly promising cancer therapeutic, a digital pharmacy care platform, and a revolutionary camera lenses system.
Thank you to all VFPC judges
Velocity is grateful to the esteemed panel of judges, who had the tough job of choosing the winners and working out investments from the new Velocity Health Tech Fund. Thank you to:
- Armen Bakirtzian, Co-founder & CEO at Intellijoint Surgical
- Katie Hayes, Director at Wittington Ventures
- Martin Basiri, Co-founder & CEO at ApplyBoard *hat tip for jumping in as a last minute judge
- Sally Ng, New Ventures Director at Highline Beta
For a complete list of the VFPC Winter 2020 finalists, please go here.
Photo Credit: Megpie Photography