The VeloCity Venture Fund: the beta

Starting this term VeloCity is opening up a funding contest to students across the University of Waterloo. This fund is born out of a commitment by the University of Waterloo that was inspired by the donation made by VeloCity Alumni and Kik founder, Ted Livingston. It is a pretty exciting development for us here at VeloCity and we love that we can get going on our ‘beta test’ of the fund this term! What we learn this term will go into our proper launch of the fund this Fall.

What does this first version of the funding contest look like?

  • A hack weekend followed by a pitch night where 5 teams are selected and given $500
  • Those 5 teams come back in a month or so and have a chance to compete for $25 000 + incorporation + office space on their next co-op work term or following term (so for spring that will be fall)
  • That is all.

To qualify for the competition:

  • A current student at the University of Waterloo
  • Do you have to live in VeloCity? No. But it would give you an advantage.

What you will have to do:

  • Hack away during the opening weekend with VeloCity
  • Demo it with everyone else at the VeloCity Start of Term event Monday May 9th
  • Top 5 from there will get $500 to each team
  • The Top 5 will come back a month later to show off what they done with $500 and the time they have for a chance at two spots (for the money, space, service)
  • You must take the next term to work on this thing (or something)

More details:

  • Ideas won’t be evaluated in a lot of depth, we will be trying to gauge your ability (passion, skillz, etc) to do awesome
  • The $25 000 is essentially a grant to your founding team.
  • You don’t have to pay anything back… you just have to be awesome or at least try really hard
  • We are planning to run this contest every term for 5 years.
  • What if all 5 of the first round teams are awesome? I don’t know but that would be pretty cool.

Where can I register?

  • – if you are living in VeloCity this spring please register if you intend to compete for the cash. We are limiting the pool to 70. All current University of Waterloo students are welcome to sign up to compete.

It didn’t take long to move an idea to a plan to what is now being rolled out as a test this spring 2011 term. We left this blog post until the day before we start coding just so we find some of the really passionate Waterloo students that can come out this weekend and help shape an awesome new offering from VeloCity. The big launch is this fall, we can’t wait to take what we learn this term and open this right up next term!

Some answers to common questions

Why do we want this? What does a $500 team look like?

  • What you pitch on the Monday is only 1/3 of what you are measure on, we want to see the other stuff — we need to know you are coachable and will work in collaborative environments
  • The idea of the $500 prize: We want to see it spent wisely. Be it Apple Dev stuff, hosting, domains, etc. Impress us with how far you stretched that.

What does the $25 000 team look like?

  • I get to know you over the month and see a lot of progress
  • You can explain to me what you are measuring or building or how awesome hover detection on an ipad is
  • You are having fun
  • You pitch/demo is a lot better than the one at the start of term

If I work on this before the term does this give me an advantage?

  • No, the bar is just set way higher for you.

Can I send this to friends?

  • Yes but if they aren’t current students at the University of Waterloo they will be disqualified.

Can I just come to watch the demos on Monday?

  • Not this time, we have a small venue so space is limited to those that have already received an invitation. The next stage for the $25k will be open to more people.

Will anything change rules wise?

  • Likely, the whole point of this is to give this a try and build an awesome program based on your experience.

That’s it for now. Any questions/concerns please let me know.