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Meet the Velocity Team

Leadership

Adrien Côté

Executive Director

Adrien is Velocity’s Executive Director and leads Velocity’s mission, strategy, and coordinates its two programs: Concept and the Velocity Incubator to maximize experience for students and productivity for founders, respectively.

Prior to being named Executive Director, Adrien served as the Deeptech and Science Advisor from 2017 to 2019 where he supported companies with his expertise in product development, market positioning and fit, strategic planning, team management, and IP creation and management. As Velocity’s ‘voice of the entrepreneur,’ he will bring his passion to ensure that great business ideas and technologies can break out into commercial success.

Before joining Velocity, Adrien led many initiatives at Xerox ranging from corporate R&D projects to creation of new businesses. Previous to his work at Xerox, he was a principal investigator at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

Adrien holds a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Calgary and earned his BSc in Applied Chemistry from the University of Waterloo. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. While working at Velocity, he also completed an Executive Master’s in Technology Management program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.

Adrien has 25 research publications (with more than 11,000 citations), holds over 50 patents and a number of awards for business and technical accomplishments.

What interests Adrien:

Unleashing a tidal wave of life- and game-changing technologies and businesses from inventors’ minds and academic institutions.

John Dick

Director of Velocity Campus

John is the Director of Concept. He oversees the operations of Concept programming on campus and is in charge of creating inspiring experiences for students who are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. John also acts as a Business Advisor to startups in deeptech for the Velocity Incubator.
Before joining Velocity, John was a cofounder of Nicoya where he led its R&D efforts for 7 years as CSO. John holds a Masters of Chemical Engineering from McGill University and a PhD in Materials from the Imperial College of London. He recently completed his MBA from Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.

What interests John:

Finding ways to forge great teams and building collaborations with like-minded organizations. In his spare time, John can be found rowing on the Grand River, throwing axes (in a league) or cooking at home.

Business Advisors

Ross Robinson

Business Advisor

Ross is a Business Advisor who specializes in supporting Velocity’s software companies. After graduating from University of Waterloo’s Computer Science program in 2011, Ross began his career as a startup founder living in the Velocity Residence and working in the Velocity Incubator. After some time in the film distribution industry, he founded Tinker, a cryptocurrency trading company that participated in Y Combinator’s Spring 2014 batch. Ross went on to work as a Product Manager in San Francisco and Paris (France).

What interests Ross:

In his down time, Ross enjoys playing music, yelling at his computer (while playing some Heroes of the Storm) and bounding around the yard with his new puppy.

Mila Banerjee

Business Advisor

Mila is the Business Advisor tasked with helping Velocity’s deeptech and moonshot companies.

In Mila’s 20+ years career, she has worked in corporate positions spanning: Consulting, Pharmaceutical Sales, Training, Head Office Merger projects, Management, Market Research, and Automation & Analytics.

Prior to joining Velocity, Mila was a full-time entrepreneur for over 7 years, with businesses in 5 countries.

She holds a Bachelors of Science, with an English minor from the University of Alberta and an MBA from Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

What interests Mila:

Her love for technology and business that started with assembling computers when she was a teen and writing HTML when it first launched in her undergrad.

Scott Rose

Business Advisor

Scott is a hardware mentor and advisor to Velocity startups that have a hardware element to their product(s). 

Scott has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo and has spent the majority of his career in the Waterloo area. He worked at Blackberry for twelve years in Hardware Engineering as the Manager of Conceptual Prototype Development, as well as the Manager of MEMS Motion sensors. Prior to Blackberry, Scott spent ten years developing machine vision cameras and systems at Dalsa, and at the same time ran his own engineering services company. 

What interests Scott:

Cooking, the outdoors, and strategy board games

Program Staff

Alicia Li

Financial and Business Officer

Alicia is the Financial Officer on the Velocity team. With an enthusiasm for data, she is interested in high impact data visualization that charts the growth of entrepreneurship at Velocity and the regional tech ecosystem. She provides government funding management and performs financial analysis for Velocity (as well as making sure everyone gets paid!). 

Alicia completed both her Master of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Mathematical Economics at the University of Waterloo. She was a graduate admission assistant in the University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department. 

What interests Alicia:

Spending time with her grumpy cat, cooking traditional Chinese food (such as dumplings!). Fashion and food lover.

Jovana Blagojevic

Marketing and Programs Coordinator

Jovana is a creative at heart. She has a passion for marketing communications and our global community. Before her marketing career, Jovana attended Wilfrid Laurier University, where she specialized in Global Studies and Political Science. She started her career in the finance and insurance sector, before becoming very passionate about the local startup scene. 

At Velocity, Jovana supports both marketing and programs initiatives. She especially enjoys projects that allow creative freedom while strengthening the Velocity brand within the community.

What interests Jovana:

Travelling to new places, doing crafty things, and exploring local hiking trails with friends.

Shayne Laity

Facilities Manager

Shayne brings a background of creative arts and building trades to his role at Velocity. He looks out for the well-being of the facility and all the moving parts within the space. You will find him maintaining essential equipment and infrastructure around Velocity.

Shayne started at Velocity by designing and painting the first mural in the Residence entrance. From there, he has become the main person to repair, maintain, troubleshoot, and institute improvements to the growing space. He has painted three additional murals in the time he has been on the team.

What interests Shayne:

Repurposing furniture, kayaking down the Grand River, and enjoying country roads on his motorcycle.

Parisa Hamilton

Lab Manager and Biosafety Officer

Parisa oversees the laboratory operations and safety compliances. Parisa is very passionate about approaching real-world problems with scientific ideas. She leads a multidisciplinary laboratory at Velocity to serve startups who need laboratory access for their proof of principles and product development. Prior to Velocity, she worked as a project coordinator at the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, facilitating a “Needs-first” Biomedical graduate program as well as managing several interdisciplinary collaborative projects between academic and hospital partners.

Parisa has experience in leading several research projects in collaboration with medtech startups in Biomedical device design and development during her postdoc at the University of Waterloo. Her PhD thesis in Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology) was on developing peptide-based therapeutic nano-carriers for anticancer drug delivery systems. She strives to provide scientific support to startups with disruptive technologies and to facilitate a collaborative environment for accelerated product development.

What interests Parisa:

Daily walk and yoga practices, spending time with her family and her son, cooking, and reading. Design and leadership.

Marine Dumontier

Senior Communications Officer

Before joining Velocity, Marine worked in various marketing and communications roles in tech companies. Over the years, she wore every single hat that had the word ‘Marketing’ on it, or next to it, including marketing, growth, go-to-market strategy, digital marketing, press relations, social media, brand custodian, email marketer, and event planner, but also website wrangler, blog publisher, CRM whisperer, newsletter editor, Executive interview ghostwriter, coach for shy speakers, podcast guest prepper, hackathon organizer, and more. She worked at companies of 5 people and companies of 15,000 people.

Marine holds a Master ‘Grande École’ in Business from Audencia, School of Management, with a speciality in Marketing. She is originally from Paris, France.  She says she barely misses it. Except for the food, the wine, the culture, the art, the people, the fashion, the climate, the language, and her friends and family. But outside of that, barely misses it.

What interests Marine:

Marine spends most of her time 12 ft up in the air, cartwheeling from various circus apparatuses like hoops, silks, poles, trapezes, and sometimes, other people. Her other hobby is collecting hobbies. She is currently reading 7 books, learning Tarot cards, and using COVID-19 as an excuse to bake bread and sew dresses instead of finishing the woodworking projects she started last year.


Callum Batten

Administrative Assistant

As the Administrative Assistant, Callum provides administrative support to both visitors and members of the Velocity community, 
They completed both of their degrees at the University of Guelph; a Bachelor Degree in International Development and Anthropology, focusing on rural agriculture, and a Master’s Degree in Public Issues Anthropology focusing on the methodology of care, relationships, and visiting within Indigenous food systems and within the University.  

What interests Callum: 

Medicinal plants, regenerative food systems, hiking and outdoor adventures

Yuri Falcão

Lab and Operations Coordinator

Yuri is the Lab Coordinator at Velocity’s Incubator. His passion for new technologies and science are the main tools to create solutions and bring concepts to life. He works helping people to create the best solutions and validation of their products as well as facilitating the use of scientific instruments for entrepreneurs.

Before Velocity, Yuri worked as a Chemist in an Analytical Laboratory at University of Brasilia and completed his Master’s degree in Chemical and Biological Technologies with focus on Catalysis and Biofuels synthesis. After that, he decided to venture and expand further in the tech field as a Programmer, working in projects including Web Applications, IoT and Automation.

What interests Yuri:

Photography, sports, drums, movies (the ones with explosions) and creating new technologies. He also has a strong coffee addiction.


Hillary Graham

Executive Assistant

As the Executive Assistant , Hillary provides administrative support to the Velocity team. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Waterloo in Arts and Business, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Women’s Studies. Hillary’s favourite part about working at Velocity is contributing to and supporting a passionate community while having the opportunity to meet new people. 

What interests Hillary:

Cooking, the occasional yoga class, and exploring the outdoors.