Velocity welcomes Director of Velocity Incubator Sarrah Lal and Director of Velocity Health Moazam Khan to its leadership team as it continues to evolve to support the next generation of high-impact entrepreneurs.
Cultivating persistently enterprising people for real-world impact
Before Velocity, Sarrah Lal spent five years as a faculty member at McMaster University’s medical school. There she used highly collaborative learner-centered approaches to create case-based training experiences for entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and leadership education, working with over 150 students per year across three programs.
With a background in science, biomedical engineering, law, and business, over her career she has nurtured her own entrepreneurial mindset through being “out in the wild”: working directly with founders and later co-founding a health start-up in breath-based diagnostics.
As Director of the Velocity Incubator, Lal will leverage her insights into entrepreneur and organizational development to clarify and grow Velocity’s impact on the Canadian startup ecosystem.
“Make no mistake, Velocity is world-class,” Lal said. “With that comes a responsibility to always keep moving the needle on what it means to accelerate the progress of entrepreneurs. And yes, it also means raising the standard on what we mean by diversity and inclusion in the entrepreneurship community.”
First on her list is to increase the entrepreneurship community’s representation of female-identifying and non-binary, 2SLGBTQ+, and culturally diverse founders. A close second is ensuring that the Velocity community has access to world-class training, resources, and connections from the time they apply to Velocity to when they launch and join the illustrious community of Velocity Alumni.
“We are interested in working with all persistently enterprising people who have the ambition, insights, and drive to create impactful ventures. Likewise, we are also a group of persistently enterprising people developing leading approaches to maximize start-up survival rates and successes. If that sounds a bit like you, we invite you to apply to join our community.”Sarrah Lal, Director of Velocity Incubator
Building a platform to close the innovation to commercialization gap
With deep roots in innovation ecosystems across the globe, Moazam Khan (BSc. ‘16, MBET ‘17) joined Velocity staff as business adviser to Velocity’s portfolio of health tech startups prior to filling the Director of Velocity Health role.
Khan is a serial entrepreneur with a background in medical science, business and technology and has experience in launching and scaling companies, including Velocity Alumni Curiato.
Khan said health tech startups are confronted with obstacles different from their counterparts in other fields of research and development, creating a huge gap between innovation and commercialization.
“This is a big problem in Canada,” Khan said. “Health tech startup validation comes from clinical trials and pilots which is a big challenge because early-stage founders don’t have the necessary funding to conduct trials but if they don’t have the validation, they can’t raise venture capital funding.”
Khan’s vision is to break through this catch-22 by developing a platform for clinical trial support and key technical and funding advisers, including hospitals, entrepreneurial physicians, Velocity alumni and investors.
“We are setting our eyes on the global stage to foster one of the world’s largest health tech commercialization platforms. I returned to Velocity to help scale and grow the next generation of health tech. This region is special with its abundance of health innovation and through this network, health tech startups can work on the next big idea and scale.”Moazam Khan, Director of Velocity Health
Since launching in 2008, Velocity companies have raised over $4.3B USD in venture capital and have a collective enterprise value of over $26B USD. The list of full-time Velocity companies will soar from 70 to over 100 when Velocity operations move to the Innovation Arena facility in late 2023.Read how Velocity is building with optimism