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We are currently hiring for:

  1. Director, Velocity Incubator
  2. Business Advisor (Deeptech/Moonshots)

Director, Velocity Incubator

The search is on for UWaterloo Velocity’s next Incubator Director. We are looking for someone who has vision, drive, and is intimately familiar with the startup world. Is that you?

Delivered through a set of support systems, programs with real impact, and physical resources, the University of Waterloo’s Velocity Incubator offers a remarkable and proven incubation opportunity for founders of early-stage companies to most efficiently start, grow, and launch their businesses. The Director of the Velocity Incubator is entrusted with operating, maximizing, and expanding Velocity’s mission as Canada’s most productive startup incubator.[1] 

Ideal candidates are engaged with investor and/or startup communities across North America, value operational excellence, have past experience managing diverse teams and facilities, and are excited to engage founders pursuing a wide array of business models, product ideas, and technologies. The Director of the Velocity Incubator reports to the Executive Director and will collaborate with Velocity’s Director of Concept, Velocity’s campus program which supports entrepreneurship at the University of Waterloo, to identify and leverage synergies between the entrepreneurial pipeline on campus and the startup incubator. Highly coordinated, the leadership team of Velocity works collaboratively to execute Velocity’s collective missions. You can read more about Velocity’s recently revised leadership structure here. [2

The role has a wide scope and impact and can be captured at a high-level in two categories:

Support Startups (directly)

  • Helping startups set themselves up for success and support navigation of the challenges faced by founders during the first 24 months of building their company, including but not limited to: Ideation, customer discovery/problem validation, making “0 to 1” plans, market positioning, fundraising, product development, IP strategy, hiring, partnership strategies, sales, business development, and so much more 
  • Sounding board with founders, especially as they engage the toughest parts of their journey. Ask the tough questions that need to be asked to assess whether a business warrants existence (is this possible? Valuable? Monetizable? etc.)
  • Actively problem solve (with founders) the largest challenges facing a startup at any given time
  • Navigate founder disputes and other instances requiring conflict resolution

Build Velocity Incubator’s Capacity 

  • Manage Business Advisors (4 FTE) and support their growth and ability to have an impact. Knowledge sharing, building process, documenting high value lessons learnt to recycle back into program design / implementation
  • Manage Marketing/Communications and Community building (3 FTE), including co-creation of strategies to recruit startups, investors, funders and to build a strong community of founders (current and alumni), impactful regional/provincial community engagements, and work with the team to execute early-stage startup supports such as the Velocity Fund Pitch Competition etc.
  • Manage Operations (3 FTE), including oversight of efficient, safe, and compliant operation of the 37,000 sqft Velocity Incubator facility, including our advanced product development labs supported by the Biosafety Officer / Lab Manager. Further design and build out of strategically differentiated operations. 
  • Sustain and unlock new relationships with angels, accelerators, VCs, and other organizations that fund startups on the journey to a scaling company
  • Operate/manage and build upon the Velocity Investment Fund [1] [2] 
  • Work with Executive Director to secure and manage funding for Incubator operations and execute on strategic initiatives
  • Collaborate with Concept team (and Campus director) to ensure high bandwidth two way information sharing (e.g. what students/teams are high potential for incubation, what has been learned at the incubator to further refine how Concept can strengthen its guidance for entrepreneurially inspired students, grad students, postdocs, and often faculty)

Occasional travel (local & abroad) is required, to represent Velocity in other startup ecosystems, and facilitate connections to investors and accelerators. Additionally, there will be frequent aspects of the role that requires comfort and capability in external and public interactions (MC-ing pitch competitions, public interviews /  “fireside” chats, giving presentations to critical stakeholders.

If you are wanting to make a massive impact in the startup world and ready to dive into a complex and creative leadership opportunity, we want to hear from you. Please send along with a full resume a 1-2 page proposal (as one PDF document please) describing your intent as Director of the Velocity Incubator and map how your past experience is a fit for the role. Candidates from all backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply. Strong preference will be given to those with past experience starting and growing a company and has a high degree of appreciation (if not understanding ) of technical challenges encountered during the development of advanced technologies. All inquiries and applications are received in strict confidence and can be emailed directly to velocity.director@uwaterloo.ca.


Business Advisor (Deeptech/Moonshots)

You know that not all businesses are created the same way — Lean Startup, Blitzscaling, and building user-base strategies don’t always fit. You see how the espoused ‘start up formula’ can break down when founders’ missions to disrupt markets and catalyze change are rooted in businesses that leverage the sciences and advanced technologies: moonshots. You lean into concepts and articles about Toy Markets, Healthcare disruption, funding/supporting deep/tough/frontier technologies [1][2][3].

Does that sound like you? Are you interested in making an impact on the emerging biotech, diagnostics, lifesciences, materials science, or more broadly, the deeptech startup community in the Waterloo Region and beyond? Then this position may be for you.

Velocity is hiring a Business Advisor to support deeptech and moonshot startups on:

  • Business Strategy: how to create business value while managing challenging product development efforts and go-to-market hurdles; and
  • Product Development: how to pick the right technical activities to maximize opportunities for IP, pilot deployments, collaborative development agreements, or related product de-risking efforts, etc.

The ideal candidate will have in-depth experience in one or more of the following:

  • Founder/early-employee at a startup team that went from concept to scaling; or, an intrapreneur who has driven advanced technologies toward market
  • Navigating regulatory processes while commercializing new products (any regulatory body is a fit, but FDA is an asset)  

As a member of the Velocity team, you will become an integral part of Canada’s most productive startup incubator, where an awesome community of entrepreneurs is solving global problems by building scalable startups.

You will join a high performance and tight-knit team that focuses on Velocity’s startup incubation mission. Velocity is arguably the best place in Canada to launch a deeptech company, with our combined business advisory and product development resources (labs, equipment, instrumentation, and prototyping facilities). You will also interact with other members of the team who focus on entrepreneurship pipeline-building activities across the University of Waterloo campus.

Summary of Role

Reporting to the Director of Velocity Incubator, the successful candidate will join the team of Business Advisors who directly support founders and startups working out of the Velocity Incubator. The Business Advisor team is comprised of individuals with first-hand startup experience, who have either had or been part of the early stages of a startup themselves. They use this first-hand experience, combined with other industry experiences, to support founders through

  • 1:1 coaching; On-going company advisory meetings;
  • Supporting the creation of programs, events, and infrastructure; and
  • Leveraging and extending the Velocity support network of other domain experts.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Reviewing and interviewing prospective startups who apply to Velocity
  • Managing the use of Velocity resources and space
  • Making startup acceptance and exit decisions
  • Representing Velocity within key events, partnerships and tours

The Business Advisor team supports ~70 companies at the Velocity Incubator. Each Advisor is the primary Advisor for a portion of that portfolio. This enables Business Advisors to develop a deeper relationship with the startups and gain a greater understanding of their portfolio companies and founders.

We take pride in our commitment to build deep and lasting relationships with the founders we support. Our Business Advisor team digs in and “gets their hands dirty”. This is possible because of the full-time nature of the team and their orientation towards solving the often complex, messy, and difficult-to-navigate challenges of startups.

We have a strong preference for this position to be full-time, but for exceptional candidates, we would consider part-time (minimum 3 days per week). A high degree of organization, interpersonal, and problem solving abilities are required to assist startups and founders while balancing Velocity’s multiple priorities, partners, facilities, and programs.

Feeling uncomfortably excited about this opportunity? Ready to help audacious founders? Think you’re a great fit? We’d love to hear from you. Please apply with a resume and letter of interest below.

Apply

Our first review of applications will begin on January 27, 2020 with interviews tentatively scheduled for mid-February.We will do our best to consider applications submitted after that date.

Position Details

  • Contract position:
    • Velocity business advisors have a diverse range of experiences and join Velocity at different stages of their careers, accordingly we are open to offering contracts ranging from 1-3 years
    • Business advisors are impact oriented, sometimes referred to as “The best sabbatical you could ever have”:
      • Massive impact by leveraging their lived experiences to help create Canada’s next high potential scaling companies
      • Growth via immersion in huge variety of startups / founders / products / technologies / teams / business challenges
    • By design, the people that fill BA roles do so for years (not decades) because they build on their unique experiences at Velocity to create/find their next opportunity (found companies, start corporate innovation, join a scaling company, etc).
  • Salary band: Staff position, USG 12
  • Target (we have some flexibility) start: Mar 2020

VELOCITY BACKGROUND

Velocity’s mission is to ignite and fuel the entrepreneurial spirit in the pursuit of economic and social value creation. We do this in two ways: supporting startups and cultivating an entrepreneurial culture and pipeline within the University of Waterloo community. Pipeline building within the campus community is focused around providing inspiration, information, and guidance as it relates to entrepreneurship and startup commercialization. Supporting startups is focused around discovering opportunities, building products, and preparing for growth/scale. We pay special attention to cultivating a high-performance environment in which founders can grow and succeed.