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Mix of Hardware and Software Startups Take Top Prizes at Velocity Fund Finals

At the Fall 2014 Velocity Fund Finals (VFF), a company working to provide vision care to millions of people in the developing world, a visualization solution to connect code and help with rapid development, a service for tracking and analyzing gaming stats and software to make drones more intelligent.

During the competition, 10 companies pitched their businesses to a panel of judges representing the investment, start up and business communities. Judges weighed innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch. Winners take home the grant money and also earn support and workspace in a Velocity program.

These startups have each won $25,000. EyeCheck, which is dedicated to bringing convenient low-cost vision testing to the world, was the biggest winner at the VFF – winning an additional $10,000 as the top hardware startup.

“Most of the funding will be used to build a robust camera that can stand up to the harsh elements found throughout the developing world,” said Daxal Desai, co-founder of EyeCheck. “It will also help us to gather field data at several camps in India where hundreds of people line up to get their vision checked.”

The following three companies were also grand-prize winners of $25,000 and space at the Velocity Garage:

  • Code Connect makes it easy for developers to understand source code.
  • HearthStatsallows Hearthstone players to easily track wins and losses and gain insight for future play.
  • Perceptiv Labscreates software that allows drones to perceive their environment, track objects and locate themselves on maps.

“Funding for early stage companies is invaluable. The Velocity Fund allows us to provide support to startups and invest in their future through grants,” said Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity. “Velocity, as part of the University of Waterloo, is a leader in the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides unmatched education, mentorship, networking and additional resources to local startups.”

During the VFF event, an additional 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three new prizes of $5,000 and access to Velocity workspaces. In previous competitions, the amount was $1,000.

The winners of the Velocity $5K are:

  • Ansik, a mechanical reinforcement for worn out gas-charged struts, won Best Pitch.
  • Reno, an innovative charging technology that uses body heat to charge devices won $10,000 after winning both Most Innovative and People’s Choice.

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The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition were Ted Livingston of Kik, Mike McCauley of Google, Karamdeep Nijjar of iNovia Capital and Jean-Sebastien Cournoyer of Real Ventures.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Wayne Chang of the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre at Waterloo, Geoff Malleck of UWaterloo and Steve McCartney of Communitech.

Did you attend the event? What did you think? Be sure to catch the livestream footage if you missed it: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4867910/velocityfundfinalsF14