All interested startups must meet the following two basic criteria:
- Products must be tech-based and core to the company’s business model
- Company must not have received more than $250,000 in external funds (e.g., convertible debt, equity), including government grants (e.g., Ontario’s OCE SmartStart)
Startups are not required to be have a University of Waterloo student or alumni as part of the team.
There are three ways to qualify:
A. Velocity-Supported Startup
You’ve been a part of the Velocity incubator program for at least 3 months.
B. Non-Velocity-Supported Startup
If you are interested in the investment but are not currently part of our Velocity incubator program, we strongly advise you to submit your incubator program application 4 months prior to the next pitch competition.
C. University of Waterloo student or alumni
Your startup has at least one co-founder who is currently, or has been, a University of Waterloo student, who owns at least 20% of the company. In addition,
- This individual must have been a continuing full-time student within 2 years, OR
- Completed their degree within 10 years and started their company less than two years ago.
The Velocity Fund Pitch Competition for $50K investments follows a 3-step process.
Please note that results from the final two steps are used to create a composite score that will determine the investment winners.
1. Written Application
You must provide a general outline of your business, including:
- Business name
- Product concept
- Market opportunity
- Team profile
If your written application is chosen, you will be granted an interview.
All interviews are 15 minutes in length and will include two key components: a three-minute pitch and 10 minutes of rapid-fire questions from the judges.
Your three-minute pitch should include the following elements
- Market and size
- Traction and progress
3. Pitch Competition
If you have a successful interview, you will be asked to participate in a pitch competition in front of angel investors and early-stage VCs. You will be given three minutes to pitch your business to independent judges, based on the high-level pitch provided in Stage 2.
Pitch competition application & interview tips
Applications will be judged on clarity, the problem statement, and the size of the market opportunity.
The team profile is very important! Tell us how well your team works together, how your skills will complement each other, and how passionate you are about the problem you’re solving!
During the interview, the judges will quiz you on your business model, team composition, market, challenges, and ability to execute. Be prepared!
Please come with a product demo so that we can see how you plan on executing your vision during the interview.
Don’t have a demo? Please come prepared to outline exactly how you see your product working during the interview.
Relax and have fun!