Catching up with past Velocity Fund Finals $25K winner, Landmine Boys

Four months ago, Velocity hosted the Winter 2016 Velocity Fund Finals (VFF) on campus at the University of Waterloo. We had the chance to catch up with Richard Yim, Co-founder of Landmine Boys, another one of our $25K winning companies for a post-VFF update. You can read the Q&As with our other winners Okey and Fiix, and can keep an eye out for an upcoming article featuring our final $25K winner, Pegasus Aeronautics.

Landmine Boys won $25K with their specialized robot that can defuse landmines without explosion or human interaction. This not only reduces tragic fatalities, it also eliminates damage to the environment and risk to operator safety. Check out their coverage on CTV National News and their recent University of Waterloo feature story.

1. How has your company developed since winning VFF?
Since winning VFF a couple months ago, our team has moved into the Velocity Garage and are focusing on building our next prototype. During this time we increased our team by adding one full-time and one part-time employee. We also had a short documentary released about our company which increased media awareness. Additionally, we’ve started to build a formal relationship with the Canadian government to build credibility and garner support.

2. What is your company currently working on?
We have built test rigs for our next prototype in order to verify its functionality. Our priority is product development as we prepare to test our robot on a real landmine this December.

3. What do you enjoy most about building a startup?
The most enjoyable part about working on a startup is being able to work with people we consider to be our best friends. The fast-paced work environment and rapid progress is exciting to experience.

4. What did you like most about competing at VFF?
VFF was an amazing experience because of everything we learned by observing and interacting with other startups throughout the process. Getting up on stage and pitching is also exhilarating.

5. Are there any tips you can give startups pitching at VFF?
Practice and refine your pitch as early as you can, and seek feedback from experienced people in the community.

6. Any other pitching lessons you would like to share?
A strong business and weak pitch is always better than a strong pitch and weak business. So the better your company is, the easier it is to pitch. Keep in mind that you are the star when you’re on stage, so have fun! 

On July 21, twenty startups will compete at the Velocity Fund Finals in the Student Life Centre at the University of Waterloo to pitch for their share of $125,000. Don’t miss this event by registering to attend! Come join us for a great event with awesome pitches and free boxed lunches for the first 200 attendees. Audience members and those watching the Livestream will also have a chance to win 1 of 5 GoPros!

The Spring 2016 Velocity Fund Finals is sponsored by Thomson Reuters and Rockshield Capital.