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1:1 Student Coaching

The best way to learn about growing your ideas is from those who have successfully done so.

Our network of coaches includes a variety of individuals made up of founders, small business owners, early employees from successful startups, and experienced entrepreneurs. They are available to meet on-on-one or in a small group to discuss your startup ideas and aspirations and help guide you to turning your concept into a reality. 

In addition to these fantastic coaches, we have close relationships with the other support units on campus. To provide the best resources possible, you may be referred to one of our partners whose expertise best match with your needs.   

“Henrique was easy to talk to, and every meeting was like a small step towards a bigger outcome. Coaching helped me understand the problem in detail and figure out a pathway to fulfillment!”

Aishwarya Bansal, Engineering Student

“My favourite coach so far is Lichen. She listened thoroughly while I explained my idea, played devil’s advocate by bringing up reasonable concerns, and offered to help me set milestones to keep me accountable.”

Anonymous, Mathematics Student

“Rachel Figueiredo provided invaluable information and resources about industry performance, market competition, emerging technologies, and on-campus groups.”

Venay Banga, Engineering Student

First Coaching Session

Looking to meet with a Velocity Coach for the first time to discuss your startup business ideas, ask specific entrepreneurship questions, and/or get feedback on an upcoming pitch? Click below to request a meeting with a Velocity Coach.

Returning Students

Have you already met with a coach and are looking to book another session? Click below to set up another meeting, with the same coach you spoke with, or a new Velocity Coach of choice. Not sure who else you can chat with? Scroll down to check out our coaches and see their bios.

Check out our roster of experienced coaches below. Determine who may be able to best meet your needs, and help you make the impact you dream of.  If you aren’t sure, enter into the Innovation Portal where a Velocity representative will guide you in the right direction.


Not sure and need some guidance on what you should do? Enter into our Innovation Portal. A Velocity representative will guide you in the right direction.

Let us help you get there.

Visit the Innovation Portal

Please Note: Students who miss more than two sessions without at least eight hours notice will no longer be eligible for coaching sessions. If you need to cancel an appointment with a Coach, please make sure to do so at least 24 hours in advance by using the link in the invite or through a direct email to the Coach.

They’re Friendly, We Promise

Our Coaches

Nicole Troster

Nicole manages an award-winning accelerator program. She enjoys helping entrepreneurs to use business model innovation as well as market and user research to create opportunities for disruption.

Expertise: Service design, regulation, IP & patenting, customer discovery, pitch coaching

https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicoletroster/

Matt Neill

Matt was the co-founder of POET, a digital signage startup for three years. He is also experienced in UI design and front-end development.

Expertise: Software, prototyping, design, customer discovery, problem/idea formulation

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattneill/

Pablo Eder

Pablo has founded 3 payment startups in the areas of 3D printing, FinTech and content creation.

Expertise: Software, fundraising, sales

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pabloeder/

Pat Martinson

Pat has co-founded or been an early employee at four hardware startups. He’s worn many hats including roles in recruitment, project management, and supply chain.

Expertise: Hardware, prototyping, problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, customer discovery

https://www.linkedin.com/in/patmartinson/

Rachel Pautler

Rachel has spent the past 5 years in startups, starting from being the CEO of a Capstone project turned company, to marketing and product management.

Expertise: Science, IP, legal/incorporation, customer discovery

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-pautler/

Youssef Helwa

Youssef is the CEO of NERv, a medical device startup. Prior to founding NERv, he worked on another startup in the entertainment space.

Expertise: Science, IP, problem/idea formulation, legal/incorporation

https://www.linkedin.com/in/youssef-helwa/

Cole Powers

Cole is passionate about the people side of entrepreneurship. He is the co-founder of IntelliCulture (an agriculture tech startup) and has a mix of experience in pitching, customer discovery, and building tech.

Expertise: Pitch coaching, problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, prototyping/mockups

https://www.linkedin.com/in/colepowers/

Amr Abdelgawad

Amr is passionate about entrepreneurship and medtech. As COO at NERv, he wears multiple hats allowing him to gain experience in fundraising, pitching, business strategy, and operations.

Expertise: Sales & biz dev, customer discovery, pitch coaching, legal & IP

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amrabdelgawad/

Paul Heidebrecht

Paul directs an incubator program for peace-focused start-ups, and also supports our campus entrepreneurship ecosystem by facilitating participation in Oxford’s annual Map the System challenge and Conrad Grebel University College’s PeaceTech Living Learning Community.

Expertise: Problem & idea formulation, social impact, political engagement

https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-heidebrecht-04479446/

Ramin Shaikhi

Ramin loves taking big problems and dissecting them down into more manageable and less scary chunks. He is the co-founder of IntelliCulture and has a strong experience in prioritizing objectives to maximize growth.

Expertise: Problem & idea formulation, pitch coaching, hardware & software development, prototyping

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rshaikhi/

Ryan Chiu

Ryan enjoys working with passionate entrepreneurs who are raising capital to build their innovative ideas. He has helped founders develop best practices when pitching to VCs.

Expertise: Problem & idea formulation, early fundraising (seed & pre-seed), customer discovery

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryantlchiu/

Judy Chang

Judy loves helping founders in the food and education space. She is known for her practical and empathetic approach in problem identification, user discovery, and personal growth. She has two teenage daughters, loves teaches Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Seneca College, co-founded York Region’s Food Accelerator, and is a certified Life Coach.

Expertise: Leadership skills, Food CPG industry, problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching

https://www.linkedin.com/in/judy-chang-5003ba2/

Keyma Prince

Keyma is passionate about health technology and medical research. She’s co-founded a health tech startup and held industry positions focused on human factors/usability and systems engineering for medical device development.

Expertise: Research, problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, medical device development

https://www.linkedin.com/in/prikeyma/

Dylan Itzikowitz

Dylan is an Associate at Expa, where he works to identify and support talented founders for Expa’s pre-seed investments. He has also created a social enterprise called The Forward Movement that promotes accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, customer discovery

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dylanitzikowitz/

Alexander Mistakidis

Alexander is an entrepreneurial game designer and an investor at Pioneer Fund. He co-founded Gamelynx which launched games and websites to over a million people after going through Velocity and Y Combinator.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, software development & prototyping

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amist7/

Dinuka Gunaratne

Dinuka is passionate about student success, coaching and mentorship. Over the last decade, he has worked across multiple provinces and post-secondary institutions and has supported the work of student entrepreneurs.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, marketing, science/deep tech

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dgunaratne/

Prashanth Madhi

Prashanth is an Engineering leader with a creative mindset who thrives on solving complex problems using innovative tools & techniques. He’s a Digital Consultant, Keynote Speaker & a Life Coach – focused on helping people pursuing their passions.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, software development & prototyping, marketing, sales, science/deep tech

https://www.linkedin.com/in/prashanthmadhi/

Shoma Sinha

Shoma is passionate about entrepreneurship and the innovation ecosystem. She has over a decade of experience in the ecosystem through involvement in an advanced materials startup/scale-up, as a co-founder and leader of non-profit initiatives, and as the lead of a clean-tech accelerator program.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, hardware development & prototyping, IP & patenting, science/deep tech, customer discovery, sales & business development

https://www.linkedin.com/in/shomasinha/

Tony Brijpaul

Tony Brijpaul is a Co-Founder and first employee of Miovision, a leader in Smart Transportation. He built the organization into a global technology company with a revenue CAGR of 38% over the last 10 years, customers in over 60 countries, and over 250 staff.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, legal documents & incorporation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, hardware & software development, prototyping, IP & patenting

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonybrijpaul/

Naudia Banton

Naudia is the Entrepreneurship and Technology Advisor at the City of Kitchener and Waterloo Region Small Business Advisor. She can be found working on entrepreneurship opportunities and helping companies start their business. She has a passion for Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, legal documents & incorporation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, marketing

https://www.linkedin.com/in/naudiabanton/

Pulkit Arora

An innovator with a profound grasp of Blockchain, AI and ML, Pulkit Arora is a seasoned leader with a solid commercial acumen and operational success in driving aggressive omnichannel campaigns and customer-centric strategies internationally.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, Prototyping, Sales, Pitch Coaching, Customer Discovery

https://www.linkedin.com/in/arorapulkit/

Matthew Sefati

Matt loves helping founders in the health technology space (diagnostics, digital health, medical devices). He is the COO of Curiato, with experience in clinical trials, regulatory (FDA/Health Canada), hospital sales (NA), raising capital and product usability.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, Sales, Pitch Coaching, Customer Discovery, Legal Documents & Incorporation, Science/deeptech

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattsefati/

Jeffrey Liu

Jeffrey is a Senior Associate at Scotiabank’s Technology and Innovation Banking, where he works closely with both early and growth stage startups on providing non-dilutive venture debt financing. He previously worked at a VC firm that focuses on Series-A/B investments and currently helps entrepreneurs with fundraising and pitch coaching. He is passionate about mentorship and has worked with many students who are exploring a career in tech.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, Sales, Pitch Coaching and Customer Discovery

Eric Wu

Eric is currently Revolut’s head of financial crime technology, and is actively building and operationalizing solutions for tackling financial crime covering a global customer of over 10 million customers. He is a 2015 Waterloo math alumni.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, Customer Discovery/Talking to the users, SW Dev & Prototyping

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericwu2112/