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Supercharging research commercialization and student spinouts developed at Waterloo

Up Start is for Waterloo students and recent graduates who want to transform their work into real world commercial ventures. Whether you are working on a graduate degree or capstone project, we want to accelerate your success and help you make an impact on the world. 

What is Up Start?

We know turning technology into a product is hard. That is why the teams at Velocity and the Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo) are combining our expertise in startups and technology transfer to accelerate your ambitions.  

If you are building something that can help people, businesses, or society flourish, we want to hear from you. Apply here!  

Up Start is a Velocity/WatCo funding program designed to support Waterloo student researchers, founders and recent alumni exploring technology commercialization and student founders/recent alumni leading emerging startups.

Up Start guides innovators through the process of commercializing ideas into a venture that will disrupt the marketplace and create a positive impact on society.  

If you wish to apply your work outside of the university, then this program is for you. 

Please note that the Up Start program takes no equity from any ventures and does not require applicants to subscribe to WatCo tech transfer agreements to participate.


Ready to make an impact?

Apply to Up Start

Winter 2024 applications are now closed. Stay informed about the upcoming Up Start application for the next term by signing up for our newsletter.

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Bring your ideas to the real world, build a business that makes an impact 

Accepted teams will work closely with Velocity and WatCo advisors to conduct market research, develop a business plan, and will receive funding to help.  

Up Start will work in alignment with the Velocity Cornerstone program and will comprise a community of student founders all looking to start their careers in entrepreneurship. Successful applicants are actively building out their business plans through customer discovery and validation while getting coaching and support from their fellow student teams, Velocity coaches, founders, and WatCo business advisors. The goal is to learn what it takes to be a startup founder through experiential market research to gain enough traction to attract further investment before graduation.  


Via the Up Start initiative, Velocity and WatCo will provide guidance with early-stage commercialization steps and market discovery. The program will include: 

Automatic acceptance and participation in Velocity’s Cornerstone program 

Cornerstone is the culmination of the student entrepreneurial process. Test your business ideas by finding and speaking directly with customers. Validate your business plan and gain firsthand knowledge of your target market while joining a network of founders to share knowledge and resources.  

Find out more about the Cornerstone program

Advisory Meetings  

After a foundation is created with the completion of Cornerstone, you will meet with advisors from Velocity and WatCo who will provide continued mentorship & support to further build your business.


Successful applicants may receive up to $15,000 dependent on the completion of Cornerstone and subsequent milestone achievement. 

Eligibility & Requirements

We are looking for research projects that have commercial potential and researchers with an interest in bringing those ideas to market, as well as students or alumni actively working on businesses with high commercial potential.  

This includes graduate researchers, capstone teams with the intention to commercialize their work, or active student/alumni founders pursuing a business.  

To qualify you must meet the criteria below:  

  • Be a current student (undergraduate, graduate, or post-doc) or alum who graduated less than a year ago from the University of Waterloo  
  • Obtain an acknowledgement of support from your supervising professor (if applicable) 
  • Are prepared to commit 25 hours of time over a single term to in-person/online working sessions plus independent work necessary to develop ideas to meet business milestones  

If you have any questions about the program, eligibility, or wish to discuss any details, please contact  John Dick