Willow Cup

Velocity startups take the stage at Fierce Founders Finale

Fierce Founders is open to passionate female entrepreneurs with a tech-based startup. Hosted by Communitech, the program is made up of a six-day bootcamp focused on customer validation, business fundamentals and pitch refining. Top companies can also land a spot in the Fierce Founders Accelerator, a six-month structured program to help startups prepare for early customers, and build a scalable business strategy for fast growth.

The Winter 2017 cohort of 25 companies recently completed the rigorous bootcamp program, which culminated in the Fierce Founders Finale that took place yesterday. The top 8 female finalists took to the stage in front of a large crowd to pitch their startups to a distinguished panel of seven judges. On the line was a $100,000 grand prize donated by Waterloo Region tech company Kognitiv.

After the pitches were over, the judges decided to split the grand prize between two startups, each with a focus on environmental tech. The top prize of $60,000 was awarded to Velocity’s own Sara Bonham of Willow Cup, a company that has successfully developed a plant-based milk that requires 75% less land, energy, and water to produce than traditional cow’s milk. Sara plans to use the funding to conduct shelf-life certification for her plant-based milk product, and to grow her team by adding another employee. The remaining $40,000 prize was awarded to Genecis Envirotech, a company developing a machine that transforms food waste from restaurants into raw materials for products.

FF audience

Other Velocity companies that pitched at the Fierce Founders Finale included Chillabit, a social media app for university students; Voltera, a printer that enables low-cost circuit boards to be prototyped within minutes; and Elementary, a digital platform that speeds up the process of bridge inspection.

Congrats to all competitors! Photos of the event are available here

Photo credit: Meghan Thompson, Communitech.


Love pitch competitions? Check out these upcoming events at Velocity:
World’s Challenge Challenge: pitching solutions to global problems | March 2
Problem Pitch Competition: pitching important industry problems | March 7
Velocity Fund Finals $5K Qualifiers: early stage startup pitches | March 15 and March 16
Velocity Fund Finals: startups pitch for $125K in funding