Quick Alert wins first-ever Problem Pitch Competition, pitches life and death allergy problem

A drumroll rang out at the end of the action-packed Problem Pitch Competition last night. The crowd was waiting to find out which of the ten University of Waterloo teams would win the event, after making 5-minute pitches of important industry problems, followed by Q&A with judges. Each team had provided in-depth research about a problem’s history, scope, and impact, and the winning 1st and 2nd place teams would share $5,000 in grants for R&D to develop a solution to the problem identified.

In teams of up to four students, students submitted applications with an industry problem and attended a sessions to further understand and analyze the problems thoroughly. Students also had a chance to practise their pitch in front of competitors at a practise pitch event. After hours of hard work, the teams presented their final pitch to an audience of 100 students, faculty, and community members.

Jay Shah, Director of Velocity, emceed the problem-focused event, the first of its kind at Velocity, in partnership with the Problem Lab, which helps students research and analyze problems. The event was an experiment designed by Larry Smith, the well-known Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo. After each pitch, teams were required to answer questions from a panel of judges: Joel Blit, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo; Dave Litwiller, CEO Coach and Mentor at Communitech; and Sarah Marion, Analyst at iNovia Capital.

Quick Alert won the first place prize of $4,000 to fund R&D for the problem identified, which is that there is no way for patients to communicate their histamine status during a severe allergic reaction.

In second place was RAPTRS, who identified that current methods being used to deal with poaching are prohibitively expensive and ineffective. They took home a prize of $1,000 for R&D.

The audience had their say in the winners as well, and selected NeonArc Technologies as winners of the People’s Choice Award. Each team member took home a Kobo Aura e-reader.

Well done to everyone who competed and thank-you to audience members who came out to watch!

Love pitch competitions? Check out these upcoming events at Velocity:
Velocity Fund Finals $5K Qualifiers: early stage startup pitches | March 15 and March 16
Velocity Fund Finals: startups pitch for $125K in funding | March 30