23-year-old donates US$1-million to support University of Waterloo student entrepreneurs

The press release is now finally out there (see below), former VeloCity resident from the Winter of 2009 term has donated $1 million (yes million) to the University of Waterloo that will be used to expand support for student entrepreneurs at the University of Waterloo. It is extremely exciting that in just under 23 months from moving out of VeloCity, Ted (who happens to be 23 years old) is willing to do such a generous thing for students at Waterloo.

What’s even better?!?

Livingston’s generous support of VeloCity has inspired the University to establish a $1-million seed fund for student startups. Over the next several years the fund will provide at least 30 student ventures with $25,000, four months of office space, incorporation services and mentoring. In addition, 75 student startups will receive $500 prizes as part of the first stage of the screening process. (from the release)

Thanks to the support of the University of Waterloo, VeloCity is going to start funding and offering even more support to the best coders it can find each term so that they spend their following co-op term really going for it. Details of the fund will come out over the next couple of weeks as we put together the final parts (like naming it) but we can say for sure that living in VeloCity won’t be a requirement — but it will certainly help ;)

Lots more stuff coming from VeloCity. Very exciting stuff!

23-year-old donates US$1-million to support University of Waterloo student entrepreneurs

Waterloo’s VeloCity incubator will establish new fund to assist student startups

WATERLOO, Ont. (Tuesday, March 29, 2011) — The University of Waterloo today announced a US$1-million donation to support its students’ business startup ambitions.

The donation, made by 23-year-old former Waterloo student and high tech entrepreneur Ted Livingston, will be used to help fund VeloCity, the unique residence-based program for student entrepreneurs.

Livingston’s generous support of VeloCity has inspired the University to establish a $1-million seed fund for student startups. Over the next several years the fund will provide at least 30 student ventures with $25,000, four months of office space, incorporation services and mentoring. In addition, 75 student startups will receive $500 prizes as part of the first stage of the screening process.

“This is truly a wonderful development for our students who dream of launching their own successful startup,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president of the University of Waterloo. “Ted exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that so often defines Waterloo and the need to give back that we seek to encourage in all our students.”

Both VeloCity and the amount of the $25,000 investments have special significance to Livingston, the founder and CEO of Waterloo-based Kik Interactive Inc. Livingston, who studied mechatronics engineering at Waterloo between 2005 and 2009, founded Kik (then called Unsynced) while in the VeloCity residence in Winter 2009.

The $25,000 awards exactly match the amount of money left to Livingston by his grandfather – money that kept Kik afloat and fuelled the company’s development in its earliest days.

Livingston’s donation was made possible by the sale of some of his personal Kik shares in a recently completed $8 million round of venture capital (VC) funding. The shares, valued at $1 million, were sold to one of three VC investors to prevent further dilution of other Kik employees’ shares.

“With few responsibilities and surrounded by other talented minds, UW students are uniquely positioned to start world-changing companies,” Livingston said. “Unfortunately, few investors are willing to bet on young entrepreneurs, especially in Canada, so getting the start-up funds they need is a huge challenge. This fund is a step towards changing that.”

About VeloCity

VeloCity is a student residence-based start-up incubator established in September 2008 at the University of Waterloo. VeloCity is a community that educates and connects talented, like-minded students with each other and with the surrounding start-up community, support, and mentorship. To learn more, please visit velocity.uwaterloo.ca

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities with 30,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For further details, visit uwaterloo.ca.