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Founder networks and community foster investment-ready startups

Velocity-linked founders reflect on how to elevate their game within the industry

March 5, 2024

Empowered by a network of peers and advisors, nearly 20 Velocity-linked founders pitched to international investors, pharmaceutical companies and other global med tech stakeholders at the recent Ontario Biosciences Innovation Organization’s Investment Summit in Toronto.

The summit showcases technologies that range from fast and accurate saliva-based concussion detection, a patient transfer robotics system, to software that can streamline artificial intelligence-enabled research and development. These tech founders had the opportunity to network with investors and pitch their startup live, armed with the expertise and confidence needed to boost their investment odds in a challenging market.

Sadegh Raeisi (PhD ’14) is the co-founder and CEO of Foqus Technologies, a software company that combines quantum physics and artificial intelligence to make MRI medical imaging faster — from an hour to five minutes — improving care for patients and relieving burdens in the health care system.

He says getting nuanced advice from other experienced founders. who are aware of the challenges of leading a startup, creates an environment for constructive feedback. The community of health-tech peers at Velocity is unique in the ecosystem.

“There’s so much to learn from founder to founder, especially having former ones on the director team. That’s a critical part of the startup environment. Apart from reaching important business milestones, like securing our first pilot and receiving funding, I’ve received advice about business building that’s not random — it’s from others who are aware of challenges so they can show the best way to go forward. “That has prepared me for pitching and networking at an event like this investment summit.”

Sadegh Raeisi, co-founder and CEO of Foqus Technologies.

Shalini Gupta is the founder of Asima Health, a startup that is developing a multi-cancer blood test for cancer remission screening.

She says beyond the knowledge-sharing that prepares her to articulate the company’s value proposition, being plugged into the network of founders at Velocity is unparalleled. Her career has taken her from India to the U.K. and U.S. before settling in Canada to work on Asima Health full time.

“There’s a lot of advice that goes around but what’s distinctive at Velocity is that those giving advice are founders themselves making it more reliable. The advisors are solution oriented, always looking for ways to help and encourage making the company’s vision even bigger. We are plugged into an exceptional community.”

Shalini Gupta, founder of Asima Health.
Read more on Waterloo News about how a founder community and knowledge sharing can give startups an advantage.