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Solving global sustainability challenges, locally

Two deep tech companies, developed out of University of Waterloo research, launch beyond Velocity

March 23, 2023

The region’s tech startup roots have deepened further now that two Velocity companies, Halion and H2nanO, have launched out of the incubator and into their own lab spaces.

Joining the Velocity alumni community of 150 companies, Halion and H2nanO will continue to grow their sustainable solutions and, ultimately, further commercialization of their deep tech products while remaining in the local area.

Zac Young, H2nanO’s co-founder and chief operating officer, says that while building a lab is time and resource heavy it’s an exciting opportunity for the company.

“There comes a point when the flexibility and sandbox time Velocity provides runs its course,” he says. “It’s time to be in a space tailored for the company, to fit our unique needs.”

Halion co-founders Matt Lavrisa and Ryan Marchewka

Halion’s path to exit Velocity materialized by design and luck.

Co-founder and CEO Ryan Marchewka (pictured, right) says that in order for the company to support its product development, it needs to hire more staff and space is needed for that to happen.

However, finding lab space in the area is incredibly difficult, he says.

“It was serendipitous that we found a lab — the timing was magical and shows the importance of reaching out to connections” Marchewka says. “During our time at Velocity, we’ve been able to hit certain milestones that can back our claims, we see the market demand, have letters of intent and companies wanting to buy our product.”

Velocity accelerates deep tech commercialization

Deep tech is commonly defined as technology requiring a novel scientific or engineering approach that is transformational, disruptive and world changing.

Young says due to the complexities of commercializing deep tech, working out of Velocity helped in a big way.

“There are key milestones in startup development that Velocity helped us get to as effectively as possible, like working to develop products based on demands from customers. Velocity having a specific focus on deep tech is unlike other incubators, and because of that there are many deep tech companies there, which has created a community of startup founders and a cluster of companies that are in the same field — so that we can learn from the successes and failures of our peers.”

Zac Young, H2nanO co-founder and COO.

Read the full story on Waterloo News.

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